There are lots of ways to pack a healthy gluten-free school lunch. First of all, it’s important to include your child in the planning the week’s lunches ahead of time. Let him pick out a fun lunchbox with a thermos and ice pack to protect foods at safe temperatures. Using a thermos and icepacks help to keep your child’s lunch at a safe temperature, particularly if you live in a warmer climate or during warmer seasons. This way, he’ll be much more likely to eat and enjoy them, and he’s less likely to feel left out watching his non-celiac friends eat lunch.
You can make whole grain gluten-free breads, crackers, and muffins at home with delicious gluten-free recipes. I recommend making double at home and freezing the rest to conveniently add them to your child’s lunches to reduce preparation time. As “dessert,” you can make fruit kabobs or make gluten-free muffins and cookies at home with your celiac child. Avoid filling your child’s lunch box with packaged, processed sweets and refined carbohydrates.
It’s important to make sure your child understands the importance of avoiding foods with gluten. He needs to understand that he never trade foods with his friends. You can let his teacher and cafeteria staff know about his diet needs so they can keep an eye on him. If possible, explain to your child’s friends (and their parents) how important it is that your child eat his own special foods, explaining that he might become quite ill from eating their lunches.
Finally, change things up so your child doesn’t get bored and can get the nutrients he needs in a well-balanced diet. I recommend leftovers such as homemade soups, macaroni and cheese, and lasagna, which have high nutritional value and can add variety to sandwiches and other lunch staples. Using leftovers also saves lunch preparation time and can be cost-efficient as well.
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.