GFCF Snack, Breakfast, and Lunch Ideas

A post I wrote a year ago for gluten-free snack, breakfast and lunch ideas continues to receive a lot of hits.  Since I wrote that, though, we have also had to eliminate casein from the diets of two of my four children.  Casein is the protein in milk.  Being casein-free is a lot more difficult than being lactose-free.  Casein is the protein, lactose is the sugar.  You can remove the sugar from milk, but you can’t remove the protein.

So, I thought I’d update my old list to make it gluten-free and casein-free.  This list is also peanut-free, and mostly nut-free.


We alternate hot & cold breakfast days.

  • Eggs, fruit & toast (g.f. toast, of course).
  • G.f. pancakes & sausage.  There are many gluten-free pancake mixes available, or they are nearly as easy to make from scratch as regular pancakes.  Outside of the U.S., most sausage is NOT gluten-safe.  In the US, sausage is, almost all of the time, 100% meat.  Be careful of additives, though.  Some contain dairy, soy, and many contain MSG, which I (and a lot of other g.f. folks) am sensitive to.
  • GFCF crepes
  • GFCF breakfast cookies
  • For a treat, I splurge on g.f. waffles (try Lifestream, or the kind sold at Trader Joe’s).
  • For an even bigger treat, the frozen breakfast goods by Kinnikinnick are fantastic, albeit expensive.  They have several kinds of tasty GFCF muffins and doughnuts.
  • Eggs and/or sausage/bacon with Tater Tots (check your ingredient list!  Many “extra crispy” varieties contain gluten).
  • 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 large (29 oz) can of fruit-juice-sweetened sliced peaches.  Spread the peaches across the bottom of a 8″ x 11.5″ dish.  Mix about 1 TBSP corn starch and about 1/4 tsp cinnamon into the reserved juice, then pour that over the peaches.  Then, make the dough.  Mix together 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.  Then add enough rice milk to make a stiff dough.  Use a big table spoon and dot the dough on top of the peaches.  Bake at 375 degrees 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.)
  • Homemade g.f. muffins, made quickly with Kinnikinnick Bread & Bun mix.
  • Smoothies made with rice milk, rice protein powder, and frozen fruit.
  • Recipe for GFCF Mexican Breakfast Pizza.


  • Tortilla chips (and salsa!)
  • Regular potato chips — Most plain/unflavored chips are GFCF.  Lays Stax have all g.f. ingredients, and are now even labelled as gluten free!
  • Fruit
  • Fruit leather (most fruit rollups and many packaged “fruit snacks” are GFCF, but good old-fashioned plain fruit leather is still my favorite)
  • Popcorn — virtually all microwave popcorn is NOT GFCF.  So, get reaquainted with a large, lidded pan, some oil and kernels, and get poppin’!  We almost always sprinkle ours with cinnamon sugar.
  • 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 – Add frozen juice concentrate to coconut milk, mix and freeze in molds.
  • A rice cake topped with jam or prepared GFCF frosting.  Lundberg Farms makes the BEST rice cakes, and they come in a wide array of flavors.  Read labels thoroughly, but most Duncan Hines frostings are g.f.  Some of them do contain dairy and/or other allergens, but are properly labelled.  At the time of this writing, Creamy Home-Style Dark Chocolate Fudge is GFCF and free from other allergens, as well.  (All of Betty Crocker’s frostings contain wheat starch.)
  • Jell-o
  • Trail mix made with Gorilla Munch (or another GFCF cereal, like Perky-O’s) and whatever else I have on hand (usually dried fruit and choc. chips)
  • Pickles
  • Rice crispy treats made w/ g.f. rice crispies and GFCF margarine or Spectrum non-hydrogenated shortening.
  • Take a trip to the Asian supermarket!  Not everything is GFCF, of course, but they have a wealth of snacks and treats that are, which you are probably unfamiliar with.  Start with fruit jelly cups and rice-based Korean cookies.
  • 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, served w/ g.f. chips (plain, potato chips, Fritos, etc) & fruit, and maybe a pickle.
  • Chicken noodle soup.  Works best using g.f. spaghetti, broken into 2-3″ pieces.  I use ORGANIC Chicken Better Than Bouillon, which is pricey, but lasts a long time.  (At the time of this writing, the organic is GFCF — the regular variety has whey in it.)  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.
  • 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, salsa, sliced olives, whatever.
  • G.f. pasta with storebought pasta sauce (check for GFCF ingredients!).
  • Chili:  Hormel Chunky NO BEANS chili is GFCF.  We place some Fritos in our bowls, and spoon the chili over the top.  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.

Also, I HIGHLY ADVISE that you pick up the magazine Living Without from a well-stocked magazine carrier, or healthfood store, or buy a single copy from the website.  This beautifully-produced quarterly magazine is a wealth of information for those on a GFCF diet, particularly if you’re just starting out.  What I find even more valuable than the articles and recipes, though, are actually the ads.  These can alert you to a wealth of GFCF food goods and suppliers that you never knew existed.

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 25, 2007, in Celiac Disease, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Dairy-free, GF Recipes, GFCF Recipes, gluten-free, Gluten-Free and Food Allergy Resources. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much for the ideas. I just started my one year old on the GFCF diet and it has been difficult to come up with breakfast and lunch ideas. I also found the receipe for rice milk. I make her rice milk at home but your receipe sounds better than the one I am currenlty using 🙂

  2. Thanks to you we discovered corn thins…and my son LOVES them! Thanks 🙂

  3. Hello Karen,

    I just wanted to thank you for posting all of these wonderful ideas. My 3 year son has celiac disease and we lead a pretty busy life. I believe that my 8 year old daughter (who is not a celiac) will enjoy these recipes as well. I was trying to make my grocery list and decided to look online for some new ideas for my son and came across your site. I have to say that it has been the most helpful that I’ve found and I thank you for that. I look forward to checking back to see what else you have to share! Thanks again Karen!


  4. Thank you Karen! This list is so helpful. My son is being put on a GFCF diet for Autism and its already started helping but i’m a bit lost. Thanks so much, i’m implementing some of these ideas ASAP.

  5. I agree on the Lundberg Farms rice cakes being the best!! I love the Honey Nut ones with peanutbutter. If you can eat almonds, I found a healthier version of the frosting on them. Try Justin’s natural Chocolate Almond Butter. I tried it on the Honey Nut rice cakes recently and it was soooooo good!

  6. Some of the best snack ideas I’ve seen on the net, thanks for the comprehensive list.

    • Note… I normally don’t approve commenters whose motivation appears to be to advertise themselves and/or their products… but your product looks tasty, and is GFCF, so I’m letting it slide… 🙂

  7. “good old-fashioned plain fruit leather is still my favorite”
    Do u have a recipe to make it? When I was a kid we would get it from school but it’s nothing like what you get now of days. It doesn’t even come close in taste either.
    old school was the best. I hope to hear back from u. Thanks for your menu. I have a 3 yr old who is gluten and casein free. so hard to plan meals.
    thanks SK,Canada.

    • If you have a food dehydrator, making fruit leather is easy. I don’t have a recipe, though. I don’t know if this brand is readily available in Canada, but my favorite fruit leather is from Stretch Island. You can buy it from Amazon. I buy the 48 variety pack from Costco… can’t remember the cost offhand, but it’s less expensive than even from Amazon. (Just checked, and there is a Costco in Regina and one in Saskatoon — if I understand that last bit you wrote, and that “SK” means Saskatchewan.) Stretch Island’s Fruitabu is probably closer to what you remember as a child… it’s more like fruit roll-up, but still 100% natural and all fruit sweetened.

  1. Pingback: Gluten free snack, breakfast & lunch ideas « Only Sometimes Clever

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