Kid-Tested Lunch Box Ideas for Gluten-Free and Grain-Free Special Diets


lunchboxesBeing the mother of an elementary school child, I have been experimenting for a couple years on what’s best to put in my daughter’s lunch box that his healthy and delicious. One of the challenges of school lunch is that we parents are not there to supervise and make sure/encourage they eat all of their lunch.  Many of you know it can be tricky. They will eat the same meal at home but then when they are at school the might not. On the other hand, if we give them the foods they love that are not as healthy “just to get them to eat” they avoid all of the healthy stuff and only eat the junk. For example, if I feed my daughter a sandwich sometimes she will eat just the bread and not the meat/protein. If I put crackers or a sweet treat, she may eat them but not the vegetable and protein. There are a couple ways we handle this, most often I do not make a sandwich (unless it’s a tuna or salmon salad sandwich which she tends to love and eat the protein). I also avoid including the treats, which requires her to eat the healthy choices available. If I do include a treat, I tell her she needs to eat the meat and vegetable or I won’t serve the treat on the next special occasion. This combination of nutrition and parenting techniques works well for her. What I do most often choose from several categories of food (protein, vegetable, fruit) and put a Paleo style lunch together.  This way we avoid the bread, starches, and sugars and focus on the healthy food. Here is my list. Soon (in the next few weeks) I will be sharing a downloadable handout: [two_column_block style=”undefined”] [content1] Protein Salami Lunch meat Sausage Chicken leg Chicken pancake Chicken salad Salmon chunks or salmon salad Bacon Bean Burgers Burger Meatballs Epic Meat Bar Beans and rice Hummus Sandwich with gluten/grain-free bread or wrap [/content1] [content2] Vegetables Cherry tomatoes Kale chips Peas (frozen or fresh) Kale salad with raisins Carrot sticks or slices Celery sticks Jicama Red pepper slices Cucumber slices Frozen carrots, peas, and corn Nori seaweed Cauliflower tortilla (for sandwich wrap) Apple kraut [/content2] [/two_column_block] [two_column_block style=”undefined”] [content1] Fruit Strawberries Blueberries Pineapple chunks Small banana Date pieces Freeze dried fruit Dried fruit Dried mango Fruit leather Gelatin gummies Date balls Apple sauce (pear or mango sauce) [/content1] [content2] Snacks Freeze dried peas Sweet potato chips Carrot chips Rice cubes Crackers Pretzels Cold gluten-free pasta salad Chickpea roasted snack Quinoa cakes Non-dairy yogurt squeeze packs (Ruby Rockets) [/content2] [/two_column_block]    

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who received her master’s degree in medical nutrition with distinction from Arizona State University. She is also a published nutrition researcher and has specialized in complex neurological conditions, particularly autism spectrum disorders and ADHD for over 20 years. Julie is the award winning author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, co-author of a study proving the efficacy of nutrition and dietary intervention for autism published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, and also the founder of Download her free guide, 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.


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