Monday, June 21, 2010

Gluten-Free Breakfast and Lunch: What to do?

As a junior in high school, I know how difficult it can be to make (and eat) a gluten-free breakfast and lunch every day, let alone meals that are nutritious and hearty. While most of my classmates can simply grab $2.50 to buy lunch, I have to labor over what I’m going to eat each day at school. Some schools are beginning to offer gluten-free options, but many, including mine, do not. I also need to make sure I eat breakfast before school to make it through the day. Trying to coordinate my gluten-free eating habits all in a 45-minute time period before school, while also making sure I’m prepared for school, can be a very challenging task. Here are a few of the things I do to keep my mornings from becoming too hectic.

If at all possible, I try to get my lunch together the night before. This saves time in the morning and keeps me from having to worry about it too early. I often make deli meat sandwiches for lunch. I use a bread maker to make gluten-free bread then slice it and freeze it, so all I have to do is pop a frozen piece in the toaster. This keeps it quick and easy. I also make sure there are plenty of healthy snack foods around, like pretzels, carrots, fruits, nuts, granola bars, and chips. It’s convenient to purchase packaged foods like granola bars, pretzels, and crackers in bulk because it’s cheaper, and there is a long-lasting supply at home. If not in the mood for a sandwich, another option is to put leftovers in a Tupperware container or Thermos and microwave them at school. I realize this may not be convenient for everyone but if a microwave is available it‘s certainly a good option.

Now that lunch is covered, what about breakfast? There are endless options for breakfast, time allowing. If pressed for time, a simple bowl of cereal (Panda Puffs, Koala Crisp, and organic corn flakes are all good) will do, or even a bowl of yogurt. Many flavors of Yoplait and Stonyfield Farms yogurts are gluten free. If you have more time, however, there are other tasty options. Bob’s Red Mill now offers gluten-free certified oats, so oatmeal is a good choice. Also, eggs, in any form, are nutritious and good tasting. One of my favorite meals is to toast a Gillian’s or Trader Joe’s French roll, melt cheese on it, and make a breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs and salsa. The options are endless. So, the next time you get stressed out about what you’re going to eat for breakfast or lunch, calm down and think about it. You never know what you might come up with.

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