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chasing4

Lunchbox Ideas

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Corn Thins are made by Real Foods. They're like rice cakes but thinner and slightly larger in diameter. They taste like popcorn and are great with peanut butter or as cold cut "sandwiches" with lettuce, meat, cheese, tomato, etc. We love them. A pack of 26 slices is about $2.50 at Whole Foods here in California.

As for pumpkin bread, I use gluten free flour. More often than not, I use Pamela's Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix for pumpkin bread. I basically follow their pumpkin bread recipe that's on their website, but don't do the nut topping, cut the sugar by a little and use sucanat instead, increase the pumpkin by a little (like 1 1/4 cups), add a small handful of ground flax seed (maybe 1/4 cup), and normally add some dried fruit, too, and maybe nuts. It's really easy, and their banana bread recipe is good, too. I literally just served some pumpkin bread to non-gluten free people who after eating half of it then quickly asked me, "Oh, no, your kids are eating it! Will they be OK?" One of them actually asked for the recipe before realizing it was gluten free.

I also make pumpkin pancakes using Pamela's. I increase the egg a little, and replace some water with milk for added protein, and add a smidgeon of sugar so that syrup isn't necessary. The kids love them, and we've had them with peanut butter, too.

I've been at the gluten free thing now for over 2 years, and I have my recipes using many different gluten free flours, and I love cooking with them (I can nearly wax poetic about sorghum flour and almond meal, and don't get me started on the Brazilian cheese rolls made from tapioca starch). But I still absolutely LOVE Pamela's mix. It was the first mix that actually tasted OK, and the recipes on their website are all good. I'm not too crazy about their bread mix, although it's definitely edible, but their baking & pancake mix, chocolate cake mix, and brownie mix are all excellent. When I made my first pancakes with Pamela's I actually teared up because we were eating "real" pancakes and not gluten-free "substitutes." If you can use it (it does contain buttermilk solids and almond meal), I recommend it to anyone who needs to be gluten free.

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My 6 yo DD is lactose intolerant and she goes to a `nut-free' school. I don't want to push it because one of the kids with a nut allergy is in her class. I think they're too young to truly be responsible with such a severe allergy (my 7 yo DS has a shellfish allergy, and I totally empathize with the parents). We also don't have a microwave.

So, I am finding lunch options to be limiting.

So far we have done `cold plates', as my mother used to call them - a whole conglomeration of cold stuff on a plate. This week her lunch bag had about 12 containers with carrots, cukes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, rice thins, rice cake, cut up chicken, ham, etc. She's liked it so far. I've varied it each day, and she's liking it. I have decided to not even bother trying gluten-free bread. She's too picky and won't go for it.

Tonight I made chili and they loved it! So, I froze it in lunch-sized portions that I can heat up in the mornings and add to a thermos. I am going to try to think of more options like this.

I am writing down all the ideas - thanks!!!!

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My daughter usually takes her thermos a few times a week. Today she had some Shelton's turkey chili in it. She also likes Shelton's chicken and wild rice soup and some tomato soup (either Imagine or Pacific, whichever one is dairy free). I often plan to have some leftovers for her lunch. Like pasta or rice dishes. One quick meal is a pouch of garlic chicken (Bumblebee I think) and some pre-cooked brown rice from Trader Joes. She also likes Beanie Weenies.

If I am in a real hurry to pack her lunch, I rely on single serve packs of things. I get some of these from minimus.biz. I am lucky in that she likes the Ener-G bread (some of them anyway). I might toss in a 2 slice pack of bread and then some protein. I get single serves of pepperoni, Shelton's turkey sticks, Oscar Mayer lunch meats (they now come in single serves), or a pouch of almond butter (no nut restrictions at her school). I also have single serve bags of Fritos and potato chips, jellies, cookies (Enjoy Life, Andean Dream), Fruit Rollups and Stackerz, baby carrots and apple slices. Sometimes she likes a can of Vienna Sausages and she always likes apple sauce, canned pears or fruit cocktail.

She has some little chip and dip containers so I might put in some refried beans, bean dip, Nacho Chreese dip and mini corn chips, or hummus and little vegetables, bread sticks or pretzels. Sometimes I will pre-cook some Ian's chicken nuggets and send them in cold with ketchup or honey mustard to dip.

Recently she has started liking salad. So once a month or so we will go to the fancy gourmet store and she will get stuff from the salad bar and also a gluten-free pastry or cupcake.

Sometimes I make zucchini bread in the form of muffins. She really likes this. Or I get little packages of assorted raw veggies. She is allergic to the Ranch dip that comes with them, so we will cut out that section and send in a container of dressing she is not allergic to.

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These are some really great ideas, we are getting ready to go gluten free in about 6 weeks and i am trying to start gathering ideas for my 4 year olds lunches. What do you do when you child does not want to eat or being very picky.

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I introduced new foods, esp. veg. in small quantities. I'd put just one cherry tomato or broccoli floret in his lunch and if he didn't eat it, that's fine. I'd do it again from time to time and eventually he ate it. And over time he grew to like more variety. I also made sure that those foods are served or available at family meals.

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I don't know who all cant have soy but at my sons preschool and my place of work we can not have Peanut butter so we tried Soy Butter and he loves it. He has been on soy or lactose free items since day one so i don't think he really minds the taste. He is also the same way about cheese he wont eat it. But anyways it comes in smooth, chunky, choc. and I think honey. But we have tried the chunky and smooth. It does have a different taste but its better then nothing when your child cant have "norm" PB at school.

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