What’s in your Gluten-Free Emergency Lunch Kit?
The other day I was prowling around on the internet (probably procrastinating about writing), and came across this Lifehacker article: “Create an Emergency Lunch Kit for Better Brown Bag Meals.” And it got me thinking—every gluten-free person who works outside the home should have a Gluten-Free Emergency Lunch Kit.
What do you do if you forget your lunch? Or maybe you drop your container of gluten-free leftovers on the break room floor, shattering the container and your hopes of having a safe-for-you hot meal? Many corporate offices don’t have on-site cafes and aren’t near restaurants where you can go grab something for lunch. At the ones that do have cafes in-house or restaurants nearby, there may not be very many gluten-free options available—if any. And what is available might be boring as heck—a plain veggie-only side salad (remember, gluten often hides in salad dressings and marinades), a piece of fresh fruit, a bag of plain potato chips. That’s not lunch—that’s a snoozefest!
Take control of your lunch by making sure you always have flavorful choices on hand. The key to creating a Gluten-Free Emergency Lunch Kit is to choose items that are gluten-free (of course!), shelf-stable (so they don’t go bad hanging out at your desk), and satisfying. You’ll also want to make sure you have the necessary extras on hand to comfortably eat your meals—like microwaveable containers, disposable utensils, and your favorite gluten-free sauces or seasonings.
I’ve begun assembling my Gluten-Free Emergency Lunch Kit. Here are some of the convenient, shelf-stable, flavorful items I’m including!
Tuna packets, like StarKist Kid’s Creations Bacon Ranch
Gluten-free canned chicken–from BJ’s
Gluten-free beef jerky, like KRAVE jerky
Gluten-free canned chicken noodle soup—from Aldi
Gluten-free microwave rice packets—from Aldi
Annie’s Homegrown microwaveable gluten-free macaroni & cheese cups
Fruits and veggies
Canned vegetables—choose plain veggies with no sauces, seasonings, or gravies
Bare Snacks apple chips and banana chips
Biena Sea Salt chickpea snacks (a tasty source of protein and fiber)
Lundberg Family Farms rice cakes (with lots of flavors to choose from, they’re delightful on their own, or pair with peanut butter or a tuna fish packet!)
Glutino pretzel sticks (make it a balanced snack by dipping them in peanut butter)
Blue Diamond almonds (a super-filling snack, and there are many gluten-free varieties to choose from!)
Super Seedz no-shell Sea Salt pumpkin seeds (nutritious on their own, and also a great way to spruce up a plain side salad from your company’s café)
Rice Chex (I always have Rice Chex around because they’re an easy way for me to get iron!)
Gluten-free tamari sauce packets—I use ones that are left over from my P.F. Chang’s takeout orders
White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter by Peanut Butter & Company (pair with rice cakes, pretzels, or eat it out of the jar with a spoon!)
Single-serving, shelf-stable almond milks—to use as a beverage or paired with Rice Chex or your other favorite gluten-free cereal
Herb-Ox gluten-free bouillon cubes or packets—if you have access to hot water, these packets can help you make a quick broth-based soup, and they can also flavor a bowl of plain rice quite nicely
Wintergreen Tic-Tacs—to freshen up after eating your lunch or snacks
Lactaid pills, if you’re lactose-intolerant like me but still want to enjoy dairy
Microwaveable soup mug—perfect for making your gluten-free soup in; also doubles as a makeshift cereal bowl if you want to enjoy your Rice Chex with almond milk
Box of assorted plastic utensils—these come in handy when there are potentially gluteny crumbs in the communal utensil dispensers, or when you’re just too lazy to get up from your desk (not juding—I’ve been there!)
Bag clips or twist ties, to shut any snack bags you may have opened (Don’t have any? A binder clip will work in a pinch!)
You tell me: What’s in your Gluten-Free Emergency Lunch Kit?