Raising nearly a handful of kids, two of which have a gluten intolerance, I have learned a few tricks along the way. Lunch time is a crazy time in our home, as I’m sure it is in yours. Today, I’m sharing a few precautionary cross contamination measures we take in our home and 6 easy gluten free lunch ideas for the child who has to “live without” gluten.
Even though only one half (or 2 of the 4) of our children require a gluten free diet, I frequently find it easier to feed everyone the same. This also lessens the risk of cross contaminating since my daughter cannot tolerate even smallest amount of gluten.
Gluten Free Lunch Time Cross Contamination Tips
- Always wipe down all surfaces thoroughly before prepping lunch and be sure to wash your own hands – including under your finger nails.
- Use foil or parchment paper to line cookie sheets and other cooking surfaces for easy clean up and to lessen the risk of crumbs which may be embedded in porous surfaces.
- No double dipping – ever! Once a knife or spoon meets a jar, pot, or container of any kind the two shall never meet again. Grab a new utensil or get in the habit of washing between uses.
- Serve gluten free children first. Make their lunch and get it out of there as fast as possible. My daughter thinks this is a great rule.
- Use a different toaster or at a minimum have an assigned gluten free toaster slot.
- Assign everyone a specific color plate, cup and matching utensil set – in order to prevent any swapping of food.
- Implement a “no sharing food rule” – we share toys in our house but no food or drinks. It is the golden rule in our home – there are little people depending on us to be responsible and accountable. No sharing.
- Dish cloths, paper towels, and napkins are your friend – whisk away those pesky crumbs as often as you feel necessary. I have been known to do a mid- lunch crumb sweep just as a precautionary measure.
Now, how about we serve up some lunch?
Often times, we make things more complicated than they need to be – keep it simple. Once upon a time lunch to me looked like a sandwich, fruit, a snack, and drink. My view on lunch has changed over the years – it looks more like a giant platter of well-balanced snacks. Here are some of our ‘go to’ family lunch staples…
6 Gluten Free Kid Lunch Ideas
Lunch 1: Rice cake, almond butter and apple sandwich, yogurt, and bell peppers
Lunch 2: Grape kabobs, carrot/cucumber sticks w/gluten free ranch dip, gluten free chicken nuggets, and 2 chocolate covered Acai berries
Lunch 3: Mixed melon salad, gluten free egg salad cracker sandwiches, broccoli, and a gluten free cookie.
Lunch 4: Homemade muffin, yogurt, mixed berries, nuts, and ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, and raisins)
Lunch 5: Left over grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, a pickle, nut thin crackers, and a few slices of raw cheddar cheese
Lunch 6: Chicken salad served on a cucumber bun, cherry tomatoes, carrot stick with dip, fruit and nut mix, a couple chocolate chips for a special treat
What are some of your ‘go to’ gluten free kids lunches?