Packing a Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly School Lunch
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Kim in Blog Events, Life, Mindful Living, Nutrition & Diet, Tips & Tricks

This month's "Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten-Free!" event, hosted by Ali of Whole LIfe Nutrition, is focused on packing healthy school lunches. The event was started by Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried, a blogger I have admired for quite some time. I've always thought this event was great, so I'm excited to participate!

While I may not have children, I do fancy myself a bit of an expert in the lunch-packing arena. I've been brown-bagging it nearly everyday for work the last six years, and since changing my diet 2 1/2 years ago have hardly left the house with a meal or snack, especially on car trips, airplane rides, or long days of errands.   See that meal up there in the photo? It was delicious - red lentil garlic dip, raw veggies, brown rice tortillas, and some raw cashews.  I carried it around Manhattan with me on my last trip to New York, and it was an awesomely easy, affordable, and allergy-friendly way to enjoy an afternoon in Central Park. And although I'm a 28-year-old grown woman, it was a meal that would have been equally appropriate for a school lunch for your little one.

If your child has dietary restrictions, they might feel like "weird kid" when compared to their schoolmates eating processed foods, peanut butter sandwiches, or string cheese. Thankfully, there are lots of ways that you can pack fun and delicious lunches that will make make their tummies happy and probably make their friends wish that you were packing lunch for them too. 

Ways to Make Packing Lunch Fun

Creating a Balanced Meal

It is important that your child have a balanced mix of complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Many kids love to load up on sweet things and carbs, but protein and fat play an equally important role.  Don't be afraid to include avocado, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, full fat dairy (if you child is dairy-tolerant), and responsibly raised meats or seafood in their lunches. Fat and protein help increase satisfaction, stabilize blood sugar, and provide concentrated calories that will help your child sustain energy through the day and be focused on their studies and fun school activities! Let's break it down:

Complex Carbohydrates

Healthy Fats


 Rockin' Raw Wrap from Sun in Bloom

Main Lunchbox Items

For increased satisfaction, it is good to have a main lunchbox feature that has a good balance of nutrition on its own.  Add a serving of fresh seasonal fruit, raw vegetable sticks or a simple side salad, chilled roasted vegetables, or another side/snack item to these main options, and you have a satisfying and healthy meal.

Fresh Pea Dip with Sorrel and Thyme (gluten free, vegan)IMG_2620

Side Items and Snacks

crispy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies 

Sweet Treats


When I've had to feed children recently, I just think about what I'd like to eat, simplify it a little bit, and make it look cute, fanciful, and appealing.  I am excited to have children of my own one day and pack them lunches.In the meantime, I try to make sure I have tasty food for myself, and like to feed my friends, family, and coworkers. Happy lunch-packing!



Article originally appeared on gluten-free, allergy-friendly, and whole foods recipes, resources, and tips (
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