Friends. Back-to-school is just around the corner, and we got to thinking: what’s everyone planning to feed their kids for lunch? If you have a child whose diet is gluten-free or allergy sensitive, what kinds of snacks do you typically pack?
If you’re struggling with filling your little one’s lunchbox with gluten-free eats that are tasty and relatively healthy, we’ve come up with a non-conclusive list for you.
Here are a handful of foods that are naturally gluten-free for the kiddos while at school.
Fresh fruit is always a hit with the kids and typically allergen-friendly. Bento Boxes are great for storing a variety of fresh fruit in backpacks and offer some squish-free protection for pre-cut fruit.
Even better? Get all fancy and slide that magic on a skewer! Hello, fruit kabobs!
Veggies and Dip
This classic duo is a hit in terms of taste and obvs fresh veggies are nutritionally superior to most school snacks.
Think outside of the box: out with the Ranch, in with hummus and guac!
Chickpeas (the base in hummus) are high in fibre and protein, which allow for energy sustainability throughout your little one’s long day. Avocados (the base in guacamole) are supes high in good fats and Vitamin E. Quick tip: be sure to squeeze a ‘lil lime over the guac and seal in an air-tight container - it will keep things fresh and bright.
Making your own dips is supremely easy - and lets you play with some different flavor add-ins. The Kitchn has a great hummus breakdown if you need a starting place.
One of our faves is beet hummus - it’s a beautiful colour AND has medical backing that it supports brain health and cognitive function. Added bonuses for the littles at school!
Also high in protein and most come in convenient little cups, in a variety of different flavours. Tip: buy full-fat yogurt over fat-free. It’ll sustain your wee one for longer, and it’s better for them, as it typically has less sugar.
Need a kick? Try adding berries, chia seeds or hemp hearts! Have a dairy-allergy? Try coconut-based yogurt!
As mentioned above in the hummus blurb, chickpeas are full of good stuff and are super easy to pack into lunches.
Try roasting them for something a little different—they’ll double up great as a little sprinkle topping on salads. Oh-so good. Again, a little inspo for you from The Kitchn if you need some help!
Another high-protein food, boiled eggs are filling and easy to eat on the fly—like at the playground. Because most schools are nut-free nowadays, boiled eggs are a great high-protein option.
Compliment that egg with a few slices of gluten-free deli ham or salami, OR, one of our faves? A scoop of guacamole. So good, so satisfying. A little sprinkle of salt and pepper, and you, my friend, have got it made.
Cheese and Crackers
We have crackers that we make here in the shop - however, if nuts are of concern for those lunches, you can also find a fairly decent variety in the health-food aisle of your neighbourhood grocery store. We’ve come a long way in the gluten-free cracker world, guys. A looooong way…
Hint: look for gluten-free labels, as some pepperoni does contain gluten.
This snack is perf for little ones to grab and go with at recess, or, pair it with slices of cheese and our gluten-free baguette. Consider it a less-messy pizza sub.
Soups, Chilis, and Pasta
Again, mind the gluten-free labels. Amy’s Kitchen makes great gluten-free soups and chilis that can be warmed in the morning, then taken to school in a thermos.
Or, get brave and make your own! Soup and chili can be made the night before in a crockpot and busted out the next day. Bonus? Double the recipe and you’ve got leftovers! Use the chili for quick-and-easy hot dog night - why not?!
If your kid won’t eat these things, what about pasta? A gluten-free pasta tossed with steamed kale, spinach and cheese?
Try shell or bowtie pasta for something the kids will think is fun.
Apples, Pears, and Non-Nut Butter
Another classic. Here’s our secret: slice apples, toss in a little fresh lemon juice, then place them back together to cover as much of the flesh as possible. Store in an airtight container, and when ready, kiddies can dip slices in nut-free butter. Or yogurt. Or just eat as is! After all, an apple a day...
If your kids would prefer a pear, go for it. They’re super yummy with the same kinda dips and spreads.
Gluten-Free Tortilla Chips and Salsa
Or guac. Or hummus. But back to salsa… (Our fave brand is Fresh is Best).
This idea is easy to pack, and more nutritious than you might think! If you purchase whole grain, gluten-free tortilla chips, those are some quality carbs your kiddo will be snacking on!
Let us know what your suggestions are for gluten-free lunches and snacks for the kids—we want to hear your ideas. And if you need anything we can help with - like gluten-free cookies, bread, cupcakes - please stop by and see what we have in shop.
Similarly, you can always place a custom order. We just need 2-3 business days to ensure your order will be good to go. And remember: if you need gluten-free mini cupcakes for your kids’ class parties, we’re your bakery.
We got you. Happy munching!
The Polly Fox
PS: image courtesy of @sarahtheresev