Feeding a gluten free or dairy free child or family in a predominantly gluten and dairy-loving nutrition system can be overwhelming, frustrating, sometimes ( unfortunately) expensive.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that generally, it's A LOT - especially in Trinidad where our favorite food staples usually involve flour or dairy or a combination of both.
Easy foods such as sandwiches, pastas. fry bake, sada, doubles, roti, nuggets, ice cream etc become hard to switch out.
And shopping to find alternatives can feel like a crazy, unrealistic jungle hunt if you’re just not quite sure where to even start to shop for these options.
But don't fret! We're here to make shopping for your gluten and dairy-intolerant kids a little bit easier.
I first began to notice my daughter's intolerance to flour and dairy during our breastfeeding journey.
I observed that whenever I ate anything with flour or dairy or both, her skin and digestive system would suffer.
From rashes that flared, to constipation and stomach pain, I quickly opted to edit my diet to pinpoint what was causing these flare-ups.
I soon realised that the culprits were gluten and dairy. Not so surprising seeing that I also have issues with too much flour or dairy.
Through research and a lot of help and guidance, I was able to source where I could get more gut-friendly alternatives for my child.
I was happy to see that while we still have a way to go in supporting various diets within our island, there were surprisingly a lot of stores which already support these particular dietary restrictions.
But one shock was the cost of these alternatives.
It is NOT the same as shopping for a child or family that do not have these dietary restrictions.
The costs quickly add up and this can be daunting when you're shopping on a budget.
Balance is key
What I have learned, and continue to learn, is balancing store-bought, ready-made GF bread, GF and DF snack options, with homemade options.
A very exciting development now is major supermarkets like Massy also beginning to provide these health and dietary alternatives - but at a more affordable price point.
Go-to stores in Trinidad
Here are a few of our family go-to stores and the general range of prices:
- Massy Stores: Over the last year or so, Massy have really stepped up their alternative options and at reasonable prices. You can find GF & DF products ranging from $20-$350 TT. Location: Nationwide
- Fresh Organics: More on the upper end of our price points, but they have some of the largest variety of GF & DF alternatives. $50-$700. Location: Maraval
- Be Free Organics: This is a great option for familiarizing and exploring alternatives. They usually have a different array of products that the other health stores may not carry. $35-$600. Location: POS.
- New Earth Organics: I love New Earth, mainly because they carry a lot of our local food artisan products. And more importantly, the ones who make non-exported GF & DF treats and food. Support local and all that! $25-$450. Location: Woodbrook
- Peppercorns: Similar to Fresh Organics in terms of the range of GF & DF products, BUT surprisingly sometimes more accessible and affordable. $30-$400. Location: Maraval & Ellerslie Plaza
- The Happy Gourmet: While I personally have not had the pleasure of shopping in person in their stores, they have a great Instagram page that you can shop from.$50-$600. Location: Valpark
- Zabouca Breads: If you’re looking for some of the most delicious, fresh (not imported) GF & DF bread and baked goods, they are the GO-TO! $10-$150. Location: Cascade & Woodbrook
- Live Green Health Store: Great for baby and toddler food alternatives. $50-$700. Location: St James.
We hope these stores help in starting or continuing your gluten free & dairy free journey.
From GF chicken nuggets to waffles, bread, pizzas, pastas and more, you’ll be sure to find a gentler gut alternative.