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mommy2krj

Please Help....lunch Ideas....i Need Them!

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I'm rather new to this....and by rather new, I mean my 6 year old goes in tomorrow for his endoscopy and biopsy. So, I'm thinking the stress of that is lending itself to the complete lack of any ideas of what I am going to feed my family for lunches! Ah!

Breakfast, I am ok with. I'm comfortable with the variety of things I have on my list...we aren't huge breakfast eaters around here...so no worries.

Dinners...I am also ok with...I haven't actually gotten so far as to plan dinners yet but I don't think it will be such a big deal. More work yes but....well...like I said I haven't gotten that far yet. :)

 

Lunches though? My brain just totally stopped working. Just. Done. There are 5 of us...myself, my husband, my little guy who's tested positive in the blood work for Celiac and then my oldest son (15 who is a BOTTOMLESS pit) and my daughter (18 who's diet we won't talk about, *sigh* as she doesn't eat her often anymore).

 

We've decided to go gluten free as a household. I'm not comfortable that I'd be able to keep the cc to a minimum so we all are. No one else tested positive but who knows if they're intolerant....it's a good, strong possibility. Still don't believe that no one else tested positive...I thought for sure if someone else would it'd be my other son. But we're all going gluten free anyway.

 

Now, here's my dilemma....I have a house full of picky eaters. We all have our food issues. And by issues...I mean preferences. The little guy is the one who has the least of them, go figure. For lunches there's a lot of pb&j eaten in my house. I mean...a lot! Or sandwiches of any variety really. So....I'm just stuck on what to make.

 

Oh and right now I have a small budget. I have $100 to go get groceries for 5 people for 2 weeks. I have no gluten free flours to speak of. I have a lot of strawberries. And lots of cow (we bought half a cow in January) a whole chicken and......some frozen peas, possibly some canned corn and a handful of other things that might be gluten free. *sigh* I thought I was going to have a little extra but a couple bills ended up being more than they usually are. The farmer's markets around here are just as much or more expensive than the grocery stores....no Trader Joe's no Whole Foods. Handful of alternative stores that may have things gluten free or may not...I have no idea as I've never been in them.

 

Did I mention I feel like crap too? Not sure if I'm still battling the cold I caught after our round of strep that caused us to reschedule his biopsy or if I'm super stressed over his biopsy/diet change tomorrow or what but I could seriously just go to bed right now and I'd be good. Add in my brother being here from NC and running around with him and my nephew the last two days and I've gotten nothing done that I wanted to have done already. Oy.

 

So....after that book....any helpful thoughts or tips or ideas or just pat me on the head and tell me I'll be ok and still able to feed my kids without breaking the bank would be ok too. :) I'd appreciate any help or thoughts anyone could give me.

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There are gluten free wraps by Toufyan in the deli section of my local grocery store (Publix) you could make PB&J wraps or peanut butter, raisins and apples or banana's in the wrap.   Of course all lunch meat and cheese as well.   There are gluten free breads but they are pricey and I found that for the first 6 months or so none of them tasted close enough to the real thing for me to spend that kind of money.   But that was just my experience.    I make a lot of peanut butter cookies that do not call for any sort of flour, it makes a big batch and with three kids they will only last a few days, so no waste :)  

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tacos!!  corn tortilla shells and you already have beef - you can season it yourself with some chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin maybe some tomato paste if you like it that way (i just use plain, the salsa adds enough tomato-yness) cheese (or not) lettuce, salsa ta-daaa!!  i have ever made (gluten-free) spaghetti tacos for the grandkids because they saw it on tv lolz - i just used gluten-free spaghetti noodles and the rest was already gluten-free - you can make mini pizzas on corn tortillas, too.  or wraps (pb&j wraps are just a click to the right) i know feeding kids on a tight budget; we raised 4 plus whatever wandered in and nobody starved :)  yet  <_<

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Thanks for the ideas! :) I went and reread my post and realized that I didn't put in there that my little guy very rarely eats meat. He will on occasion eat a very small piece of chicken or some lunch meat. He'll eat hot dogs but I really don't want him eating hot dogs all the time. He doesn't eat beef products at all (with the exception of the hot dogs). His version of a taco involves a tortilla, applesauce, shredded cheese and either beans or peas. Yes...all combined. He's an odd little duck, that one. :) We've decided he's going to be one of those million dollar chefs that charges you $100 for 3 bites of food. Totally grosses his big brother out with his combinations of food. :)

 

Oh and he will on occasion eat a piece or two of bacon or a sausage or two. And then once every 3 months or so, he'll freak us all out and decide to eat a full, real helping of meat. Though still not beef....though on occasion he'll eat a hamburger though that is incredibly rare...I just finally got him to start eating spaghetti sauce on his noodles that has meat in it....though he still prefers his noodles without sauce. It's odd though...with the exception of the meat issues...he's so much more open to eating new and different foods than his older siblings ever were.

 

Sigh...we'll get through this. I have a feeling my 15 year old is going to lose some weight and probably complain that he is starving all the time....but we'll get through it. :) It is nice to have people understand though.

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It is Summer...School is out right?

 

How does he do with Mac and Cheese -- is he okay with dairy?

 

Make a huge - lasagna sized pan of really good mac and cheese with either corn or rice pasta -- and throw in chopped cauliflower -- I SWEAR -- he will never know.  my picky son had smoothies laced with vegies and lasagna and mac and cheese laced with cauliflower and blended carrots for many years and this was long before we knew what gluten was.

 

Freeze leftovers and when you re-heat...simply add fresh cheese on top.

 

When school starts up...there is nothing wrong with pb&j - use udis, glutino or canyon bakehouse.  My picky guy - now 18 and not as picky - ate pb and huckleberry honey for his entire formative years -- and is still the smartest cookie I know.  He seriously had ONE lunch all those years.  The sandwich with a sliced green apple.  done.  tried to make changes -- no go.  Now he eats everything, but when headed out for a long day packs his own....sing it with me....pb and huckleberry honey along with a sliced green apple.

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Quesadillas are a huge lunch thing here. Only grown ups, but they're super kid friendly too. You can add meat, or not. Add veggies, or not. And, our all time favorite kind ever, pizzadillas! Just the thinnest layer of spaghetti or pizza sauce, a smattering of mozzarella or pizza blend cheese and whatever you would use as pizza toppings. Pepperoni mostly for us. The best part is, if you shred your own cheese, these are insanely cheap. Fruit and/or veggies on the side and you have lunch. And who will get sick of them when there are endless possibilities? You can even make dessert quesadillas.

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We were never big sandwich eaters so it wasn't a problem for us at first.  I mainly made extra dinner and gave it to Angela the next day for lunch.  That's when she was 6.  But very quickly, the other kids made fun of her lunch and that's when the problems began.  She wanted sandwiches, even though she hates them.  Now if she has to eat a sandwich (she's almost 15), she will pick it apart, eat the filling and maybe some of the bread.

 

For a long time we were big on hummus.  This can be even cheaper if you make it yourself.  You can eat it with rawe veggies or some sort of chips.  Fritos work well.  Or you can make your own baked chips from corn tortillas.

 

Then she moved on to nachos, bean dip, cheese dip, stuff like that.  Meat can be put in these things but it doesn't have to be.  For these kids of dip, chunks of bell pepper work well if you don't want to eat so many chips. 

 

Soup is good but perhaps not for the summer.  When I was a kid, we had this with pan popped popcorn to round out the meal.

 

Baked beans.  These are a big favorite.  I happen to like them cold but daughter likes them warm.  I know some people consider this to be a side dish but we often eat a meal of just sides.  You could round this out with coleslaw, potato salad or a pasta salad.  And you can make them in a Crock-pot overnight so your kitchen doesn't get hot.

 

Or beans and cornbread.  Beans are a very cheap food and these days they are almost always fresh (unless perhaps you buy bulk...then you never know) so they cook quickly.  You can get gluten-free cornbread mix or make your own.

 

Wraps.  La Tortilla Factory makes great gluten-free wraps, or you could just use large iceberg lettuce leaves.  Not sure the lettuce would work so well for peanut butter though.  But I have never tried it.

 

Finger foods.  Cut up raw veggies with dip, cheese cubes, pan popped popcorn or gluten-free pretzels.  Maybe some cut up fruit.

 

Gorilla sandwiches.  Get some cucumbers.  Cut off one end, then use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop out the insides, leaving a shell.  You can use part of the insides, chopped up for your filling or use it for a chopped salad.  Make some sort of filling like you'd use for a sandwich or even hummus.  Fill up the cucumber.  You can wrap this in plastic to help with the messiness factor.

 

Stuffed tomato, if your family will eat tomato.  Can use egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, cottage cheese, etc.

 

Cottage cheese and fruit.  That's my daughter's favorite meal now.

 

Cantaloupe half hollowed out and filled with a scoop of cottage cheese or frozen yogurt.  You can also add some berries or other cut up fruit.

 

Apple hollowed out and filled with peanut butter.  Some sort of carbs on the side.  gluten-free crackers or pretzels, popcorn.

 

I've often eaten trail mix as a meal with perhaps a small salad on the side.  You can make your own trail mix and put in it whatever you like.  gluten-free cereal, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, coconut, small candies.

 

If your family likes rice cakes, you can put toppings on those.

 

Pretty much anything you'd make for dinner can also be made for lunch.  If some people have to take the meal with them and don't have a microwave, then you can put it in a thermos.

 

Angela and I often took taco salads when we had to eat at the dance studio.  Lettuce and whatever vegetables you like such as tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, corn, beans, olives, pretty much anything can go in there.  You can use taco meat or chicken or just use the beans for protein.  Can add gaucamole, sour cream, salsa and tortilla chips.  Just leave any of the wet toppings separate...like in little snack sized bags if you're taking it with you.

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I feel for you and agree lunch is the biggest challenge to adapt to - and with the person who said anything you make for dinner can be adapted to lunch. I do a lot of making big batches of chili, soups and stews, anything liquid or moist like that which you can easily freeze. I portion it out into individual servings for the freezer that I can then just grab quick and pop in the microwave. For the bottomless pit eater you could also give him rice to go with it - I've found cooked rice freezes fine too. 

 

Also, risotto is surprisingly easy to make (especially if you have a non-stick pan) and quite filling and freezes well too if you want to make big batches of that, I often add some cooked chicken to a vegetable risotto recipe to include some protein. 

 

And, for cool meals in the summer quinoa can co quite a long ways, I use it to replace couscous and make like a black bean, corn, bell pepper and quinoa salad you can eat straight out of the fridge. A lighter lunch is veggies and hummus - you can make your own from canned garbonzo beans and add whatever flavors you like.

 

Good luck!

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My children always like celery and apple pieces with nut butter.  You can also spread it on romaine lettuce or use lettuce for a roll up sandwich.  You can tear lettuce in pieces and grab a wad of meat or cheese with it and it is good!  I learned that from the children from Ethiopia that I have adopted!  Beans also work for this.

 

Myself, I believe I would find away to pack a hot lunch and eat leftovers from the dinner the night before.  I have stainless steel containers and insulated bags, perhaps that could work.  Another thought is to use a thermos.

 

Happy eating!

D

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Take a rice cake (Lundberg's), put peanut butter on it.  Then put jam on it.  Open-faced PB&J!  (Don't forget to replace your peanut butter and jam jars - even if half full - if you ever double dipped while making PB&J on wheat bread.  They will be contaminated.) 

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Big pat on the head and telling you you'll be ok from this corner.

 

Great suggestions posted already...

 

Here's mine...

 

devilled eggs or egg salad, tuna salad (check those labels!)

 

Goulash made with rice pasta (Wally World sells it for reasonable prices).  You can freeze it cooked and just have mac 'n cheese for your fussy one.

 

Tuna casserole

 

Good luck, wish you well.  That's a strict budget for so many to feed. I don't want to offend, but maybe you qualify for assistance?

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Big pat on the head and telling you you'll be ok from this corner.

 

Great suggestions posted already...

 

Here's mine...

 

devilled eggs or egg salad, tuna salad (check those labels!)

 

Goulash made with rice pasta (Wally World sells it for reasonable prices).  You can freeze it cooked and just have mac 'n cheese for your fussy one.

 

Tuna casserole

 

Good luck, wish you well.  That's a strict budget for so many to feed. I don't want to offend, but maybe you qualify for assistance?

 

No offense taken. :) Things are a bit tight right now and of course it's always a when it rains it pours kind of thing, ya know? I am currently looking for a job but that's going to be slow going as I haven't worked since I was pregnant with my 6 year old. I can manage though....we do have a freezer full of cow, thank goodness.

We don't qualify for assistance. We're always $100-$200 over their monthly wage limit. It's just a bad month....and my daughter's graduation party is this weekend so I want to make sure we have enough for that. I make a lot of stuff from scratch and I don't see being gluten free as much different....just more challenging. I will have to learn to make corn tortillas from scratch though....little guy has discovered he likes the corn tortillas almost as much as the flour ones...so long as he doesn't try to eat it without anything on it. :)

I made beef with green & red bell peppers & onions, rice, salads and gave little man some tortillas with it. He actually tried everything. :) He liked the beef. He liked the salad (which he absolutely did not like a month or two ago when I tried one with him) which was full of all sorts of different lettuce (red leaf, spinach and kale....ok not all sorts, my lettuce in the garden is working to grow back) and he liked the rice too! :) He's not really a picky eater so much as he tends to lean more toward vegetarian than anyone else in my house (we're all meat and potatoes types) and he's generally more willing than the other two to try foods....which I feel is going to come in pretty handy.

Thanks for all the ideas. I think my brain just completely froze. I've never really been much of a meal planner....more of a stock the shelves with staples and wing it, I'm not entirely sure I can do that with the gluten free....at least not right now. I did go and comparison shop my local grocery stores last night and the first one I was at had me in tears. :( Good grief the prices of gluten free! I think we will definitely be sticking with mostly fruits, veggies and meats with some occasional baked goods...and a rare purchase of something processed. I did pick up some Chex though...we seem to go through more cereal in the summer. Though, I am discovering more and more lately that milk is really kicking my butt. I've been sort of lactose intolerant since my oldest daughter was born but was able to ingest most dairy products...just not ice cream (how is that even fair?!?!) or mass produced hot chocolate but lately drinking milk or using things like ranch dressing makes my stomach hurt. *sigh* Yogurt seems to be ok still though. And so far, so is cheese. Hoping it doesn't get any worse. I know we can do this all one step at a time though....and I am so glad to have found these forums. :) Thanks again everyone!

 

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