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Tips for making healthy gluten free lunches!


Choose foods your kiddy likes. If you want to introduce new foods or recipes, try them at home first and when you have your kid on board, add them in the lunchboxes.

When we feed kids, it’s helpful to follow the division of responsibility. It’s the parents’ job to provide the food you want your kids eating. It’s the kids job to choose how much to eat of what you have offered. Within this framework, allow your kid to choose recipes or foods that they want in their lunchbox. Get them involved in the recipe choosing, shopping and prepping – kids who feel they have autonomy or have made a food are more likely to eat it!

Aim for a healthy plate:

  • 1/3 fruit and veggies, to increase fibre and help them get their 5+ a day
  • 1 serve of protein (about the size of their palm) to help them feel full and for muscle growth. You could try having boiled eggs in the fridge, left over chicken, tinned tuna in stuffed potatoes, gf sausages, mini pies, kumara hot dog, chicken nibbles, ham, beans, hummus, dhal, baked beans….
  • At least 1 serve of carbs, for energy, fibre and nutrition. For my gluten free babies we aim for the naturally gluten free carbs most of the time (cheaper! And generally higher in fibre and nutrition), such as, stuffed or baked potato, baked kumara, kumara slices as ‘toast’, home made scones or sausage rolls, corn on the cob, homemade sushi rolls.
  • Kids have high energy needs, so something high energy and snacky for morning or afternoon tea, we often have bliss balls, scroggin mix, biscuits, cheese and gf crackers, muesli bars.
  • Healthy fats are essential for kiddies growth, brain development and for extra energy. You could try aioli in sandwiches, avocado, cheese, full fat yoghurt, nuts, seeds, peanut butter (if allowed at school).

SAVE TIME! - use left overs. When you’re making dinner, make extras for the kids to take to school. Use the sandwich as a vehicle to get veggies and protein (chicken, ham, egg, meat, fish, beans) into your kiddies for sustained energy.

KEEP IT SIMPLE! Lunches don’t need to be fancy. At the end of the day, the most important things, is your child has food they will eat, feels good after eating it and has enough energy to allow them to learn, grow and play.


Chocolate and Orange Black-bean Bliss Balls

To make - whizz until smooth
1 tin of drained black beans
2 cups raisins
2 cups sunflower seeds
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Rind of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange

Roll into balls. Cover with desiccated coconut. Time in the kitchen: 10 minutes

Chocolate and Popcorn Muesli bar

To make. In a large bowl assemble muesli ingredients-
2 cups popcorn
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup of toasted peanuts
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of whizzed/chopped dates

In a pot melt -
100 grams of butter or coconut oil
½ cup honey
1 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp of cocoa powder

Stir so it is well mixed and doesn’t burn. Heat until bubbling for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and pour over muesli mix. Stir so well mixed. Press firmly into slice tin. Refrigerate to set. Time in the kitchen: 15 minutes

Elise is a Registered Dietitian, based in Auckland. She is a mum of 3 tweens and teens and is an avid foodie and nutrition blogger.

You can find her blogs and 100’s of gluten free recipes on Facebook and at


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