if you pack it, they will eat it…..maybe

School Lunches.

Already difficult in my house – now even more so.  Or so it seems.

I have always relied on PB&J, Hawaiian sweet rolls with ham, bagels with cream cheese, cheez-its, goldfish, granola bars………..and sadly they have all been banned in their original forms.  Even desserts are different.

*moment of silence*

After a little bit of trial and error (ummm…sorry Aldi’s, but your GF sandwich bread is more like a chunk of memory foam mattress), we have landed on a few stellar lunch options:

Main Course:

Krusteaz GF Honey Cornbread Mix-  my son loooooves cornbread with honey, so I can wrap up a piece with a small container of honey, and he goes to town at lunch.

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Ham slices rolled up and stuck on toothpicks (with cheese cubes and veggies if your child is willing.  Mine is not.)  It’s like little shish kebabs!

Schar GF Bread- has the consistency and smell of real bread- add Peanut Butter and Fluff, or jelly.  For a treat, you can sprinkle GF chocolate chips inside.  Beware- this lasted about 5 days after I opened it- day 6 and it went fuzzy.

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Soup!! – I discovered a GF recipe for Lipton Noodle Soup on Cooking With Dru made with GF seasoning, rice noodles, and GF broth.  Tastes and looks almost EXACTLY like Lipton.  Heavenly!  (She calls for GF vegetable broth, but I used GF chicken broth, or use homemade broth if you can!)

Beans and hot dogs:  oldy but a goody in my book.  Just check your dogs and beans for gluten and/or shared equipment.

GF Chili – pack it in with some corn chips and cheese and even sour cream and you have Petro’s for lunch!  Definitely read the label – most beef chili is GF, but always check.

DIY Lunchables Pizza – most GF pizza crust comes prebaked.  Use a cookie cutter and make mini pizza rounds and pack them with shredded mozzarella, GF sauce, and those Hormel Pepperoni Minis (GF on the label!!)

Sides:

Sides are a little easier, as the regular suspects- fruit, veggies, potato chips- are all typically GF.

Peaches in fruit juice:  You can’t get them in the little cups, but they do come in the cans in fruit juice rather than heavy syrup.  Check the back of the can……..Del Monte packages their fruit in the USA.

Annie’s Homegrown GF vanilla and chocolate bunnies

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Annie’s Organics GF Double Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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Popcorn- easy to make at home too!

Tortilla/ Corn chips- most are GF but double check  (I know that Trader Joe’s corn dippers are GF and tasty!  Tostitos also has a big GF stamp on the front of their bags.)

Cheetos Natural White Cheddar Puffs – I love these, and they are stamped GF right on the bag.

Most Potato chips, but always double check.  Pringles are not GF.

Any kind of fresh fruit or veggie.

Just Desserts:

Pamela’s Chocolate chip cookies – BIG hit – A thought they were mini Chips Ahoy. IMG_9765

Trader Joe’s GF Joe Joe’s-  essentially a GF oreo – the cookie is bit more crumbly but does great dunked in milk!

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Pillsbury GF chocolate chip cookie mix – this is very crumbly when you mix it up, and you have to make the balls with your hands.  When you pull them out of the oven, they don’t seem done as they are very soft in the middle, but follow the box and they firm up while cooling.  These were declared “BEST COOKIES EVER!”

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Annie’s Organics Fruit Bunny Snacks, in a variety of flavors…………..yes, they ARE gluten free!!  (I double checked!)  Also a bonus that they don’t use artificial coloring (food dyes……….)

Aldi’s GF Brownie mix – makes pretty good brownies (out of chickpeas if memory serves……..good protein bonus!)

So, I hope that helps anyone out there floundering at lunch time.  I will definitely keep looking for ideas, and continue to post about new discoveries.

And my Mom always tells me that my job is to pack the best lunch I can, and their job is to eat it.  If I hold up my end of the deal, then I have done my job.  I can’t force him to eat it.  Don’t beat yourself up if the lunchbox comes home nearly full.  Eventually, your kid will tell some other kid’s mother, “My dad makes better sandwiches than Firehouse Subs!”  (FYI, they will probably never tell you that, but they will tell the other parents, and hopefully it will make its way back to you……….true story.  That’s a direct quote from A’s best friend when I ate lunch with them last week at the school.)

Guess what arrived this week?!?  My brand new deep fryer – because oven baked nuggets aren’t going to cut it with my kid.  And he *neeeeds* donuts in his life.  I will keep you updated on the deep fried adventures awaiting me this weekend……..

mother gumption