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GFCF School Lunch Ideas

My kids are homeschooled, so this list is compiled from the wonderful ideas of several people from the gfcfdiet message board. However, I make no representation that these items are currently gfcf, just that at the time I compiled the list, the other people said the items were gfcf. ALWAYS CHECK LABELS!!

There are two parts to packing a school lunch: 1) the food they take, and 2) how it is packed or presented.

(1) Food ideas

"Main" courses

cut up pieces of bologna
soy or "other" cheese slices
cooked bacon pieces
homemade chicken nuggets
Meat slices rolled up
Hot dog
Ham, turkey, or chicken in slices, chunks, strips
Peanut butter or other nut butters
Rice muffins - split in two for sandwiches or jelly
Vans GF waffles used for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
GF pancake/waffle made really thick, sliced into strips with syrup to dip
Homemade chicken nuggets with ketchup to dip
Oreda fries or tater tots heated in the morning with ketchup to dip (they are room temp by lunch)
pasta with tomato/meat sauce or pasta salads
Tortillas with filling
Sausage links
My son loves Armour Vienna Sausage (if nitrates aren't a problem)
GFCF Waffles or pancakes used as a bread for sandwiches or jelly roll
Tuna fish or fish sticks
BLT's with Applegate Farms bacon (gfcf and nitrate free)
Noah's bread and sometimes make them into mini pizzas too
Peanut butter on crackers, on apples, in rice krispie treats
mini tacos (bearitos seasoning and mini shells from the grocery store, not sure of the brand)
mini gfcf pancakes and shelton sausage patties
gfcf *pizza*
hotdogs cut up and cooked and sent in a thermos
chili in a thermos with corn chips to *scoop*
Hard or Soft shell tacos (no cheese or a little fake stuff, I use a dab of Tofutti's fake cream cheese)
Mini-homemade corndog nuggets with sauce to dip
Roast beef strips
Corn bread sticks or muffins
the little circle Tostito bites make nice platforms for sandwiches and fillings
cubed chicken mixed with honey in a plastic bowl
Pizza--Take half of a Deland flat bread or an Ener-G individual size rice crust toasted and split to make thinner (when toasted enough they puff up and can be split easier). Add about a tablespoon of pizza or spaghetti sauce. Cover with pretoasted pepperoni and sprinkle with "cheese". Cook in a toaster oven for a few minutes. Let cool then tie up in a baggie.


cut up fruits
baby carrots
Raisins or other dried fruit
Fruit - apples, applesauce, bananas, grapes, pineapple, kiwi, peaches, plum, fruit cocktail, orange slices, strawberries
Frozen berries (thawed) with some of Tofutti's Better that Cream Cheese or sugar on top in a plastic container
Corn from a can
Carrots/celery sticks plain or with dipping sauce
Fruit other than 4 main ones
Dried fruit other than raisins
Del Monte or Hunts gel snack cups
Del Monte Fruit Smoothies
Mott's Fruitsations - several varieties
Flavored applesauce
Chow Mein vegetables -- baby corn, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, with rice noodles and/or sauce
Melon chunks, apples or oranges
baby carrots or celery sticks -- you can make a good dip using sour supreme and spices
Farley's fruit snacks
Tomato wedges
Orange, peach or other wedges
Some of the flavored fruit cocktails and fruit blends
Small salads in one of those little Gladware containers.


gfcf pretzels
Taro chips are available in the individual size bags
Cold french fries that have been fried crispy or reheated to crispy were a hit
Fat Free Original Pringles
Tostito Tortilla WOW chips
Ruffles Reduced fat chips
there are several other chips on the GFCF list you can choose from
Cereal - either in a plastic bag or bowl
Whole Soy Blueberry [or other flavor] yogurt
Rice crackers
Sesame crackers
Dry Roasted Peanuts (any other nuts if your child likes them)
Nerds, Skittles, Junior Mints, Jelly Belly beans, gummies, other acceptable sweets
Miniature marshmallows
GF cookies/pretzels/desserts
Cotton candy
Corn Flakes
Nature's Highlight Rice Sticks
Potato sticks
PikNik Original Shoestring Potatoes
Rice cakes
Popcorn or Popcorn cakes
Imagine or homemade puddings
Buckwheat Flakes by Arrowhead taste a lot like wheat or graham
Honey on anything
Trail-mixes -- choc. chips, cereals, mini-marshmallows, dried fruit, nuts
Add melted marshmallow to trail mix and press it together to make a granola bar.
mini bags of chips or gfcf pretzels or potato flyers
gfcf cookies
Fritos or Tostitos with Ragu, Prego, etc. spaghetti sauce to dip
Sunflower seeds as mix-ins
Cracker Jack - regular and fat-free
Melting choc. chips, stir in Mocha Mix Creamer until a smooth "milk chocolate", use it to coat GF pretzels.

Homemade rice krispie treat - Malt-O-Meal kind, and Rice Flakes by Arrowhead
(**I reduce the butter and marshmallows by 1/3 each, we also makes treats with other cereals like the cocoa kind and corn pops. Sometimes I make them really thin and use that for a piece of bread-like platform to put other stuff on. You can also add peanut butter, choc. chips, whole marshmallows unmelted, sprinkles, etc.)


Minute Maid 100% juice box - I only get 100% juice, they also have berry and apple
"Other" milk in a plastic drink container
juice boxes or soy dream boxes or little *milk cartons* of Silk

(2) Presentation ideas

They only need about 3 things besides a drink and if you make a fruit one of them, there's only two.

The school lunch menu repeats every three weeks itself. I usually plan on a drink, a fruit, a meat/peanut butter-on-something/yogurt/something-to-dip and chips or cereal (in some form).

An ice pack may help if there is a prolonged period before lunch.

The juice boxes I slightly freeze so they will last (from 8:00 to 12:00) or I add ice cubes to a drink in a plastic drink container

I take the same stuff and keep rearranging the shape of it or mixing different stuff together. Pineapple slices are a bit different than pineapple chunks, or pineapple with little marshmallows. Chicken chunks vs. chicken cubes vs. chicken strips vs. chicken slices. Sometimes I make rice krispie treats in squares, sometimes two little balls on top of a large one like Mickey Mouse head, sometimes use a cookie cutter to cut into different shapes, sometimes use mini marshmallows or choc. chips to outline a shape like a boat or car or flying saucer in the top.

Dipping stuff is great - a container of sauce or ketchup goes a long way.

Everything is in a plastic baggie or plastic tupperware-type container. They can take cereal in a plastic bowl and add milk from the drink container.

School lunch is a social event too so the kids want stuff that blends in

Buy smaller size Lunchable, throw the food out, and then keep using the plastic container with the little sections and fill the sections up with your own lunch meat, crackers, dipping sauces, etc. Put plastic wrap around it and put in the lunch box. This looks more like what the other kids might have.

For chips, we have bought a "snack" size Pringles container and Lays bag, then keep refilling the containers with the acceptable stuff (use a chip clip for the Lays bag). We don't go this far all the time, but the packaging helps sometimes so I keep my eyes open for opportunities.

I also slice regular turkey or ham thick and cut it in a circle so it looks like lunch meat.

Pizza--I did this two ways. One was to send all of the ingredients precooked and let him put it together himself. The first few times I included a picture guide for constructing the pizza. Even the teacher thought this was cool. The other way (to save time and speed up eating) was to prepare it at home.

I would get the monthly menu (just the main dish usually) from the school. I would then try to match my son's lunch as closely as possible. On school pizza day, he would take pizza, hamburgers on hamburger day and his spaghetti on any ravioli or beefy mac day. He enjoyed having "what the other kids had". Then on days that they served something he did not like, I could always send something else which he thought was great.

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