Gluten free snack, breakfast & lunch ideas

I just sent this to bordermama, but thought it might be a good idea to post it for anyone with celiac disease, especially those w/ kids.

We have been g.f. for nearly four years more than five years now, so we’ve been at this for a little  while.  You have to really search to keep from meal monotony.

I now have a GFCF (gluten-free, dairy/casein-free) list.  Please visit it if you need to eliminate dairy, as well. 


We alternate hot & cold breakfast days.

  • eggs, fruit & toast (g.f. toast, of course).
  • g.f. pancakes & sausage.
  • g.f. crepes
  • g.f. breakfast cookies
  • Eggs and/or sausage/bacon with store-brand Tater Tots (NOT the extra-crispy kind;  they contain gluten.).  Also, outside of the US, most sausage is NOT safe.  In the US, sausage is, almost all of the time, 100% meat.  Be careful of additives, though.  Many contain MSG, which I (and a lot of other g.f. folks) am sensitive to.
  • Hot cereal:  Bob’s Red Mill g.f. hot cereal, Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine, or grits
  • fruit cobbler  (Drain and reserve the juice from a big can of fruit-juice-sweetened sliced peaches.  Spread the peaches across the bottom of a rectangular dish.  Mix about 1 TBSP corn starch and about 1/4 tsp cinnamon into the juice, then pour that over the peaches.  Then, I make a fairly stiff, semi-sweet dough with 1 c. Kinnikinnick Kinni-Qwik Bread & Bun Mix, 1 c. sorghum flour, 1 TBSP baking powder, 1/3 c. sugar, 1/3 c. shortening, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and enough milk to make a stiff dough.  Use a big table spoon and dot the dough on top of the peaches.  Bake at 375* until the dough is puffy and browned and sauce has been bubbling a good 15 minutes, about 45 min. total.  If you don’t have a g.f. baking mix, substitute 1/2 c sweet rice or white rice flour, 1/4 c brown rice flour, 1/4 c potato OR corn OR other starch and 1 tsp xanthan gum.)
  • g.f. cold cereal, of course!  We usually have fresh fruit w/ our cereal, too.  (Nature’s Path/Envirokidz, Erewhon and Arrowhead Mills are some of the cereal brands we purchase regularly.)
  • g.f. cereal mixed with yogurt
  • g.f. muffins, made quickly with Kinnikinnick Bread & Bun mix.
  • smoothies


  • tortilla chips with or w/o dip (Ortega makes individual-sized g.f. cheese dip)
  • reg. potato chips — Lays Stax have all g.f. ingredients
  • fruit
  • popcorn
  • dried fruit (raisins, cranberries & apricots are all reasonably priced at Trader Joe’s)
  • “snow cones” (crushed ice with a drizzle of snow cone “juice” and a spoon in the back yard!)
  • popsicles
  • homemade popsicles when I have my act together — yogurt, frozen juice concentrate or honey.  A GFCF variety — Add juice concentrate to coconut milk, mix and freeze.
  • a rice cake smeared with cream cheese, topped with jam or with gluten-free frosting.  Read labels thoroughly, but most Duncan Hines frostings are g.f.  Betty Crocker’s contain wheat starch.
  • pudding
  • jello
  • trail mix made with Gorilla Munch and whatever else I have on hand (usually dried fruit and choc. chips)
  • pickles
  • peanuts, with or w/o shells (again, I get these at TJ’s).  Since I initially wrote this, Wesley has developed anaphylaxis to peanuts, so no peanuts/peanut butter in our home any more.  😦
  • a glass of chocolate milk
  • rice crispy treats made w/ g.f. rice crispies.
  • Trio bars, or other treats from Mrs. May’s.  I find mine at Costco.


  • Sandwiches on g.f. bread or on Corn Thins.
  • Sandwich fixin’s like lunch meat and cheese, served w/ g.f. chips (plain, potato chips, Fritos, etc) & fruit, and maybe a pickle.
  • Nachos – we fix these in a multitude of ways… plain tortilla chips topped with cheese, melted under the broiler…  Depending on what’s on hand, we may add meat chopped up from last night’s leftovers, pinto beans, refried beans, olives…  I like tomato, green chiles, green onion, etc., but since the boys aren’t really into anything that appears to be vegetable-ish, I usually save those for dinner nachos.
  • Quesadillas – similar to the nachos, but just cheese (and usually meat)… on corn tortillas.  Lately I’ve been fixing them like this:  corn tortilla sprinkled w/ cheese, add some meat, top with another tortilla.  Spray top tortilla with spray oil, put under broiler in about the middle of the oven until the top tortilla has a few brown spots.  Take out & flip, spraying the other side with a bit more oil, then lightly brown that side, too.  So, it’s kind of like a semi-crispy quesadilla sandwich.
  • Similar to both nachos and quesadillas are tostadas.  Heat the shells for a few minutes in the oven, then top with warmed refried beans and whatever toppings you have on hand:  Minced leftover meat, cheese, salsa, sliced olives, whatever.
  • “Pizza” — toast a slice of g.f. bread until it’s pretty darn toasty/hard.  Top with a spoon of pizza sauce (I use Fry’s brand Pizza Zip), sprinkle on some mozzarella, top w/ 2-4 slices of pepperoni, broil until bubbly.  (Note:  spread the sauce & cheese all the way to the edge, or you’ll end up with burnt edges.  Also, if you don’t toast the bread first, you’ll end up with soggy bread.)  We’ve also done these on corn tortillas, but do it in layers like:  tortilla, small sprinkle of cheese, another tortilla, then top with pizza toppings (that way, it’s a little more substantial, and the toppings don’t just slide off, and the tortilla doesn’t fall apart so easily when it’s glued with melted cheese to another tortilla).
  • G.F. mac & cheese — melt 1/2 stick of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in 1/4 c. sweet rice flour (I use Koda Farms), whisk until
    blended.  Add 1 tsp salt, pepper if your kids like it, and about 1/2 tsp paprika (this is mostly for color — make sure yours isn’t hot paprika).  Slowly add 3-4 cups of milk, whisking after adding each 1/2 cup or so.  Bring to a boil, boil a minute or so until the sauce is thick.  If it is VERY thick, add more milk.  Remove from heat, and stir in about 2 cups of shredded cheese, the sharper the better (we’re not big fans of sharp cheese, but mild cheese just tastes too bland in the cheese sauce).  Let it sit a bit, and stir more until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.  Add this to cooked g.f. noodles (Tinkyada is the best brand, but Trader Joe’s are much cheaper — $1.99/bag vs. $3.49 or so for Tinkyada).
  • Chicken noodle soup.  Works best using g.f. spaghetti, broken into 2-3″ pieces.  I use Chicken Better Than Bouillon, which is pricey, but lasts a long time.  You can find it at TJ’s for about $3, or at a regular grocery
    store for about $5.49.  Start with just a cup or so of water in a med saucepan.  Mix in 2-3 rounded tablespoons of BTB, whisk until combined.  Then add water until you get the strength of bouillon  you like.  Bring to boil, and add broken g.f. spaghetti, boil until about 75% cooked.  Then, add a few handfuls of veggies (the small pea/corn/carrot mixed frozen veggies works well for kids), and some cooked (leftover) chicken that’s been cut into bitsy pieces.  Bring back to boil, and cook until the noodles are done.
  • Ethan & I like chili, but the other kids don’t.  Hormel Chunky NO BEANS chili is g.f.  We place some Fritos in our bowls, spoon the chili over the top, top it with cheese for those who can have cheese.  Serve with fruit.
  • Franks ‘n’ beans — but don’t use the canned type that already has the hot dogs added in;  it has MSG and a lot of sugar.  Just chop up some hot dogs, and add them to a can of store-bought baked beans, and warm on the stove.  There are many baked bean varieties that are g.f., but watch out;  some of them contain soy sauce that was made with wheat.
  • Lunchmeat/sandwiches with g.f. Tater Tots as a side, instead of chips.
  • Baked beans.  If you want a little more meat, dice and fry half a package of bacon, drain and add in a large can of storebought baked beans (checking to make sure they’re g.f. — some have wheat-containing soy sauce).  Serve with fruit.
  • Or… leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Anyone — feel free to add your own recipes & meal/snack suggestions in the comments.

Hope that helps!!

About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on October 31, 2006, in Celiac Disease, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Dairy-free, GF Recipes, GFCF Recipes. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Nice list. I had to put it in my CD links.

  2. Before I had to go GF, my husband always made his famous Chocolate Chips Biscuits. He still makes them for himself and the kids, so after smelling them too many Saturdays in a row and feeling sorry for myself, I came up with this. Not perfect, but better than nothing!

    1 cup GF flour mix (usually Bob’s GF baking mix)
    1 cup sorghum flour
    2 tbps. sugar
    1/2 t. xanthan gum
    2 t. baking powder
    1/4 melted butter (or other oil)
    3/4 c. milk of choice
    BIG handful of chocolate chips (I like bittersweet!)
    pecans or other nuts (optional)

    Mix the milk and oil together and add to the dry mixture. Mix and turn out on waxed paper. Knead a few times and cut out with a biscuit cutter or glass. Bake at 400 until golden brown, usually about 20 minutes.

  3. After my two year old son was diagnosed with cd, I had to come up with creative ways to prepare his food similar to his older bro and sis (so he wouldn’t feel left out). So this is how I make his toasted egg sandwiches (egg tacos). Fry 2 corn tortillas in a large pan add slice of cheese to each tortilla layer fried egg and bacon onto one tortilla and top it with the other. Caleb is now 6 years old and this is still his favorite not to mention everyone else in the house.

    I am looking for creative ideas to send lunch to school. If anyone has any ideas please send them to me.

  4. Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know that I run a Gluten Free site as well ( ). I review both gluten free foods and restaurants…so it may help a few of you out there.


  5. Thanks for posting this list – Lots of helpful ideas!

  6. Great list – and you’re so right about monotony … luckily my coeliac daughter is old enough to bake (she’s 11) and so when she didn’t fancy any of the GF food in the house tonight, she made GF brownies.

    I’d never thought about fruit cobbler for breakfast, but why not? It’s got all the usual breakfast ingredients in, just mixed up in a different way!

  7. Thanks for sending me over here, Karen! There are some great ideas there! Some of them I already do but easily forget about and some are brand new ideas. I’ll have to write them down so I don’t forget. 😉

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We found out this week that our youngest son will need to be GF/CF to let his intestines heal from NEC damage in the NICU.

    These meals ideas are fantastic! I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all of the information out there..

  9. It’s great that you are being pro-active and creative in your meal choices, in avoiding gluten. I’ve been mostly gluten free for about 2 years now, and there are some really interesting ideas on this list. Thanks for putting it together!

    I was just wondering, where are the fresh steamed vegetables? I mean, it’s a great step to avoid gluten, but this diet seems WAY overloaded with sugar, processed carbohydrates, cheese, butter and milk. I can’t see any fresh veggies on here at all. 😦

    When I became gluten free, I examined my diet closely in all ways, and looked at the options that were available. I read the backs of all these “gluten free” products and realised that many of them were not very healthy at all. 😦

    I decided instead, just to eat natural, unprocessed foods, to give up on SUGAR, cut down on dairy, stop frying foods etc. Going gluten free was a drastic step, so I thought I may as well go the whole way!

    This is my usual daily intake:

    – A hot breakfast of brown rice & tofu, brown rice & tuna, brown rice & tempeh and sometimes miso soup, or rice noodle soup.
    – Cut up fruit in sugar-free, pot-set natural yoghurt

    Something like:
    – Steamed veges & brown rice
    – Salad with tofu, tuna or egg

    Something like:
    – Stir fried veges in oyster sauce / soy sauce & brown rice
    – Steamed veges
    – Green or red thai vege curry
    – Vege patties (home-made from chick peas, potato onion, egg etc).
    – Baked veges.
    – Vege soup.

    – Fresh fruit
    – Nuts (macadamias, brazil, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, NOT PEANUTS).

    – Lemon water
    – Herbal tea

    – All soft drink
    – Fruit Juice (high in sugar).
    – Processed carbohydrates
    – Candy
    – Chocolate
    – Chips
    – Peanuts
    – Cakes/Muffins/Pastries (even if GF).

    Anyway, good luck with your diet, and I hope it doesn’t give you any health problems.

  10. Karen, you bring up some good points. Although we eat fresh fruit with nearly every breakfast and lunch, we only infrequently eat veggies during those meals, maybe 25% of the time. However, I LOAD dinner up with veggies. My wok is overloaded, right now, with sizzling veggies. 🙂

    Also, we eat almost completely GFCF now, so no dairy whatsoever. I keep this page current, though, because lots of folks who are g.f. CAN have dairy.

    The diet you suggest — though there are LOTS of great ideas there — is really high on soy. Besides having one child who can’t handle soy very well at all, soy has phytoestrogens, which really aren’t wise to feed to boys. I have three boys, ages 11, 9 & 7. We just don’t/can’t eat soy.

    Speaking of kids, this list is particularly tailored to kids because, well, I have five of them. With your suggestions, I would be REALLY surprised if you were preparing food for anyone other than yourself. Cooking for a family, especially a large family, is a lot different than cooking for one. (Not to mention cost. I would challenge you to add up the cost of your diet for one day, then multiply that by 42. That’s how much your diet would cost to feed my family of seven — since one is totally breastfed — for a week. Also, kids need more fats and carbs than adults do, in general. Healthy fats and carbs, in addition to an active lifestyle, which we lead — minimal TV, no video games at all, lots of active time, especially outside.)

    Perhaps I should add a label touting this page as “kid friendly” options, since that was really my goal. 🙂

    Thanks for the visit, though, and thanks for your great suggestions.

  11. Thank you so much for your tips.I’m 24 and I have actually been finally diagnosed today after 2 years of not know and no health insurance i found out I have Celiac disease,Crohn’s disease and colitis feeling overwhelmed with the new diet and not knowing were to start. I have been googling around reading up on everything when I found this. What a huge help. I feel much better now that I have some ideas for meals and were to go. Thanks a Bunch


  12. My lunch ideas are this since I work in an office with only a microwave.
    Black and Blue Nachos (from Dr. Gott’s No Sugar NoFlour cookbook)
    black beans rinsed well, either fresh roasted corn or I take canned corn, drain well and with a little olive oil fry the corn until it starts to brown, shredded cheddar and jack cheese. Add over Blue Corn chips and microwave for 1-2 minutes. You can also make a great bean salas using the black beans, corn, red onion, black olives and 2 cloves of garlic. Mix together with a little salt and pepper adn add the heat of your choice. Serve with Blue Corn chips or chip of choice. I also have tuna stuffed tomatoes, cottage cheese fruit plates and salad with the meat from the evening meal, nuts, dried fruit and a light dressing of choice.

  13. Karen, your pages are in inspiration. we too have been gfcf and peanut, tree nut, egg free for over 5 years. we stumbled upon Sunbutter as a replacement for peanut and other nut butters. it is amazing! plus, they process in peanut free facilities!! tjoes sells their own name of a sunflower seed butter with the same great taste and qualities as the Sunbutter brand. just passing it on if you are missing all things nut butter. it might be an option! or at least it might satisfy the other nut butter lovers in the house while keeping your one son safe… as in our case.

    keep up the great pages, we will be back again soon!

  14. Thank you so much for these ideas! I eat gluten free due to health issues including thyroid and PCOS. I just started my own blog called Live Diet Free. I also list some snack ideas and recipes on my blog. Maybe I can help give you additional variety.

  15. Thank you so much – my daughter was diagnosed today she is 9yrs. old. I must bring her and a lunch to school tomorrow and have been searching the net for about an hour. Thanks to you I have some ideas on how to get me thru dinner, lunch and breakfast tomorrow. Yours was the first site I actually got truthful information that I could really use. Not being familiar with this and needing help A.S.A.P. – you were there.
    Thank you so much!!!!

  16. I don’t know how I’ve never read this before!!!! You have some great ideas here. I’m finding that 3 years in, we are getting BORED with some of our meals… and we are really struggling (AGAIN) to find bread products that my 8yo likes… I think she gets tired of the same flavor over and over and has grown to not enjoy it!

    We’ve started doing a lot of eggs cooked in REAL butter or coconut oil for breakfast. I like to add a bunch of veggies, to make it an egg scramble/omelet and toast or gf pancakes or waffles. I’m making pancakes and waffles in big batches to store in the freezer, that way we can pull them out in the morning and toss in the toaster oven. That recipe for chocolate chip biscuits sounds delicious, we will have to try it soon!

  17. Hi Everyone
    Thanks for the tips I have been diagnosed with cd for 2 years and have struggled to find food that is edible and not egg ,dairy free , meat free etc. as well…. as I can still have egg and diary and anything else except wheat/gluten! I am interested in mainly lunch meals and quick snack ideas to have at work.
    If anyone has any ideas please email me at i would really appriciate some ideas!
    If i come up with some yummy meals I will let you all know 😀

  18. Love the idea of fruit cobbler for breakfast!! People think I’m crazy when I say things like that (and apple crumble – especially coz my mum adds rolled oats which I am okay with) could be suitable breakfast foods 🙂

    I have only gone gluten free in the last 3 months and lunch is still the biggest battle! (apart from eating out). Lots of easy fix options for my non-GF siblings but a lot of hassle for me.

  19. I just posted two recipes for homemade rice milk and soy milk if you’re interested in dairy free good tasting milks…..

  20. I am also in Australia looking for family friendly ideas for gluten free lunch. Particularly ones that will work well alongside those in the family who are having regular sandwiches fur lunch. Tortillas in Australia have lots of additives which rules them out for us. My struggle seems to be that many gluten free lunch ideas contain additives.

    • Leah, if you just abandon the idea of “sandwich”, it’ll be much easier. Most days, our lunches consist of some sort of meat (natural, additive-free lunch meat/cold cuts OR slices of some leftover meat); cheese for those who can have cheese; fruit and/or veggies; and chips (potato chips or tortilla chips — again, natural, additive-free or organic).

      • Karen, I’m not aware of any lunch meats that are additive free and although we can use our thermos containers for yoghurt or soup and cut fruit, I don’t consider them to be a safe way to store meat for a long time. The reason I’m wanting it to be similar in execution to a sandwich is because I have four children and they aren’t all on a gluten free diet (it looks like me and two of them). Alternative lunches seem to be very time consuming – even as a full time mum. As you are aware, when you need lunches for six everyday time is a consideration. Do you cook a double roast so that you’ll have meat for lunch available? They like sandwiches and if someone else is having something different they want both! Another question is as chips is something that we might have for afternoon tea, do you have alternative foods for snacks.

        • I’m not sure what to tell you about lunch meat in Australia; I’m certain that brands are different down there…. The best I can tell you is to check ingredients. Here, there are a few different brands that are safe — gluten-free and chemical additive-free.

          For snacks, we eat a LOT of fruits & veggies. Afternoon snacks are typically a choice of tortilla chips & salsa, a carrot (with dip, if they choose, that is g.f.), a banana, a rice cake with jam or almond butter (or… my 10yo son made cinnamon honey butter the other day), or cookies if I have made any recently! I almost never purchase g.f. cookies in a store because they’re so expensive!

          I almost always make extra at dinner-time, but not usually for the kids’ lunch the next day. Almost every day, my husband takes leftovers to work (both to save money and because it’s healthier). I eat leftovers for my lunch almost every day, as well. AND, I almost always have two dinners weekly which are primarily made from leftovers, to save time on busy nights.

          I have considered investing in a deli slicer — to take cooked roast and shave it down lunch meat-style. I haven’t done that yet, though!

  21. I often put 2 tbs (32g) peanutbutter, 2 tbs of milk powder (17g) (or powdered gf rice Krispys), and a teaspoon of honey (6g) in a sandwich bag and knead it for 2-3 minutes until it makes PB playdough. Its a lot cheaper than a protein bar and much easier for me to keep stocked in my kitchen. Sometimes I roll in a tbs gf rice krispy after the dough has formed to make a crunchy version of this snack too.

  1. Pingback: Cookingbakingfoodrecipes Blog Digest - Gluten free snack, breakfast & lunch ideas

  2. Pingback: GFCF Snack, Breakfast, and Lunch Ideas « Only Sometimes Clever

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