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August is nearly over which means one thing: it's nearly time for the kids to go back to school, and the challenge is on to find some fresh gluten free lunchbox ideas!
I remember my Mum always struggling to find gluten free lunch ideas when I was first diagnosed with coeliac disease.
I have recollections of having soggy rice cakes sandwiched with cream cheese because at the time, there was just not much gluten free choice around.
Now though, gluten free food has come a long way - the bread in particular. One of my favourite gluten free breads is Juvela.
Because it's made with gluten free wheat starch, it has an amazing texture yet is completely gluten free!
Which means if you want to get creative, there are now so many options for gluten free lunches for children.
Juvela set me the challenge to create some child-friendly gluten free lunches so I got to work and I have to say, they were much more fun than boring grown up lunches!
Support for children with coeliac disease
Explaining coeliac disease to children must be tough for parents. I think I was lucky that I was pretty much a teenager when I was diagnosed so I could understand it a little better.
But I imagine it must be so difficult as a child to understand why your friends are eating foods you can't.
Which is why I wanted to make these gluten free lunchbox ideas super fun! Just because you have coeliac disease or are gluten free, it doesn't mean you should miss out on fun and creative lunch ideas!
Juvela also has some great resources on its website - including this super cute guide to coeliac disease for children.
If you want to get your hands on some Juvela bread, you can buy the Fresh White Loaf in Tesco.
If you are diagnosed with coeliac disease, you can also get the Fresh White Rolls, along with a selection of other products, on prescription in some areas of England, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Only some NHS Trusts offer gluten free bread on prescription but you can check availability in your area here.
My three gluten free lunchbox ideas
I definitely wanted to 'think outside of the sandwich' for these gluten free lunchbox ideas - and I think I've achieved just that.
I've come up with: gluten free mini pizzas, gluten free mini tuna quiches, and gluten free 'lunchables' - the perfect way to get through the week!
Scroll down for each individual recipe, they're all super quick to make and you can make a few days' worth at a time to make life easier as well. I'd love to know if you give any a go!
Gluten free mini pizzas recipe
For my gluten free mini pizzas I used the Juvela Fresh White Rolls, which are available on prescription.
They're the perfect shape for a mini pizza and fit nicely into a lunchbox.
They make a lovely, thick gluten free pizza base and are nice when warmed up or eaten cold.
These mini gluten free pizzas are perfect for school lunchboxes and so quick and easy to make!
- 2 Juvela Fresh White Gluten Free Rolls
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- ¼ tsp dried basil
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- 1 ball mozzarella, (drained)
- 4 cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 200'C.
- Cut the Juvela rolls in half and lay them on a baking tray, cut side up. Spread ½ tbsp tomato puree over each one, then sprinkle with the oregano and basil.
- Tear up the mozzarella and spread evenly over each mini Pizza. Slice the cherry tomatoes into three and place three slices on each pizza.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the edges of the roll are golden. Can be eaten hot or refrigerated and eaten cold too.
Notes: Feel free to add any extra toppings, including peppers, red onion, pepperoni slices, ham or anything else you or your child enjoys on a pizza.
Gluten free lunchables
Does anyone else miss Dairy Lea Lunchables!? Oh man, I used to absolutely love them so much!
For the uninitiated, they are basically a DIY lunch pack with crackers, cheese and ham where you can build your own lunch up.
These are a do it yourself version which are much more fun to make and eat and will make sure every child feels included!
I used to love Lunchables as a kid but sadly they're not gluten free - which is why I have made my own super quick and easy gluten free Lunchables instead!
- 4 slices Juvela Fresh White Gluten Free Bread
- 4 slices ham, (check it's gluten free - no breadcrumbs!)
- 4 slices Edam or Gouda cheese
- olive oil, (for brushing)
- Preheat the oven to 200'C. Using a small biscuit cutter, cut 8 circles from the Juvela bread slices and lay them on a baking tray. (Don't throw away the leftovers - see notes for ways to use these and not waste them!)
- Brush the slices with olive oil and bake for 3-4 minutes until golden. Turn over and bake for another 3-4 minutes, before removing from the oven.
- Cut each cheese slice into 4 squares. Use the same round biscuit cutter to cut 8 small circles from the ham pieces (See notes for off-cuts).
- Arrange each lunchbox with 4 circles of toasted bread, 4 slices of ham and 4 slices of cheese, ready to build your own stack! Feel free to add extras such as cherry tomatoes too, or increase the amount of circles depending on how much your child likes for lunch!
Notes: When cutting the circles - keep hold of the leftovers! You can blitz them into breadcrumbs and use them for my gluten free cod goujons recipe or gluten free fried chicken recipe - therefore nothing goes to waste!
For any leftover ham - this could be used in place of the tuna for the mini tuna quiche recipe on this post, or to top the mini gluten free pizzas too.
Gluten free mini quiches
Making quiche is a great idea for lunch boxes but sometimes it can feel a bit time consuming.
That's why my gluten free mini tuna quiche recipe is so great - you can use gluten free bread as the crust instead.
This gives you a golden, tasty quiche 'crust' without having to make the gluten free pastry.
These gluten free mini tuna quiches use a slice of bread to make a crunchy and golden crust -much quicker than making pastry!
- 8 slices Juvela Fresh White Gluten Free Loaf
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tin tuna in spring water, (drained)
- 1 tbsp olive oil, (for greasing)
- fresh chives, (optional - for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 200'C. Grease a muffin tin with the oil, and set aside.
- Using a biscuit cutter, cut a circle from each slice of bread. (See notes for what to with the leftover bread - don't waste it!) Gently press each slice into the muffin holes - don't worry too much if you get any breaks, you can tear some tiny bits of the leftover bread to patch them up a bit.
- Bake the bread for 10 minutes until golden. Meanwhile make the filling by mixing the eggs and tuna in a measuring jug (season with salt and pepper to taste if you like).
- Remove the bread from the oven and carefully fill each bread-cup to the top with the filling. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes until golden on top. Remove and cool, then top with chopped chives if desired. Can be eaten hot or cold.
Need some more gluten free meal inspiration?
These recipes are a great start for gluten free lunchbox recipes for children - but there are lots more on the blog I think might work really well! Here are some other gluten free lunchbox friendly recipes you might want to try...
- Vegan and gluten free banana muffins. These would be great as a sweet lunchbox addition
- Gluten free fried chicken recipe. Could be adapted for sandwiches or goujons for dipping.
- My three favourite gluten free sandwich fillings. If you just fancy a sandwich instead!
If you do make this recipe please let me know! I’d love to see your photos using #theglutenfreeblogger, share them in my Facebook group or tag me on Instagram. If you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next! Oh – and don’t forget to sign up for my e-newsletter where you’ll know about all my latest posts and finds!