In my opinion, lunch has always been the most difficult meal to plan. I don’t like eating too much food, because then I get sleepy around 2pm. I don’t like eating too little either. If I eat too little, I either eat a snack I don’t need in the middle of the afternoon, or get so hungry I overeat at dinner. So I’ve always approached the meal cautiously at best, and with a lot of exasperation at worst.
I don’t like eating the same old things day after day. I didn’t like it long before I found out I’m gluten intolerant. But once my diet became more restricted out of necessity, I really became determined to avoid lunch time boredom. I know it’s not just me who deals with this issue either. I was talking to other members of my support group, and both stay-at-home and people who go to the office everyday get tired of eating boring routine lunches.
I tried making gluten free sandwiches at first. I baked bread and sliced it myself, but a sandwich is a sandwich on any diet. As you probably know by now (or will find out soon), food boredom on the gluten free diet is an invitation to cheat. It doesn’t matter what meal you’re talking about either. Eating the same foods day after day will eventually become so boring you’ll get wandering gluten-free eyes. I try to do everything that will help me stay gluten free, so I started looking beyond sandwiches for lunch.
The great news is that there are plenty of ways to make great tasting gluten free lunches that aren’t sandwiches. Following is a short list of just some of the lunches I’ve made that are gluten free (click on them to open the recipe).
• Cubed baked chicken breasts and chopped onion and peppers over corn chips and then covered with salsa
• Tuna fish or chicken salad on lettuce and topped with any vegetable you desire including chopped green peppers or black beans
• Bean spreads and gluten free crackers
• Green salad topped with beans, peas, chicken or tuna and any other interesting item you enjoy eating such as sunflower seeds, olives and egg
• Soups of all kinds which can be carried in a thermos of those who work away from home
• Potato salad topped with chopped ham
One great idea for lunch makings is to use dinner leftovers. One thing I often due is make impromptu lunch casseroles from dinner food items. Just to give you an idea, today I made a turkey casserole. I cut up turkey meat I had baked for dinner last night, mixed it with leftover dinner green beans and corn, and added some chicken broth and cheese. I heated my little gluten free casserole in the microwave. A meal like this can be stored in a microwave safe plastic container and reheated at the office too.
By the way, don’t eat stuffed baked potatoes or potato salad too often. They’re both great tasting foods, but they’re also very starchy foods. Too many potatoes and rice dishes and you’ll be planning a weight loss meal plan.
Don’t let yourself get bored with lunch. With a little imagination you can take your boring brown bag lunches to a whole new level.