It was right around this time last year that I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet to see if it would actually improve my mood and energy. Prior to this change I would wake up in the morning and after 1 hour would feel extremely lethargic like all the energy in me had been depleted in one sitting. Initially, I blamed my underactive thyroid for this problem but I think we need constant reminders that what we put into our bodies affects the way we function in the world. I had already started packing bentos for work but when I started cooking gluten-free, I noticed a huge difference in my energy levels. My body had a dramatic response to the nutrient dense, gluten–free foods I was eating. No more fogginess at work and a huge improvement in skin, hair, and nails. When it comes to packing lunch, bentos are great for monitoring contaminants and controlling portions. If you need some ideas for packing lunch for your kiddos or for yourself during the work week, here are lunches I’ve prepared that worked really well for me. Most of them are leftovers from the night before or quick meals I can put together in the morning.
Stegosaurus onigiri, baingan bartha (eggplant), spiced chick peas and mixed root veggies.
barbacoa with salad and balled pears
BBQ pulled chicken sandwich with gluten-free roll and BBQ sauce
Mushroom & cheese frittata, quinoa, sugar snap peas, and garlic & rosemary sweet potatoes
Fruit bento: oranges, blueberries, strawberries with poppy seeds, banana slices, and mini sandwich with cheddar cheese.
Roasted butternut squash and rosemary, grape tomatoes, arugula, and turkey havarti on gluten-free bread, gluten-free pecan chocolate chip cookie
Chicken & mushroom fried rice, cucumbers with tomato, and sweet chili sauce.
Grilled chicken salad with spring mix.
Chuck roast with pear and walnut salad + BBQ sauce for dipping.
jasmine rice onigiri, eggs, and masala roasted root vegetables
gluten-free french toast, hard boiled eggs, sliced roma tomatoes in a tiffin box.
roasted yukon potatoes, paleo bread with jam, bacon, and eggs
Chicken salad, banana peppers, pickles, gluten-free dinner roll
ground beef and corn pasta noodles, marinara, garlic gluten-free roll, chips, and gluten-free cookie
quick chicken salad, and gluten-free sandwich bread, banana peppers
hummus, arugula, smoked turkey deli slices, tomato, onion, pecans
leftover steak, baby greens, gluten-free cookie and muffin, horseradish sauce, blue cheese.
Pan seared mahi mahi, mashed potato, mango salsa.
stir fried mussels on kale, onigiri, pickled carrots, blueberries and mandarin orange, sauteed green beans and grape tomato
roast beef and havarti sandwich on gluten-free bread, arugula and avocado, chocolate cookies
Roasted beets with gorgonzola cheese crumbles, paleo bread, roasted garlic, grape tomatoes, spring mix, and grapes.
A Vietnamese bento: omelette, squid and vegetables, water spinach, and jasmine rice.
A Vietnamese bento: 5 spice beef stew with rice noodles and salad.