Snacks, Quick-n-Easy Meals, and Packed Lunch Ideas
When my daughter was diagnosed at age 6 with Celiac Disease, we decided to go completely gluten-free at home so that she would have one place in the world where she didn’t have to worry if what she was putting in her mouth was going to make her sick.
I sat in my kitchen for a many minutes staring at my pantry that was full of my favorite snacks and baking ingredients. I had an encyclopedia of recipes in my brain that used these ingredients – no cookbook necessary. That collection of recipes in my mind had been hard-won after many hours spent at a counter teaching myself to cook. And now they were all useless. I wouldn’t be making them anymore except on rare occasions while staying with family members for holidays.
I was beyond relieved that we had finally found out what was making my daughter so sick, but I was overwhelmed at the prospect of learning how to cook in a whole new way. Frustrated, I threw out my sauce-splattered recipe binder. I gathered everything in my kitchen with gluten in it – any and all derivitives of wheat, malt, barley, or rye – and took them to my friend’s house. And then I thought: “I have no idea what to feed my family.”
I started researching and, while there are some wicked good gluten-free recipe blogs and lists of great gluten-free restaurant menus out there, I just needed some lists of quick-cook meal and snack ideas. And lunches. My daughter’s school was nut-free and, for her, now gluten-free. What on earth was I going to pack her for lunch?
I couldn’t find what I needed online, so I made myself a list of go-to food ideas. The meals aren’t the healthiest, but for a busy family, everyone once in a while you need to just throw food on the table and go. These ideas are for nights like those.
Ants on a log
Apple Butter on a rice cake
Caramel rice cakes
Carrots with Ranch dressing
Chips and salsa
Chocolate-dipped dried apricots
Dried chick peas
Fruit, any and all fruit
Golden raisins or Craisins
Guacamole with tortilla chips
Hard boiled eggs
Pepperoni or jerky
Pesto on Nut-Thins or rice crackers
Pirate’s Booty or Cheetos
Apples dipped in Nutella
Sweet Potato Fries
Toasted Pumpkin or Sunflower Seeds
Tomatoes with rosemary and sea salt
Yogurt or Go-Gurt
Quick and Easy Meals
Baked Potatoes with chili and cheese
Corn tortilla quesadillas
Boxed GF macaroni and cheese
GF chicken nuggets
GF frozen pizza
Sliced hot dogs served with freezer fries
Scrambled eggs with fruit and freezer sausage
Lettuce wraps tuna salad
Black beans and rice
Go-gurt, whipped berry cream cheese on GF bread, Blue Machine smoothie
Sliced turkey wrapped around cheese sticks, fruit cup, potato chips
Hummus with tortilla chips and baby carrots for dipping, chocolate milk, dried fruit strips
Tuna salad, rice crackers, applesauce, GF cookie
These lists are by no means comprehensive, but they’re a good start if you’re feeling as lost as I did right after my daughter’s diagnosis. Good luck, and I promise, it gets easier. Soon you’ll feel as competent making GF pizza dough and cookies as you did making wheat-based versions.