Occasionally, I will attend a function that requires I bring my own lunch. For most folks this means slapping some meat and cheese between two slices of bread. Being gluten-free makes this more of a challenge. That’s why I’ve put together a method for Quick + Easy Gluten Free Lunch Idea
Follow this simple formula, whether for yourself or kids heading back to school. These lunchbox ideas will prepare you for healthy lunches all year long. Grab a bento box and pack up these five components for a nourishing on-the-go meal or even an outdoor picnic. Ideas and recipes including gluten-free, paleo, and dairy-free options.
First of all you need a container that has three to five different compartments sectioned off. I’ve included containers in a variety of sizes, styles and costs that are suitable for adults and children.
- LunchBots Bento Cinco Container
- Bentgo Kids Leakproof Lunchbox
- Leakproof Lunchbox with 5 Containers
- Smart Planet Collapsible Lunch Box
There is a reason for the different compartments and it follows a simple bento box formula. Bento box lunches are a common Japanese lunch. Typically, they will have rice, fish, or meat plus a pickled or cooked vegetable all artfully arranged in a sectioned-off container.
For my gluten-free version of this I’ve followed a Paleo idea I found here which includes a simple graphic with ideas. Basically, you will need something from all five of these areas:
Protein + Fruit + Veggie + Good Fat + Prepared Gluten-Free Snack = A Simple, Healthy Gluten-free Lunch.
Below, I’ve broken this down for you and given you ideas for each item. This will simplify your shopping trip and make lunch planning a snap.
- Gluten-Free Lunch Meat (be sure to check labels)
- Gluten-Free Pepperoni or Pastrami slices
- Roasted Chicken Slices (did you know that Whole Food’s Roast Chicken are all GF?)
- Paleo Mini Meatballs
- Meatloaf Muffins (instead of a loaf pan, use a greased muffin pan or cupcake liners)
- No-Mayo Chicken Salad
- Avocado Chicken Salad
- No-Crust Pizza Bites
- Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
- Natural Beef Jerky or Beef Stick (affiliate)
This one isn’t too hard. Most of us have a few favorite fruits. Below are a few I love.
- Sliced Apples
- Applesauce (natural, no sugar)
- Orange Slices
- Packaged Dehydrated Fruit
Choose your favorites here, too. I’ve listed some ideas below, but the sky’s the limit, here.
- Cucumber Sticks or Slices
- Baby Carrots
- Sliced Red Pepper
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Celery Sticks
This one usually trips people up some. I’ve listed out a few ideas for healthy fats.
- Scoop of Nut Butter (for sliced apples, celery sticks, etc.)
- Organic or Raw Cheese
- Handful of Almonds, Pecans, Cashews, or other nut (soaked and dehydrated is best)
- Guacamole dip (for veggies, GF crackers or chips, etc)
- Dairy-free Creamy Veggie Dip (for veggies)
- Dairy-free Garlic and Chive Spread (for veggies, GF crackers or chips, etc)
- Dairy-free Tzatziki Sauce (for veggies, GF crackers, etc)
- Homemade Granola
- Homemade Fudge Lara Bars
- Coconut Macaroons
- Pecan Pie Bites
- Simple Homemade Hummus
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Gluten-Free Cooked Pasta Spirals
- Gluten-Free Crackers
Putting it all together:
A while back, The Paleo Mama put together 40 Days of Gluten-Free Lunches. I’ve included the link for a little inspiration.