Just over a week till I’m back into routine and I’ve been adding some fun things to my back to school board on pinterest if you haven’t seen it yet. Oh and I have a lunchbox board too. Trust me my lunchboxes are not and will never be as fabulous as some of the things that I pin but heh it’s fun to get ideas. But I was asked by one mum on facebook to write a post on gluten free lunchbox ideas. Yep, it’s certainly a challenge when you start out having to make gluten free lunchboxes. This year I’ll need to make it 3 days a week but I have a few ideas I thought I’d share with you. Of course you might have other things to avoid like dairy or eggs so I’ll try to offer some alternatives too.
make your own or in a pinch buy some from a shop or supermarket that morning if you really get stuck and yes I have been stuck. Tuna with a mayo that is free from gluten (and dairy), egg (if allowed) with mayo, avocado, gluten free ham and avocado are simple fillings that you can easily make at home. If your little person isn’t a fan of nori then rice balls are super easy to make and wrap in glad wrap. Pop a little filling in the middle of a ball of rice and mould into a little triangle. I loved these in japan and london for my lunch on the run. My quick and easy sushi recipe is here.
Be sure to use vinegar in your rice and something to keep it cold in the lunchbox is important too. We are lucky that at preschool we have a fridge for lunchboxes which does make my life easier.
if your little one isn’t too little (because of the choking risk) then popcorn is a great snack for lunchboxes and I love that you can buy small bags of it now if you run out of time to make it. Of course check the packaging to ensure it’s gluten free but it makes a tasty fun snack and kids won’t feel like they are missing out
savoury muffins using gluten free flour
if you use a cup for cup substitute like white wings gluten free flour or the macro gluten free flours then you can pretty much use any muffin recipe substituting the regular flour for gluten free and anything else in the recipe that might contain gluten. These are my cheese, corn and bacon muffins and just swap the flour for gluten free and ensure that your bacon is gluten free and you are good to go.
bake your own cookies
yes you’ve probably realised that baking your own gluten free treats is really the best way to go. Not only in terms of price but also to avoid additives and things that are put into gluten free treats. I’ve got these delicious little lunchbox cookies
gluten free choc chip cookies and if you have the new thermomix just use the recipe on the recipe chip but use gluten free flour and baking powder
frittata or anything with baked eggs
some schools/preschools don’t allow eggs so you need to check first but I find frittata makes a great alternative to a sandwich. This recipe is super delicious for a bit of variety, bacon, lentil and vegetable slice
and good old fashioned zucchini slice using either rice flour or a gluten free plain or self raising flour
and my easiest frittata for kids which always gets eaten
my guys love meatballs and if you can keep a lunchbox cold enough then these are a winner because you can chuck in vegies and they are something different. Make your own tomato sauce to dip them in or a little container of tamari if you trust your child not to end up wearing it. These chicken and vegie meatballs are so easy to make and you could do it the night before and freeze a few bags of meatballs and portion them up for lunches during the week. Also great for lunch at home or dinner in a pinch.
We love cold chicken in this house. Roast the chickens for this recipe with the sweet potatoes on sunday night and you could have the next 2 days lunches sorted. The sweet potatoes go in for the last half hour that the chickens are cooking and it’s a simple but really tasty way to eat chicken. The sweet potatoes are so delicious and with a bit of spinach (if it will get eaten) this is my favourite cold lunch at the moment. Delicious. I do 2 chickens at a time at the moment (organic free range if you can) and I do like a good chicken and mayo salad too. Just quietly.
make a cake and freeze it
I need to do this because I can’t trust myself around a nice warm cake at the moment (well at any moment). This is our current favourite, lemon and blueberry cake. So good. Bake it as a square, let it cool (after you’ve had a slice), cut into big squares, pop into ziplock bags and freeze. Each morning you’ve got a delicious treat to pop into the lunchbox of the most fussiest of eaters.
and this super easy tea cake made with gluten free flour is another great way to pop some fruit in
and good old banana bread, tastes so much better when you make it yourself. Just use a gluten free flour in place of regular flour in my all time favourite recipe that I make most weeks. Original recipe for my melt n mix banana bread is here and thermomix instructions are here.
gluten free macaroni with meat/veg
we are addicted to the barilla gluten free macaroni which is less expensive than the San Remo and tastes just as good, maybe better. Boil up a big pot and portion some out to freeze a few. Add in sweet corn, drained tuna or some ham strips, any favourite vegetables or meats and you could stir in a bit of grated cheese too. Everyone loves pasta and be sure to keep the lunchbox cold.
fruit and vegies
now if you have a fussy eater then you need to work with what they like. For my little miss its a banana and an apple that gets eaten. Everything else is a bit hit and miss and generally comes home. Grapes, watermelon, strawberries, dried sultanas and dried apples are also popular and of course be careful to buy fruit minus the nasty numbers that generally cause an upset tummy in a sensitive little eater. Carrot sticks and hummus are always popular, if dairy is tolerated cream cheese makes a delicious dip with little carrot or celery batons and if you really struggle with the vegies then some sweet corn and a little spoon in a little compartment of the lunchbox can be fun. Our little one loves peas and to pick them up with a fork and eat them one by one.
corn thins and rice crackers
where would we be without corn thins and rice crackers. My favourite topping on a corn thin is peanut butter but that’s not allowed in lunchboxes so pop on your child’s favourite topping. Sliced cheese that you’ve done yourself is great or if you are using mini rice crackers include their favourite dip in a little compartment of the lunchbox for them. We also love the plain mini bags of rice cakes so she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out and the big kids love them too.
organic chip chips and guacamole
truth be told that nachos are my dinner in a pinch. A bag of organic corn chips which doesn’t have the nasties other corn chips too and some mashed up avocado and diced tomato and you are done. It’s a great way to fill up a lunchbox and an easy lunch. A little squirt of lemon in your guacamole will help prevent it going too brown before lunchtime.
sausages or gluten free hot dogs
if you have a really picky eater then a cold sausage with some homemade tomato sauce or a gluten free hot dog will be a special treat in their lunchbox. You can slice it up for the little ones or have it sliced
good old sandwich on gluten free bread
I don’t like gluten free bread from the shops but my little girl doesn’t mind it if it has her vegemite on it (if you are strictly gluten free then look for an alternative like ozemite and always read labels). So keep a loaf in your freezer. Gluten free raisin bread is delicious and makes a cute little morning tea with a bit of butter on it and cut into quarters and is worth a try.
Over to you……………..any suggestions for my lovely reader who needs help with gluten free lunchbox ideas!