Wheat & gluten free school/bagged lunch ideas
School lunches that are appetising enough to encourage being eaten, rather than dumped and junk food substituted, are a challenge for all those busy moms and dads out there eagerly looking forward to the end of the school vacation period, though not necessarily looking forward to putting together bagged lunches for the coming term.
We've collated a few lunch ideas that may work well for wheat & gluten free school bagged lunches. Most schools have a "no nuts" policy, so we have used Sunbutter as an alternative in some recipes, there are also other nutfree butters available. Note: Some schools are also now banning peanut butter substitutes because they look and smell too much like the nut containing version. The argument for this extended ban is that teachers or dinner supervisors are unable to tell the difference. We suggest that you check your school's policy on nutfree butters before using them in packed school lunches.
The items on this page aren't just confined to school lunches, they're also great ideas for bagged office lunches, ensuring no sneaky trips to the snack vending machine.
- Flax bread - this bread doesn't crumble and stays moist, it also tastes great, keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days, and it freezes well. To freeze, just slice up and interleave with waxed or baking paper, seal in a plastic bag and remove pieces as required.
- Rolls - bread rolls that stay soft and springy, and don't crumble into a horrible mess.
- Tortillas/wraps - a bit fiddly to make, but can be frozen interleaved with wax or baking paper, defrost fully before filling and rolling.
- Plus there are lots of commercial gluten free breads, rolls, and tortillas available if you are pushed for time.
- Cheese, tomato & mayo - packet cheese slices make great fillings as they are soft and flexible
- Cream cheese and their favourite veggies
- Ham & cheese
- Ham & pineapple - though make sure the pineapple is well drained on kitchen paper, you don't want soggy sandwiches
- PB&J - using Sunbutter as many schools have a "no nuts" rule, but check this rule isn't also extended to nutfree butters
- Peanut butter and banana - again using Sunbutter as many schools have a "no nuts" rule (check nutfree butters aren't also banned), and rubbing a small amount of lemon juice on the banana will stop it going brown, though don't overdo it, you don't want soggy sandwiches
- Tuna mayo - mix a generous amount of mayo into the tuna, perhaps add some sweetcorn kernels, though dry them before adding if they are canned
- Mini cheese flans - if they don't like mushrooms leave them out and add more peppers
- Mini pizzas - use our basic pizza recipe and miniaturise
- Sausage dogs & ketchup dip - use a tiny watertight tub for the ketchup or buy individiual sachets
- We're also working on samosas, calzone and pasties - coming soon
- Carrot, cucumber & celery sticks, cherry tomatoes - put in a small snack bag
- Grapes - rinse, dry thoroughly and store in a plastic tub with lid to avoid them getting squashed
- Fruit salad - small tub of mixed fruit salad, make sure the tub is completely watertight, there's nothing worse than a sticky leak over everything, and don't forget the plastic spoon
- Pasta salad - their favourite pasta mixed with a tomato or cheese based sauce, and some chopped veggies, plus spoon
- Snack size pots of fruit purees - there are quite a few on the market with no added sugar + spoon
- Satsumas - easier to peel than oranges
- Yogurt - unless you can keep it really cold it won't be nice by lunchtime
- Mocha chocolate chip cookies
- White chocolate chip cookies
- Sunbutter cookies #1 - our standard peanut butter cookie recipe with Sunbutter substituted to make it safe for a "no nuts" school policy (check this rule isn't also extended to nutfree butters)
- Sunbutter cookies #2 - another peanut butter recipe with Sunbutter substituted, and only needing 3 ingredients (check the "no nuts" rule isn't also extended to nutfree butters)
- Banana bread - a big favourite, containing no refined sugar, but lots of raisins and banana goodness
- Blueberry muffins - low sugar and bursting with blueberries
- Cherry muffins - tasty treat with really coconuty flavour
- Raspberry muffins - low sugar and full of tangy raspberries
- Carrot cake - warm orangey and spice flavour, and a great way to get them eating more carrots
- Mini fruit pies - just make small versions in large muffin cups and instead of the lattice, place a complete round of pastry on the top to keep the filling in
- Tiffin/Bento boxes - Amazon have some really great ones
- Airtight/watertight plastic boxes
- SnackTAXI - great little lined bags that you can use, wash and reuse, much more environmentally friendly than lots of wrap/clingfilm etc, we've used and reviewed these, and love them
- Soft carrying bag designed for lunch packs, some come with cooler block inserts, and there are also versions that you can put in the freezer, then additional loose cooler blocks aren't required
- Cooler blocks - very important, especially if dairy, fish or meats are included in the lunch box
- Plastic forks/knives/spoons
- Paper napkins
- Wet wipes