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10 Healthy Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Box Ideas

Going gluten-free can be challenging enough. Toss in dairy-free living (many who have issues with gluten are also lactose intolerant or have milk sensitivity) and peanut-free school policies, and the options can seem limiting.

When searching the web, I’ve found that most gluten-free lunch box suggestions involve buying bread substitutes. Not only can this be expensive, but most gluten-free breads have an “off” texture unless toasted. For some better choices, I’ve compiled ten completely bread-free lunch box ideas that are not only gluten-free, but also dairy-free, peanut-free, and nut-free!

And don’t worry one bit about you or your child “missing out,” all of these gluten-free lunch box ideas are packed with flavor!

1. Easy Lunchtime Lettuce Wraps - Make salads more fun by wrapping chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, or potato salad in a lettuce wrap. Boston lettuce leaves have a nice pliable and broad shape that works well for lettuce wraps. Larger leaves can even be wrapped around the filling burrito-style. For an extra taste and nutrition boost, I like to add grated carrot and sliced olives to the salad.

2. Teriyaki Rice Bowls – Combine wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos with honey or maple syrup to make a tasty teriyaki chicken and broccoli brown rice bowl. You can top almost any healthy food with a sweet teriyaki sauce and kids will eat it!

3. Quinoa or Millet Salad – Add beans, chicken, tuna or salmon plus bite-sized veggies (i.e. diced carrots or peas) to a bowl of cooked quinoa or millet. Stir in your family’s favorite vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper to taste, spoon it into a travel container and let the flavors meld while waiting for lunch.

4. Make-Your-Own Tacos – Assembly of tacos is half the fun! Pack seasoned taco meat (all-natural turkey or hormone-free beef), corn tortillas (crispy or soft), guacamole, chopped olives, and salsa in separate little containers.

5. Thai Curry – Whip up an easy coconut-based curry (green, red, or yellow … mild, medium, or hot) the night before. Pack the curry sauce with meat and veggies in one container and a bowl of brown rice in another.

6. Baked Potato w/ Chili – Who needs cheese and sour cream when you can top a small baked potato with some hearty chili! Put the chili in a separate container for pouring on top at lunch time. Alternately, you can simply pack a hearty bowl of chili with corn tortilla chips for dipping.

7. Hard Boiled Eggs or Deviled Eggs – This is quick and easy protein to add to a snack-style lunch box. Pair it with trail mix, fresh fruit, and gluten-free crackers.

8. Kebabs – Leftover chicken cubes or sausage threaded with fresh fruit or roasted vegetables (sweet potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, etc.) makes for a fun finger-food lunch. If packing for little ones, make sure to use kid-friendly skewers with blunt ends.

9. Hummus and Dippers – This bean-based dip packs in some protein and healthy oils. For dipping, include rolled up slices of all-natural deli turkey, baby carrots, and gluten-free crackers or pretzels.

10. Avocado in a Blanket – My favorite sub sandwich in years past was turkey, avocado, and bacon. One day it dawned on me that perhaps the bread isn’t even required. Simply lay out some all-natural deli turkey or ham slices, and place a slice of avocado at one end of each. Sprinkle on nitrate-free cooked bacon crumbles, and roll them up. You can secure them with toothpicks, if desired. These little bundles of protein will fit nicely in a lunch box with some fresh fruit and healthy black bean chips or gluten-free crackers. You can also wrap them in lettuce leaves and serve with a dairy-free vinaigrette.

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Comments

  1. 38ffb1648c0bf485cb4e2aa338025c7d?s=50
    sapphire

    Obviously this cant be dairy-free if it's tuna salad, egg salad, and potato salad. Thats all creamy mayo which is in fact dairy.

    Applegate Response:

    Hi Sapphire, thank you for your comment! Just to clarify mayo is dairy free. It is an emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice. You still certainly want to check the label of whatever brand you are using! Thank you!- Krista

  2. E87180f904bf01c8e8cad34edc16849d?s=50
    Rebecca

    These are great lunches! I can't eat dairy and I'm trying to not eat bread either so this was very helpful.

  3. Alisa Fleming

    Congratulations Tracy! I just checked out your website and it is so cute! The book sounds delicious. Yes, I love my sweets, reducing sugar consumption is a big one on my list. We're gluten-free at home, too, due to my husband's diet needs.

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    Tracy Hill

    Alisa, what great suggestions and I applaud your additional step of making each dairy free. It also looks like you appreciate reducing sugar intake, which is especially important with children. In my experience, many gluten-free recipes compensate by being high in sugar. All this is important to me because I just completed and published a gluten-free, dairy-free & refined sugar-free cookbook called Delightfully Free. I would love for you to take a look at it and let me know what you think. Here's my website: http://www.delightfullyfree.com/ My best to you & keep up the good fight! : ) Tracy Hill

  5. Picture?type=square
    Marisa McLaughlin Higgins

    Great ideas!! We just went GF in our house and while I've compiled a great bunch of GF school lunch ideas, there were a few here I hadn't thought about yet! My kids will LOVE the Teriyaki Rice Bowls and the chili baked potatoes. Thank you!! :)

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    Jamie Keaton

    These are great ideas! I never know what to pack when I'm going to be away from home...

  7. Picture?type=square
    Erin Calvo-Bacci

    I Love these ideas!