Hey Mom, what’s for lunch?
As a dietary consultant I specialize in helping people with food allergies come up with menu ideas and recipes that meet their dietary needs.
Having food allergies as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I know only too well how challenging it can be to make tasty, healthy meals.
Last week I spoke with a Mother of two children ages 8 and 10. Both children have food allergies, and are following a gluten free diet. Mom was feeling quite stuck in what to prepare them for their lunches.
Living in our North American society we are so programmed to the ‘sandwich’ and when we stray from that we find it difficult to come up with other ideas.
When I went to school most of us would open our lunch bags to bologna, ham and chicken sandwiches, a piece of fruit and or cheese. These days not much has changed, but what I find is that most kids are picky and not really that hungry at lunchtime. They tear open their sandwich, eat the inside meat and their fruit or yogurt and are off to play in the school yard. The Wonder bread gets tossed in the garbage and so I wonder, why is the almighty sandwich so important for lunch?
If we lived in another part of the world we might go to school with a corn tortilla and an avocado for our lunch, or some rice or soba noodles with vegetables.
What came up in our conversation was that she didn’t want to send her kids to school with “weird” lunches. I don’t want the other kids to make fun of them she said. Oh boy, what have we done to get here? How have we gotten so away from nutrition and feeding our children healthy foods, to what looks right and fits in with the bullies in our school yards?
We started to talk about ideas for school lunches and what would appeal to her children. Here are some of the ideas we came up with.
I am hoping they will give you some ideas as well, but ultimately it is what your child will eat and be comfortable with taking out of their lunch box or bag.
Bean dips with cut up veggies- these are so easy to make. Take a can of navy beans, or lima beans, rinse well, put in blender with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and cilantro or parsley and a little salt. You can do the same with any canned beans or even chickpeas to make hummus. Many grocery stores are offering healthy hummus and bean dips as well, but check the ingredients.
Lettuce Wraps- Take a piece of romaine lettuce, spread allowable mayonnaise or mashed avocado, layer with nitrate free turkey or ham and roll the lettuce leaf up so that you have a sandwich roll without the bread
Gluten free tortilla wraps – There are corn wraps, rice wraps and teff wraps available at your grocery store. Some of the brand names are La Tortilla Factory and Food for Life
Tortillas filled with refried beans and daiya cheese, if you are not familiar with daiya cheese visit their website at www.daiyafoods.com
Salsas with corn chips
Gluten free crepes with a dipping sauce
Leftover homemade chicken nuggets with dipping sauce
Homemade gluten free pizza
Rice cakes with sunflower butter or apple butter ( nut butter unless the school is nut free)
Sweet Potato Corn Wraps- Cook sweet potatoes in oven until soft and carmalized. Scrape out filling let cool and put into wraps or on pieces of celery or sliced tomatoes
Healthy Muffins are a great quick lunch or snack idea
Tahini banana sandwich on gluten free bread
There are many gluten free sites on the internet and so many recipes that are being posted online, check it out and see what you can find to put in your healthy lunchbox today!