School lunches should consist of fun, simple foods. The most successful gluten free school lunches do not use substitutes for foods that commonly contain gluten, but rather make appealing meals using ingredients that are naturally gluten free, such as corn tortillas, meat and rice. Whenever possible, prepare school lunch menu items from scratch to avoid additives and preservatives that may contain gluten.
Make hard or soft tacos for a gluten free school lunch. Use ground beef, chicken or make a vegetarian version with refried beans. Top it with your choice of lettuce, salsa, cheese, guacamole or sour cream. If you are using any store-bought ingredients such as salsa or refried beans, check the ingredients labels to make sure they do not contain any flavor enhancers that have gluten, such as disodium or hydrolyzed protein.
Shepherd's pie is an accessible comfort food that contains no gluten. Prepare a bottom layer of seasoned ground beef about an inch thick in the bottom of a casserole pan. Season the meat with finely chopped sauteed onion, tomato paste, basil and oregano. Avoid packaged seasoning mixes that may contain gluten. Top the meat with a thicker layer of mashed potatoes. Peel and mash the potatoes rather than using a mix. Spread the mashed potatoes gently to avoid messing up the meat layer. Bake the shepherd's pie until both layers are heated through.
Chicken and Rice
Many cultures have a version of a simple dish of chicken and rice. Cut the chicken into small pieces and saute it on the stove top. Make a simple sauce from ingredients such as wheat-free soy sauce (tamari), rice vinegar and sugar, or olive oil, lemon juice and dill. Use rice flour to thicken the sauce if necessary. Alternately, bake chicken breasts without breading them. Cook them in a casserole dish in about half an inch of a tasty liquid such as seasoned chicken stock. Serve the cooking liquid over the chicken and rice as a sauce.