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Cheap Work Lunch Ideas?

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I've just recently figured out that I am gluten intolerant(I refuse to even touch wheat since my last attack), and currently getting tested for celiac disease. But I just started a new full time job(perfect timing right?). I need some quick and easy lunch ideas that don't take much time to prepare. I can't keep cooking with ALL of my free time, lol. So far for lunches I've been living off of rice cakes with peanut butter, and a banana. Also salad, but I am SO sick of salad!! Just trying to get the hang of this diet, but while my symptoms are gone as long as I stay away from gluten I don't eat near as much because I can't figure out good meals that don't cost me a fortune to make or take a long time to cook...

Any advice is helpful! It will also help my sis in law who was told by her dr to go gluten free for her pregnancy.

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I get hummus cups at Costco or shelf stable single serves of hummus from minimus.biz. My daughter takes one of those with a bag of baby carrots and a bag of apples almost every day. She might add a package of Enjoy Life cookies, or a bag of chips along with this. Sometimes she takes a pepperoni stick, some beef jerky, string cheese or a coconut yogurt.

Soup is another option if you have a microwave at work. Or you can use a thermos. Pretty much any dinner leftover can be used.

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I pack a lunch everyday so I feel your pain.

I either take soup (I make my own on Sundays, and package it for the week or freeze it in small containers). I take potatoes or yams that I can bake in the microwave. Beef jerky is a great idea! Lots of snackable veggies like broccoli, sliced cucumber, baby carrots, and I take hummus or mix up dairy free ranch dressing (I have issues with dairy). I take slabs of ham or meat, fish or chicken from the night before, leftover gluten free pizza, hardboiled eggs, pieces of cheese (rarely, because of dairy issue, but once a day with some lactose pills, and I'm good to go). I love to cook up squash over the weekend, and enjoy that for a few days. I do the same with rice and mushrooms.

My all-time favorite lunch: take a couple of leftover pieces of bacon (already cooked) and zap them for 30 seconds. Then break two eggs, and mix well with fork. Plop in a laughing cow cheese wedge - light or regular - and nuke for 2 minutes. While that's nuking, mix up one teaspoon dijionaise, one teaspoon plain yogurt, and a squirt of lemon (I make this at home and take it along to work). When eggs are done, mix with fork, add in dijioinaise sauce, and prepare to satisfy your taste buds.

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I cook dinner every night so I set some aside and go ahead and pack it up for my lunch the next day. In the morning all I have to do is grab my bag out of the fridge and go. As long as you have access to a microwave you have a lot of options. Leftovers make a great lunch and I dont feel bad about eating roasted chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and corn while the gals have a slice of pizza. If I had gluten-free crackers and a salad I would feel more discouraged I think so I'm trying to eat well and treat myself. A snickers bar is gluten-free and a nice afternoon snack. LOL

As far as cost.. I buy whatever meats/veggies/fruits are on sale that week. I try to make a pot of soup or stew each week bc that lasts for several meals at a pretty low cost. And I keep cheese at work in the fridge along with some chocolate milk. :) I have a jar of peanut butter at my desk and some almonds.

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When I just can't think of anything or I find myself with no leftovers (rare) I make tomato mozzarella salad. If you get quality tomatoes and mozz this is a VERY satisfying meal. I also roll up slices of deli meat and put in a lock & lock a dip in mustard for lunch. Otherwise I mostly do leftovers or chicken salad or cheese and crackers or something.

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I packed my lunch every day. I either made a sandwich w/ my gluten-free bread and took some chips and an apple, or I took leftovers from last night's supper and nuked it at work (in glass containers only!).

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If you're gluten free before testing, the results will be worthless. The tests look for a reaction to gluten, so if there's no gluten in your system, they can't say if you would react if there was gluten there.

As for cheap work lunches - I always took leftovers.

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My son takes his lunch to school every day. Many days he packs a ZonePerfect bar and supplements with 2 or more of the following: fruit, chips, gluten-free cookie, pudding, veggies.

You can get a 5-pack of Zone Bars for about $5, and each has 15 grams of protein, so they are good for an occasional meal or snack. I eat them too, although I am not gluten-free. They have several gluten-free flavors, but not all, so check first. My son's favorite are Double Dark Chocolate and Fudge Graham (gluten-free, despite the name).

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I like to make wraps out of lettuce, meats and cheeses. Standard sandwhich stuff in a wrap of lettuce. I also use rice paper wrappers- you can find them now in most grocery stores on the asian aisle. I like to wrap salad stuff or sandwhich things inside. They make great portable snacks!

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Ditto on Tarnalberry's advice - you don't want to be gluten-free before bloodwork or biopsy. I'll have a marathon cooking weekend and freeze a lot of lunches. I also keep a few safe Progresso soup cans in my drawer at my office and I have a large coffee mug I use to microwave the soup, and I always have juice boxes and Lara Bars and V-8s and Sour Patch Kids tucked away. I also have a big bag of almonds with some M&M's mixed in - this is a nice but filling snack that I can munch on even while I'm doing paperwork. (Anyone who looked through my desk drawers would think I'm a squirrel preparing for winter - but it's survival!) - Stacy

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How about making a batch or 2 of muffins. Wrap them individually then freeze. Grab and go for a fast item to add to all those other great ideas everyone posted. You could make a basic muffin but stir in a tablespoon of goodies into each cup to make them different. Chocolate chip, nuts, berries, raisins, etc.....

Twelve muffins could last 2 weeks.

Be sure to add different items to liven up your salads. Chicken, fruit, cottage cheese, beets, ham, bacon, boiled eggs, pepperoni, nuts, beans, cheese...

If you have access to a microwave take tortillas and cheese, leftover meats, pepperoni, etc.

Or breakfast burritos (my dd loves them on white corn tortillas). Just make extra meats, eggs, hashbrowns or leftover baked potato/french fries/jojos on the weekend. Get creative.

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You can pack a quick on the go lunch with Dinty Moore Beef Stew or Healthy Choice Chicken with Rice Soup. Dinty Moore will say Gluten Free on the label, the soup will list soy as one of its ingredients. I pack these when I have no left overs in the house. Usually add rice to stew and soup for a filling meal. Also take baby carrots or beets on the side to make a complete meal.

When you do have time to cook, cook plenty and freeze in small size containers to take to work. I do this with spaghetti sauce, chili(add beans out of the can to make chili beans) (it takes me all day, but when I cook chili I cook about 10 pounds at a time), white beans, red beans and sausage, lima beans, meatloaf already cooked, hamburgers individually wrapped (all you have to do is quickly cook for about 15 minutes), crab patties, taco soup, gumbo, stews (beef, chicken), etc. Most of this needs little added to it, like a cup of rice or a cup of boiloed noodles to make a complete meal. Plan ahead, make your life simple!!!!

Wenmin

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Thank you all so much for all the awesome ideas! I now have some things to buy when I go food shopping tomorrow, and a lot more variety than before!

Oh yes I know the tests will be worthless if Ive been off gluten for too long. The problem was I went on an elimination diet(because of 8 years of unexplained health problems), which included cutting milk, gluten, and some other things out of my diet. This was only a week ago. I started feeling better almost immediately then after a few days I cheated by eating a piece of toast and had such a bad reaction(stomach ache, nausea, vomiting) that I almost had to go to the hospital. I THEN found out that if you go gluten free before hand it will give you a false negative. But it was too late at that point...and I refuse to go through that night of excruciating pain again. I got blood taken yesterday, the doctor thought it may not be too late to catch it. She told me I should just go gluten free but she is referring me to a gastroenterologist anyways in case I decide I want to do the gluten challenge and the endoscopy. But I will probably remain undiagnosed.

Anyways, again thanks everyone for the ideas, I especially liked the hummus idea, I had no idea that costco carried hummus, I hope that mine does! We were going to go shopping there this weekend :)

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We make a Cape Malay Tasty Mince Dish ,just freeze it in portion sizes and take it to work for lunch.

Cape Malay tasty mince dish

Preheat oven to 180C

1) Chop 9 large onions finely in your Magimix, and push 6-8 garlic cloves (I prefer 8) through a garlic press and fry up together in a little olive oil. Fry until the onions are glassy. Add 3 teaspoons of ground turmeric, gluten free curry power and ground garam masala.

2) Remove the onions from the heat and cook 3kg of mince till it

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I didn't read all the replies, so sorry if there are duplicates here.

Hard boiled eggs/deviled eggs

tuna fish salad with chips (use the tuna salad like a dip for the chips)

fried rice (from left over rice)

stew (from left over pot roast and veggies)

mac & cheese (Amy's frozen)

For that matter, any of Amy's frozen dinners

PB&J on pancakes (great for leftover pancakes)

canned turkey drained and mixed with ranch dressing (dip for chips style)

make a pan of lasagna, cool in fridge, and then cut individual pieces and freeze them

pulled pork (we don't do buns here, just eat with a fork) (make a big batch and freeze)

sloppy joes (again, we don't do buns)

cheese sticks

nuthins crackers

lunch meat rolls

fresh veggies

fresh fruit

yogurt

crepes rolled up ham and cheese slices (again think "left overs" - make your crepes on Sunday and you have lunch for Monday and Tuesday kind of thing)

tuna casserole leftovers

simple pasta salad (noodles of choice, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cheese cubes toss with Italian dressing)

Green Goddess veggie dip and tortilla chips (search on forum for recipe)

scrambled eggs in a thermos

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I've just recently figured out that I am gluten intolerant(I refuse to even touch wheat since my last attack), and currently getting tested for celiac disease. But I just started a new full time job(perfect timing right?). I need some quick and easy lunch ideas that don't take much time to prepare. I can't keep cooking with ALL of my free time, lol. So far for lunches I've been living off of rice cakes with peanut butter, and a banana. Also salad, but I am SO sick of salad!! Just trying to get the hang of this diet, but while my symptoms are gone as long as I stay away from gluten I don't eat near as much because I can't figure out good meals that don't cost me a fortune to make or take a long time to cook...

Any advice is helpful! It will also help my sis in law who was told by her dr to go gluten free for her pregnancy.

Here's a couple of sample recipes from a soon to be released recipe blog 'The Coeliac Lunchbox'

Gluten Free Wheat Free Oven-baked corn omelettes

8142.jpg

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tsp olive oil

6 rashers bacon, chopped

4 scallions,(green onion) finely sliced

2 x 420g cans sweet corn, well drained

3/4 cup grated tasty cheese

8 eggs

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Line muffin tray (8 large) with paper cases.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

Add bacon and onions.

Cook for 5 minutes or until soft.

Transfer to a bowl.

Stir through corn.

Cool for 10 minutes.

Stir cheese into corn mixture.

Spoon evenly into muffin holes.

Beat eggs in a jug with a fork until well combined.

Pour evenly over corn mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until light golden and set.

Stand for 5 minutes in pan.

Carefully lift out.

Serve with a Crunchy Green Salad

_________________________________________________________________________

Gluten Free Wheat Free Omelette wrap

omelette-wrap.jpg

INGREDIENTS:

cooking-oil spray

4 eggs, beaten lightly

2 Tbls gluten-free mayonnaise

2 tsp finely chopped fresh dill

1 tsp lemon juice

100g watercress, trimmed

100g smoked salmon

65g cucumber, halved, seeds removed and cut into matchsticks

Method:

Spray medium frying pan with cooking oil;

cook half the egg over medium heat, swirling pan to make thin omelette.

Remove from pan; cool on baking-paper-covered wire rack.

Repeat with remaining egg.

Combine mayonnaise, dill and juice in small bowl.

Spread each omelette with half the mayonnaise mixture;

top with watercress, salmon and cucumber.

Roll omelette to enclose filling.

Cut in two diagonally, secure with a cocktail stick or

wrap in greaseproof and twist one end to secure.

Best Regards,

David

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Thanks for the additional recipes and ideas! I have decided that since I(luckily) don't have to work this week I'm going to spend it making freezer meals. I do have a few recipes that I already have made in the past and love that are gluten free including white chicken chili, chicken tortilla soup, french onion soup, and some other soups and stews. Now I'm in search for some good casserole recipes that I could maybe freeze into individual servings. All of the ideas were some great inspiration for me. There really is more to eat than people think when they hear gluten intolerance/celiac disease! My SIL felt all bad and was like "you cant eat anything!" But now I realise that I'm really not bad off and its worth it considering all the symptoms that are pretty much gone now after only being off gluten for a short time! Again, thanks for the recipes and ideas, I am going to try everything!! VERY helpful! :)

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Late response, but this is a great post. I would welcome updated detailed ideas!

Also:

- crustless quiche slices

- spanish tortilla

- beans and rice (I add spices, veg, sometimes cheese-- totally lived off it in college)

- white bean and artichoke dip with veg

- "nibbly bits" i.e. 4 or 5 little containers with snacks you like (umm, just not straight beef jerky and brownies ;-) So, think string cheese, steamed leftover cauliflower, tuna salad, roasted winter squash, maybe some honey roasted nuts. Also solves the problem of small amounts of leftovers.

- herb-based salads, w/o lettuce. My current favorite is parsley, shredded carrots, chickpeas, and feta with a lemon garlic olive oil dressing. The trick is to mash some of the chickpeas and add to the dressing to thicken it up. Think tabouli without the bulgur.

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I forgot... onigiri!

Japanese rice balls-- you make a pot of short grain brown rice, with a little too much liquid and cook it a little too long (I usually do this accidentally) so you get a very sticky result. Add a little salt, pepper and roll into oblongs, triangles, or balls. I like to add a can or two of tuna, or maybe lots of toasted ground sesame seeds, and then classically you wrap them in nori (seaweed sheets). The add-ins can be pretty much anything that won't make them fall apart, Asian or Western. You can also put a glob of something in the center, but that takes a little more shaping skill.

Today: brown rice, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, tuna, and a little pecorino romano cheese.

Very cheap. Very yummy. Nutritionally balanced if you add a protein and a side of fruit/veg. Also good for a quick breakfast.

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    Thanks for all that! No luck from PCP anyway -- just a referral to GI to go along with the referral to dermatology, and we're not sure about going to either one if it's just going to require months more of gluten. He's already at the end of his rope with two years of itching all over, so it's a bit much to ask. Presumably endoscopy would show intestinal damage, though, without adding more gluten, since it should take a lot longer to heal? He definitely has intestinal issues along with
    I thought it was the least I could do, after all the help and information that others here, such as yourself Squirmingitch, have provided me here. (By the way, I am on day 7 of the Fasano Diet, and just today I am really noticing a significant lessening in the itching and little DH blisters/bumps, and my skin just feeling "calmer" in general. But I've had good days like this before, here and there within the past five or six months, so I'm not claiming success quite yet.)
Good info. Thanks for posting. It's always great when people post what they learned from a phone call, or email with a manufacturer.
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