We've asked our Coeliac UK foodies for their ideas on how to change up the same old sandwich at lunch time, both for school, work or any lunch!
Lorna finds it an easy way to pack in lots of vegetables the kids may not eat on their own, but blitz them up and they don't know how much goodness they are eating!
Full of flavour, Nicola says these muffins are quick to make and a really simple alternative to a sandwich that are perfect for packed lunch boxes.
Sam's picked this lunch from the budget meal plan, which has lots of other great ideas for lunch, breakfast, dinners and snacks and all nutritionally balanced. This lunch can be eaten hot or cold and made a couple of days in advance and in batches for really easy cooking.
We've got lots more tips below to spice up your sandwiches but if you're looking for some information on what you should or shouldn't be including in your child's lunchbox, take a look at the advice given by the Children's Food Trust guidance on packed lunches.
- At least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables every day.
- Meat, fish, eggs, or a non-dairy protein (e.g. lentils, beans, chickpeas, falafel)
- A starchy food such as any type of gluten free bread rolls, pitta or wraps, gluten free pasta, rice, potatoes
- A dairy food such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais.
- A drink of water, fruit juice or smoothie (maximum portion 150 mls), milk drink.
- Meat products such as sausage rolls, individual pies, corned meat and sausages.
- Cakes and biscuits, but encourage your child to eat these as part of a meal
Should not include
- Salty snacks such as crisps - instead include nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit with no added salt, sugar or fat.
- Confectionery such as chocolate bars, chocolate-coated biscuits, cereal bars, processed fruit bars and sweets.
- Sugary soft drinks, such as squash and fizzy drinks
Will you fill or top?
Add these fillings to your favourite gluten free bread, roll, pitta bread or wrap. Or why not top on toasted bread, crispbread, rice cakes or crackers?
- Tuna, sweetcorn and chilli – Mix together half a tin of tuna, a tablespoon of sweetcorn and a teaspoon of mayonnaise. Add a pinch of chilli powder for an extra kick.
- Red pesto chicken – Take one small cooked chicken breast and chop into pieces. Mix with two teaspoons of red pesto.
- Pepper and avocado – Mash half an avocado and mix with half a deseeded, chopped red pepper and a teaspoon of mayonnaise*. Add to your sandwich with fresh salad.
- Cream cheese and pesto – Spread your bread or roll with a thin layer of green pesto and top with soft cheese.
- Coronation chicken – Take one small cooked chicken breast and chop into pieces. Mix with two teaspoons of mayonnaise, curry powder to taste and two chopped dried apricots or golden raisins/sultanas.
Top tip: If you don’t want your sandwich to go soggy, add the filling just before lunch, or use lettuce leaves to protect the bread.
Savoury snack ideas
- Pack a small pot of houmous with carrot batons or celery sticks and mini gluten free breadsticks.
- Cold gluten free pizza can be a great way to use up leftovers for packed lunches the next day.
Sweet snack ideas
- Dried fruit, nut and seed mix – Make your own mix with any combination of dried fruit and nuts, for example: raisins, dried apricots, dried cranberries, dried coconut, pumpkin seeds, linseed, pecans and walnuts.
- Fromage frais, crème fraiche or natural yogurt can be used as a sweet dip for eating with sliced apple, pear and strawberries.
- Fruit is the ultimate fast food – apples, kiwi fruit, bananas, satsumas, grapes and berries are healthy, gluten free snacks.
*Check your Food and Drink Information for suitable products.