Gluten-Free School Lunch Ideas & Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Them

Gluten-Free School Lunch Ideas & Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Them

Gluten-Free School Lunch Ideas & Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Them

By Renee Frojo, May 21, 2018
Gluten Free Lunch

Coming up with creative, healthy school lunch ideas for your kids day in and day out is exhausting enough without having to consider food intolerances. And gluten-free is a big one.

Whether by choice or necessity, going gluten-free has become an increasingly common way to eat—and one that could be great for the overall health of your family. But going gluten-free means no bread, no crackers and no snacks that we typically lean on for easy school lunches. There are lots of alternatives out there, and here we offer a few ideas to get your creative juices going.  

Vegetable and tofu fresh rolls

In the spirit of letting the kids help, these fresh rolls made with gluten-free rice paper wraps are possibly the most fun, make-ahead school lunch idea. You can stuff them with virtually anything your kids might eat, and pair them with a sweet and savory almond butter dipping sauce that’s such a treat your kids might forget about dessert.

Makes 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes


For the peanut sauce:
1/2 cup creamy unsalted almond butter
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoons maple
Juice from 1 lime
5 tablespoons hot water (or more)
¼ teaspoon salt

For the rolls

8 large (10-inch) rice paper wrappers
1 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 medium bell peppers, seeded and sliced into ¼-inch strips
1 cucumber, sliced into rounds

6 ounces cooked vermicelli rice noodles

Fresh mint leaves
Fresh cilantro leaves
½ pound firm tofu, cubed


  1. First make the peanut dipping sauce by mixing together all the ingredients for the sauce in a jar and shaking to combine. Taste, and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Add more warm water, if needed, to make a smooth sauce. Set aside.

  2. To make the rolls, first fill a wide, shallow bowl with lukewarm water. Soften the rice paper wrapper by dipping one of the rice paper wrappers into the water and swirl it around until the entire surface is evenly moistened (20 to 40 seconds). It should start to feel softened and malleable. (If the rice paper rips or tears, you softened it for too long.)

  3. Place the softened rice paper onto the wet surface. Arrange some carrots, cucumbers, peppers and a few herbs in a line about 1 inch from the bottom edge of the wrapper. Line the tofu above the vegetables and then fold the bottom part of the rice paper wrapper over the vegetables. Continue rolling the everything toward the tofu, then wrap up. Continue rolling until you reach the top and form a roll.

  4. Place the finished spring roll on the platter. Repeat for the remaining spring rolls.

Spinach quesadillas

Corn tortillas are the best gluten-free vehicles for anything that would typically go in a wrap or sandwich. Quesadillas, which are usually just cheese, are a hit with almost any kids because they’re basically a healthier form of pizza. Make them even better by stuffing that cheese and tortilla with veggies, such as tomatoes or spinach, or a protein like chicken or ham.

Makes 2

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes


1 cup baby spinach

2 corn tortillas

2 slices mozzarella cheese (or any melty cheese)


  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, warm the spinach with a splash of water until wilted. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop.

  2. In the same skillet, add the tortilla and top with cheese. Cook until the cheese is just melted, 4 to 6 minutes. Stuff with the spinach and serve.

Quinoa salad with mango, raisins and red bell peppers

This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for a couple of days, and is best served at room temperature, making it perfect for packed lunches. Quinoa is nutty, mild and has a nice texture, so it’s typically a grain kids love. It’s also a perfect gluten-free carb that can hide all sorts of veggies and fruits inside.

Makes 4 side salads

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes


For the dressing

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad

½ cup cooked quinoa

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

¼ cup raisins

1 small mango, chopped

1 cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until blended. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Toss the salad with the dressing and pack in little containers to go.

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