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Need School Lunch Ideas
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Hello parents, I am looking for some lunch box ideas. My DD has responded well on a gluten-free diet and she has been on it for a week and a half. I am now feeling stuck on what to pack her for lunch. She used to be a sandwich type of girl but now she won't eat them saying the bread is horrible. I bought udis and Rudis bread and no luck. I have turned them into french toast and she doesn't mind that. So I am looking for lunch and snack ideas. Would appreciate any ideas. Thanks

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Hello parents, I am looking for some lunch box ideas. My DD has responded well on a gluten-free diet and she has been on it for a week and a half. I am now feeling stuck on what to pack her for lunch. She used to be a sandwich type of girl but now she won't eat them saying the bread is horrible. I bought udis and Rudis bread and no luck. I have turned them into french toast and she doesn't mind that. So I am looking for lunch and snack ideas. Would appreciate any ideas. Thanks

Hey WM:

And welcome. The archives here is vast....do a search. You will find lots of information.

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My boys don't pack lunches often but when they do it is either leftovers, or sandwiches (deconstructed) or nibbling food.

A typical lunch (plus snacks for the day) are: fruit and veggie smoothie with protein powder and hemp seed; nuts or (sunflower or pumpkin) seeds, fruits (whole, pureed and/ or dried), yogurt (milk or coconut), dry cereal (Chex or gluten-free granola) or crackers, a slice or two of deli meat and/ or cheese, cut up veggies, and a fruit leather for a treat. It takes a long time to pack my boys' lunches but they eat pretty well without bread. Oh, I have one son who is a carb lover so I often make a gluten-free muffin (with added flax and protein powder) to include or a gluten-free 90 second microwave bun.

That feeds my 5,8,& 10 year old boys for 6 hours... I am dreading my grocery bill when they are teens. LOL ;)

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White corn tortillas with any sort of filling is what i generally do. Veggies and dip, fruit, etc... etc...

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I don't know the age of your daughter. When mine was 6 I got those chip and dip containers. I'd send those in with hummus and baby carrots or tiny corn chips or gluten-free pretzels. Also a thermos of soup until she had an accident with soup spilling all over her backpack and papers. I also sent in leftovers in an insulated container until twice, the container would not open. So she had no lunch except for her apple. I also sent in salads sometimes in a special salad container.

But then she began pitching a fit and said that the kids said her food was weird or smelled funny or whatever. So she only wanted sandwiches even though she really didn't like the bread much. We then discovered the gluten-free wraps from La Tortilla Factory. They're great and are easy to work with. You can spread one with nut or seed butter (if that's allowed at her school), some jam or jelly, then plop on a banana and roll it up. I then wrap in waxed paper and then an additional layer of plastic wrap or foil. Or you can use meats, cheeses and veggies.

Or you can make a lettuce wrap like Jimmy John's. These are a bit trickier because you'll need some sandwich wrapping paper. But if you have a restaurant supply place nearby, you can get a lifetime supply of it. You might be able to get waxed paper or foil to work but I did not. Start with a large head of iceberg lettuce. Cut it in half or thirds or fourths, depending on the size. JJ's cuts theirs in 6 pieces but they have HUGE heads. You'll not likely find this size. Take a couple of pieces and form sort of a scoop shape. Lay your filling in the middle. Daughter likes tuna or chicken salad. Then roll the lettuce up around the filling tightly and then quickly wrap it in the paper, tucking the ends in and securing with a piece of tape. You'll need to addtionally wrap this in waxed paper or foil to keep it fresh.

These days daughter is much more picky about her lunches. She is in Jr. High now. She tends to go for the whole foods. Piece of cheese, apple slices and baby carrots. She might also take a bag of something carby like pretzels, crackers, cereal or even popcorn if I have some extra.

She has also over the years taken a variety of bars. I no longer have any links to places that sell them because she went off of them but there is an allegen free granola type bar that is made in Canada, Lara Bars, raw pumpkin seed bars, some kind of cashew bar that we got from the health food store.

You can also make a sort of trail mix with whatever dried fruit she likes, nuts or seeds if allowed at her school, gluten-free cereal, pretzels, little stuff like that.

If she can have dairy you could send in a cup of cottage cheese or yogurt. Or there is coconut or soy yogurt if she can't have dairy.

Some meat jerky is gluten-free.

Of course there are all kinds of raw fruits and veggies that are naturally gluten-free.

You can get an insulated bag and little ice packs to put in it. And I always keep an extra bag or two and lots of ice in case she leaves hers at school. Which she sometimes has.

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A typical lunch box for us consists of two fruits - usually a banana and a buddy orange, yogurt, a piece of turkey, a juice box, and a bag of potato chips. Sometimes she wants a Lara bar or a mozzerella stick. Sometimes we put in carrots & ranch or cut celery.

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You can try the bread agin but toast or grill it for sandwiches.

Some people have liked using Bento boxes and using a more "Asian" flair for meals. That can be like a work of art if you want to put that much effort into it.

Pacific and Imagine soups have some gluten free soups, home-made, or home add-ins (like rice or gluten free noodles of choice)

Yogurt and even frozen Go-gurt

If you want a food service option... Mr. Sips makes school lunches for distribution. www.mrsips.com

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My son is extremely picky so lunches can be a challenge. I feel like we are constantly repeating and he doesn't get much variety but he seems to be happy with that. We received permission from the school principal to use the microwave so that did allow us to expand the menu, however, he usually prefers not to microwave because it gives him less time to eat. That being said, some of the things he eats are gluten-free cold cuts and cheese, quesadillas (corn tortillas), gluten-free noodles with gluten-free soy sauce, gluten-free homemade pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf (one of his faves), stuffed pepper, and homemade chicken tenders. He always gets some type of fruit and veggie and I usually send him with one of the following; jif to go peanut butter cups, yogurt, pudding, gluten-free cookies, m&m's, clif z ropes, etc. We always make sure to pack some type of snack for him as well in case of an emergency like an envirokidz rice bar or a lara bar. Drinks depend on the day, we recently discovered that the chocolate milk at school is gluten free so that is usually his first choice (I think it makes him feel like a normal kid when he gets to buy it at school), he will also take an Izze, bottled water, or gatorade.

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We gave up on sandwiches . . . now we do more of a "snacky" lunch. Cubes of ham or chicken, cheese, and maybe some crackers or pretzels. Always add a fruit. Leftovers are great too. About once a month I make a big batch of gluten-free mac and cheese and freeze it in individual size portions. Take one out of the freezer the night before, heat it in the microwave in the morning and send it in a thermos. I do the same thing with meatballs.

Corn tortillas with beans and cheese - send with a little cup of salsa for dipping.

Hummus and veggies

BBQ beans and hot dogs (in thermos)

Greek yogurt (sometimes alone, sometimes as a "parfait" (banana, yogurt, gluten-free granola - KIND makes a delicious granola)

"kebabs" (meat, cheese, cherry tomato, etc.) on a toothpick

Trader Joe's taquitos (frozen - we just thaw out a couple, heat in the morning, cut into pieces and send in a thermos.)

Good luck -

cara

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