Thursday, September 30, 2010

What To Pack For Lunch

Truthfully, I haven't found an easy way to pack a healthy lunch. Like many parents who pack a gluten free/dairy free lunch for their kids each day, I struggle each day to figure out what I can pack for everyone that will be similar to most kids eat so that my kids don't feel different, but something they might actually eat that will provide some nourishment. My kids prefer to eat typical kid food at lunch, although they each have certain things they will eat at home that make them slightly more adventurous eaters. (They both eat pad thai and my son will eat a salad or spring rolls and my daughter likes lobster. They weren't always like this, but years of eating gluten free has gotten them both to expand beyond what the typical kid eats.)

Still, when it comes to lunch at school only standard fare will do. They both want to feel normal and the same as everyone else--and I can't really blame them. I try to send something fresh with lunch and something fresh with snack--even if it is just a piece of carrot or a piece of apple. Also, I have found if I just send in three things (main course, fresh fruit or vegetable and dessert) plus water they actually eat lunch. If I send in four things or make it too complicated or too healthy it can really backfire and they end up eating nothing. I also have learned to take the focus off of lunch. If they don't eat lunch, they can eat a meal when they get home from school. If they don't touch ANYTHING in their lunchbox and I have been told that they had a difficult day, I have informed the teacher that they didn't eat a thing from their lunchbox and maybe someone could make sure they eat something. Also, I am honestly not trying to be too healthy or too creative with these packed lunches. I am really trying to just get my kids to eat some of what I send.

Also, The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen has a great post on Packing a Healthy School Lunch and one on Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch that have some suggestions that might be of interest.

Main courses:
  • peanut butter and jelly on Udi's gluten free bread
  • cold cuts on Udi's gluten free bread
  • homemade chicken soup with Tinkyada organic brown rice pasta
  • egg salad sandwich on Udi's bread
  • handful of almonds
  • spring rolls
  • Applegate Farms pepperoni on corn cakes

with fresh fruit or vegetable:
  • a carrot
  • apple slices
  • grapes

and a treat:
  • Glow Gluten Free cookie
  • homemade cookie made with nutritious flour or nuts
  • Kinnickinnick oreos (well, that is what other kids are eating so I go along sometimes so no one feels deprived!)


For snack:
  • pretzels
  • corn chips
  • popcorn
  • rice chex cereal with some dehydrated strawberries

  • nectarine
  • apple
  • grapes
  • carrots


My Doodle's Dairy Free said...

I completely agree with your insight in this post. My daughter just started kindergarten and I have the same challenge. I was able to talk the school lunch director to allow my daughter to heat up her lunch. So, I am able to freeze leftovers from dinner and send them with her to school.

I also have found peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made with my own gluten free banana bread work great. It's much cheaper than buying UDI's bread and tastes great!

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sproutsmama said...

GF lunches are extra hard when your child's school has a nut-free policy. so many of our GF standbys at home feature almond flour or nut butters.

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