First jobs don’t pay much, and gluten-free food is expensive. Luckily for this young camp counselor, his parents have his back.

Yesterday my son (gluten-free for the past 12 years) started his first day as a summer camp counselor presiding over 7th and 8th grade kids at a summer camp for inner city kids in Hartford, Connecticut. Yippee!…his first real 5-day-a-week job ever.

I’m really excited for him and grateful he is learning the value of a dollar. Earning minimum wage really shows you how quick money can go.

The camp does not provide for special diets so he packs his own lunch and snacks each day. Not a big deal if you are just packing your kid a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on regular bread. But when you have to eat gluten-free, this becomes a much pricier deal.


Out of the house from 6:30 AM to well past 5PM, my son goes through a lot of food. Typical day: 2 Boars Head Barbecue Chicken and cheese sandwiches made with prepackaged gluten-free bagels (pack of 4 bagels costs more than $7) or ciabatta rolls (also pricey), a jug of water, 2 KIND bars (over $1 each), a bag of gf chips ($.50), fruit of the day (camp provided), plus two gf cookies.

YIKES! My son gets some earned money in his pocket, but I cover the cost of gasoline and maintenance for the wear and tear on the car…Add that up, plus the paycheck that we have to report to my son’s college as earned income (more income = less financial aid), and dear Mom and Dad are on the short end of the deal.

That’s the gluten-free reality of my life. But how else can we foster self-sufficiency in our gluten free teens without a little support at the start?

Find some tips on saving money on gluten-free food products here.

Happy Summer to ya all!