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Lunch Box Ideas

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My daughter is officially sick of deli meat and cheese roll ups in her lunch and she's just been diagnosed. I really need some lunch ideas. I still have not found a good bread and am willing to buy a bread machine if it makes the gluten-free bread more tolerable (I have celiac disease as well). Any suggestions? Thanks, Maureen

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Get a good thermos/food jar to send hot lunches in. My kids love when I send (gluten-free) mac&cheese. Good for soups & casseroles. I'm going to do an experiment at home and see how a hot dog does. The key to a thermos is that you need to preheat it with near boiling water for about 5 minutes, then pour that out and add your hot lunch. I got a Thermos brand food jar (12oz size?). I initially got the cheaper store brand and it did not keep the food warm enough. The Thermos brand works great.

If your daughter will eat ham/chicken/tuna salad, you can send that with some tostitos scoops or fritos to scoop it up like a dip.

My kids hot lunch program has a nachos supreme day (read corn chips with a cheese dip). Ortega makes individual nacho cheese dips. I can send one of those with tostitos on that day so she can have the same thing. I don't do this to often because I think of this as a football game snack versus a school lunch ;)

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Oh and my daughter's favorite . . . peanut butter on rice cakes. I send the peanut butter in a little container and she spreads it on herself at school.

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Well, being that I can't have yeast, all my bread items are quick-breads, but they still generally turn out well enough for sandwiches. I didn't grow up on "wonder bread", or any of that white stuff, so I might have a different perspective on what makes a decent bread.

However, what about mini pizzas? Or perhaps with a crust on top, for a bit less mess? I remember having hot dogs inside a biscuit type dough, so it wasn't expected to be very pliable. I'm thinking along the lines of a cross between a taco, burrito, and hot dog. If the meat is in one piece it should be less messy. Rolled up sandwich meat should work there too I'd think.

Peanut butter was always my favorite, no matter what it was on or in. Suppose you rolled up a biscuit dough with PB&J, sorta like a cinnamon roll sort of thing, and baked it up?

Of course lunch doesn't need to be a sandwich, so what about pot pie? I don't mean something to be eaten hot, but like a mini carrot pie, or various other type, in which you could use Stevia instead of sugar, so it would be healthy. So as long as it's not made with cream or sugar, should be fairly nutritious. The recipe can be very easy to put together, and they freeze well too, so you'd be able to make them ahead of time too.

I'm sure others will have great ideas for you.

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gluten-free bread is generally icky...so we stopped thinking bread = lunch. My son' s typical lunch "entrees": (his middle school allows him into the kitchen to heat things in the microwave himself; in elementary school they did it for him when he went through the line)

cubed cheese, crackers

quesadillas (cheese, or cheese/oregano/sauce or ham/cheddar or cheddar/apple)

jif single-serve pb and crackers

leftover whatever from dinner

rice, veggies, chicken

yogurt and carrots to dip

pancakes

sausage

meatballs and sauce

mini pizzas (made individually in muffin tins, he'll take 3 or 4)

trail mix (gluten-free cereal, nuts, raisins or cranberries, mini choc chips)

(My husband also likes corn thins used as 'bread" but the rest of us don't like the taste. )

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I posted these in a thread below...normally my kids eat very healthy food (I make pretty much everything) but I included a lot of "fun" items in my lunch box ideas because I know how kids can be at school. Some of the gluten free baked items are hard to find or expensive, so they might not be options very often. I forgot to add to the list that my kids will sometimes eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on leftover gluten free pancakes like a sandwich...nice if you make breakfast, whisk a couple of pancakes aside and fix lunch at the same time. Hope this helps!

Ideas:

tuna fish or lunch meat (check for gluten, Hormel has some good lunch meats w/o gluten or nitrates but it doesn't *look* any healthier than usual), Lighthouse Blu Cheese dressing (or origional Hidden Valley Ranch) and lettuce rolled in a brown rice tortilla. Or, make a couple of quesidillas one day and cut them into wedges, and send a few in his lunch during the week.

Gluten free bagel pizza...Kinnikinnik and Glutano have good bagels. I split one, put squeezable pizza sauce on it, Hormel Turkey Pepperoni and a slice of cheese, then toast it in the toaster oven.

gluten-free bagels and cream cheese. You can get the Kraft cream cheese in a foil pack or small container, then he can put it on himself like a Lunchable. Add lunch meat if you want.

Many brands of fruit snacks are gluten-free, Kraft is good at labeling their snacks.

Kraft brand puddings are often gluten-free, again you will be able to tell by reading the label. Those single serving puddings (even off brands are often gluten-free) and Jello snacks are often gluten-free.

Little cans or plastic cups of fruit.

Yogurt...check Yoplait brand. Avoid the Dannon stuff with probiotics, my son and I were glutened wtih them!

Kinnikinnik makes "K toos" cookies which are absolutely identical to OREOS and look very normal. YUMMY!

Small packages of carrots with ranch dressing

Glutano makes a cracker that is similar to a Ritz, you can make peanut butter crackers with these and they look and taste normal.

snack sized Snickers are gluten-free, or the regular sized Reeses peanut butter cups (NOT the mini sized, but the single package with a regular sized cup). Diddo M&M's (not the crispy kind) and everything in a Hershey's chocolate bar grab bag EXCEPT the Krackle (you might want to double check that, as they may have added another non gluten-free bar since I bought them last!).

There's a gluten-free power bar type chocolate granola thing that's really tasty...Zone Bar, I think it's called. There are several flavors, and all of them might not be gluten-free...but check and see. The other advantage to these is if your child needs to gain weight, they are full of protein and add a lot of fiber and calories as a snack.

Kinnikinnik has yummy donuts, in several flavors. They pack about a zillion calories per bite, but taste good!

Amy's brand has a gluten free rice mac and cheese which is microwaveable. There are also some "Nuke-meals" made for kids that are gluten free with things like mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, etc. although I've never tried them. Can't remember the brand name.

Cheetos are gluten-free, so you could put the little snack bags in his lunch. Also, Lay's STAX brand chips are gluten-free (although check each label just in case).

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My daughter is officially sick of deli meat and cheese roll ups in her lunch and she's just been diagnosed. I really need some lunch ideas. I still have not found a good bread and am willing to buy a bread machine if it makes the gluten-free bread more tolerable (I have celiac disease as well). Any suggestions? Thanks, Maureen

My daughter's lunches (she's 8) are gluten and casein free, plus the school doen'st allow peanuts. Usually a couple times a week I send in some hummus with veggies to dip and a corn tortilla (but she usually doens't eat the tortilla), and some fruit. Other days she takes in leftovers from dinner that she can heat up like chili, spaghetti, stir-fry with rice etc. Occasionally i'll send tuna or salmon salad.

I think it's important to focus on whole/healthy /real foods and limit the processed crap. I've noticed from these boards that so many people here really eat unhealthily, replacing junky gluten-full food with junky gluten-free foods full of additives and things that fragile intestines really don't need. My daughter has really bad emotional reactions to food colors, MSG, etc., so we stay away from candy (of course I give in now and then, but i usually regret it), pop, gatorade, etc. Once you start reading labels, you'll see the colors in sooooooo many things, and for people with leaky guts, those chemicals shoot right across the blood brain barrier and cause chaos. I've found some organic candy from Whole Foods without fake dyes in it.

Good luck! :)

Liz

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I also suggest the lunch thermos idea, specifically the Mr. Bento Lunch Jar. You can find them on Amazon, and they're a bit of an investment but they're well worth the initial money (about $40).

It has four separate dishes, and the bottom two have lids that keep liquids in. Like someone above suggested, you can send your child off to school with piping hot dishes that are still warm by lunch time. I've waited as long as 5 hours to eat my lunch before, and it was still quite warm.

Also, I love my Mr. Bento because it can keep things cold/cool as well. Plus, it comes with a stainless steel spork! :D

-Meg

P.S. Check out the Mr. Bento group on Flickr. There's some amazing looking food on there. ^^

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I was just looking at the Whole Foods site. It has a whole lot of kid-friendly recipes, and even a calendar for lunches. ITA with the previous poster about all of the added colors, dyes, MSG that in in most of all of the packaged foods.

Maybe it will be helpful to someone else.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/list_kids.html

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My daughter is officially sick of deli meat and cheese roll ups in her lunch and she's just been diagnosed. I really need some lunch ideas. I still have not found a good bread and am willing to buy a bread machine if it makes the gluten-free bread more tolerable (I have celiac disease as well). Any suggestions? Thanks, Maureen

I would definitely suggest looking into bentos. It puts a whole new spin on packing a lunch and offers a variety that you just can't get sick of. I began making them for myself when I was at work. Now everyone wants to see my lunch from the moment I walk in the door. lol!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/90821652@N00/...with/488403984/

http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/

http://www.cookingcute.com/

http://www.e-obento.com/main-Frame-set.htm

http://community.livejournal.com/bentolunch

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I am new to this so I have been trying to figure lunches out too. I have a bread machine, and I am trying to tweak my bread to be just right for lunches, but I saw this suggestion somewhere, and it has been working out very well.

The person suggested to use waffles as sandwich bread. She said they still taste good by lunch. Since I've been able to make delicious gluten free pancakes (maple grove farms gluten-free pancake mix), I knew I could make waffles (same recipe) with a waffle machine ($10 at walmart). It turned out wonderful. My son loves having peanut butter on the waffles.

He didn't eat his lunch one day (he said he couldn't finish and ran out of time) so my hubby and I had it as a snack in the car after I picked up my son from school. It was late afternoon and still tasted very good.

I have been trying to think out of the box. My son loves corn dogs so I wanted an easy way to make it. So I made corn muffin-dogs the other day. My kids loved them.

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I'm somewhat stuck when it comes to lunches as well. My son just started going to preschool part time Tuesdays & Thursdays from 8-12:30. He has a snack time and lunch time.

So far for snacks I've packed gluten free pretzels from Glutino or I'll do a cheese stick or Gogurt. For lunch I pack salami or diced turkey keilbasa, almond nut thin crackers, scooby snacks, celery & peanut butter, juice or water bottle, chips, carrots, pickles, tuna, peach cups, fruit, um....what else, I think that's all I've attempted so far. I fee like I'm running out of ideas. Gluten fee Montana's Chocolate Chip cookies are great treats too.

What's hard for me is special party days. This week at the preschool they are celebrating the Chinese New Year and for lunch they are ordering chinese food. Carter can't eat any of it. I'm going to attempt making fried rice and packing that for him... I have gluten free soy sauce but I've never made fried rice before.

Does anyone have any Valentine's Day snack treat ideas?

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Also, I love my Mr. Bento because it can keep things cold/cool as well. Plus, it comes with a stainless steel spork! :D

-Meg

P.S. Check out the Mr. Bento group on Flickr. There's some amazing looking food on there. ^^

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