Gluten Free Snack Bucket is a simple way to give your gluten free child the freedom to choose healthy snacks for school lunches and after school! It’s easy to prepare, and only takes about an hour every couple of weeks to stock it up.
Back to School is here and if you are like me, you are ready for routine! I love summer, but I think I love routine more. Now I am gearing up for the school year again. Luckily, our school that my 10 year old Celiac, Lexie, goes to now serves gluten free lunches, due to several kids in the school having similar issues. However, it is still more affordable for us to send her to school with a gluten free lunch. So we will be doing a mixture of both this year. Like many of you, you probably already do some of my ideas, but just in case you are new to the gluten free lifestyle or sending your gluten free kid to school, I hope these simple ideas will help you out.
My daughter makes her own lunch for school. She is ten years old, and I think it instills a bit of responsibility that is good for a child her age, and it instills ownership, and she learns to think about healthy choices too. I make it a little easier on her by preparing the Gluten Free Snack Bucket for her to choose from. I stock it full of gluten free healthy choices that she can add to lunch. It is also great, because she can choose from the box after school too, if needed. Now if you have non-celiac kids in the house, I highly recommend that you label your box gluten free and tell the other kids that this basket is OFF LIMITS, so that your gluten free kiddo can always have what he or she needs and not have to compete for safe snacks.
What do I have in our Gluten Free Snack Bucket?
1. Gluten Free Chex Mix ~ I make a large batch every month. I fill about 5-10 snack size ziplocs with the prepared mix. Then I serve the leftovers to the family for evening or afternoon snacks. Every one of the Chex Mix flavors are gluten free with the exception of Wheat Chex. Use three of your favorite flavors, then follow the recipe on the box. I add banana chips, glutino pretzels, slivered almonds, and sometimes I will buy gluten free bagel chips to the mix. You can also add peanuts or m&m’s. If you add the m&m’s don’t add til the mix has completely cooled. Be careful with the peanuts. It’s a good idea to check with your child’s teacher to see if they have any children with peanut allergies in their classroom.
2. Gluten Free Granola ~ This is a super easy to make and healthy snack. Your child can munch on it by itself, or pack a gluten free yogurt and add sprinkle it on top for a tasty parfait. Sometimes, I will add m&m’s or chocolate chips just for fun. Click here for Mama’s Gluten Free Granola recipe.
3. Rice Cakes ~ Rice cakes are gluten free. They come in the mini size. I add about 7-8 mini cakes to each mini snack ziploc bag. They come in all different flavors, so I choose about 2 flavors each time I stock up the bucket.
4. Eating Right Popped Crisps ~ These are made with potatoes and rice. They are super light and melt in your mouth. I add about 9-10 to each snack ziploc bag.
6. Puppy Chow ~ My kids came up with this snack, and I don’t know where they got it from, but we have been making it for years. It is super easy to make. You melt a bag of chocolate chips over a double boiler, add 4 large scoops of creamy peanut butter, mix it well. In a separate bowl fill with about 4-6 cups of Rice or Corn Chex Cereal. Pour melted chocolate and peanut butter mixture over Chex. Stir the Chex Cereal until it is all coated with the mixture. If there is an excess, add extra cereal. Then add about 1 cup of powdered sugar over the top of the Chex mixture, or just enough to cover all of the Chex pieces. Cool completely, then fill small ziploc snack bags with about 1/2 cup of the Puppy Chow.
7. Gluten Free Pretzels ~ Glutino has several different kinds of pretzels that are sure to please any child. I rotate between the different shapes and flavors. They have the flat crisps, my favorite, the traditional, the sticks, mustard flavored, yogurt covered, and chocolate covered. You can order from Amazon.com if you can’t find them in a store near you.
8. Fruit Snacks ~ Fruit Snacks are a great Stand By snack, and all kids like them. Choose one that is gluten free and just add about 4-5 to the snack bucket at a time.
9. Gluten Free Graham Crackers or Regular Crackers ~ Schar Gluten Free makes a delicious gluten free graham cracker and they come in snack size packages. If you can’t find in a store near you, you can order off Amazon.com. Also, you could choose any of the delicious Glutino Crackers or other gluten free crackers or crisps at the store. Just fill the snack ziploc bag with about 6-8 crackers.
10. Fruit Cups ~ Applesauce cups, Pears, Peaches, and Fruit Cocktail are packaged in perfect sized snack cups that make it easy for grab and go and perfect for school lunches. I try to encourage my daughter to include a fruit cup every day or at least every other day. Watch for sales at your local grocer or at Target and stock up for a couple months.
11. Popcorn Bags ~ Pop up some popcorn and top with Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese Topping and after its cooled, fill your ziploc snack bags. You could also, fill the larger sandwich bags with the popcorn for older children who have bigger appetites.
13. Chips ~ You can buy the small single serving bags of chips at the grocery store and add just a couple bags to the snack bucket each week, as we want chips to be an occasional snack. Sometimes I will just sneak them in for Fridays only or field trips. If you want to save $, buy a larger bag of chips and fill ziploc sandwich bags with your child’s favorite kind.
13. Refrigerator Snacks ~ You can stock the fridge with some easy to grab snacks too, like yogurt, gogurt, Babybell Cheeses, and string cheese.
If you have a great idea for a snack for the gluten free snack bucket, send it to Gluten Free Mama at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it to our list!