12 Gluten-Free Lunchbox Ideas for Kids
Looking for gluten-free lunchbox ideas for your little ones? Here are 12 of our favorite gluten-free lunchbox recipes to try.
Whether you or your child is following a gluten-free diet or maybe you are just trying to limit the amount of gluten in your diet, we have some delicious (and easy!) snack and meal ideas for you below. Many limit gluten or follow a gluten-free diet because of the possible health benefits, such as; reduce chronic inflammation, ease digestive symptoms, and boost energy.
While gluten-free diets have grown in popularity, it’s not necessary to cut gluten from your diet unless you have a gluten intolerance or allergy, like Celiac disease. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, an estimated 1 in 100 people worldwide are affected by the disease.
When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage to the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.
Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease (parent, child, sibling) have a 1 in 10 risk of developing celiac disease. To learn more about celiac disease, visit celiac.org.
The following ideas and suggestions may help alleviate some of the strain of searching for gluten-free snacks and lunches that are healthy and simple to prepare.
Naturally Gluten Free Snacks
- All fruits and veggies are gluten-free when unprocessed.
- Freeze-dried fruit is also a simple snack that is generally ready to go. However, it is important to be sure that the fruit hasn’t been dusted with gluten-containing flour.
Store-bought Snacks That Are Typically Gluten Free
*always check labels
- Snack size applesauce.
- Fruit cups.
- Cheese snacks, such as string cheese, come individually wrapped.
- Yogurt cups and tubs.
- Rice cakes. For extra flavor, add a topping or dip. Rice cakes can sometimes be dry.
- Rice crackers.
- Soy pudding.
- Corn chips.
- Nuts and seeds.
Most large supermarkets contain a section that carries ready-made gluten-free snacks, such as snack bars, cookies, and dried cereals.
Some companies make the effort to use only natural and nutritious ingredients, others do not. For example, some products, while being gluten-free, contain a lot of white starch. Other products are made using more whole-grain ingredients. It is very important to read labels carefully if you are concerned about healthier choices.
Along with the gluten-free lunches below, don’t forget about the simplicity of a sandwich! Gluten free bread is available commercially or can be made at home using a recipe. Many people find that gluten-free bread has a dry texture and tastes better if toasted before using. Gluten-free companies also make products such as bagels, pizza crusts, tortilla wraps, and muffins. So while we have delicious and creative ideas for you below to pack that gluten-free lunch, don’t forget that sometimes a gluten-free sandwich or bagel is sometimes a great option too!
With any food allergies or intolerance, it’s important to consult your doctor before making any dietary changes and to be properly diagnosed. Always check the food label on packaged goods for ingredients and allergens.
Here are some of our favorite gluten-free lunchbox ideas for kids (and us adults!)
Gluten-Free Lunchbox Ideas
Southwest Quiche Muffins Bento Box
These Southwest quiche muffins are a great meal prep recipe packed full of protein and veggies. Make a batch for easy breakfast or lunch.
Chicken Zoodle Soup
Classic chicken noodle soup gets a veggie-packed makeover with zucchini noodles (zoodles)!
Smashed Chickpea Salad Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
This smashed chickpea salad is a great plant-based alternative to serve as a sandwich, wrap or stuffed into these adorable mini sweet peppers!
5-Ingredient Broccoli Grape Salad
Classic broccoli salad is usually loaded down with mayonnaise and bacon. This version adds a touch of sweetness with grapes and a hint of smokiness with the dressing.
Savory Chicken & Rice Muffins
Turn a chicken & rice dinner into these lunchbox-friendly muffins! Make a big batch at the start of the week for easy snacks and lunchbox packing.
Tuna Salad Stuffed Mini Pepper Boats
Set sail with these super fun tuna salad stuffed mini pepper boats! Avocado replaces mayonnaise in traditional tuna salad for this tasty recipe.
Fun Bento Fun-Due
This "fondue" recipe is a great way to add some fun to lunchtime. Kids will love to get hands-on and dip fruits and veggies. The sunflower seed yogurt dip is a great nut-free lunch option!
Caprese Zoodle Salad
This no-cook noodle salad is so easy to throw together for a quick and easy lunchbox. Replacing regular pasta with zucchini noodles, or zoodles, adds an extra dose of veggies!
Easy Picnic Bento Box
Capture your favorite summer picnic in a bento box! Chicken salad gets a makeover by swapping Greek yogurt for the mayo and adding grapes.
DIY Nachos Lunchbox
Kids will love assembling this fun DIY Nachos lunch with black beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and guacamole!
Turkey Taco Salad Bento Box
Turn last night’s Taco Tuesday into a delicious taco salad for lunch the next day with your leftover taco meat.
BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad
A bagged salad, leftover rotisserie chicken and a few other simple ingredients make for an easy salad that is great for lunches.
Do you or someone in your family follow a gluten-free diet? What is one of your favorite gluten-free meals?
It is always very important to read all labels when dealing with any kind of food allergy or intolerance. When in doubt, check with the company or manufacturer.
When packing snacks and lunches for school, check to see if there are other allergies at your child’s school that you need to be aware of.