Back To School Lunch Ideas (Gluten-free Dairy-free Roundup)

Back to school season is always one of my favorites. Even though I’ve been out of school for years and years, I still love the excitement around this time of year.

I used to always love clothes shopping with my mom, picking out a brand-new lunch box (or stocking up on brown paper bags in high school), and loading up on new pens, calendars, and notebooks.

Funny enough, I still stock up on new office supplies this time of year.

It’s also when I remember how sad my always-brought-from-home lunches were while growing up.

Yep, you read that right. I was a “sack lunch” kid. In my entire time while in grade school, I only bought school lunch three or four times.

I say it was sad, because I brought basically the same thing every single day, with very little variation – even year over year.

Turkey lunchmeat with a squirt of yellow mustard on white bread (wheat in my high school years). Chips. An apple. A Capri Sun – or whatever juice box was on sale that week. And cookies.

There were minimal changes as I got older and asked my mom to pack my own lunch. I started bringing yogurt in high school (funny to think of that now that I’m completely dairy-free), my turkey sandwich switched out for PB&J, and I ate a million Nutri-grain bars. Which to this day, make me sick even thinking about them, because I ate so many of them.

These days, especially with Pinterest supplying so many ideas, lunches are a lot more interesting. Even though, I’m not a mom to a school-aged kiddo just yet, I know you might be thinking about what to feed your kiddo who can’t have gluten or dairy this fall.

Back To School Lunch Ideas (Gluten-free Dairy-free Roundup) |

Here’s a handy roundup of great lunch ideas for back to school for the gluten-free dairy-free kids in your life:

Tips for packing gluten-free lunches

Allergy-friendly lunchbox ideas

25 gluten and dairy-free lunch ideas

25 gluten-free and allergy-friendly lunch ideas

Work & School gluten and dairy-free Mommy & Me lunches

Packingallergy friendly school lunches

Allergy friendly lunchbox ideas

Are you gearing up for back-to-school? What healthy lunches do YOU plan on making your kiddos?

Overnight Oats & Motherhood

Can I just be real for a minute?

No one tells you how hard motherhood will hit you. Maybe some women go through their entire child’s lifetime thinking “wow, I really have this under control.”

I’m just a little over 13 months in to my sweet baby’s life and I do NOT have anything under control yet.

The truth is that I had very different ideas of what motherhood would be than what it has turned out to be (that’s gotta be normal, right?).

Don’t get me wrong. It’s amazing to watch this little human – this miracle… that you CREATED – learn things. Grow. Develop. And just be totally awesome in ways you never knew possible.

I am amazed every time I see him gain a new skill – even if it involves pulling every item from the bottom three shelves of the bookshelf and each item has to be moved up to the next shelf (just slightly) out of reach.

Or how he learned to turn pages – that’s freaking amazing to watch for the first time. Until he learned how to rip half the pages out of most of my cookbooks.

Or how much he LOVES toilet paper… I’ve got to give the kid props for his attention to detail to get those pieces so very very tiny.

Overnight Oats |

Almost everything has been half amazing, half terrifying, and half stress-inducing. That’s too many halves. But you get what I mean.

My ideal life as a mother involved a sweet darling little boy who nursed himself to to a happy deep sleep, then slumbered away for hours in his crib while I snuck away to get some mama time.

But reality hit hard when my little boy came along. And he is not that “normal” stereotypical baby who sleeps anywhere, loves to go for rides in the car to mellow out, or just snuggle.

This kid was brought to this planet for amazing things. But as far as I can tell, for MY life – he is meant to teach me patience and flexibility.

Take for example sleep.

My son has NEVER wanted to sleep independently – from the moment he came into the world. For the first five months of his life, I tried (very determined and naively) to get him to sleep on his own. This kid wasn’t going to sleep in a crib, in a carseat, in a bouncer, in a swing.

Nope, he still – to this day, at 13 months, will only nap in my arms. I know. It sounds crazy even typing it. But it’s my reality. (Side note: he can sleep on his own for the first few hours of the night which actually allows me a tiny reprieve during my day).

He loves his mama. He loves to nurse. He loves to nurse and sleep at the same time. He most certainly does not love to sleep alone. Which is why we have been co-sleeping. Or n0-sleeping as I like to call it.

All the “snuggling” at night actually means I get shoved off to the side of the bed and barely sleep all night, while in a weird contorted position, so I (hopefully) don’t wake him while moving. It’s absurd – and yet, it works for our family right now.

This minimal “me time” and less-than-great sleep has forced me to get a LOT more organized for mornings. That means planning ahead on what I’ll be eating – and oftentimes, preparing breakfast ahead of time, so I can sneak in a few extra(alone) minutes of sleep when my hubby lets me.

One of the breakfasts I’ve been making a lot lately is overnight oats. These are so easy to put together – and I like to create a double batch (for two of us) so I can double my efforts and meals. Plus they’re awesome, because you can eat them hot (warm them in the microwave) or just plain cold – which is great in the summer.

Overnight Oats |

Overnight Oats |

Here’s a few tips on how I put my overnight oats together:

  • Add the liquid last
  • Pump it up with some protein and/or superfoods
  • Use any nut butter or non-dairy milk that you like – there’s no right or wrong
  • Get creative with fruit or veggie combos (pumpkin, applesauce, or pureed berries would be great too!)
  • Use any container with a lid that you like – pint-sized mason jars are great for this

[Read more…]

How To Plan A Freezer Meal Prep Session

I don’t know about you but sometimes Monday morning rolls around and I have a busy day ahead with a very empty fridge for all three meals. Although I try to stay organized with my menu planning, sometimes – especially the weekends – get by me before I can get to the store.

One of my best tips for staying healthy on my gluten-free dairy-free diet is to have meals prepared and sitting in my freezer for days just like that. All I have to do is plop a frozen pouch of food from the freezer straight into my crockpot and turn it on. By 5:00, dinner is done and I don’t have to think one more minute about dinner all day long. Thank goodness.

In this post, I wanted to share with you how I put my freezer meals together, because although it can seem totally daunting to figure out how to get everything organized and prepared… it’s really super simple. I’ll show you how I do it in five easy steps.

How to plan a freezer meal prep session |

1. Choose recipes that look good to you.

They can be specific freezer recipes, crockpot recipes, or recipes that you know will freeze really well. (Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to great freezer meal ideas here)

2. Decide how many meals you want to make.

A great tip is to make at least two or three of each recipe, so you can buy ingredients in bulk and maximize your time in the kitchen chopping and prepping. There really isn’t much difference in time chopping veggies for one freezer meal or three, so do yourself a favor and multiply to get even further ahead. [Read more…]