Ah, the ever popular topic of what to pack in a gluten free lunchbox. As we gear up for the school year ahead, the idea of having to fill that gluten free lunch box every day can be daunting, but I have lots of ideas to help!
Big kids, little kids, for school or work, these gluten free lunchbox ideas will make everyone happy. Scroll down to get inspired!
Gluten Free Lunchbox Ideas
Make extra gluten free pasta or pasta salads, chicken and rice, lentil salads, rice and beans, casseroles (gluten free spaghetti pie is one of my kids’ favorites!), gluten-free fish sticks or meatballs and use the leftovers to make a great lunch.
Gluten Free Pad Thai is one of our family favorites — warm or cold the next day it’s still yummy, and if it’s made without meat, you don’t have to worry about it staying cold or hot in a lunchbox.
Homemade gluten free ravioli, pierogi, potstickers or dumplings and even leftover gluten free pizza make a great next day lunch, warm or cold. Yes, I just said cold gluten free pizza is great! At least, when you make my recipe or use my award-winning gluten free pizza crust mix it is! I promise you there will be no complaints about cold pizza in the lunchbox when it’s gfJules Pizza!
And hey, while we’re on the subject of gluten-free PIZZA, this homemade gluten free French Bread Pizza is just as good the next day. Trust me. A total crowd-pleaser!
Don’t overlook thermos options. How about gluten free pizza rolls? They’re the perfect size for a thermos and they’re also the perfect proportion of sauce:crust. Another happy gluten free lunchbox!
Speaking of thermoses … soups are a favorite any time of year. From hot weather gazpachos to cool weather chili, lentil soup, potato soup, and more … add rice, quinoa, or gluten free pasta for a heartier, more filling soup, if needed. And pair with homemade gluten free cornbread – YUH-um!
Sandwiches often turn out best if you keep the fixings separate from the bread/wrap until lunchtime. Just keep in two separate containers and put together for a fresh and delicious sandwich when you’re ready for it.
Even homemade gluten free waffles make great “bread” for sandwiches — get creative! (and what kid will complain about a waffle sandwich?!)
Homemade gluten free flour tortillas are terrific ways to wrap up whatever fillings you have left over in your fridge or happen to hanker for. Make extra tortillas and store in your freezer so you always have a stash for lunches. Try this easy homemade gluten free flour tortilla recipe and start enjoying soft flour tortillas again anytime! One of our favorites is veggie burritos with guacamole dressing!
For a light & healthy option, use large pieces of leafy greens, and make your own lettuce wraps with your favorite lunch meat like tuna, salmon, chicken or tofu plus veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, beets, celery, onions and/or carrots.
Other additions can include sunflower seeds, black beans, rice, tofu, rice noodles, raisins, fruit, avocado … any flavor combination that appeals! Put gluten free dressing in a small container to keep the salad from getting soggy before lunch.
Pair salads with bread, rice cakes, gluten free crackers or toasted gluten free waffles, and add hummus or homemade guacamole on the side. Keep any gluten free crackers in a separate container so they stay crunchy.
Or make homemade fresh spring rolls — they’re delicious any time of year!
And while it might seem unorthodox, homemade gluten free poptarts would never be unwelcome in a kid’s lunchbox. I’m not lobbying for them to be the ONLY thing in the lunchbox, of course, but they’re portable, they’re fun, they’re delish and they will definitely be the envy of everyone at the lunch table! Not too shabby for a gluten free lunch box, if you ask me.
No one needs to know you filled them with no sugar added preserves, if you were so inclined. In fact, you can fill these pastries with anything you like — they could even be savory! In that case though, I’d skip the sprinkles.
Gluten Free Lunchbox SNACKS
There are lots of pre-packed sides your child can pick out for their own lunch and they look just like what the other kids have in their lunch boxes!
Rather than buying individual serving packs, you can make your own “juice box”, peanut butter cup or applesauce cup with small, environmentally-friendly reusable containers. And don’t forget the fruits and veggies that are naturally gluten free!
Here are some great gluten free snack options (see my Back to School ebook for even more):
- A serving of favorite gluten free cereal, granola (or oat-free granola) or muesli, either dry or with almond, soy or coconut yogurt as delicious dairy-free options!
- celery, peanut butter or sunflower nut butter + raisins = ants on a log
- gluten free crackers or chips with salsa or guacamole (good options include brands like Glutino®, Crunchmaster® Way Better Snacks® and Food Should Taste Good®; Lay’s® maintains a gluten-free list and Utz® potato chips are clearly labeled gluten free
- gluten free pretzels from Glutino® & Gratify® brands are our favorites
- Quinn Maple Almond Butter Filled gluten free Pretzel Nuggets (also peanut butter filled or plant-based Cheezy Filled)
- MadeGood Cheddar Star Puffed Crackers (vegan and gluten free) — made from vegetables, cassava and oat flour (certified gluten free from GFCO)
- air-popped popcorn (has lots of fiber!)
- gluten-free protein bars like those from LUNA® (we love the lemon bar flavor!)
- overnight oats — so yummy, even cold!
- homemade trail mix (favorite nuts, seeds, raisins …)
- gfJules™ Graham Cracker Mix makes dozens! and they freeze so well!
Visit the gfJules SHOP page for the Bread, Cookie, Graham Cracker Mixes & more you’ll need to put together awe-inspiring lunch boxes for everyone!
Gluten Free Lunchbox Desserts
Here are some of our favorite homemade gluten free treats:
- Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
- Crispy Rice Trail Mix Bars
- Gluten Free Milano Cookies
- Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- Gluten Free Mock Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies
- Gluten Free Snickerdoodles
- Gluten Free Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
- Gluten Free Crispy Rice Treats
- Best Gluten Free Cupcakes
For even more gluten free lunchbox ideas, plus information on 504 plans, how the ADA may help your child, dealing with school birthday parties and field trips and much, more, download my updated Back to School Gluten Free e-book now!