Get outside with your g-free kids and LÄRABAR (giveaway, too!)

IMG_5470Get outside?  No one needs to tell us that — we get outside every chance we get —especially in Autumn, our favorite time of year, which doesn’t last nearly long enough…

Did you know that Monday, November 17th is National Take a Hike Day?  If it were up to me, I would dub every Saturday just that. Unfortunately, life and bad weather get in the way far too much, and we end up having to carve out time for exploring new nature trails and hiking areas much less often than we would like to. Our family bond is at its strongest when we are out in the woods together, having left behind all thoughts of homework, upcoming irish dance competitions, electronics, housework, to-do lists, and other distractions.

IMG_5408My dog is usually pulling my husband off ahead, while my daughters and I take our time, usually stopping just about every minute to get a closer look at mushrooms, fungi, acorns, tiny saplings, tree bark patterns, leaves of every shape, size and color, and seemingly every other bit of nature we pass by.

IMG_5518If we hike near any sort of creek or pond, my daughters can’t resist lifting up every rock, in search of crayfish, salamanders, frogs, minnows, dragonfly nymph or whatever creature they can find and manage to hold for a few seconds…

4creaturesOur hikes aren’t the long, arduous ones my husband and I used to take back in Colorado or New Hampshire pre-kids, but our current hikes allow our girls the downtime they need to get their hands dirty, feet muddy and wet, and to just be out in nature and enjoying God’s creations without having to rush.

Knowing we’re going to be outside for hours on end, we have learned to come prepared with plenty of water and g-free snacks. When LÄRABAR recently contacted me to see if I would like to try some samples of their bars and new grain-free granola, it seemed like the perfect chance for our family to sample the rainbow of flavors they offer.

IMG_5325As you may or may not know, I have been grain-free for the past 6 weeks and have never felt better. I have left behind all of the nausea I’d been feeling for months, the accompanying stomach distress, and as a bonus: about 10 pounds as well! I’ve never felt healthier — along with less bloated, much less gassy and so much cleaner in my diet.  The “old me” would have packed up a few Diet Dr. Peppers, juice boxes and bags of Cheetos & Doritos for a roadtrip (no lie) but the “new me” only craves healthy, whole foods & clean eating. Since I’m the one packing this stuff, the rest of my family benefits as well.

IMG_5332LÄRABAR is the absolute perfect fit with my new healthier lifestyle, as their products are made from quality stuff and the best ingredients we can put into our bodies. Although these bars seem like they are a modest size, they really pack a punch when you consider how filling they are, and how much protein, vitamins and long-lasting energy they provide. Perfect for that extra fuel my family and I often need on our hikes.

IMG_5339Each LÄRABAR contains 1/4 cup of fruit or more, and they’re made from whole foods which makes them perfect for g-free snacking on the go. Check out all of the many different flavors on their product page. So far our favorites in the following order are: Banana Bread, Key Lime Pie, Cherry Pie and Blueberry Muffin, but we have a bunch left to try still. Previously I had only tried LÄRABAR a few times years ago, back before I was thinking about what I was eating and too cheap to pay for the good stuff. But, thankfully, I have matured and learned to care much more about my diet, and prefer to buy minimally processed foods with the shortest ingredient lists nowadays. Take our favorite LÄRABAR flavor for instance, made from just bananas, almonds and dates:

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And as it turns out, LÄRABAR’s founder, Lara Merriken, came up with “a mountain of an idea back in 2000: to combine wholesome ingredients such as fruits and nuts to create a food product that’s tasty, healthy and convenient.” All of LARABAR’s products are made from 100% real and wholesome ingredients. Everything they offer is g-free, non-GMO and Kosher, with most everything being soy-free, dairy-free, and vegan as well.

IMG_5348Besides being able to sample all of these bars, you can imagine how psyched I was (yes, there is still an 80’s girl inside of me) when I discovered that they also have a new grain-free granola called RENOLA. It comes in 3 flavors – Berry, Cinnamon Nut and Cocoa Coconut — and is a tasty mix of fruits, nuts and seeds.

IMG_5345After trying our samples, we were hooked — especially me, since I’m not eating grains right now, including g-free grains. I love all three flavors and really appreciate how small the pieces are, so I don’t feel like I’m going to break a tooth like I do with other g-free granolas. I also love the individual serving size bags, which contain the perfect amount of RENOLA to give that long-lasting energy needed for dance, sports, or a hike. You can bet that RENOLA will be on my grocery list over and over again, no doubt…

IMG_5358I was really impressed by all of these products, and LÄRABAR has definitely become my go-to brand for g-free snacking on the go. They are so easy to take on family hikes, or to just toss in my bag in case I get hungry when I’m out and about so I can stay on my grain-free diet and keep feeling good 24/7.


As a special offer for you (on top of this awesome giveaway) LÄRABAR is giving gfreekid.com readers $0.50 off the purchase of any LÄRABAR. Get your coupon here. don’t know where to get em? find out here.


Remember: Monday, November 17th is National Take a Hike Day. Join me and LÄRABAR by getting outside with your g-free kids and enjoying the gorgeous fall weather in your neck of the woods. Trust me: you and your kids will be glad you did.  You can join in on the conversation by hashtaggin’ #getoutside and #eatclean.

IMG_5380Want to win a LÄRABAR Prize Pack?

Is all this talk about LÄRABARs, RENOLA and hiking making you hungry?

Here’s your chance to win an awesome prize pack from LÄRABAR, including a variety pack of 16 assorted LÄRABARs and all three flavors of RENOLA.  All you have to do is answer the following 2 questions and comment below with your answers…(anyone failing to do the following will not qualify to win.)

(1) Leave a comment on this post with the LÄRABAR flavor and RENOLA flavor you’re most interested in trying (take a quick look at the product page before you answer) and (2) how we have inspired you to #getoutside and #eatclean with your g-free kid and LÄRABAR!  Couldn’t be easier to enter!  🙂

Open to 18+ year old U.S. residents only. Randomly chosen winner will be picked Monday, Nov. 10th at midnight & will be given 24 hours to respond before being replaced by another winner.

Thanks to LÄRABAR for sponsoring this post and giveaway, and for fueling this hike and many in the future. HONEST opinions are completely from me and my family. 

IMG_5395


Rx for a Sick G-Free Kid

sickieAh, cold and
flu season….
You’d think that
the lack of global warming keeping us in this deep freeze this winter would kill off some germs, wouldn’t you?

Well, alas, our g-free kids might still catch some viruses before springtime rolls around…

Just in case, here are some tips collected from parents like us on what we can do to help a sick kid feel better, even when
he or she is on a gluten-free diet.

I recently posted the question “What do you do for your g-free kid when they are sick?” on Facebook and here are the top responses. These tips apply to kids with stomach bugs, as well as kids whose appetites just aren’t up to par due to other mild wintertime illnesses.

Tips from fellow parents:

  • If still in vomiting stage, just give them tiny ice chips & sips of water
  • Ginger Ale (flat, so there aren’t any bubbles) helps settle the stomach
  • Homemade chicken broth (some say just the broth)
  • Steamed, plain rice
  • Chicken soup with rice or just broth with rice
  • Rice cooked in chicken stock with ground chicken
  • Bone broth
  • Chicken pho with rice noodles
  • Homemade chicken noodle soup: GF broth, GF spaghetti noodles (cut up) and shredded chicken, maybe w/ some soft cooked veggies, too
  • The BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, GF toast)
  • GF Rice Krispies (dry)
  • Plain, dry cereal or toast
  • Glutino and Schar both have plain table crackers that are similar to soda crackers
  • One mom swears by this: apple cinnamon rice cakes & Mountain Dew
  • Gluten-free pretzels or plain tortilla chips to nibble on
  • GF canned soups by: Amy’s, Gluten Free Cafe, Progresso, Dr. McDougall’s
  • ice pops
  • Pedialyte liters and Pedialyte freezer pops
  • Set your child up with a hot water bottle on his or her tummy
  • Tummy rubs and head rubs
  • TLC (tender loving care — a g-free kid is still a regular kid who needs love, after all)  🙂

*Please note:  This is not professional medical advice. These tips are from parents just like us who have shared their personal advice for how to help sick g-free kids feel better…. Please seek real medical advice from your own family’s doctor for anything out of the ordinary.

If anyone wants to add other tips or advice to this list, please comment below. Thanks!

The road ahead

The road of parenting is a long one…..and for a parent of a child on a special diet, it may seen endless…

Aside from their diets, I sometimes feel like my daughters’ “phases” are endless, and I’m helping them “work on” certain things for years at a time…. Right now they are both trying to focus on a Fruit of the Spirit: self-control for one and kindness for the other.

This morning I was trying to get some advice from online articles about children and maturity, when I came across a phrase that hit home. It went something like this: “Prepare your child for the road, rather than prepare the road for your child.” Right away I could see how this would apply to so many things in life, and I felt moved to create a graphic reminder for myself. This is what I came up with:

PREPAREroad

How many aspects of life does this simple phrase encompass?

Can we clear the road of bullies — or can we prepare our children with how to deal with them?

Can we eliminate the risk of stranger danger — or can we teach our kids what to do if they are ever approached?

Can we protect our kids from getting their feelings hurt — or can we teach them how to keep everything in perspective and get past it?

Can we get rid of all gluten in our kids’ world — or can we teach them how to be prepared and deal with different food situations?

You get where I’m going with this…

When you first find out your child has to maintain a gluten-free diet for life, your first reaction is to get out there and totally clear the road for him or her….to make sure all bases are covered and everyone in their life knows about every last detail. That is all very necessary for a young child and one who is new at eating gluten-free. There’s a lot that comes with the new territory…

But as they grow, you won’t always be there to plow away the snow, salt the icy spots, and maneuver them around the road hazards. Little by little, you will want them to learn to become self-sufficient. There is no magic age at which this happens — it is just something to keep working towards….

For specifics on how you can prepare your child for living in a gluten-filled world, please read this article on helping your gluten-free kid gain independence.

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