Pediatric G.I. and Nutrition Services in Peoria and Central Illinois

Methodist Emergency Department

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Pekin Emergency Department

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Express Care - Peoria

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Proctor First Care - East Peoria

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Nutrition Services

Methodist Medical Group Pediatric Gastroenterology offers complete nutrition services for children with nutritional deficiency. Methodist Registered Dietitians work closely with children and their families. They can offer guidance on how to meet your child's special nutritional needs.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease can be quite life-changing in the way of what you eat! Many of us don't think about all that we put into our mouths, but with Celiac disease it is of vital importance that you become a good label reader! There are so many wonderful products available now at a variety of grocery stores to cater to those suffering from Celiac disease. Take a deep breath and take one step at a time as you revamp your diet.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is when a person has sensitivity to proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. When these grains are eaten, the gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. This damage may keep one from properly absorbing nutrients (malabsorption). Malabsorption can cause diarrhea, weight loss, tiredness, excess gas, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies.

Following a gluten-free diet allows the intestine to heal as well as helps one prevent complications that may arise from malabsorption of nutrients related to Celiac disease. Symptoms of malabsorption should decrease after a few weeks on a gluten-free diet.

When avoiding gluten, it is important to maintain a balanced diet and receive the nutrients found in products eliminated from your diet. Consider taking a gluten-free multivitamin and mineral supplement. Below is a list of nutrients and the food source they come from.

Thiamin - Lean cuts of fresh pork, legumes (dry beans, peas, lentils), nuts, and fish

Riboflavin - Dairy products, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and mushrooms

Niacin - Poultry, fish, lean cuts of fresh pork, legumes, and seeds

Folate - Legumes, green leafy vegetables, fruit/fruit juices

Iron - Lean cuts of beef, poultry, seafood, legumes, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds

Fiber - All plant foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts

How do I know if a food contains gluten?

Read labels of all products you use.

Check the ingredient list. Gluten can be listed in "code words", don't let the labels fool you! The list below are words that should trigger you to AVOID the foods containing them:

  • Wheat (all types, including einkorn, emmer, spelt, and kamut)
  • Spelt
  • Barley, barley malt/extract
  • Triticale
  • Rye
  • Wheat
  • Malt
  • Wheat bran
  • Oats (unless gluten free)
  • Wheat bulgur
  • Bulgar
  • Wheat germ
  • Durum flour
  • Wheat grass
  • Farina
  • Whole wheat berries
  • Gluten flour
  • Wheat matzoh
  • Graham Flour
  • Wheat based semolina
  • Semolina
  • Couscous
  • Seitan

May Contain Gluten:

  • Modified starch
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)

Don't forget about non-food items that may contain gluten!
Toothpaste; mouthwash; cough and cold medication; nutritional supplements.

Multiple Food Allergies

Multiple food allergies can make eating quite difficult to say the least. It is important when being diagnosed with multiple food allergies to think about what food groups you are eliminating so that you can obtain those nutrients from other foods. Our goal is to keep you healthy while keeping the allergens out so that you feel better.

Always start with your own kitchen. Know what you can eat, learn what you can't and then make a grocery list to balance out the rest. For your first grocery trip, make sure to take plenty of time so that you can look at all of the shelves, read labels, and not get too overwhelmed. Remember if you stick with what you know you can have slowly build up your diet using new products. As always, a registered dietitian can assist you through this process.


If your child is struggling with overweight or obesity, please contact a registered dietitian. In our 1:1 sessions, we can review your current diet and lifestyle and make realistic suggestions for improvement to a healthier child and family. Frequent follow-ups ensure that your child will stay on track and form new healthy habits. Remember, helping a child to lose weight is a family approach and modeling as well as support are necessary.

Follow our Countdown to Healthier Families!

Take these steps everyday to ensure a healthy lifestyle for you and your children.

5 - Fruits and Vegetables
2 - Hours or less of screen time (TV, video games, etc.)
1 - Hour or more of physical activity
0 - Sweetened beverages

Poor Weight Gain

Here are tips to increase calories. 

Disclaimer: Not all foods are appropriate for all ages (Ex: choking hazards: peanut butter, dried fruit, etc.).

For infants, questions parents can consider:

  • Are you preparing the formula correctly per the instructions on the container? If you are preparing the formula incorrectly, you could be diluting the formula and decreasing the amount of calories you are providing to your infant.
  • Are you providing the correct number of feedings in the right amount? If you are short by even one feeding, your child may be missing vital calories.
  • If breastfeeding, how long is your infant feeding on each breast? How many bowel movements and wet diapers does your infant have each day? Check with your doctor regarding the frequency of bowel movements and urination to ensure your baby is excreting properly and receiving enough feeding to do so.
  • Are you providing other food or beverage before it is appropriate? Feeding your baby food and beverage besides formula or breast milk too early can decrease their overall calorie intake and may negatively affect their weight. Always check with your primary care provider to ensure it is appropriate to advance your baby to other sources of nutrition.

For children up to age 2:

  • Are you providing non-calorie beverages instead of whole milk? Providing low-fat milk before age 2 can severely restrict the amount of calories your child is taking in. Before making this change always gain approval from your primary care provider and dietitian.
  • Does your child snack? Small, frequent meals allows your child more opportunities for calories. So, if your child is struggling to gain weight, add in 2-3 snacks each day between meals.
  • My child just cannot eat any more! If running into this dilemma, bulk up the calories in the foods they are already eating.

For older children:

  • Do you feel restrictive eating behavior is occurring? If so, consider having your child see a dietitian to ensure their diet is adequate. A psychologist or counselor may be of benefit to assist if this is a chronic problem.
  • Has your child increased his/her activity level recently? As children become more active or enter sports, they may need to boost their calorie intake in meals and snacks. See a registered dietitian for more specific tips.

Click here for printable information on how to increase calorie intake.

Short Gut

Short gut is a condition affecting the length of your small and large intestine. The small and large intestine are important for absorption of nutrients for use in the body. Depending on the section(s) of your intestine that have been removed, it is important that the nutrient(s) absorbed are monitored and provided supplementation if necessary. Speak with your physician regarding the specific area of the intestine that has been removed from your child and the nutrient(s) that may be affected to determine if supplementation is necessary. Short guy can also affect feeding tolerance, bowel movements, and hydration status. Working closely with you physician and dietitian is important as your child gets used to their new and revised intestinal tract.