Packing Gluten Free Lunches on a Budget

Lunches can be a challenge on a gluten free diet. Especially when you are having to pack them to go. I pack three lunches every morning, although I am reconsidering after I read the this blog. It was created by Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition in Bellingham, Washington. They offer the latest information on Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease along with healthy gluten-free recipes using whole foods.
Their children, who are 10 and 8 years old, make their own lunches! What a concept! I can’t even imagine. I think that just might be a summer project. Anyway, they posted this great ‘Packing a Healthy Lunchbox’ chart that I wanted to share with you. It is easy to follow and ensures that your kids are getting healthy foods that keep their brains thriving and their energy levels high so they can perform well in school and at home. What is nice about this list is that most of the foods listed are naturally gluten free and very affordable. And by grabbing a food from each category, your kids are sure to get a very colorful and appetizing lunch spread.

What it boils down to is: a fruit, a vegetable, a grain, a protein and a treat. I usually do my shopping on Mondays, but if you were to say, shop on Sunday’s you could do a little food prep and prepare containers with sliced fruits or whole fruit that has been washed and cut up some veggies, hard boil some eggs, make a batch of homemade soup and some healthy, homemade cookies and a pot of brown rice or quinoa and you are set for the week. Then the kids just have to decide what they want to eat from each category and put it in their lunch that morning or the night before if they know that they are pressed for time in the mornings.
Here is a great cookie that I love to make and don’t feel guilty about them eating. It is perfect for lunches. In fact lately, my husband has been getting one in his lunch every day. If you are not a big fan of figs, dates work well too.
Gluten Free and Vegan Fig Newtons*
1 cup dried figs
½ cup water
½ cup organic sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ t xanthan gum
½ cup agave nectar
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Place figs in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds until they are well chopped
Add hot water and vanilla; process until a smooth paste results- soak for 1 hour.
In a large bowl, combine almond, brown rice, tapioca flour and xanthan gum.
In a smaller bowl, combine agave, molasses, grapeseed oil and vanilla.
Mix wet ingredients into dry, then refrigerate dough for 1 hour
Divide chilled dough into 4 parts
Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out 1 part of the dough into a 10 x 4 inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick
Spread ¼ of the filling evenly down the right side (lengthwise) of the rectangle
Fold the dough in half down the long side –resulting in a 10 x 2 inch bar
“Mend” the seam so the bar is symmetrical
Repeat with 3 remaining parts of dough and filling
Transfer each bar to a parchment lined baking sheet; bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes
Allow to cool slightly; cut bar every 2 inches to form the fig newtons
Serve. Makes 20 cookies.

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