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Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas for Back to School

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Coming up with lunch ideas for school can be challenging in general, but extra challenging when you need to come up with gluten-free lunch ideas! 

KEEP READING FOR MORE THAN 15 GREAT LUNCH IDEAS FOR KIDS!


Are you new here? I also have the following posts to help you live gluten-free without the stress!

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The gluten-free guide below is based on personal experience and research.  Always be sure to discuss any medical changes with your doctor for your personal medical needs. This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My full disclosure isn’t that interesting, but you can find it here


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Grab your FREE guide to easy gluten free ingredient swaps!

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THE BEST GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH IDEAS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

Having easy gluten free lunch ideas to pack is especially important if your school cafeteria does not accommodate your child’s specific gluten-free needs (not to mention adding in the complexity of needing nut-free, dairy-free, or vegan lunches). 

It’s so important to plan ahead when it comes to prepping lunch for your gluten-free child.

I like to make a list of the lunches I’ll pack that week (I usually pick 2 ideas a week and alternate days so they don’t get too bored with what I pack!). 

I also keep a couple fall back ideas available for when I just can’t even.  You know what I mean. 😉 

I have a couple ideas that I use over and over for my kids—but the variety is lacking. 

I needed some more ideas, so I reached out to some blogger friends and they shared some of their gluten-free lunch ideas.  And now, I share them with you.

Here’s a roundup of 15+ gluten-free lunch ideas for back to school!

Looking for a specific idea? Use this table of contents to jump to what you’re looking for!

Main Star Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas!

These gluten-free lunch ideas are strong enough to be the main star of your kids’ lunch.  Throw in a couple sides and a drink and you’ll be all set.

You’ll love these healthy gluten-free food ideas for kids!

(Keep reading for sides ideas at the end!)

1. TURKEY CHEESE APPLE SANDWICHES

Turkey Cheese apple Sandwiches

(nut-free, leave out the cheese for dairy-free)

2. APPLE PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES

Apple-Peanut-Butter-Sandwiches

(dairy-free, vegan, substitute sun butter for a nut-free lunch!)

My kids aren’t huge fans of gluten-free bread (unless it’s toasted), so using apple slices as the “bread” of a sandwich is GENIUS!  These turkey & cheese apple sandwiches by We’re Parents (number 1) and these apple peanut butter sandwiches by Boulder Locavore (number 2) have the kids wanting more.

3. Easy Pizza Quesadillas

gluten-free pizza quesadillas 7

(nut-free, dairy-free or vegan option)

My recipe for these quesadillas with a pizza twist are easy to cook up and taste great warm or cold! Plus, you can fill them with any of your kids’ favorite pizza toppings.

4. VEGAN RAINBOW VEGETABLE TORTILLA WRAP

rainbow vegetable tortilla wrap

(dairy-free, nut-free—double check your hummus!, vegan)

If you’re trying to help your kid eat more veggies, this vegan wrap idea by Recipes from a Pantry is a sure winner!  Plus, look how pretty it is!

5. MUFFIN TIN SUSHI CUPS

MUFFIN TIN SUSHI CUPS (VEGAN + GF)

(dairy-free, nut-free, vegan)

Is your gluten-free kid a lover of world cuisine?  These muffin tin sushi cups by Rhian’s Recipes will be perfect!  Just make sure that your soy sauce is gluten-free—or use coconut aminos.  Plus—these are great to make ahead and use throughout the week.

6. GLUTEN-FREE GRILLED CHEESE KABOBS

Gluten-free-Grilled-Cheese-and-Ham-Kabobs

Sometimes you just need a classic lunch idea.  These gluten-free grilled cheese kabobs by My Gluten-Free Kitchen are not only a classic choice, but putting bite sized pieces on a kabob make them totally fun as well!

7. HOMEMADE GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA LUNCHABLES

Homemade-Gluten-Free-Pizza-Lunchables-Vegan-Allergy-Free-Grain-Free-4

(dairy-free, nut-free, vegan)

Every kid loves Lunchables!  If your gluten-free kid is disappointed they don’t get Lunchables like everyone else, pack them this gluten-free copycat by Strength and Sunshine.  This recipe makes 3 servings (see—prepping ahead) and the crust is not only gluten-free, but grain-free as well.  (If dairy-free cheese isn’t your thing, just sub regular mozzarella and any toppings you wish).

8. EASY ASIAN TUNA VERMICELLI NOODLE SALAD

Chilled-Tuna-Noodle-Salad

(dairy-free, nut free)

My girls LOVE noodles—they are so fun to eat!  This Asian tuna vermicelli noodle salad by Fearless Dining is one of those lunches that kids find fun to eat.  This recipe makes 4 servings—and you’ll find yourself packing it for lunch too!

9. The Best Low Carb Ham and Egg Cups

ham-and-cheese-muffins

(nut-free, to make it dairy free leave out the cheese and use a non-dairy milk)

If your child has access to a microwave to heat up their lunch, pack them these ham & egg cups by Easy Low Carb Recipes.  They are packed with protein and have veggies for an extra health punch!  This is another make-ahead option for easy prep.  Just make sure your cooking spray is gluten-free!  My favorite is this one by Chosen Foods.

10. CRUSTLESS PIZZA – LOW CARB HAM AND CHEESE

low-carb-crustless-pizza-ham-cheese-land-768x512

(nut-free)

Every kid loves pizza.  This crustless pizza by Low Carb Yum is another great protein-filled option for kids who can heat their lunches.  This is another one of the gluten-free lunch ideas that you can prep ahead of time for the coming week!

10. Annie’s Gluten-Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar Microwavable Macaroni & Cheese Cups

(nut-free)

If your kid has access to a microwave at lunch, keep a couple of these hidden in the pantry for those times when you just couldn’t get your planning together for gluten-free lunch ideas.  These will save you!

12. CAULIFLOWER LETTUCE WRAPS

(dairy free, nut free)

These portable lettuce wraps by Kiss my Keto are simple and easy to make ahead. Plus, the cauliflower makes for the perfect ‘hidden veggie’ for kids.


picture of the printable easy gluten free swaps guide

Grab your guide to easy gluten free ingredient swaps!

This list summarizes everything in an easy to use reference guide.


Meal Booster Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas!

These gluten-free lunch ideas are great additions to pack as a snack, add in as a side, or could totally be the star for a younger or light eater.

13. CRACKERS, CHEESE, AND PEPPERONI

(nut-free–depending on cracker ingredients)

This is one of my kids’ favorite lunches.  I cut up some cheese, add some gluten-free pepperoni (I like Applegate Farms), and some gluten-free crackers.  Easy peasy!  You could do this with other lunch meats as well for a gluten-free kind of Lunchable.

14. YOGURT, FRUIT, & GRANOLA

(for nut-free choose nut-free granola.  For dairy-free/vegan, use coconut or soy yogurt)

This is another fallback idea for my kids.  They love to make a parfait of yogurt, fruit, and granola in their lunch.  I pack it all separate and they love to add the fruit and granola to their yogurt at lunch time.  Just make sure that your granola is certified gluten-free!

Learn more about gluten-free certification and what it means here!

I actually really love this Paleo granola because it has low sugar levels and doesn’t contain oats and other grains.  Thrive Market makes a bunch of Paleo granola flavors as well: the pumpkin pie one is totally one of our favorites!

Click here to learn more about Thrive Market, get a free trial, and to save $20 off our first order.

15. Almond Flour Blondies

stack of gluten free blondies

These gluten-free blondies are so chewy and delicious, kids love them! Plus, since they’re made with almond flour they contain an extra little punch of protein for less sugar crash! Grab the recipe for almond flour blondies here.

16. KETO BANANA BREAD MUFFINS WITH ALMOND FLOUR

low-carb-banana-bread-muffins-13

My kids love muffins and they love bananas.  These keto banana bread muffins by Savory Tooth are a slam dunk for them! Make sure you include a pat of butter.  Plus, since these are made out of almond flour, they have a good amount of protein and won’t cause a sugar crash!

17. CHEDDAR BACON BISCUITS

biscuits-2

(dairy-free)

These cheddar bacon biscuits by Pink Fortitude will keep your child full!  Plus, since the recipe makes a large batch of 20 biscuits I’d freeze some for last-minute lunches.

18. PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BALLS

vegan-peanut-butter-protein-balls-2-650x433

(dairy-free, vegan option)

These peanut butter protein balls by Texanerin Baking may taste like dessert—but are truly a healthy addition to lunch!  Just make sure to use purity protocol oats like these to ensure against the cross-contamination often present in oats.

Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas: Additions and Sides

Here are some of my favorite sides to add in with these gluten-free lunch ideas!

Bonus: click here for my roundup of 11 favorite gluten-free snack ideas!

pin image of different gluten free lunch options for kids including wraps, apple sandwiches, quesadillas, energy bites and more

Do you have another favorite gluten-free lunch idea?  Comment below and share it with us. 

Other posts you may like:

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Holly

Tuesday 25th of February 2020

Hi Sharon - What great gluten free recipes for kids (and adults too!) PINNED! Thank you for including my Cheddar Bacon Biscuits. My heart is full of gratitude. Hugs, Holly

thehelpfulgf

Tuesday 25th of February 2020

It's such a great recipe!

Katy Emanuel

Wednesday 19th of February 2020

We love apple sandwiches. Definitely going to have to try the vermicelli salad, looks great

thehelpfulgf

Monday 24th of February 2020

Yes, apple sandwiches were a game changer for my kiddos! They love them.

Blair

Friday 9th of August 2019

I'm sure my wife's going to love these recipes for our kids. Thanks a lot for sharing!

thehelpfulgf

Saturday 10th of August 2019

I hope she finds some that she loves! Thanks for commenting :)

Emily

Friday 24th of August 2018

I can’t believe it’s back to school already! All of these snacks look delicious and easy to make!

Brooke

Thursday 23rd of August 2018

I'm always looking for new lunch ideas, especially gluten free. Thanks for providing some options outside of my normal salads :)

thehelpfulgf

Thursday 23rd of August 2018

I get stuck in salad ruts too ;)

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