I hate (and hate is a strong word) packing lunches.
And that’s genetic.
I’ve told the story before of how my mom refused to make us boxed lunch. We would always have to buy and it completely bummed me out. Until I was a mom. Now I totally get it!
So to make it more palatable (for all of us), I’ve tried to approach it as a challenge versus a chore. In doing so, I posted Zain’s lunch every day for three weeks earlier in the year to see how long I could go without repeating. And I’m happy with three weeks! Due to his intolerances, Zain’s lunches need to be gluten free, dairy free and we try and follow the “4 squares” to the best of my ability–cut me a little slack here and there! The four squares concept comes from our nutritionist and is based on 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate, 1 vegetable and 1 fat within each meal.
So here is the round up of our new go-to lunch ideas! I’ve included links throughout so that you can see what the product looks like before you head to the store. I’ve also included links to the containers that we use, which I really like. Enjoy!
This is a throwback to my elementary school days (actually we had them in high school as well)–the wiener wink! To make a wiener wink, you “butter” one side of a slice of bread, line it with a piece of cheese, top it with a hot dog and then roll it up and secure with toothpicks. You can then toast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I make mine in my airfryer, which is my savior each morning because I can bake/toast things in a fraction of the time. So I zap it in the airfryer for 4 minutes. And then I’ve accompanied it with baby spinach leaves and poppy seed dressing for dipping in a two tiered snack container.
Slider Day! Three mini burgers (meatballs work great for this as well) with a hot dog bun cut into thirds. This came with condiments, sunflower seeds, spinach leaves and honey mustard dressing for dipping.
I’ve lamented my whole life that I wanted to take my lunch–I didn’t even have a lunch box! Where Zain laments that he wants to buy lunch–or at least have what his friends are having. And what do most kids he knows have for lunch? Lunchables! So here is my version of the pizza maker lunchable. Toasted gluten free pizza squares from Kinnikinnick Foods (try saying that 4 times fast), with Applegate uncured turkey pepperoni, pizza sauce, and Daiya shredded mozzarella. All accompanied by a GoGo Squeeze and the dairy free (paleo) chocolate from Liberty Chocolates.
Here’s another “lunchable”. Applegate turkey pepperoni, Daiya “cheddar”, Glutino crackers, and another Go Go Squeeze and Liberty Chocolate.
A little nacho action! Tortillas, salsa and shredded cheese in the lunch container, and then left over taco meat warmed in the thermos.
Meatballs in barbecue sauce and brown rice in a thermos with salad, poppy seed dressing, raspberries and sunflower seeds in the container.
It’s sooooo hard not to eat the legs right off the rotisserie chicken when I bring it home from the store, but I have to save them for Zain’s lunch! Chicken legs warmed, wrapped in foil and then dropped into a larger thermos and then berries, salad and dressing.
The trend continues. Here is a thermos of overnight oatmeal, Applegate turkey sausage, fruit salad and sunflower seeds (again!).
Kinda breakfast again. So Delicious passionate mango yogurt, a Vermont uncured turkey pepperoni stick, a “buttered” harvest muffin, chopped peaches and Paleonola grain free granola to make a yogurt parfait.
A turkey wrap is so yesterday! So instead I did a turkey roll up with Applegate roasted turkey, Daiya cheddar slices, spinach leaves, ketchup (that’s how he rolls) on an Udi’s tortilla, and then sliced it in “pinwheels”. It was accompanied by two dates, almond butter and apple slices. A trick for your apple slices…cut a bunch up for the week, and then soak for 10 minutes in “lemon lime” soda. It gives the same affect of soaking in lemon juice without the after taste of lemon.
Every Friday is pizza day at school, which makes Zain sad that he can’t partake. So either we do the pizza “lunchable” from above, or the Daiya gluten free, dairy free pizza. For extra protein, I’ll also add the turkey pepperoni. It makes him happy, which makes me happy!
What kid doesn’t love mac and cheese (except me when I was a kid…and as an adult!)? To make this recipe, cook 1 box of gluten free elbow macaroni an then mix 1 cup Daiya mozzerella and 1 cup Daiya cheddar cheese shreds into the hot drained macaroni with 2 tablespoons of dairy free butter and 1/4-1/2 cup almond milk until it’s the consistency that you like. I added sliced hot dog for added protein and then did pepper slices (not his favorite) with poppy seed dressing for dipping.
Another breakfast day! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I made a quick 2 slice batch of french toast (dipped Rudi’s gluten free bread in a mixture of egg and milk and then cooked in a frypan with a little coconut oil) and then sliced it to go into the thermos. Then a little cup of maple syrup. In another thermos I included fruit topped yogurt.
Homemade chicken tenders (tenders dipped in Cup4Cup gluten free flour, then into egg, and then into a mixture of crushed almonds and gluten free bread crumbs with salt, pepper and garlic salt and then baked for 15 minutes at 400 or I make them in 6 in my airfryer) in a thermos, with a side of ketchup and then a Kite Hill almond milk yogurt.
And last but not least…the good ‘ol standby. Applegate gluten free nuggets, ketchup, spinach and dipping.