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Packed Lunches
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Hi there. I haven't known about being coeliac for very long and as such am still adjusting to the lifestyle. My first move was to replace all my old non-edible stuff with gluten free versions - something I'm now weaning myself off of - but I really need some advice for when I'm away from home.

I was brought up on the ease of the sandwich as a packed lunch staple, but obviously now I am finding it much harder to do that when I'm trying to cut my replacement-food intake. I go into University from 7.30am 'til 5pm (7.30 being when I have to be on a bus to the station) and as such have no access to a kitchen, a fridge or a microwave for the whole day I am away from home.

What kind of food can I pack that isn't too much of a hassle to prepare? I'm stuck for ideas and could do with some advice.

On that note, I am struggling to find things that arent direct replacements of bad foods (pastas, breads and other wheat based things) to eat. Currently my diet revolves around peas, sweetcorn and bags/ tins of chilli con carne, and rice of various flavours. I occasionally have fresh meat, as frozen all seems to be packed with wheat, but that is expensive and my family cannot afford to keep it up.

Other than becoming a gluten free vegan, what can I do to help improve my diet and save my family some money?

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hey there:

I was a vegan and going gluten free as a vegan is VERY difficult, particularly if you have other food intollerances.

I'm not clear on why you would completely take out the possibility of sandwhiches. As a student, a sandwich is a pretty easy 'go to' food. Find a bakery that makes good fresh gluten free bread and take sandwiches to school each day! There are gluten free deli meats. Can you have cheese? If so, pack cheese or make cheese sandwiches.

I appreciate that gluten-free bread can be expensive, but I think it is worth it (in your situation), particularly as you need portable food.

Snacks = fruits (bananas are one of my favourites) and veggies. When I was a student, I used to love packing baby carrots and sugar snap peas.

I have a peanut allergy, but you may be able to have nuts, etc. Pack that.

Trail mix (there are good gluten-free ones OR to save money, make your own).

How about gluten-free yogurt? I am sure you have the capacity to pack some things that need to stay cool (I used to pack yogurt in my lunches, using a lunch bag designed for the purposes of keeping food cold).

How about left overs? If you have a big stir fry, why not pack the leftovers? Do you like corn pasta? I find it works well for things like beef strognaff, etc. Sure, you'll eat it cold. So..still tastes good. You can put it on a good corn version of the rice cake (I hate rice cakes, but the ones made from corn are really good). Let's call it a corn-cake.

On that note, take corn-cake. Buy some cream cheese (assuming there is a food court that sells these things) and put some corned beef (deli meat) on it. Great combo. Very yummy.

If you have the capacity to keep things cool, pack tuna or salmon. mmmmmm. You can use lettuce as a bread substitute.

I also find that you can buy gluten free hard shell tacos...pack for lunch along with left over stir fry. At lunch, mix crushed up taco shells with the stir fry.

Pack salads.

KDAwg

PS - almost forgot: Cook up a gluten-free pizza and take that. Kinda expensive and not as healthy, but it works.

quote name='Hamster101' date='24 October 2010 - 02:22 PM' timestamp='1287955371' post='648742']

Hi there. I haven't known about being coeliac for very long and as such am still adjusting to the lifestyle. My first move was to replace all my old non-edible stuff with gluten free versions - something I'm now weaning myself off of - but I really need some advice for when I'm away from home.

I was brought up on the ease of the sandwich as a packed lunch staple, but obviously now I am finding it much harder to do that when I'm trying to cut my replacement-food intake. I go into University from 7.30am 'til 5pm (7.30 being when I have to be on a bus to the station) and as such have no access to a kitchen, a fridge or a microwave for the whole day I am away from home.

What kind of food can I pack that isn't too much of a hassle to prepare? I'm stuck for ideas and could do with some advice.

On that note, I am struggling to find things that arent direct replacements of bad foods (pastas, breads and other wheat based things) to eat. Currently my diet revolves around peas, sweetcorn and bags/ tins of chilli con carne, and rice of various flavours. I occasionally have fresh meat, as frozen all seems to be packed with wheat, but that is expensive and my family cannot afford to keep it up.

Other than becoming a gluten free vegan, what can I do to help improve my diet and save my family some money?

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Hard boiled eggs

Tuna salad with potato chips or crackers (use as a dip)

Peanut butter and jelly on a gluten-free pancake (Pamela's pancake mix is excellent)

Canned turkey mixed with ranch salad dressing

Apples and peanut butter

lunch meat and sliced cheese rolled up

Cheese and fruit

Crepes with ham and cheese slices rolled up in them

Crepes dipped in yogurt with fruit

Nuts

Nut bars

Lara bars

Kind bars

Plain tuna

Smoked salmon

Egg salad

Scrambled eggs in a thermos

Pretty much anything in a thermos - mac & cheese, sloppy joes, fried rice, lasagna, soup

Invest in a few items - insulated lunch bag, freezer pack (thing you put in freezer and then put in lunch bag to keep things cold, don't know what they're really called), and a good thermos. You'll be all set! With the thermos, fill it with boiling water and let it set for 5-10 minutes before putting the hot food in it. Your food will be toasty warm at lunch.

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I haven't known about being coeliac for very long and as such am still adjusting to the lifestyle.

What kind of food can I pack that isn't too much of a hassle to prepare? I'm stuck for ideas and could do with some advice.

Currently my diet revolves around peas, sweetcorn and bags/ tins of chilli con carne, and rice of various flavours. I occasionally have fresh meat, as frozen all seems to be packed with wheat, but that is expensive and my family cannot afford to keep it up.

what can I do to help improve my diet and save my family some money?

If you take a look at my profile in the about me section, I'm sure you will find some ideas to include in a Lunchbox.

It's against board rules to link there so unfortunately, you have to go look for yourself.

Best Regards,

David

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Yes, invest in a wide-mouth thermos and you can pack soups/stews/curry/rice and beans, etc. I like making the giant pot of soup or bean-based dishes on Sunday night and then packing that for lunch all week. Mixing beans/lentils and meat is a good way to stretch the meat over more days. You could also make muffins or cornbread (double the recipe and freeze if you have space) and then pack "sandwich filings" as a salad or side. I.E. lettuce and tomato with turkey and cheese, or even peanut butter and carrot or celery sticks.

The $20 thermos will pay for itself quickly because you can also pack cold things in it like salads.

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Hi there. I haven't known about being coeliac for very long and as such am still adjusting to the lifestyle. My first move was to replace all my old non-edible stuff with gluten free versions - something I'm now weaning myself off of - but I really need some advice for when I'm away from home.

I was brought up on the ease of the sandwich as a packed lunch staple, but obviously now I am finding it much harder to do that when I'm trying to cut my replacement-food intake. I go into University from 7.30am 'til 5pm (7.30 being when I have to be on a bus to the station) and as such have no access to a kitchen, a fridge or a microwave for the whole day I am away from home.

What kind of food can I pack that isn't too much of a hassle to prepare? I'm stuck for ideas and could do with some advice.

On that note, I am struggling to find things that arent direct replacements of bad foods (pastas, breads and other wheat based things) to eat. Currently my diet revolves around peas, sweetcorn and bags/ tins of chilli con carne, and rice of various flavours. I occasionally have fresh meat, as frozen all seems to be packed with wheat, but that is expensive and my family cannot afford to keep it up.

Other than becoming a gluten free vegan, what can I do to help improve my diet and save my family some money?

Hi there! I feel for you. I know you're looking for alternatives to gluten-free substitutes but I just wanted to share something that's worked for us. My kids and I have to eat lunch out 4 days/week and it wasn't until I found Udi's bread that I was happy with lunch again. It is SOOO good and I don't usually toast it, just keep it in the fridge. It started to get pretty expensive though. I went to the local Health Food Store and ordered a case of it. They gave me 20% off! So I was only spending $3.50/loaf. Good, easy way to save some money!

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I suppose this isnt helped by the fact that I am a little bit of a picky eater, though not as bad as I used to be when I was much younger, I still havent got a huge repertoire of food I will happily eat.

Any kind of fish (especially cold) makes me feel like I'm going to vomit, and actually has a few times, so I steer clear of any seafood. The bread we can get around here, as there no gluten free bakeries around, is from the supermarket and has a date of three weeks on an unopened packet - it's rather dry and stodgey, so I wont be eating much of that in the near future.

I found some wheat free pizza bases the other day, so have made a rather yummy looking pizza to take in cold tomorrow for my 9-5 day. I only have chips and biscuits to take in with it until the shopping comes next week though, but soon I will have supplies to make a salad to take with it, and some cashew nuts to throw in for good measure.

Thank you for all the advice - it's much appreciated. I'll hopefully settle down with this soon.

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I really have to second the suggestion for Udi's bread. My life was sandwich-free until I found Udi's. Now I bring a sandwich every single day to work and it's AWESOME!

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I just tried Udi's bread last week and I was pretty impressed. But I'd been off bread for 8 months so I barely remember what it tasted like!

I second investing in a thermos...make soups or pastas in advance and carry them. I do this mostly for my daughter and although I spent this weekend whipping up soups and basil pesto, it was actually pretty easy making her lunch this morning...quick microwave and stick it in a thermos. I do applesauce cups (granted...my daughter is only 7, but I eat these too), cut up fruit and veggies, peanut butter and jelly on a rice cake, beans and rice (again in the thermos)

I bet too that as you get into this, foods that you have been picky about up to now may actually start appealing to you.

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Have you ever heard of bento style lunches? It's very popular in Japan, and it's growing in the US. These lunches were intended to be eaten cold. I took a lot of bento lunches in college, and because you use a small container, and pack it tightly together, it works very well. You really don't need anything special, just a container with a tight fitting lid.

Just an example of one of my gluten-free bentos:

brown rice

cherry tomatoes

leftover grilled chicken

hard boiled egg

small wedge of cheese

Pack the larger items first (rice, chicken, egg) then use the smaller items to plug the holes until the container is full. I use a small 2.5 cup tupperware type container I purchased at Walmart for $2. Yes, there are fancy things, but you don't need them.

If you google "Bento Lunch" you will find tons of sites with ideas. You can easily pack them the night before.

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I bet too that as you get into this, foods that you have been picky about up to now may actually start appealing to you.

I'm an extremely picky eater and have been a vegetarian for over 10 years. Now I'm off gluten, dairy, corn and soy, (and hate eggs) I have to admit I've been having a few 'inappropriate' thoughts about ham! (Inappropriate for a vegetarian, that is!)

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As Alecto says, Bento style lunches are a good option.

I usually take leftovers and heat them in the microwave at work, but if a microwave's not convenient, these lunchboxes are a good alternative.

They're basically a thermos, but with several different containers for storing different types of food without mixing them up.

They can be used either hot or cold (but not both at the same time).

One warning - the tops are typically not well insulated, so whatever food ends up at the top of the stack should be something that's supposed to be eaten at room temperature, and should be safe to be stored at room temperature.

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I'm an extremely picky eater and have been a vegetarian for over 10 years. Now I'm off gluten, dairy, corn and soy, (and hate eggs) I have to admit I've been having a few 'inappropriate' thoughts about ham! (Inappropriate for a vegetarian, that is!)

Listen, I was on a vegan diet before all of this. I now eat meat about 2 times a day. And eggs almost every day. Otherwise I'd starve to death. But I know the world needs some vegetarians and vegans to balance my meat consumption out.

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Thank you all again! I never expected to get this many replies!

Though that lunch package you recommended looks very useful, it is unfortunately rather expensive. I'm currently living off about

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I love your xmas list Hamster101 ~ I have "a case of"... several different gluten-free foods on my xmas list along with a food steamer, new strainer, new pans, and......... ;)

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Lol. Funky Christmas lists must come with the territory.

I fell asleep thinking about what I could make to go in my lunches next week, which is a little more food obsessed than I usually am XD I'm giving it a break until Friday now and having a salad from subway - checking the sauces, of course - with plain chicken, which should be fine. My paranoia is telling me to check the chicken as well though.

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I might get some funny looks, but I could ask for it for Christmas...

Ha! As I was writing the post, I was thinking "Boy, these are really neat. Maybe I should put one on my Christmas list..."

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Hamster101 ~ I REALLY hate fish too! I use things like 'treet' and corned beef :)

Now I really want to try a bento lunch to take to college with me! :)

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