Back to school time is here! For some of us that might be exciting, but for others that might not be the case. If your household is held to the restrictions of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, or you just prefer to live a gluten-free lifestyle, then you know how scary school time can be. If all the stresses that come with school aren’t enough, worrying about all of the food allergies your child can be exposed to is downright terrifying. If you are one who has to live through this stressful situation each year, well stop worrying! We also experience this each year, and are fortunate enough to have learned some helpful tips and advice along the way. Hopefully we can help you get rid of your worries and make back to school time one to look forward to!
Cooking & Preparation
The key to it all lies in the beginning steps, cooking and preparation. Figuring out what foods to pack your kid for lunch is difficult enough considering all the food options out there combined with their possible pickiness and preferences. It is important to remember to just keep it simple! If you know what foods your children like, then stick to that with their lunches. Since there might not be many options for them at school, you want to make sure there’s no chance their hungry. One way you can make packing a lunch easier is to make use of leftovers. By maybe making your already gluten-free prepared dinner a little bigger, you can pack the rest as lunch the next day. Another great idea is to do meal preparation on sundays. You can make a large batch of your choice and space it out over the course of the week.
One of the best pieces of advice we could give is to get your kids involved in the process! Having them help you choose and make their lunches will make them way more excited to eat it when they get to school. Not to mention the fun you’ll have bonding with them and teaching them such an important fun skill!
Now for some ideas on specific foods you can use to pack your kids school lunches. Of course regular bread is full of gluten, so that makes sandwiches, the common go to lunch, difficult to make. You can always use gluten-free bread, but it is often difficult to find a kind that you love. Using corn tortillas or even lettuce to make wraps is a way to keep that sandwich feel but without the gluten! For the other possibilities we’ll break it down into groups of main courses, fruits and vegetables, and other sides and snacks.
Main Courses - Any meat served without bread, salads (traditional, egg, tuna, etc.), soups (many great thermoses out there!), and of course any leftovers
Fruits & Vegetables - Any main fruit item (apple, banana, orange, etc.), berries, dried fruits, any roasted veggie. Doing fun ideas like fruit and veggie skewers is also great. Adding dips like hummus, yogurt, or even peanut butter is an extra bonus!
Sides & Snacks - granola and yogurt, seaweed, applesauce, any of your kids favorite snacks, and of course any of our pies or cookies here!
Once your food choices have been decided, it’s time to pack! Just like before, having your children involved in the packing process is likely to increase the chances they devour every last bite. Packing can be simple, but it’s important to make sure you have a quality lunchbox for your kid to use. Getting a lunchbox with multiple compartments helps separate and organize different foods. If you want a lunchbox that can remain cold for a longer period of time, getting a stainless steel one and keeping it in the fridge overnight is a great solution. And on the opposite end, if you want more foods to stay hot for longer, there are plenty of thermoses you can buy. One tip is to put boiling water inside in the morning and let it sit for 5 minutes. Pour it out and add whatever soup or either item you’d like to stay warm until lunch time! Below we will list some great lunchbox options you might find helpful.
Kazoo Sandwich Cutters for Kids
Hopefully we helped you rid of some of your back to school worries! Just remember to keep it simple, get your kids involved, and just have fun!