It's that time of year when the same old school lunch is getting a little boring for my celiac child.
If your school is like ours, the only hot lunch item my child can have is the milk.
So that leaves a sack lunch five days a week.
Who would not get tired of eating the same thing every day?
Here is how we try to keep things fresh
Our lunch ingredients are broken down into six main categories: main entrée, fruit, vegetable, something cold, snack item, dessert.
This may seem compulsive, but sticking to these makes it easier for me (I don't have to think too much before my coffee kicks in) and for my daughter, to make her lunch in the morning. She can put in whatever she wants, as long as there is one thing from each category.
If there is a microwave and it is clean enough for your child to use (I pack an extra paper towel in my daughter’s lunch so she can lay it down in the microwave then put her food on top of it. She just leaves the paper towel in the microwave when she is done):
o Lundberg Rice Express Microwaves in 60 seconds.
o Thai Kitchen Instant Rice Noodle Soup Just add water and microwave for 3 minutes.
o Leftover GF Mac –n- Cheese
If a microwave is not available:
o Corn thins with peanut butter
o GF bread with butter and cheese
o GF bread with Hormel Natural lunch meat and cheese
o GF bread with Nutella Hazelnut Spread
o Glutino Gluten Free Bagels with Cream Cheese Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins
Okay pretty obvious, but something different to try:
o Bowl of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries mixed together
o Dole cups of mandarin oranges
o Bags of carrots
o Celery sticks
o Cherry tomatoes
o Avocado (the first time she tried an avocado my daughter was hooked on them. Slice in half, remove the pit, and fill the bowl with GF balsamic vinegar)
o Can of V-8
o This usually means yogurt for us. Yoplait is GF.
o Bowl of Organic Valley Cottage Cheese
o Sliced cheddar cheese
o Frigo cheese sticks
SNACK ITEM OR BAR:
o Cracker Jacks
o Ener-g Pretzels
o Frito Lay Sunflower Seeds
o Jo-Sef - Graham Crackers
o Fruit Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Roll ups by General Mills
o Lara bar Apple Pie these are not necessarily a favorite
o Potato Chips: We love Frito Lays not only for the list of gluten free items they provide on their web site, but also for Cheetos!! Frito Lay Gluten Free List
o Purfit Nutrition Bar, Almond Crunch these are my favorite bars. They are high in protein, travel well and taste great. You can order them on their own website, but I add them to my Amazon.com order. My Amazon.com Gluten Free Shopping List
o Organic Food Bar Belgium Chocolate ChipThese are my daughter’s favorite bars. We find them at Whole Foods.
- Cherries by Ferrara Candy Company. These are a favorite. Candy Tree Organic Vines This great gluten free licorice is such a special treat and a favorite snack.
- Glutino Cookies - Lemon Wafers, Vanilla Dreams and Wafer Cookies
- Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses
- Kozy Shack Chocolate Pudding
- WOW Wheat and Gluten Free Cookies and Brownies These are the best of the best. Large, soft and delicious. Much like you would find at the local bakery.
Some other tips:
Buy a Fun and Different Lunchbox
This may sound silly, but buy your child a fun lunchbox that is not like everyone else’s.
o Fun; because they will carry this lunch box everywhere (school, sleepovers, parties). We bought one at the M&M store in NYC that looks like a bag of Peanut M&M’s and my daughter loves it.
o More importantly, you do not want her lunch box to look like anyone else’s. Last year we had the standard issue Target lunchbox that several students had. One day I had to bring an emergency lunch to school because someone else had grabbed her lunchbox by mistake.
Pack More Food than your Child Needs
The extra food is not necessarily for your child to eat during lunch:
o Even though most schools do not permit it, all kids trade food. A celiac child cannot take anyone else’s food Having extra lunch in her bag to share, lets her be a part of this lunch time social exchange. It does not have to be your pricely special GF treats – we often pack a bag of sunflower seeds to pass around on the playground).
o Secondly, you never know when a situation could arise where your celiac needs extra food. A spontaneous invite after school for a play date is okay because she will have extra food left over from lunch for snack.
o You never know when an emergency may arise. Yes, I’m probably overly protective and prepared, but in the event of an emergency I will feel better knowing my daughter has a little extra food (this is in addition to the emergency stash of food in her classroom).