Are you looking for easy gluten free lunches you can take to work, or to pack up for your kids to take to school? Are you looking for ideas that don’t require a lot of fuss, or special ingredients or confusing instructions? Lunches that you will actually make, even when you don’t feel like making lunch?
If so, I think you’ll love this list of 50 gluten free lunches that (mostly) don’t require a recipe.
You may even want to bookmark this page so you can come back to it when you’re in need of a quick and healthy gluten free lunch idea.
When I sat down to write this article for you, I did some surfing to see what’s already out there to help people with celiac put together a simple gluten free lunch and I found a lot of great recipes. But when I thought about making those lunches, I realized something.
Most of us struggle to find the time to cook one nutritious, delicious gluten-free meal a day, and that’s dinner.
I think that when you ask yourself, “what can I eat for lunch that’s gluten-free”, you’re not looking for recipes so much as ideas. And that’s just what I have for you here.
A list of practical, simple, healthy gluten free lunch ideas that you’ll actually make.
Did you grow up taking a sandwich to school every day for lunch? I did! Was it painfully boring? Yes, yes it was!
Maybe this gluten-free thing is an opportunity to get out of the old sandwich rut and come up with some new ideas.
The great thing about sandwiches is that they are portable, and they don’t require utensils. You can pack a sandwich in your purse or bag and pull it out whenever you have a few minutes to grab a bite. No mess, no microwave, no fork. You don’t even need a table.
The problem with gluten-free sandwiches is the bread. Gluten-free bread tends to crumble and it’s not nearly as absorbent as wheat bread, so it disintegrates on contact with sauces or any type of moisture in the filling. What to do?
Buns hold together better than sliced bread. They’re thicker so they can take a bit of moisture.
Schar has a nice gluten-free ciabatta bun. President’s Choice has a soft, reasonably sized hamburger bun that’s also great for sandwiches, or try a gluten-free bagel. Here are some ideas for gluten-free sandwich fillings:
Looking to change up the same old sauces? Roam the sauce aisle at your supermarket. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the selection of gluten-free sauces. Or try my curry pineapple relish. It’s great on a sandwich with ham, pork, or chicken.
How about ditching the (let’s face it) disappointing gluten-free bread altogether? Here are some alternatives.
Wraps have several advantages over bread: They travel better, store more easily and they’re more versatile than bread.
You may also find that gluten-free wraps are lower in calories and carbs than two slices of gluten-free bread.
Sadly though, there is a problem with gluten free wraps. Since they have no gluten, they tend to fall apart. Here are a couple of links that will help you over this hurdle.
Try filling your gluten-free wrap with:
Looking for a great healthy gluten free lunch idea for work? Lettuce wraps are the perfect naturally-gluten free alternative to bread. They are also a great option if you’re looking to reduce calories or carbs.
You need a lettuce that’s soft enough not to break when you roll it. The ends of romaine work well. So does Boston or butter lettuce.
To change it up a bit and add some extra nutrition try kale, collard greens or chard.
The trick with lettuce wraps is to use two pieces of lettuce. It gives you more area to work with and will roll up better. You can also use romaine hearts, add your filling, and eat it like an open-faced sandwich.
Lettuce wraps will work with any of the suggestions above, or try:
Deli meats work nicely on a lettuce wrap because they’re tender yet they hold together so won’t crumble and fall out.
Take a look at that slice of deli meat. Notice anything? It’s flat and round, just like a wrap.
Why not flip your sandwich around and use the inside as the outside? This is especially great if you’re trying to avoid carbs.
Of course, you can put the sauce on the inside, but how about dishing out your favorite deli mustard or mayo or chutney or hummus into a serving dish and dip your gluten-free wrap.
Anything you can put on a sandwich can go on a taco shell. They’re crunchy and delicious and a nice change from the norm. Try:
If you’re packing taco shells for work or school, they’re best in a container so they don’t break.
Rice cakes have the bad reputation of being boring and tasteless, but maybe we’re not trying hard enough. When you think about it, bread is pretty boring and tasteless until you dress it up with your favorite topping, and you can put anything on a rice cake that you’d put on toast. These make an open-faced sandwich so might be more of an at home lunch.
Gluten-Free Rice Cakes 7 Ways: These crunchy, versatile little discs are way under-rated. They're quick, they're low cal, you can top them with pretty much anything and they're naturally gluten-free!
Is lunch meat gluten-free?
Lunch meat or deli meat is one of those places where gluten can hide. It actually makes me a little bit crazy, I mean there really is no need to put gluten in lunch meat! But sometimes things just don’t make sense. You do need to check labels.
Several brands carry a gluten-free claim so that’s helpful. Here are a few suppliers that carry gluten free lunch meats. This doesn’t mean that everything they make is gluten-free so still check the label.
In Canada, any gluten ingredients must be called out on the label, so you don’t need to see a gluten-free claim, just ensure that there are no BROW (barely, rye, oats, wheat) items listed in the ingredients.
Sometimes your tongue just wants something warm and comforting. If you have access to a microwave or get to have the odd lunch at home, then a gluten-free hot lunch is certainly in your reach.
The best and easiest hot lunch IMO is leftovers from dinner. You put your time and creativity into cooking a delicious gluten-free dinner, so when you’re cleaning up just fill your lunch container and lunch is made. Easy peasy.
Here are some more hot lunch ideas. Some are for lunch at home days when you can cook up something quick. Others are perfectly fine to package up and take to work or school:
Anything you would make gluten-free for breakfast, you can also eat for lunch. Why do we limit certain foods to certain meals? Eggs are the perfect example. They’re high in protein and they are quick and easy to make. Try these ideas.
Have you seen those little containers in the grocery store with a few slices of deli meat, cheese, and crackers. Do your kids love those? Mine did.
Well, you can turn that into a great, healthy gluten free lunch box idea!
Just find whatever you have in your panty or refrigerator that can be cut up into bite size pieces, plop it into your lunch container and enjoy.
Absolutely! Salads are mostly made from naturally gluten-free vegetables like salad greens, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, onions. Those are great but why not step out of your comfort zone and try some of these ingredients in your salad:
Most salad dressings are gluten-free but do check the label to be sure.
Pro tip: When taking a salad to work or school, put the dressing in the bottom of the container so your lettuce won’t go soggy. Just mix it up when you’re ready to eat.
I said these gluten free lunch ideas MOSTLY don’t need recipes, but here’s a bonus for you. Also you probably noticed all the links in the article above and many of those take you to recipes.
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