8 Tips for Packing Awesome Gluten-Free Lunches

by Maggie on September 2, 2014

8 TIPS FOR PACKING AWESOME #GLUTENFREE LUNCHES from @MaggieSavage She Let Them Eat Cake.Com

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Packing a lunch for your kids can be one of the biggest challenges of the school year. And it doesn’t get any easier if you have gluten, dairy, or egg allergies to consider.

I’ve been packing gluten-free lunches for 3 years and I still find it to be something that requires thought, planning, creativity, and lots of patience.

The other tricky part to packing gluten-free lunches, is packing lunches the night before can result in crumbly gluten-free wraps and sandwiches. Thus, I am usually spending too much time in the kitchen in the morning and we end up rushing off to school to beat the bell!

However, I’m aiming to turn over a new leaf this year. My goals for this year’s gluten-free lunches are:

1. Pack as much as I can the night before;
2. Make sure their lunches are as healthy as reasonably possible;
3. Aim for 80% of their lunch to be eaten at school;
4. Let go of #3 a little and realize kids have a gazillion distractions at school and a small window of time to eat.

As a nutritionist, I truly believe that as lunch-packers we need to provide nutrition that will fuel learning. So what do our kids need to be better learners? They need exactly what their growing bodies need – a diet high in fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and whole gluten-free grains (if tolerable) – in other words a well balanced real food diet.

Eight tips for packing awesome (and healthy) gluten-free lunches.

1. Load up the lunchbox with your child’s favourite fruits and veggies. Don’t forget to add their favourite dip too. Check out the Dirty Dozen to see which fruits and veggies you should be buying organic.

2. Bring your son/daughter to the health food store or grocery store with you and let them pick some lunch items. Remember, it’s all about balance. Once in a while I will buy some gluten-free processed foods (ie Animal Crackers) for a lunchbox treat.

3. Buy one or two packaged items that you know your kids will like. This is a big one for Callum. He says everyone else’s lunch is store-bought foods (which kinda makes me cringe) and he wishes he had packaged foods in his lunch. Applesauce, gluten-free granola bars , or dairy-free yogurt are good options here.

4. Get a good cookie recipe, one that the entire class will like too – I like to make sure my school-bound baked goodies are nutrient dense and nut-free (see my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies using pumpkin seed flour).

5. Make sure the treats, baked goods, and snacks you do send to school are nutrient-dense. Baking with grain-free flours and high protein gluten-free grains will help to balance out the sugar rush and make for better learning (and less tummy aches). I like to use unrefined sugars in my baking too.

6. Incorporate their favorite leftovers into lunches at least once a week. I send a thermos to school with leftover soup, curry, pasta, or rice bowls. If your kids are meat eaters, like mine, make your meats at home so you can skip (or at least limit) the deli meats, which are heavily processed and contain unnecessary ingredients.

7. Skip the juice boxes and send water or smoothies. There’s no nutritional value in juice boxes and our kids simply do not need them. Try Lexie’s flavored water or coconut water if your kids raise a stink about this. Sugars in juice boxes actually take nutrients from our kids and do not provide the kind of hydration they need.

8. Bookend the day by making sure your kids eat a healthy and well-balanced breakfast, after school snack, and dinner. Some kids are just too picky to eat well at school. If that’s your kiddo, breakfast is KEY!

Back-To-School Recipe Round-Ups with Lots of Recipe and Lunchbox Ideas:

Back-To-School Recipe Ideas (Nut-Free & Gluten-Free):

Gluten-Free Falafel Bites from She Let Them Eat Cake

Savory Eats

8 Tips for Packing Awesome #Gfree Lunches from She Let Them Eat Cake.Com @maggiesavage

Cookies, Bars and Treats

8 Tips for Packing Awesome Gluten-Free Lunches from She Let Them Eat Cake.Com

Muffins and Quick Breads

Packing a healthy lunch is essential for learning. There’s no way we can expect our kids to learn on a diet of processed foods, drink boxes, and sugary treats. Even if it takes all year to make this change, I know it’s worth it.

So what do you pack in a healthy gluten-free lunchbox?

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How To Make Cashew Sour Cream

by Maggie on August 18, 2014

How to Make Cashew Sour Cream from She Let Them Eat Cake.Com #dairyfree

Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter to get your copy of 10 Easy Recipes For The Gluten-Free Beginner.

One of the staples in our house is cashew sour cream. I make homemade cashew milk a couple of times a week so we always have cashew pulp in the fridge just waiting to be turned in to cashew sour cream. It truly is a dairy-free dream come true.

How to Make Cashew Sour Cream from She Let Them Eat Cake.Com 3

It was about a year in to my dairy-free adventures before I discovered cashew sour cream, thanks to Kelly from The Spunky Coconut. This stuff is heavenly, especially for those of you who in your dairy-filled days, enjoyed sour cream.

Since my discovery, I have made cashew sour cream many times.  Most times I make it a little different, depending on what fresh ingredients I have on hand. Recently I made it with summer fresh herbs and it was so delicious.  In the spring I made it with chives because they were growing in my garden.  When garlic scapes arrived at the Farmer’s Market I used those instead of garlic bulbs.  If it’s the dead of winter and you still want to make it, just use dried herbs.

Cashew sour cream is that flexible!

I take cashew sour cream to every potluck party I go to and people always love it. Dairy lovers and dairy-free lovers alike!

There are two ways we make cashew sour cream. I’ll outline both methods below.

How to make cashew sour cream from She Let Them Eat Cake.Com

Method 1 Homemade Cashew Sour Cream:

1 ½ cups raw cashews
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon (about 1-2 tablespoons)
½ teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, finely chopped

1. Soak cashews in water for 4-8 hours (I do mine overnight). Make sure cashews are covered by at least an inch of water to make room for expansion.
2. Drain, rinse, and strain soaked cashews.
3. Place all ingredients, except the herbs, in your blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Stir in fresh herbs. If you add herbs to your blender, your cashew sour cream will have a green tint to it.
5. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Method 2 Homemade Cashew Sour Cream:

This is how we make our cashew sour cream most of the time. I do it this way simply because I make cashew milk 3 times a week so I always have cashew pulp in my fridge. If you haven’t made your own nut milks before, click here for my recipe.

1 ½ cups cashew pulp (leftover from making cashew milk)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon (about 1-2 tablespoons)
½ teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, finely chopped

1. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.  I like to mash the garlic with a fork to get the juices flowing.
2. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Notes:

  • Use whatever fresh herbs suit your fancy. I always add parsley to ours, and since basil is currently blooming everywhere, I’ve been adding fresh basil too. The taste is out of this world.
  • Serve your cashew sour cream with: roasted veggies, corn on the cob, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, and more. The possibilities are endless.
  • Feel free to use this as a mayo replacement too – on sandwiches, in salads, and in wraps.
  • To serve, try adding a sprinkle of freshly chopped herbs and drizzle with a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil.

If you’re new to dairy-free living, make sure you check out Go Dairy Free. An AMAZING online resource with reviews, recipes, and more.

Here are some links to more recipes featuring cashew sour cream and the savory use of cashews. The possibilities really are endless!

 

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