Healthy Family Project

12 Gluten-Free Lunchbox Ideas for Kids

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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.
  • Popcorn.
  • 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

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.

Amanda Keefer

About the Author

Amanda Keefer

Amanda’s marketing, public relations and community outreach experience spans 20 years. She is the mom of two girls and two boxer dogs. You can hear her as the host of the Healthy Family Project podcast, find her cooking alongside her girls in videos on the Produce for Kids Instagram feed or spot her out volunteering with her family. When not in the office, Amanda can be found with her family on the tennis courts or at the dance studio.

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