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Staying Gluten Free For School Lunches

Gluten Free Is Not Always Healthy

School is getting ready to start, and school lunches are on the minds of many parents. Especially parents who have gluten sensitive children. Most kids who bring lunch to school bring processed junk food. The last time I visited the school house during lunch, I saw:
  • Sodas
  • Fruit juice drinks with dyes, sugars, and artificial flavors
  • A vast array of chips cooked in genetically modified oils
  • Sandwiches made with processed meat and cheese “like” substances surrounded in a layer of hydrogenated mayo with added sugar
  • Gatorade
  • Fruit Role Ups
For those who were buying lunch – take a peak at a typical school menu below:

The menu can be summarized as such – grain, potatoes, and processed meat and cheese.

Childhood obesity is a huge problem today, and the growing epidemic of autoimmune disease is central to food. Did you know that there are more cases of autoimmune disease than there are cancer? That brings us to another important point – The “Gluten Free Food Industry”. Product after product is being produced to cater to those on a gluten free diet. The up side to this is the recognition that gluten sensitivity is a real entity that requires dietary change to promote good health. The down side – it promotes the wide spread use of foods that are not healthy, that are cross contaminated with gluten, and in many cases, it promotes foods that contain gluten (just not the traditional gluten that is blamed for celiac disease). You see, there are thousands of different gluten proteins. Unfortunately, only a handful of them have been studied. So what do we do? We assume that they are safe despite the fact that the average person with celiac disease will go on to develop 8 more autoimmune diseases over a lifetime while ignorantly shoveling in gluten free substitute foods. Remember – gluten free does not mean healthy, and when someone is trying to recover from years of gluten induced damage, we are not doing them any favors by telling them that it is OK to eat a “gluten free” cookie. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it… If we look at food processing history, in every instance we find a company telling us how much better for us a processed manipulated food item is than what God created. We inevitably find in the end that we made a mistake.
  • Margarine Vs. Butter
  • Nutrasweet Vs. Sugar
  • Sweet n Low Vs. Sugar
  • Splenda Vs. Sugar
  • Gluten Free Food Products (loaded with chemicals, preservatives, gluten in other forms, etc) Vs. Gluten containing products

Send Real Food To School With Your Child

Real food would be fresh fruit, meat, nuts, and vegetables. In my house, my wife cooks enough dinner so that our son can take leftovers to school for lunch the next day. The use of a stainless steel thermos works well to keep foods warm. If you are worried about your child being “picked on” for bringing “different” food, let it go. Kids are going to “pick” at each other regardless. Teach your child why food is important. Teach your child about the proper care of their body, starting with the proper feeding of it.

Simple Lunch Snack Ideas

  • Dinner left overs (chicken, soups, stews, etc)
  • Boiled eggs
  • Beef jerky (Steve’s Originals has a great grass fed jerky that is gluten free)
  • Any variety of nuts – almonds, pistachios, macadamia, pecans…
  • Tuna salad (mix in avocado instead of mayo, lemon, and sliced apple)
  • Fresh seasonal fruits – berries, bananas, apples, oranges, cherries, etc.
  • You can pick up fresh, wild caught, grass fed, organic, and gluten free food products here <<<
If you have food ideas for healthy school lunches, please share them below so that others needing help may benefit. Dr. Osborne – AKA The Gluten Free Warrior  

3 Responses

  1. Looks like the menu is as bad as what they serve in the hospitals, so sad. I’m recovering from the s.a.d. Diet myself and now Im a health coach working towards informing people or should I say reminding people to just eat real food !

  2. Its so frustrating… school lunch is so horrible for tomorrows growing children. I have three children in school and they always take a packed healthy lunch. Lots of fresh organic fruit and veggies and larabars are great too, avocados and boiled eggs for extra protein. It can be overwhelming when you start to exclude so many of the foods that you thought were considered “ok” to eat. Plantains are a tasty addition that my family had never tried and they are gluten free!

  3. Having been a high school teacher for many years, I know all too well ( and see on a daily basis) the effects of school lunches on our teens. Some lunch ideas I’ve incorporated into my own repertoire are: salad of canned salmon, veggies, and beans with olive oil and lemon; a stew of black beans with veggies and salsa; good roasted turkey or chicken rolled up in butter lettuce; and for an occasional dessert, chocolate avocado pudding or dates stuffed with nut butter. Use of a thermos is paramount! No microwaves here! Also, with the short 20-25 minute span that students have to eat, socialize, use lockers and lavs, a small lunch is best and will help keep them awake to learn (and me to teach) in the after-lunch hours. Then, a healthy snack (nuts/fruit) before sports practice after school. Kids who adhere to these types of eating habits are far better learners and athletes and tend to be on fewer meds. The (and my) next step: getting school administration and staff to look at nutrition needs for those students who are struggling on many fronts. It’s never, ever mentioned in meetings!

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