Skipping lunch may be more common than you think, especially for busy parents trying to adhere to a gluten-free lifestyle. But, a real food meal in the middle of the day is important for kids and adults alike!
Eating gluten-free has a number of benefits, even for people without Celiac Disease, wheat allergies, or other conditions that prevent them from metabolizing it. Less severe forms of gluten sensitivity are relatively common, and too much wheat gluten can make you feel bloated and tired.
I’m excited to share this list of Primal Peak’s favorite gluten-free lunch ideas that can be made in advance, or put together in a jiff for sustained energy, and deep nutrition.
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1. BBQ Pork Jar Salad
Jar salads are convenient to take on the go with their simple shake and eat design. This Barbeque Pork Jar Salad is ultra tasty with sweet and savory flavors and plenty of different textures to peek anyone’s palate.
2. Quinoa Buddha Bowl
Quinoa is a grain-like seed that nearly offers complete protein — one of the plant sources — and it’s naturally gluten-free. This square Buddha Bowl (an overstuffed, balanced-nutrition bowl — symbolizing Buddha’s belly) combines quinoa, hard boiled eggs, and Mango Avocado Salsa for a quick and nourishing meal.
3. Chicken & Veggie Collard Wraps with Sun Sauce
Using blanched collard greens is a perfect gluten-free substitute for flour wraps. They are nutrient-rich and full of flavorful — they’re one of my favorite high fiber foods for kids. This Collard Wrap recipe takes advantage of leftover or pre-cooked chicken. It includes a delicious sun sauce that will keep anyone dipping.
4. Primal Cobb Jar Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette
Cobb Salad in a jar? Yes, please! The combination of veggies, hard-boiled eggs, and all-natural salami is so tasty with homemade balsamic dressing. I love how the ingredients above the dressing stay crisp until you are ready to eat.
5. Mediterranean Cauliflower-Rice Salad
Not all salads have to be green. This Mediterranean Cauliflower-Rice Salad is easy to make ahead, allowing time for the flavors to marinate. I like to add diced or shredded chicken for a pop of protein.
6. Salmon Chowder
A hot bowl of soup can be just the ticket to keep you charged mid-day. This Salmon Chowder is as tasty reheated and packed in a thermos as it is when it’s first made.
7. Greek Chicken Jar Salad
Have I mentioned how much I like jar salads? They’re one of my favorite gluten free lunch ideas, since they use lettuce for bulk and fiber instead of rice, bread, or other grain-based foods.
Not only are they a work of food-art, but they come together quickly if the ingredients are pre-chopped. This Greek Chicken Jar Salad is a family favorite.
8. Oregano Salad with Citrus Dressing (add steak and avocado)
This fresh herb salad with citrus dressing becomes a complete meal when topped with diced or sliced steak and avocado. Celebrate the flavors of spring veggies and oregano.
9. Avocado Turkey Caprese Wrap
The best part of a “wrap” is that the inner ingredients can just as easily be used as the wrap itself. In this Avocado Turkey Caprese Wrap, the turkey becomes the shell — all the flavor and nutrition without the gluten. Pair with a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts.
10. Thai Chicken Coconut Soup
This Thai Chicken Coconut Soup is a “make-it-and-forget-it” crockpot recipe that is delicious reheated for a lunch-time pick-me-up. With the comfort of coconut milk broth, Thai flavors, and colorful vegetables, this soup will become a go-to.
11. Korean Beef Bowls
This primal style Korean Beef Bowl celebrates the power of cauliflower-rice, but could also be served over rice. Whether you are packing a healthy lunch for your kids, or yourself, this recipe is sure to be on the list.
12. Chicken Teriyaki Cauli-Rice Bowl
This Chicken Teriyaki Cauli-Rice Bowl is a simple dish to pull together for busy weeknight dinners, but also makes for perfect gluten and soy-free lunches. Reheat and pack in a thermos to fill any rice bowl craving you have.
13. Raw Brussels and Kale Salad with Chicken
Curly kale and shredded Brussels are complemented so well with fresh raspberries, macadamia nuts, and a tasty tahini dressing. Add diced, sliced, or shredded chicken to this Raw Brussels and Kale Salad for a colorful and filling gluten-free lunch idea.
14. Charcuterie Board To Go
Whether our family is packing up for a day of youth sports, or lunch away from home, one of our favorites is a Charcuterie Board to-go! The sky’s the limit when it comes to a meat and cheese board, but in our home, they always require fresh veggies and fruits.
15. The Ultimate Turkey Sandwich (gluten-free)
The beloved Turkey Sandwich stacked high with veggies can still be enjoyed as part of a gluten-free lifestyle, using almond flour bread, or a quality gluten-free multi-grain. This recipe uses simple smashed avocado as a healthy fat spread.
16. Potato Crusted Mini Quiches
Most quiches are typically made with a flour crust. This Potato Mini Quiche recipe uses potato instead — perfect for a gluten-free lifestyle. These tasty morsels are perfect for packing in your lunch box.
17. Nutty Tomato Tart
Have you ever used ground nuts to make a pie crust? It works like a charm and adds so much flavor. This Nutty Tomato Tart is creamy, colorful, and nourishing for any type of lunch break.
18. Leftover Cabbage & Shrimp Dolmas
There is so much flavor and nutrition in these Cabbage & Shrimp Dolmas that your body will be powered up for whatever the afternoon brings. Blanched cabbage becomes a naturally gluten-free wrap for rolling up diced shrimp, pineapple, carrots, green onion, red pepper, ginger, and herbs.
19. Avocado Tuna Boats
This unique mayo-free tuna salad is deliciously transported by way of a halved avocado. Avocado Tuna Boats can also transform into a green salad when served over a bed of spinach, arugula, or mixed greens.
20. Ginger Carrot Soup
The sweet taste of carrot with a hint of spicy ginger are a match made in heaven! Take this creamy Ginger Carrot Soup in a thermos to go and pair it with leftover sliced chicken, or steak for a balanced gluten-free lunch.
21. Shannon’s Meatballs
Meatballs make for one of the best leftover lunches! Top Shannon’s Meatballs over spiralized zucchini and your favorite marinara for drizzling or dipping. No pasta is necessary, making meatballs a great gluten-free lunch idea.
22. Skewers with Pesto Dip
As long as you have eggs and a few staples on hand, frittata is a great way to use up leftovers. This Clean Out the Fridge Frittata recipe will show you how. Cook it up and use it for an easy healthy breakfast or a gluten-free lunch.
24. Citrus Tarragon Chicken Salad
The licorice flavor of fresh tarragon paired with sliced orange is such a fun addition to chicken. Make a batch ahead of time and use this Citrus Tarragon Chicken mixture over a bed of greens or on a sandwich with gluten-free bread for a satisfying lunch.
25. Italian Sub Pinwheels
I loved Italian subs as a little girl, but with a gluten-free primal lifestyle, I needed to come up with a healthy substitute for bread. This Italian Sub Pinwheel recipe meets all my needs flavor-wise and uses an almond flour tortilla to wrap up the inner goodness.
26. Zesty Southwestern Taco Salad
Taco salads make for a fun and healthy family dinner, and for great leftovers to throw together for work, school, or a day on the road. We often don’t even bother to reheat the meat — just enjoy it cold! This Zesty Southwestern Taco Salad is tasty either way.
27. Crispy Chicken Arugula Salad
My favorite part of this Crispy Chicken Arugula Salad is the combination of sweet grapes and spicy arugula. The next best part is that I cook the chicken in the crockpot in advance with this Herbs de Provence Chicken recipe — and anything with bacon is a win in my book.
Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas for a Healthier Afternoon
No excuses now! 27 healthy gluten-free lunches that will satisfy your taste buds and sustain your belly through the middle of the day. Prep ahead and make your week a breeze. Which recipe will you try first?