Packing healthy lunches that your kids eat can become a difficult task and dreaded one at times. Combine that with the necessity of a gluten free diet, and you may find yourself running out of steam when it comes to the routine of getting lunches ready to go. Not to worry though, I have many ideas for you below!
When it comes to packing a healthy lunch, the job for parents is to provide healthy options coming from a wide variety of food groups. One of the best ways to encourage a healthy appetite is to get your kids involved in the food preparation process in absolutely any way possible. Research shows that kids who are more involved in food preparation, will be more likely to try new foods. Getting them involved could mean a variety of things depending on the age of your kids, but some options include:
- Giving your child the option of choosing a new fruit or vegetable at the grocery store
- Letting your child choose between two options of a food. For example, asking your child “would you like an apple or orange in your lunch?”
- Letting your child cut up fruits and vegetables into fun shapes (using a plastic knife for younger kids) or putting cut fruits and vegetables on a skewer
- Letting older kids choose and prepare a new recipe with your guidance
- Getting them to throw in ingredients into a recipe you are making, such as the chickpeas into a homemade hummus or leafy greens into a soup
- Letting them stir ingredients together or press a button on a piece of kitchen equipment (like a blender)
The formula for a healthy, gluten free lunch includes the following components: Entree/protein, fruit, vegetable, and any additional fiber rich foods
- Entree/protein – sandwich, wrap, bean based dips, soups, smoothie, nuts/seeds, cottage cheese, cheese, leftovers, nut/seed butters, beans/legumes, yogurt
- Fiber rich choices, as needed (try to keep to one serving)- gluten free and whole grain pancakes, breads, crackers, muffins, granola/granola bar, corn chips, grains, leftover potatoes etc.
Top 10 Ideas:
- Melon fruit skewer, cherry tomatoes and swiss cheese cubes, plain yogurt parfait with gluten free granola and pumpkin seeds
- Little northern bakehouse gluten free bread topped with sunbutter and fresh strawberries, raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips, cucumber slices and gluten free tzatzki dip
- Leftover black bean and yam soup in thermos, Mary’s crackers, handful of blueberries
- Leftover buckwheat pancakes cut into ‘fingers’, sunbutter for topping/dipping pancakes, orange slices, pumpkin seeds/coconut chips/dried fruit
- Gluten free hummus, carrot sticks and pepper chucks, Que pasa gluten free corn chips, salsa, leftover fruit smoothie made with yogurt, flax seeds or seed butter
- Food for life gluten free black rice wrap with leftover sliced chicken, tzatziki, spinach, tomato cut into sushi rolls or in half, apple slices and yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon.
- Gluten free bean based noodles (such as tolerant brand) topped with gluten free pesto, celery sticks with sunbutter and dried raisins, banana
- Mary’s crackers, cheddar cheese, lentil energy balls, cherry tomatoes
- Leftover roasted sweet potato and chicken chucks on a skewer, tahni maple dip (scroll to end of page, omit ginger if desired), carrot sticks, grapes
- The “Goodbean” crispy chickpeas, buckwheat breakfast bars or FreeYumm granola bars, cucumber slices, apple