BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Experts estimate about 2 million people in the United States have celiac disease, and many of those sufferers are children.

Celiac is defined as a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. 

This means people with celiac cannot eat foods containing gluten without becoming seriously ill.

Some examples of foods that typically contain gluten are bread, pasta, fried foods, desserts baked with wheat flour, and seasonings/spices containing traces of wheat. 

While avoiding gluten may be difficult for an adult, it’s can be extremely difficult for a child in school

So, with the start of a new school year right around the corner, the following gluten-free school lunch ideas may come in handy for parents of children with celiac disease:

  • A fully dressed sandwich on Gluten-Free bread (such as Canyon Bakehouse, Three Bakers, Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bread, or O’Doughs Sandwich Thins) with Gluten-Free chips.
  • Gluten-Free meatballs on a Gluten-Free sub roll with a Larabar
  • English muffin pizzas made with Gluten-Free English Muffins
  • Gluten-Free tortillas or wraps with lunch meat and cheese
  • Tuna or chicken salad with Gluten-Free crackers
  • Fully loaded baked potato in foil with toppings
  • Gluten-Free mac and cheese
  • Jambalaya with rice, chicken, and sausage
  • Chocolate rice cakes with whipped cream cheese or peanut butter

There are a variety of gluten-free options for parents to consider. Fortunately, most people with celiac can eat potatoes, rice, vegetables, fruit, and meat. Any number of recipes can be created by combining a few of those basic staples.

In addition to this, brands like Udi’s and Enjoy Life Foods sell gluten-free bread, pasta, snacks, and desserts. These brands can typically be found in local grocery stores such as Walmart, Albertsons, Target, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Fresh Market.

Additional ideas for gluten-free meals can be found here.