One of the most challenging parts of the gluten-free diet is lunch. While our colleagues simply “brown bag it” or grab something from the cafeteria, lunch poses a very serious challenge for us celiacs. Even if you find a restaurant with great gluten-free options near work, eating there every day can start to be pretty expensive!
Luckily for us, times are changing for followers of the gluten-free diet. Like all aspects of the gluten-free life, packing lunch is getting much easier. Below, I share 4 tips that have helped me tackle this challenge and I’m sure they’ll help you too!
- “Bringing Sandwich Back” – If you recognize this phrase, it’s because it is an Udi’s slogan that they slap all over their online and print advertising. Now I know there are a lot of slogans in the advertising world, but this one hit the nail on the head for me. Personally, sandwiches were never a lunch option because gluten-free bread was too brittle. At home, I could toast the bread, microwave it, or even make a Panini, but these were never options at work. Now with Udi’s amazing gluten-free bread, sandwiches have once again become my lunch option of choice. (Their Whole Grain Bread is my favorite!).
- The Perfect Lunch Box – So maybe sandwiches aren’t your thing. I’m pretty easy to please and can eat sandwiches on untoasted Udi’s bread all day, but that’s just me. A lot of celiacs out there like to bring in food they’ve cooked at home. Sometimes, I’ll make a big serving of chicken, rice and vegetables on Sunday and then bring in a little with me to work each day. Lugging around awkward sized Tupperware can be a pain though. That is, unless you have a lunchbox from Laptop Lunches. They sell lunchboxes (for kids and adults) consisting of perfectly fitting containers. If you’re packing lunch and taking it with you to work every day (or packing it for someone else), you really have to check these out. My personal favorite is the Power Lunch System.
- GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals – Ok so maybe you don’t want to do the whole sandwich thing, but you’re also too busy to cook. Aren’t there any convenient and affordable lunch options out there for us celiacs? Thanks to our friends at GoPicnic, the answer is yes! GoPicnic offers a wide variety of gluten-free, read-to-eat meals that are perfect for work or travel. My best way to describe them would be to take a Lunchable, make it 10x better and make it gluten-free too! Check out their gluten-free options to see for yourself. (Bonus: Our sister site, Gluten-Free Saver, is offering a limited promotion for 50% off of GoPicnic meals until November 6. Check it out!)
- When You’re Too Busy for Lunch – A lot of us can be pretty busy at work. In fact, there have been some days when it’ll be close to 4:00 PM before I have a chance to eat something. Even then, I’ll be so busy that I’ll have to literally inhale it. While many of our colleagues can simply go to the vending machine to grab something quick, that may not be an option for you. Just to be safe, make sure you have plenty of non-perishable snacks at work. Some of my favorite snacks to keep on hand are Thai Kitchen’s Rice Noodle Soup Bowls. They are all gluten-free except for the ‘Hot and Sour’ and ‘Mushroom Flavors’. Another constant staple in my desk are plenty of gluten-free snack bars. My favorite gluten-free bars are Larabars and Purefit Nutrition Bars.
So whether you’re packing lunch for yourself, or packing it for someone else, I hope that these 4 tips can help you cope with the challenge a little bit better. That’s what’s worked for me.
What about you? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.