September 06, 2022 6 min read

 

Coming up with new recipes is difficult especially when you've decided to go gluten-free. If you're struggling, try some of these delicious gluten-free lunch ideas. These suggestions look beyond sandwiches to include creative salads, zucchini noodles, and more. 

 

What Is a Gluten-Free Diet?

 

A mobile phone showing a circle around a wheat head and a line through it

Credit: Envato Elements/ armacuatro

 

When someone adopts a gluten-free diet, they are forgoing foods like wheat, rye, and barley that contain the protein gluten. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, you must cut gluten out of your diet. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to unintentionally injure itself.

Gluten can also affect those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Those who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity feel uneasy after eating gluten. They do not test positive for celiac disease but have identical symptoms that include stomach cramps and discomfort, altered bowel movements, exhaustion, or rashes.

A gluten-free diet is advantageous for everyone who follows it, even those without a health condition linked to gluten. 

 

Foods To Avoid That Contain Gluten

 

A lot of people are choosing to eliminate gluten in their diets. While following a gluten-free diet can be rewarding and healthy, it does involve some preparation and labor. To cut out gluten from your diet, avoid the following foods:

 

1)  Grains

 

A bag of grains on a table

Credit: Envato Elements/ chernikovatv

 

Grain is the major food product to avoid when following a gluten-free diet. While not all grains contain gluten, many do. The most widely consumed grains that contain gluten include those used to make bread, pasta, cereals, bagels, muffins, cookies, and cakes. But the list does not stop there. Many grain-based products that you don't think about include gluten as well. Foods like croutons, biscuits, tortillas, and noodles typically include grains and gluten as well.

 

Gluten-Containing Grains:

 

  • Rye
  • Farina
  • Barley
  • Wheat
  • Spelt
  • Farro
  • Kamut
  • Couscous

 

2)  Seasonings & Condiments

 

White ramekin dishes with different sauces in them and some herbs around them

Credit: Envato Elements/ furmanphoto

 

Other than grains, sauces and seasonings also include gluten. The majority of people would not immediately assume that their favorite condiments contain gluten. Gluten is added to many liquid-like foods to help create a thicker consistency.

Here are some of the most common condiments to stay away from if you are gluten intolerant and want to entirely cut it out of your diet:

 

  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Barley Malt
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Marinades
  • Spice Blends
  • Gravy Mixes

 

Prior to using any condiments, it is imperative to check the ingredients to see if it contains gluten. Many sauces and salad dressings include gluten. 

 

3)  Beverages

 

A man pulling a pint of beer into a glass

Credit: Envato Elements/ mstandret

 

Alcohol and other beverages frequently contain grains as an ingredient. Beverages like beer and wine coolers are typically made with malted wheat or barley, which almost always contain gluten. 

Before consuming your drink, make sure to check if it is gluten-free. Alcohols made from grains include whiskey, vodka, and gin. If you are avoiding gluten, stick to alcoholic beverages prepared without grains or those that clearly state they are gluten-free.

 

4)  Processed Meats

 

A plate of processed meats with some mustard on the side

Credit: Envato Elements/ grafvision

 

While unseasoned meat doesn't typically contain gluten, processed meats typically do. This is because processed meats include more than just meat; they also include other ingredients. The production of these meats frequently involves the use of grains, which contaminates them with gluten. If you follow a gluten-free diet, it is recommended to thoroughly check all of the food ingredients for gluten before making a purchase. You might want to completely avoid the deli counter in this situation.

Instead of processed foods, opt for organic meat, or fresh seafood. These animal sources are healthier for you and provide protein without worrying about gluten.

If you're looking for quick gluten-free lunches that you can whip up in no time, scroll down below.

 

Gluten-Free Recipes

 

As mentioned above going gluten-free can have a number of advantages and not just for those that react to it. A gluten-free diet can help you feel healthier and might even help you get slimmer. So if you're looking to go gluten-free, you need some recipes to help you. These recipes can be used to make lunch for your kid or even for yourself.

 

1)  Chicken Salad

 

A white bowl full of salad and chicken pieces

Credit: Taste of Home

 

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat salads? Even if they don't typically like salads, your youngster will definitely change their mind with this recipe.

 

Ingredients

 

Chicken:

 

  • 3 teaspoons of lime juice
  • Boneless, skinless, 1/4-pound chicken breasts that have been thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil

 

Dressing:

 

  • 50 ml of white vinegar
  • 30 grams of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of minced dried onion
  • 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 cup of canola oil

 

Salad:

 

  • 6 ounces of baby spinach
  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, cut
  • 1/2 cup of toasted pecan halves

 

Directions

 

1) In a large bowl, mix the chicken, pepper, and lime juice. Cover and chill for two hours.

2) Drain and throw out the marinade. Cook the chicken in oil in a big skillet.

3) In the meantime, purée the salt, mustard, onion, sugar, and vinegar together in a blender. Add oil gradually and steadily while processing. 

4) Add poppy seeds and stir.

5) Combine spinach, strawberries, peas, onion, chicken, and 1/2 cup dressing in a large serving bowl. Add some chopped pecans. Refrigerate any remaining dressing. You can garnish with fresh herbs of your choice.

Note: If you want to skip the chicken, replace it with avocado for a delicious avocado salad.

 

2)  Broccoli Nuggets

 

Some broccoli that has been made into nuggets with sauce on the side

Credit: Laura Fuentes

 

Adding cheesy baked broccoli nuggets to your meal is a tasty way to consume more vegetables and enjoy a healthy lunch. Include your kids' preferred dipping sauce. Check to see if it is gluten-free.

 

Ingredients

 

  • Broccoli florets (16-ounce bag)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs (make sure that it is gluten-free bread)
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite seasoning mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

 

Directions

 

1) Preheat the oven to 375°.

2) In a food processor, place broccoli florets and process them until thoroughly minced.

3) Add the eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, and spices to the vegetable mixture. Blend for a few pulses.

3) Place scoops of the veggie nuggets on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper using a small cookie scoop. To make all of the nuggets the same height, gently press them down.

4) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until brown on top. Before serving, take them out of the oven and give them some time to cool before serving.

5) Refrigerate leftovers for up to three days in an airtight container.

 

3) Black Bean Hummus

 

Black bean hummus with tomato relish and tortilla chips on the side

Credit: A Couple Cooks

 

Black bean hummus is a contemporary take on the classic Mediterranean dip that substitutes black beans for chickpeas. We promise that it tastes even better than it sounds!

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of black beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt 
  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika

 

Directions

 

1) Don't rinse the black beans after draining them. Add lime juice to it.

2) Add garlic to a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped.

3) Add tahini, smoked paprika, olive oil, lime juice, black beans, and kosher salt along with the garlic mixture to the food processor. Pulse for 15 seconds.

4) Add a little extra olive oil if it becomes too thick.

5) Purée for another minute until all the delicious flavors combine.

 

4) Zucchini Noodles and Shrimp

 

A black iron pot with some zucchini noodles and shrimp with sauce on the side

Credit: Taste of Home

 

Cut the carbs without sacrificing flavor with this tart shrimp dish. You can make the noodles by thinly slicing zucchini. To make this delicious recipe, follow the steps below.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoons of grated lime zest
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Uncooked shrimp weighing 1 pound
  • 2 medium spiralized zucchini (about 6 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

 

Directions

 

1) In a large cast-iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

2) Add shallot and garlic and simmer for 1-2 minutes. After removing from the flame, mix in the lime juice and zest. Over medium heat, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until liquid almost completely evaporates.

3) Add the remaining butter and olive oil, then mix in the shrimp and zucchini. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes, or until shrimp become pink and zucchini is firm. Add more lime zest and parsley on top.

 

Summary

 

All these recipes are naturally gluten-free. If you plan on going gluten-free, there are plenty of recipes out there for you to try. Simply add plenty of fresh veggies and try to be innovative and creative in the kitchen. These recipes can also be prepared for a healthy dinner.

 

Alex Wittle
Alex Wittle



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