School lunches

Jaclyn - posted on 11/14/2008 ( 35 moms have responded )

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Does anyone have any ideas on what to pack for your kids school lunch?? I have been doing the gluten-free (yet, VERY ugly) crackers (that look like a snack you would give a bird) with peanut butter, and then a cup of jelly to dip it in. However, it's almost the middle of the year, and I know my poor daughter is SOOO sick of them already! Any ideas??



Desperate,

Jaclyn in Texas



ps: I have tried a couple of the breads, but they are like cardboard!! If you know of a good brand that won't break the piggy bank or even a good recipe, let me know!

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[deleted account]

The first thing everyone needs to do is get away from mainstream America's idea of what a boxed lunch is supposed to look like, centered around the almighty sandwich. We rarely eat sandwich bread in our house and no one feels like it is a sacrifice.
Here are some lunch ideas:
lunchmeat & cheese roll-ups
veggies w/ranch dip (go heavy on the fresh produce!)
fruit w/peanut butter or yogurt dip
rice cakes or Cornthins (like rice cakes but much thinner) made into a sandwich
salads...lettuce, pasta, quinoa, a huge variety available here!
homemade rice krispie bars
thermos of leftovers (soups, chili, pasta)
bean dip/hummus/salsa/guacamole & corn chips
yogurt
applesauce
chips/fritos/popcorn
gf crackers w/pb&j or cheese
tuna/chicken salad (no crackers or sandwich necessary!)
cold pizza (amy's brand is excellent!)
cold homemade veggie burgers w/ toppings of cheese/tomato/etc wrapped in a large lettuce leaf
tofu cubes
smoothies in a thermos (make w/protein powder for extra energy stability)
cookies/animal cookies
trail mixes (loads of variety there by changing up dried fruits & nuts combo)
waffle sandwiches w/pb&j or honey
cold baked potato w/salsa or cheese
summer rolls (rice paper wrapped around thinly sliced veggies like carrots, bean sprouts, celery, cucumber, etc) w/ homemade asian dipping sauce such as peanut sauce

I notice way too many parents don't learn the real lesson that comes from learning a child has celiac and that is that the way we typically feed our kids in this country is incredibly wrong and extremely unhealthy. Don't change bad habits over into GF...learn new ones, get your kiddos healthy all around by putting more fresh produce and healthy proteins into their diets instead of letting them carb-load on simple carbs & sugars!

35 Comments

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Rebecca - posted on 06/04/2009

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About the lunchmeats and cheeses, MOST are gluten free. At the deli, choose brands that you know are safe (you might have to do some research). It won't hurt to research all the brands, not just the ones you like. Be straight-forward with your deli worker and let them know you are trying to avoid cross-contamination. Find out their policies. Frequent the same deli, forge a relationship with them, they can clean their slicer for you anytime, but it is easier if they know you.

When buying pre-packaged lunchmeats and cheeses, find the ones that say gluten free on them, if possible. Research those that do not. Ingredients such as "natural flavors" are suspect.

Rebecca - posted on 06/04/2009

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Quoting Tammy:

Hi Jaclyn I live in Holiday Florida and I found a bread that is fairly good we toast it to make school lunches, it is not processed in a gluten free facility but I find it to be good, the whole family eats it even though we are not all celiac. It is a Millet and Flax bread from SAMI'S BAKERY in Tampa Fl. Phone #813-989-2722, www.samibakery.com. They also make burger buns and hot dog buns which we use for garlic bread. It is sold in the health food stores here in Florida but you can probably get it direct. Tammy in Florida



I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but according to my sources (Celiac Kids Support Group) ALTHOUGH Sami's bread has no gluten containing ingredients, on the ELISA test, their breads test pretty high in gluten because of cross-contamination.  The US FDA considers a safe amount of gluten to be 20 parts per million, the GiG (Gluten Intolerance Group) and CSA (Celiac Sprue Association) prefer to only label gluten free if under 5 parts per million.  Sami's bread tests upwards of 1000 parts per million.



Make your choices wisely, with the best information available.  

Sandy - posted on 06/03/2009

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Try Quaker Rice cakes (don't use the 100 calories packs they are not GF). I also make Turkey or Ham roll ups with cheese in them. Wal-mart brand vienna sausages. Or we also use left over taco meat, add rice, corn and some tomato sauce (when cooking) We call it taco rice stuff. It's pretty good served over chips with tomato, avacado, olive, onions, etc for toppings.

Tammy - posted on 05/15/2009

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Hi Jaclyn I live in Holiday Florida and I found a bread that is fairly good we toast it to make school lunches, it is not processed in a gluten free facility but I find it to be good, the whole family eats it even though we are not all celiac. It is a Millet and Flax bread from SAMI'S BAKERY in Tampa Fl. Phone #813-989-2722, www.samibakery.com. They also make burger buns and hot dog buns which we use for garlic bread. It is sold in the health food stores here in Florida but you can probably get it direct. Tammy in Florida

Nancy - posted on 05/12/2009

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Good question about the lunchmeats. I'd love to hear some answers. I THINK it's some of the deli cheeses that contain gluten and that the slicers are then contaminated. I have researched a couple of lunchmeats, found them to be gluten free and had the deli cut them first thing in the am on a clean slicer. It was just a pain to plan it and then to have my dd not really care for it anyway. Recently, I have found that some supermarkets have a separate slicer for meats and cheeses. So, I wonder if that would be okay.. For example, if the market only carries Boars head and uses separate slicers, is it okay to get it there?

Sheena - posted on 05/10/2009

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What would make lunch meats off limits? Sorry if it's a dumb question but do they really add flour to those too?? I haven't noticed I guess. We usually get sandwich meat from the deli is that better or worse? Always learning new things!!

Aleisha - posted on 05/09/2009

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Have you tried Corn Tortilla and make a wrap. There are some lunch meats that I have found are GF.

Ronda - posted on 04/29/2009

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I found a great recipie for gluten free bread if you have the time to bake.



Uses a cup of 3 gluten free flours (I used garbanzo bean, tapioca and corn starch) you can change this as you want to the flours of your choice (or use 3 cups of bread mix)

1tbsp Xanthan gum, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 1/4 tsp yeast. mix these together then add: 3 eggs, 3 tbsp oil, 1 tsp vinegar, 1/4 cup honey, 1/13 cups water and 1 tsp salt.

Mix in a mixer til well blended. Let sit for 1 hour....this is a must.



Then you are ready to bake...this can be put in a bread machine and baked as one loaf but I find that it works best in 2 loaf pans or 5 mini loaves or even in mini muffin pans for bite size rolls. I preheat the oven to 375. I put the bread in the oven and after 5 min turn it down to 350 for 20 min. Check for doneness for your own oven. Nice and soft and moist. If you think it's a bit too moist, I just shut the oven off and let it in the hot oven til it's right. I've never had my daughter let a batch of this live past 1 week. I put it in a ziplock once its cool and it's never gotten dry or gone bad.

Sharon - posted on 04/16/2009

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Suzanne when you say you cut the sugar by at least half and use raw cane sugar do you mean instead of white sugar, or are you using both? Is the raw sugar sweeter?

Emily - posted on 04/13/2009

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A friend of mine told me that the 'lunchables' has a nacho one that is gluten free.  Also, corn tortillas can be a good substitute just be sure to check them because they are not all gluten free.  And, there is an awesome recipe for Banana chocolate chip muffins in the the book 'Gluten free for Dummies'.  I use the Bob's red mill all purpose gf flour mix for the muffins and my son loves them!

Jessica - posted on 02/21/2009

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I agree with Cathey Stone my 10 year old daughter has a microwave in the cafeteria just for her. An aide is assigned to her lunch when she brings a hot lunch. The kids are sooo jealous!! she has gourmet lunches and they have to eat the school lunch!!

Amynrich1995 - posted on 02/03/2009

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My son likes the "rollups" too. We also use soft corn tortillas at times to replace bread. I will soften them in the microwave and wrap the "taco" in plastic wrap. My son insists they stay soft. I have also spoken to the school and working with them there are days when he can be a "buyer" which in the 1st grade is a big deal to him. I agree with an earlier writer that getting away from what is considered traditional. A packed lunch may also be cottage cheese or yougurt with fruit, applesauce and some other little snacks. I have no luck baking anything. My son also likes the Glutino breads especially the Corn and Fiber one.

User - posted on 01/29/2009

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Trader Joes makes a delicious brown rice tortilla. We use it for pizza crust, sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas..... It also tastes better toasted or baked for a few minutes

[deleted account]

I've read several people write about lunch meat and cheese roll-ups. They are great. Plus, never forget the fruits and vegetables. Send apples, oranges, bananas, grapes/raisins, plums, peaches. Also, baby carrots are good. Nuts mixed with chocolate chips or dried cranberries are also a favorite.

Cathey - posted on 01/26/2009

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Hi,



Have you tried Kinnikinnic bread?  My 10 year old loves it toasted, and it works like a charm for any kind of sandwiches.   Also, like Daveen said, if you work with the school cafeteria they can probably work something out as far as a microwave.  I know at my daughters school, the teachers sometimes help her out with the microwave in the teachers lounge.



This is so fantastic, everyone has such great ideas.



Bless you all.



 



 



 



 

Daveen - posted on 01/23/2009

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Hi there, my daughter is 10 yrs old, and has celiac. She has to take cold lunch every day also. And it can be frustrating to find a variety so as not to take the same thing. I don't know if you have the same brand food in Texas as we do in Maine, but. We buy smart food white cheddar popcorn, we cut up apples and send peanut butter to use as a dip, celery-cucumbers-carrot sticks etc with ranch dressing for dip. Salsa & corn chips is a quick cheap snack. They also make Dinty Moore beef stew that is GF in a single serving size. Our school had a small microwave in the kitchen just for the GF food. We could send in her food and the lunch lady could warm it up in the microwave. Left overs from dinner the night before. That are a few things we do. I hope this helps alittle.

Michelle - posted on 01/22/2009

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Roll ups are great.  With my daughter she loves all types of veggies so usually I send her with sliced veggies and dressing and fruit.  I truly think she is going to be a vegetarian.

Lyndsay - posted on 01/22/2009

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my daughter does "roll ups". her favorite is Salami and provolone just rolled up stick a tooth pick through it to hold it together. Can't get any simpler.  Any GF lunch Meat will do.  Hormel has tons!

[deleted account]

Jenica, you are so right! Balance is the key! And yes, our celiac kiddos do deserve to feel just like all the other kids sometimes. That ez freeze thing sounds cool. Thanks for suggesting that. And I noticed that I didn't mention something very important in my first post.... I homeschool. :) This takes a lot of pressure off of lunches and lots of other things peer-related. I do have to have a days worth of food packed at all times for my daughters, that requires no-cooking and no-refrigeration, due to the unpredictability of my job so I can definitely relate but it isn't the same...and I realize that. Just thought I would mention it. :)

Jenica - posted on 01/21/2009

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I agree with Nina's post above about the "typical" school lunches being unhealty, but I also think that a Celiac kiddo needs to feel "normal" occasionally. And for my son normal is having a real pb &j sandwich in his lunch every so often. I think balance is best...there is always a fresh veggie and fruit item in his lunch with his sandwich, thankfully my son is not picky and he loves raw foods so I know he will eat them. I found a really neat dish, it is mae by cool gear, it's called the ez freeze. The lid to the dish has a gell filled section that you put in the freezer over night, in the am you can put your veggies or sald in the main bowl, and your dressing in the top where it stays cold. My son loves it, because he can dip his stuff and the food belwo does not get soggy.



My favorite "staple" mix in my house is Pamela's pancake and baking mix. Everything I have made with it turns our great and soft...all of the recipes on the bag are yummy! Beware if you have nut allergies, the mix is an almond base.

Nicole - posted on 01/21/2009

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One of my son's favorite things to eat for lunch is "Turkey Rolls" Boars Head Brand Meats (most) are gluten free. Just roll and freeze the night before. Also, Hormel makes single serving microwaveable chilli (with beans) that is gluten free. Your school should be able to reheat this for you if not let me know. I will show you how to make them...

Carolyn - posted on 01/20/2009

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My kids will eat the glutino breads toasted and made into a sandwich. It is better while still warm but they think it is fine even when it has gotten cold. We also do gluten free pizza cold for lunch, and on pizza day at the school (which is every friday at our school) my kids bring their pizza and we have a great teacher at our school who will warm it up for them in the teachers lounge.

Stepfanie - posted on 01/06/2009

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We like the Tapocia Bread for many sandwiches. Today the kids had PBJ, string cheese, gluten free pretzels and juice boxes for school lunch. They came home & had a gluten free blueberry muffin I made. For Dinner we are having Gluten free ravoli with sausage & tomato/basil sauce.

Noel - posted on 01/04/2009

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My favorite bread mix is the whole foods 365 brand bread mix.. I put it in the bread machine and then slice and freeze as well. My three boys love it and my husband will even eat it. Grilled cheese is amazing with it. I am also a fan of the pamela's all purpose baking mix. I use it for everything and it's easy to adapt it to regular recipes.

[deleted account]

Have you tried the bread by Food For Life. The only way my son and I eat it is by toasting it. I think it totally changes the taste. We just pop it into our toaster designated for gluten free breads and fix our sandwich like normal. I have tried other gluten free breads too and the only way they tasted good was by putting them in the toaster.

Kathy - posted on 12/20/2008

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What types of muffins are you using and what are you putting inside them? And do you use a mix or would you share a recipe?



Also, Jennie, which waffles, because we've tried two kinds of these very expensive jewels, and all 3 of my daughters brought them to the sink still on their plate after the meal was over.

Jenine - posted on 12/18/2008

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Have you tried using the gluten free waffles in place of crackers? You can use them like you would bread.

User - posted on 12/17/2008

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hi. i am no expert by any means, and I know how much it sucks to try and find substitutes for wheat. Gluten is the precious ingredient that makes bread soft...
I definitely recommend you ALL eat this crumbly bread. that way your child doesn't feel like she's missing out on "yummy" stuff. she'll adapt. it may be more expensive, but probably a LOT more healthy for everyone anyways. there are other things to eat than soft breads also...which is the nature of this thread

here are some of my ideas.
corn wraps with cheese inside
bread fingers (can get these at any natural market...gluten free and tasty) with PB dip
breads made with sprouted grains are usually chewy and yummy...
muffins made with flours not glutenous...this is what I make a lot and they are fabulous.

just some ideas...the muffins are awesome because you can put anything inside and get variety. i usually cut sugar by at LEAST half (more depending on recipe) and use raw cane sugar so they are healthy, yummy, and easy to pack.

Jenica - posted on 12/17/2008

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A girlfriend of mine bakes professional cakes and said that she does this with cakes and it keep them moist longer after she defrosts them. So I just started doing it with my bread and cupcakes, not sure if this is what helps the crumbles...

Nancy - posted on 12/17/2008

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Jenica,

I usually wait until the bread cools before I freeze it. Do you think that would make a difference? I will try the brown sugar thing next time. Thanks!

Jenica - posted on 12/16/2008

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hmmm... I bake it in the oven, slice it warm, my slices are on the thicker side, becase I would have the same crumble problem, I put wax paper between the slices, and then freeze while still warm. When I pull it out in the morning, I put it in the toaster on the deforst setting, (so it is very lighly toasted), then I make his PB&J (his fav). Sometimes I put in a touch of brown sugar and cinnamon to give it a sweeter/wheat bread look, but nothing special. I tried the cinnaon raison version and that crumbled a lot because of the raisins.

Another company to try is Really Great Food, I have not tried their mixes yet, but a few women in my local parent support group said that their mixes are the best. I plan on making a purchase after Christmas when the postal service isn't so busy. Good luck

Nancy - posted on 12/16/2008

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Jenica,

Am I doing something wrond. I have tried so many breads. I do make the GF Pantry bread and it comes out so nice and soft...for about an hour! I also slice and freeze, then defrost it and it crumbles apart. I know I have to get over that my daughter can't have a soft piece of Strohman, but I can't blame her for not eating sandwiches on this bread. Any suggestions?

Jenica - posted on 12/14/2008

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My son loves the GF Pantry bread mix (baking some right now, in the oven, it is reasonably priced if you get it on amazon). I slice it when it is warm, put a piece of waxed paper between two slices, put into sandwich bags, and then freeze them. This way in the morning, I deforst, lightly toast, and we are good to go with a sandwich. My son loves turkey and cheese quesadillas, I make them in the morn and he doesn't seem to mind them cold at lunch time. Leftovers are fun as well, if you get a food thermos it will keep the leftover warm till lunch. We also do gf pretzels with peanut butter to dip in, often he will dip his carrots and apple slices as well. Frozen gogurts are a favorite as well (it put an ice pack in to keep it from thawing completly). hope this helps

Nancy - posted on 11/14/2008

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We have pretty much given up on the breads too. At least for sandwiches. My daughter has been taking Glutino crackers and either tuna or chicken salad or PB. I too am afraid she is going to get sick of that too. We gave up on hot foods b/c she would stress too much about it. (She also has anxiety disorder). She used to take frozen gogurts, but they kept getting warm before her lunch period.
Right now, I have GF Pantry sandwich bread mix in the bread machine. If she had to pick one, it would be this one. I freeze it and we use it for toast and butter, cheese bread, etc.

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