Whether your child eats a gluten-free diet because of an allergy or to combat other issues, packing school lunches can seem like a challenge because you can't make the usual sandwiches on wheat bread. However, there are plenty of other easy, kid-friendly foods to send for a gluten-free lunch.
Instead of purchasing expensive gluten-free bread to make sandwiches, use wraps as the central element of many school lunches. As long as you use 100-percent corn tortillas and gluten-free ingredients, these wraps will be safe to eat. Ideas for wraps include peanut butter and jelly, hummus and cucumbers, cream cheese and dried fruit, lunch meat and lettuce, chicken salad or tuna salad.
Many types of soups make hearty gluten-free entrees for school lunches, especially in the winter when your child will welcome something hot to eat. Ideas include a kale and white bean soup, pureed butternut squash soup with shredded chicken, chili, vegetable barley soup and anything else your child likes. Heat the soup in the morning and pack it into a vacuum-packed, insulated container to keep it hot until lunch.
You are accustomed to making gluten-free dinners for your child, so one easy solution is to make an extra portion and send the leftovers in the school lunch. To keep your child from getting tired of a food, stagger the meals by one day so the child is eating the leftovers from two nights ago, not last night. Some gluten-free meals that keep well as leftovers include rice dishes, loaded baked potatoes, stir fry and rice noodles with peanut sauce.
Round out your child's gluten-free lunch with a fruit, a vegetable and, if you like, a small dessert. Fruits can help your child get carbohydrates that he might be missing if the main part of the meal does not have an alternative carbohydrate to wheat. Vegetables provide fiber and protein, especially if you serve them with hummus or a bean dip. For dessert, a small piece of chocolate, gluten-free granola bar or homemade puffed rice and marshmallow square makes a satisfying end to the meal.