The daily question of what’s for lunch can be tough to answer when you’re going gluten-free, but not anymore! Once you’re stocked with pantry staples and handy recipe hacks, you can easily whip up gluten-free wraps, pasta, and more for you and your fam. Say goodbye to agonizing over labels and eating the same salad on repeat, and hello to packing crave-worthy lunches to go.
Gluten-Free Basics and Celiac Disease
So what is gluten, anyway? According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is a general name for proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale that help food maintain its shape, but can be damaging to those who are unable to digest them due to an autoimmune disease (Celiac Disease). Others may experience more mild sensitivity to gluten such as bloating, headaches, and fatigue. And some may just prefer to give up gluten in hopes of maintaining a healthier diet.
Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
Steering clear of gluten is more than just avoiding bread, pasta, and beer. Gluten is often found in unexpected places like soy sauce, ketchup, frozen foods, artificial ingredients, and even supplements, so read those labels and do some detective work! If you’re not sure what should make the cut for your shopping list, here’s a helpful guide.
Gluten-Free Fresh Produce
Since fresh produce doesn’t contain any gluten, it’s a great way to load up on nutrients. Be sure to stock up on lots of leafy greens, hearty root vegetables, and a wide selection of fresh fruit to add to your gluten-free dishes.
- Bell Pepper
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Potatoes (white and sweet)
Gluten-Free Pantry List
Not all grains and flours contain gluten, so getting the safe ones straight will make buying pantry staples a lot less intimidating. Cooking oils, honey, nuts and seeds, and canned legumes can also be sourced gluten-free. Here are some solid go-tos for stocking a gluten-free pantry:
Missing traditional pasta? there are still satisfying ways to get your noodle fix, like rice noodles or mung bean noodles. Grains like amaranth (perfect for morning porridge) and quinoa are versatile for every meal of the day.
These days, there are plenty of gluten-free flour options to make your favorite creations like pancakes and cookies. You can even make your own all-purpose mix!
- Almond flour
- Amaranth flour
- Baking yeast (not brewer’s yeast)
- Bean flour
- Brown rice flour
- Cassava flour
- Corn flour
- Potato flour
- Sago flour
- Soy Flour
- Tapioca Flour
Gluten-Free Cooking Oils & Fats
Nuts & Seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Black beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Cannellini beans
- Fava beans
- Garbanzo beans/chickpeas
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans
More GF Staples
- Maple syrup
- Most unflavored liquors (except some bourbons)
- Natural sugar substitutes
Pack Your Gluten-Free Lunch In Style
Need a little extra motivation to pack the ultimate gluten-free lunch? These clever containers will keep things organized (not to mention they’re super cute!).
- Don’t leave the nest: Keep food fresh and smush-free with this Round Nesting Trio by U Konserve. Bonus: This three-pack is BPA-free!
- It’s in the bag: Pack an eco-friendly spread with reusable lunch bags that can be washed after use. We love this variety pack by (re)zip.
- Think inside the bento box: Take your packed lunch organizational skills to a new level with a super sleek bento box. This six-piece by Bentology is checking all our (bento) boxes.
11 Gluten-Free Recipes a Perfect for Lunch
Ready to get cooking? This great group of recipes will get you started with gluten-free eating, no deprivation required!
You don’t have to say “basta” to pasta on a gluten-free diet. Simply combine chickpea spaghetti with everyday staples for this easy but tasty gluten-free pasta that combines garlic and EVOO with wild sardines and capers.
Yes you cayenne make tofu flavorful! Top soba noodles with tofu marinated in a vibrant blend of spices, sweet maple syrup, and orange juice for a zesty dish that will wake up your tastebuds.
Oh hi, Pad Thai! Swap shaved carrot strips for traditional rice noodles (though rice noodles are A-OK on a GF diet), and you’ve got a lighter, brighter take on this Thai favorite that’s totally gluten-free and 100 percent delicious.
In a hurry? This quick but satisfying kelp noodle recipe can be thrown together in just five minutes, but will fuel you for hours thanks to a crave-worthy creamy avocado sauce.
Hail, gluten-free Caesar! This Paleo, dairy-free recipe tops massaged kale with dressing that includes nutritional yeast and omits the croutons.
Need a new spin on gluten-free wraps? Roll herbs, veggies, and creamy avocado into Vietnamese rice paper rounds for a healthy but hearty bite.
What can’t you do with a sweet potato? For a gluten-free quick lunch, try stuffing our favorite root vegetable with sautéed greens, top with sliced avocado, and drizzle with a tahini-turmeric dressing.
Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas for Kids
These four recipes will have your kiddos looking forward to their midday meal, guaranteed.
Here’s a great gluten-free chicken recipe for those busy weekdays. Just toss together chicken breast chunks with snow peas, lime, and cashews for an all-in-one meal with no shortage of zing.
Do your little ones love chicken nuggets but can’t have gluten? This gluten-free update uses light coconut flour and ground flaxseed instead of traditional breadcrumbs for the same crunchy texture (and a few more nutrients, too).
Everything’s more fun when it comes in a tomato cup, and eggs are no exception. Just scoop out the tomato’s insides, season, and crack an egg into the cup for an impressive presentation that’s anything but complicated.
Oh my, COD! You’ll be amazed at how much more palatable fish is to your kiddos when battered and baked in a genius blend of potato chips and gluten-free corn flakes for extra crunch (yes, really!).