Gluten-Free Lunchbox Ideas

Packing lunch everyday can be challenging! Here are our top tips and 3 favorite lunchbox ideas.

gluten free lunchbox ideas #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes
Gluten-Free Lunchbox Ideas

They are easy, delicious and gluten-free, of course!

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If you’re looking for the blog post about gluten-free lunch at school, click here.

If you’re looking for the Sushi Lunchbox, click here. Otherwise, read on!

It’s back to school time, which means back to packing lunches!

Before you misread that exclamation point as excitement, you need to know I don’t pack lunch for my celiac son anymore.

I haven’t for the past five years.

My celiac son purchases a gluten-free lunch at school everyday, thanks to some hard work and partnership with our school district.  You can read our story here.

But before this, I packed lunch everyday.  And I hated it some days because my son likes his food warm and fresh, not sitting in a lunch box for 6 hours.  Can’t blame him, but I still tried and packed the best lunches I could, every single day. And some days I really got it right!

So since I am often asked about lunch ideas I thought I’d share some lunchboxes I created for an article on Parent Map a few years ago and give you my best tips for packing lunch.

Let me begin by saying it’s challenging for anyone to pack lunches every day and keep it interesting, delicious and healthy.  (Though my friend Gillian of Lala Lunchbox has an amazing Instagram account and app where she manages to share the most amazing lunchbox ideas and inspiration daily!)

When a child also needs to eat gluten-free whether it be for medical reasons (like celiac disease or a gluten intolerance) or by choice, it requires additional planning.

So here are my top tips for packing a gluten-free lunch:

  • Make leftovers your friend. Tonight’s dinner can always be turned into tomorrow’s lunch.
  • Over the weekend, once a week or whatever works for you, try and make some sort of treat your kids will love and you can toss in the lunchbox — a muffin, cookie, energy bite anything that will stay well in a lunchbox.
  • The same goes for adult lunches — once or twice a week make a big batch of quinoa, grilled chicken, tofu, hummus or protein of choice,  a salad you love or even some salad dressing so you can quickly assemble a lunch.
  • Get the kids involved and have them help choose what they want for lunch. When they are vested in the choices, they are more likely to eat it.
  • Invest in a good lunchbox, thermos, anything your child will carry that will keep food hot/cold and fresh. Lunchbox options have improved dramatically in the last 5 years I haven’t been packing lunches both in terms of fashion and function!
  • Keep it simple! Find a few lunches your child likes and rotate them, switching up a fruit or a treat to make it seem fresh.
  • Look for bloggers like Lala Lunchbox who specialize in lunchbox ideas to help you with ideas.

Here are 3 easy lunch ideas my son used to love:

Lunch Idea 1:  Mexican Fiesta

Gluten-Free Lunch Box Idea #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes

The premise of this plate is to use tonight’s dinner for tomorrow’s lunch.

The work has already been done in prepping dinner.  You might as well benefit from it by enjoying the food for lunch too.

The plate can be easily adapted to tastes: substitute steak or tofu for chicken, rice for quinoa, and add any vegetable your child loves.


  • Smashed Avocado: Mash a half or whole avocado with a fork, season with salt and lemon juice to taste.
  • Your favorite gluten-free tortilla chips
  • Corn & tomatoes
  • Cubed grilled chicken (or steak or tofu)
  • Quinoa (or rice)
  • Black beans


Lunch Idea 2: Veggie Hummus Plate

gluten free lunch box idease #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes


Who doesn’t love a big snack plate?

Now you can have your very own for lunch!  Just assemble your child’s favorite vegetables, some hummus, cheese and gluten-free pretzels.  You could also add some fruit for additional fun.


  • Assorted Vegetables: carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, snap peas, and tomatoes
  • Your favorite gluten-free pretzels.
  • Your favorite cheese, cut in cubes.
  • Easy Hummus or your favorite gluten-free store bought hummus.
  • Optional: top hummus with a few roasted chickpeas


Lunch Idea 3: Breakfast for lunch

gluten free lunch boxes #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes

Switch it up and serve breakfast for lunch.  This easy to make, deconstructed yogurt parfait is always a hit and can be easily adapted to tastes.


  • Your favorite gluten-free yogurt (regular or dairy-free), sprinkle with hemp seeds
  • Your favorite gluten-free granola
  • Seasonal fruit. Shown here: Peaches, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.
  • Sunflower Seed Butter (or any nut or seed butter of choice)

Hope you found this helpful!

For more lunch ideas, click here.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite packed lunch or lunch packing tips!





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