Packing Gluten-Free Lunches for School — Menu Plan Aug. 14

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It’s a new month, and a new school year will be starting soon. It may seem early, but we’ll be packing up gluten-free lunches for school this week.

Should you buy lunch at school?
I applaud the many schools that include gluten-free lunch options for students. I understand that many families have been satisfied with it. I think it’s great if that works for you! We, however, have always preferred to pack lunches to take to school. Every school that has offered “gluten-free” lunches for my kids, has also warned us about possible cross-contamination with gluten. The schools couldn’t guarantee the food would be truly gluten-free. Taking that risk of consuming even a small amount of gluten on a daily basis at school didn’t seem like a good idea for us. Plus, the school nurses at each school we spoke with, also recommended that the kids bring their own lunches. If the school nurses don’t feel confident in the gluten-free food being offered, then neither do we.

To start the packing, I like to use the Pack-It freezable lunch bags. They now have a variety of different styles and patterns to choose from. We have seen the velcro closures wear out over time, so I would recommend one with a zipper closure if you and your family are going to use them a lot like we do. Some of them also have long shoulder straps and adjustable handles that make them easy to carry or attach to a full backpack.

Fast and Easy vs. Frugal Finds. You can buy many things in small serving-size packaging: chips, pretzels, popcorn, apple slices, carrot sticks, etc. But if you want to save some money, just invest in reusable small containerszip-style bags, and bottles. You can even portion the food into the containers on the weekend. Make enough for the whole week, and packing your lunches in the morning just got faster! We usually get it all packed in 5-10 minutes each morning.

Food to Pack. We keep it as easy as possible: a protein, a fruit, a vegetable, a snack, and a drink. We may change it up a little throughout the year as needed (or just for some variety). The kids seem to eat more during the first couple weeks and on testing days, so we may include an extra snack.

  • Protein — deli meat sliced thin rolled up, meat cut into sticks or cubes, bacon strips, chicken nuggets (or leftover chicken from dinner cut into bite-size pieces), nut or seed butters on crackers, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks
  • Fruit — banana, apple slices, clementines, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, applesauce, peaches…whatever we’ve got in the house
  • Vegetables — carrot sticks, celery, snap peas, spinach leaves, cucumber slices, sweet pepper slices, jicama, etc
  • Snack — chips, gluten-free pretzels, popcorn, Mini-Muffins, crackers
  • Treats — not always, but occasionally we include a gluten-free cookie or a piece of candy
  • Drinks — juice, water bottles, lemonade, Gatorade
  • Napkin and Utensils, if needed.

Don’t forget about leftovers as an option! I love to eat leftovers for lunch because it’s fast and easy. Pasta SaladsRice SaladEgg Salad, and Corn and Black Bean Salad make great lunches. It’s even better when you have a microwave available at work or school to heat up those yummy leftovers from the night before: chiligumbosoup, casseroles, Indian Chicken, etc.


Celiac Family’s Menu This Week:

Wild Rice Salad

Mexican Chicken Pizza

Salmon w/Balsamic Glaze


Monday – Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders, Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

Tuesday – Corned Beef, Roasted Red Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts w/Rosemary & Garlic

Wednesday – Chicken Apple Sausage, Wild Rice Salad

Thursday – leftovers

Friday –  Mexican Chicken Pizza

Saturday – Balsamic Salmon, Rice, Asparagus

Sunday – Spaghetti and Meatballs, Garlic Bread, Salad


Gluten Free Menu Swap Roundup

Mom’s Plans: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
This week, Melissa is posting her meals from last week for review. Her family ate Sandwiches, Split Pea Soup, Chalupa Salad, Cornbread Taco Bake, Cheesy Sausage Pasta, Spanish Omelette, and Hamburger Soup. Check out her full post for lunch ideas and recipe links.

Come back later to check this week’s post and see who else may be sharing their gluten-free menus, recipe links, and ideas for winter produce.

Want to join Gluten-Free Menu Swap?

  • For this week’s roundup, email your menu link to celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Or, simply put your menu link in the comments below.
  • The Gluten-Free Menu Swap Page has the current schedule of themes and hosts. If you’d like to host a future week, please send me an email (celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com) with your preferred date and theme. We welcome suggested themes, too!

Need more menu ideas?

  • smallbuttonLaura at hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.
Categories : Menu Plan



Everything looks great! We eat gluten free, but are not celiac. We just find that we all feel better we don’t have it. I do notice a change my children’s behavior when they do have gluten (on occasion), so it has been a great thing for us to shift away from it. I have never roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts together, I will have to try that soon! Thanks for sharing!


Kayla — Thanks for stopping by. Glad you found some new ideas for eating gluten-free.

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