Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 23, 2008 09:20 PM

gluten free lunch ideas

I could really use your help starting a gluten free diet. My main concern is what I'm going to eat for lunch. I typically eat a piece of fruit and a frozen burrito (flour tortilla, darn it) or grab a sandwich out. I don't have much time to pack a lunch and there's only so much hummus I can eat. I know I'll stick with the diet better as long as I keep things simple. I'd love some ideas.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm going to list various components and you can pair them (if you choose) as desired...

    You can easily do brown rice salad concotions... Brown rice with veggies, beans, fish, whatever.

    Edamame is a great choice, alongside some veggies, salad, fruit.

    Greek yogurt with fruit

    Baked sweet potato or regular potato with toppings of choice - cinnamon and butter for the sweet potato, maybe broccoli and light cheese for the regular

    Make a pot of chili on the weekend and take to work with some salad

    Hard-boiled eggs (or just whites)

    Frittatas (make on weekends) in little muffin cup portions

    Possibly fajitas if the restaurant can be certain they don't use flour on their chicken or in thickening

    Rotisserie Chicken

    Sushi - sticking to sashimi, edamame, plain steamed rice - but you can't use their soy sauce - have to bring your own bragg's or gluten free soy sauce

    Couscous Salad - 5 minutes to make


    Cottage Cheese and Salsa or Fruit Salad

    Sliced Apple with Almond Butter many options I promise!

    13 Replies
    1. re: Emme

      Fajitas are usually served with flour tortillas and coucous is totatlly out.
      There are gluten-free breads for sandwiches, but you can also just roll up your meat or use a lettuce wrap.
      For emergency use you could also keep some instant oatmeal and raisin boxes in your desk at work.

      1. re: Stuffed Monkey

        i have a gluten free couscous, but that's totally MY BAD for suggesting that... i forget i buy a special product!! SO SO SORRY!

        you don't have to eat the flour tortillas that come with the fajitas... i wasn't suggesting that! i was suggesting the vegetables and protein combo...

        1. re: Emme

          Often if I order fajitas I just ask for corn tortillas instead. They usually have them and dont seem to mind.

          What kind of couscous do you buy? How is it? I'm always looking for something new to try.

          1. re: julseydesign



   (but this is out of stock


            Bob's Red Mill also makes this mighty tasty hot cereal that's gluten free and couscous esque...

          2. re: Emme

            Quinoa works well as a cous cous substitute

          3. re: Stuffed Monkey

            also, there's a lot of controversy over gluten in oats. i, for one, cannot tolerate them; however, if the OP is eliminating gluten out of choice and not necessity, then this might not be an issue. but for those of us with celiac, i know a lot of people that can't do oats.

            millet is another option instead though....

            1. re: Emme

              GF oats have become much easier to find, and the prices are finally coming down a bit, thank goodness! the original Canadian brands are still out there, but Bob's Red Mill also has them now - both rolled AND steel-cut.

              as far as GF grains go, the least time-consuming one to prepare is definitely quinoa...and don't be afraid to start experimenting with some of the other exotic/unusual ones like amaranth & teff.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I agree that you DEFINITELY need to buy the GF oats if you are going to try it. I have been so excited to eat oatmeal after 10 years without lately. I do find that I can tolerate the Bob's red mill certified gf oats, but I can only eat them a couple of times a week without reaction. Dont know if thats really true.

                Emme - thanks for the links, i'm excited to try them.

                1. re: julseydesign

         do you know about this brand? some good products.

                  1. re: julseydesign

                    Oats can sometimes raise your IGA levels so be careful. If you are eating gluten-free oats you should talk to your doctor about IGA monitoring.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    yes absolutely agree, but "instant oats" are generally not gluten free :) at least as i can see it, i wouldn't keep them in my desk drawer... we have plenty of other options though, don't we?

                  3. re: Emme

                    Thanks for the thought, Emme. I'm the OP and I am doing this as an elimination diet. Not sure if I'm celiac yet, but I am not going to even walk the line of regular oats and the like. It's not worth the bother if I don't do it right.

                2. re: Emme

                  NO NO NO!!!! couscous is wheat!!!!! dont eat it.

                3. My best advice is to make extras when you are cooking dinner and take leftovers. If you are a no leftovers type of person, then you can make your own frozen food by freezing sauces or dinners in individual portions . There are many GF frozen options out there - Amy's foods, etc. I don't eat a lot of them, but have on occasion and been OK with them. I would rather my own food though.

                  Get some good corn tortillas. You should have access to Guerrero if you don't have any taquerias that make their own and sell them there. They warm just fine, and you can just stick in burrito filling. Nachos work too. I use corn tortillas for all sorts of things, from dipping to tacos, to a quick pizza base when I am in the mood.

                  I like the product called corn thins or a reasonable cracker to dip or spread something on. It is less messy than rice cakes, but since I don't like most gluten-free breads that are commercially available it works for me.

                  If you want to make some Emme has some great ideas. Cold noodle salads with rice noodles or 100% buckwheat work well too.

                  1. Unfortunately, in order to eat well, going gluten free does require a little more effort. I definitely second eating leftovers. Its what I usually do (especially because I like a hot lunch, and I like my cooking). It will also save you money. There are various gf breads out there to make sandwiches with (again doing it yourself) my favorites are the Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse and also the Glutino bagels. Once you get into the routine, time is no excuse for not packing a lunch. toast some bread while you're getting dressed - takes 5 minutes, and leftovers packaged properly mean grabbing a tupperware from the fridge.

                    If you want takeout...soup and salad, just be sure to look at an ingredient list. Creamy soups are out. I end up eating lots and lots of salads when out. Mexican takeout can work well too - rice and beans, etc. Indian food depends on the region but is often gf too. so is korean food.

                    Eating GF is a great opportunity to explore other food cultures where wheat is not a staple grain. Hope you can think of it as a way to explore your culinary horizons.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: julseydesign

                      Thanks for the good thoughts, Julsey. I'm already a super adventurous eater, so it's actually making me a bit paranoid to think about having to grill (politely) restaurant staff about their ingredients. But you're right, this is a great excuse to eat some fun food.

                      1. re: Vetter

               lists restaurants with gluten-free items identified on their menus.

                      2. Starting a gluten free diet is really challenging! Good luck! The lunch combos listed here are great ideas - I use many of those myself. I have a really hard time with the commercially prepared gluten free breads, etc - just don't like the taste - so I often skip the bread altogether! I find myself bringing lots of leftovers, and some days,when I'm in a hurry, I just throw together a bunch of "snacks" that will give me plenty to nibble on all day long - yogurt, baked potato, fruit, single serve frozen veggie micro-in-bag things...and lots of salads! turkey roll - ups with cheese or avocado, a little chive is really tasty. Rice cakes/apple/banana/celery with peanut butter. String cheese is good too. There are lots of things you can just grab and go if you have your fridge/cabinet stocked well, and plan your grocery shopping accordingly. Good luck!

                        1. my good girlfriend is GF. she brings her lunch each day. She makes batches of tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, etc, and brings lettuce or corn tortillas to use as a bed, or a wrap. She makes ham and cheese rollups, cheese and GF crackers and fruit, and takes a lot of dinner leftovers, too. She often freezes portions of soup and stews in individual containers to grab for work.

                          Good luck !!