Here’s how you can prepare the ultimate gluten free care package for students while they’re away from home.
So many kids are heading off to college this fall, and I know many of you moms are full of anxiety. This is especially true if your child has celiac disease. After being so careful at home to steer them clear of gluten, we worry if they will be as careful when they’re on their own.
When my oldest son went off to college, I took comfort in the fact that his school offered an exceptional gluten-free meal plan. Still, he was finding it difficult to find healthy gluten-free snacks unless he went off campus.
At the same time, I was trying to get used to walking past his empty room and not hearing his conversation at the dinner table.
One way I found to ease the sadness and stay connected was to send care packages filled with gluten-free comfort foods and other thoughtful items.
If he wanted a snack, some gluten-free items would always be there.
If your son or daughter is gluten-free and headed off to college, they’re probably feeling the stress of college life kick in right about now.
Receiving gluten-free care packages with some of their favorite foods will definitely help them adjust.
With those thoughts in mind, I’m revisiting my post on how to prepare the ultimate gluten free college care package.
Here’s how I did it
Typically, I sent a package every week while my son was away.
I kept the box open on the kitchen counter welcoming everyone at home to add any items they thought he’d enjoy.
Every now and then, a sibling would drop something in.
Here’s a tip: the U.S. post office offers free flat rate priority boxes. There’s one postage rate no matter the weight so you can load up the box and even send heavy canned goods at no extra cost.
Here are some of the items I’d include:
Store-bought gluten free foods
Send your son or daughter’s favorite treats. Some of my son’s favorites were:
Progresso soups (gluten free choices are indicated on the label)
Gluten free muffins (he liked these)
Gluten free crackers
Gluten free energy bar
Gluten free pretzels
Homemade gluten free foods
Show your love with homemade gluten-free muffins, cookies, or brownies. I prefer sending homemade treats rather than store bought because I can make them healthier and sugar-free.
These grain free blueberry muffins would be perfect for a care package.
You can throw in photographs, a frisbee, your child’s favorite magazine, a travel mug, gift cards, pens, toiletries, and even a roll of quarters for the laundry.
Don’t forget to send a card or note especially at midterm and finals time. When students are crunched for time, quick gluten-free foods and snacks are a welcome treat. I even have small scripture cards I included in each package, too.
I knew my packages were appreciated when we visited my son at the college.
His roommate greeted me and exclaimed, “Thank you for sending the care packages; the muffins are really good.” It was heartwarming to know that my son was sharing his goodies.
Not only was I blessing my son, but another college boy away from home as well.
Sending those care packages only lasted for two years. My son eventually transferred to a college that he could commute to from home.
Nicole completed 2 years of college on-line. Then she commuted to that college also and completed her degree.
Michael (our app developer) took college on-line courses and earned college credit by exam, receiving 75% of his college credits while completing high school requirements at home.
When he graduated from high school, he went on to complete his senior year of college completely on-line the very next year!
If you’re curious to know more about saving money and completing some or all of your college courses at home, ask me.
Along with healthy living, homeschooling is one of my favorite things to talk about. 🙂
This will be my final year of homeschooling. Peter (you know him as our talented food photographer) will be in his senior year of high school this fall.
Time goes by fast, and now they’re all grown up.
If you have a student away at school, what will you include in their care package? Do you have any tips to share? Please stay and leave me a comment.
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This is extremely helpful, I have a question though, are gluten free foods tasteful, I mean being gluten free and all does it affect the taste? I’m getting more and more drawn to the gluten-free revolution.
My husband and 2 of my sons have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. My daughter and youngest son are allergic to wheat. This is why we are gluten free.
Gluten is mostly found in cereal & grains, especially wheat. Some substitutes don’t taste too good, but more and more the food industry has been making better tasting gluten free foods because a lot of folks are finding that they feel better without gluten.
Please take a look around my blog; I recommend many brands that have passed my in-house taste testers 🙂
visiting from UBC. 5 more days to go 😀
Thank you for visiting.
Your son is very lucky. When I was in college very few of us got care packages on a regular basis.
Oh, thank you, Cindy.
Since he is gluten intolerant, I wanted him to have snacks available especially when his friends might be eating something that he couldn’t eat. There is not a lot of space in those small dorm rooms to keep a month’s worth of food so I sent them weekly.
It is exciting to receive a care package, isn’t it?
Natasha @ Epic Mommy Adventures says
I wish I had received care packages while I was in college. I lived on the cheese sticks at Pizza Hut and Ramen noodles! It was the least expensive thing I could find. So great that you send your son care packages – everything looks delicious! I would have eaten it all!
Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesdays! We love having you! 🙂
Thank you, Natasha. I appreciate your comment.
Evona Niewiadomska says
Hey Barbara – Gosh I wish I had someone like you sending delicious care packages my way weekly when I was in college! Even now would be nice 😉 I recently launched a line of gifts for Undiscovered Kitchen (a digital farmers market for artisan food), specifically a Gourmet Gluten Free Snacks Box – also perfect for dorm room gifts or while the kiddos are away at camp https://undiscoveredkitchen.com/undiscovered-kitchens-gift-collections/gourmet-artisan-gluten-free-snacks-box it’s filled with small batch artisan snacks that not only taste amazing (as per the earlier comment) but that are loaded with the best and minimally processed ingredients to give kids (and adults) the energy their bodies need to stay focused and happy 🙂 Anyway, my tip, and how we send our gifts, is to include red shredded craft paper in the box which looks REALLY cute and acts as protection in case you’re sending any fragile items. It also makes it feel like you’re opening a christmas gift (especially with the red!)
Renee groskreutz says
Yes, we need to do this. Our daughter is in her senior year and could really use this. It will be a stressful time.
Kudos to your daughter, Renee. I hope she has a great year and I’m sure she’ll appreciate care packages. 🙂
I’m sure there was a smile on a face when that package was opened! 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us at the #HomeMattersParty
It’s always fun to get goodies in the mail. Right?
Larry and Jaala says
Those are all great gluten free ideas! We eat gluten free and always like to hear different recopies.
Hi, Thanks so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂
Hang Around The World says
This is the perfect post for who travels like us!! We needed something like this 🙂
My mother is recently gluten free. We are always looking for new ideas. Thanks!!
What great ideas! This is a great resource and a wonderful way to add new snacks to my gluten free diet
Terrific, Samantha. I so glad that you enjoyed this post.
These are great ideas and I’m sure the kids really appreciate it too! Care packages are awesome!