Did you know that January 13 is National Gluten-Free Day? We’ve had so many parents asking for gluten-free lunchboxes for their little ones, so we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite to try out.
While gluten-free diets have grown in popularity, it’s not necessary to cut gluten from your diet unless you have a gluten intolerance or allergy, like Celiac disease. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, an estimated 1 in 100 people worldwide are affected by the disease.
When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.
Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease (parent, child, sibling) have a 1 in 10 risk of developing celiac disease. To learn more about celiac disease, visit celiac.org.
Here are our top 10 Gluten-Free Lunchbox Ideas for Kids:
Broccoli & Cheese Crustless Quiches – Who says breakfast can only be in the morning? Pack these broccoli cheese quiches in your child’s lunchbox for a fun way to eat mid-day! Leftovers can also be wrapped up and stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Caprese Zoodle Salad – This no-cook noodle salad is so easy to throw together for a quick and easy lunchbox. Replacing regular pasta with zucchini noodles, or zoodles, adds an extra dose of veggies! If making the full lunchbox, replace the whole wheat crackers with gluten-free crackers on the side.
Easy Picnic Bento Box – Capture your favorite summer picnic in a bento box! Chicken salad gets a makeover by swapping Greek yogurt for the mayo and adding grapes. Make sure to swap in gluten-free crackers!
Fun Bento Fun-due – This “fondue” recipe is a great way to add some fun to lunchtime. Kids will love to get hands-on and dip fruits and veggies. The sunflower seed yogurt dip is a great nut-free lunch option!
Mediterranean Vegetarian Stuffed Avocados – This blend of Mediterranean flavors will have taste buds dancing! The “stuffing” can be made ahead of time for a quick lunchbox addition. To keep avocados from browning, simply sprinkle with a little lime juice.
No-Cook Summer Rolls – Get your kids in the kitchen to help prepare these fun, no-cook summer rolls! Kids can pick their favorite veggies while parents roll them up. They keep well in lunchboxes for a fun main dish! While the rolls themselves are gluten-free, the sesame ginger dressing may not be. Check the label for ingredients and allergens.
Savory Chicken & Rice Muffins – Turn a chicken & rice dinner into these lunchbox-friendly muffins! Make a big batch at the start of the week for easy snacks and lunchbox packing.
Chopped Sunflower Crunch Salad – Jazz up a packaged salad with just a few simple ingredients. Make ahead for a grab-and-go lunch and just add the dressing when it’s lunchtime.
Tasty Turkey Wrap – We encourage eating with your hands in this fun take on the traditional turkey sandwich. This turkey wrap gets an extra punch of nutrition with the addition of guacamole and veggies like cucumber, tomato, and carrots.
Tuna Salad Stuffed Mini Pepper Boats – Set sail with these super fun mini pepper boats! Avocado replaced mayonnaise in traditional tuna salad for this tasty recipe. Use coffee stirrers or toothpicks to attach your clementine sails to the pepper boats.
With any food allergies or intolerance, it’s important to consult your doctor before making any dietary changes and to be properly diagnosed. Always check the food label on packaged goods for ingredients and allergens.