We gluten-free eaters know how challenging it can be to plan meals around our
busy schedules! As a full-time student, sometimes I only have 15 minutes between classes to sneak in a well-balanced and delicious lunch. To save time, I often prepare my meals the night before. Before the school week begins, I plan out a week’s worth
of meals that can double as lunches, dinners and leftovers. Above all, I want to look forward to what’s in my brown bag.
First, I choose a main dish for each day of the week:
- Spoon tomato sauce between layers of thinly-sliced eggplant and tomato slices,
top with feta cheese and chopped basil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
Mixed green salad with berries and pomegranate seeds
- Toss with a mixture of olive oil, the juice of a one lemon, cracked black pepper and
a dash of sea salt
Leftovers from the night before (fish tostadas with mango salsa)
- GF corn tostadas topped with sautéed veggies, shredded fish, spices and mango salsa (see salsa recipe below)
Simple deli-style sandwich
- GF bread, thinly-sliced deli meat, lettuce, tomato and a pickle
Open-faced tuna melt
- Two slices GF bread, one can of tuna (divided), two tomato slices, dollop of tomato sauce, topped with shredded cheese. Toast in oven until bread is crisp and cheese
Next, I choose two “standby” side snacks to accompany my main dish:
- Fresh fruit (banana, apple, grapes)
- Raw vegetables (celery, carrots, broccoli)
- Larabar or other gluten-free fruit & nut bar
- Homemade trail-mix (mixed nuts, dark chocolate chips, popcorn, dried fruit)
- String cheese
Finally, I make this mango salsa to carry over into different dishes throughout the week. It serves as a delicious accompaniment to chips, a fresh topping for cooked fish.
Refreshing Pineapple-Mango Salsa
(adapted from Whole Foods Market)
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 lime, Juice and zest
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to use. Tip: For summertime salsa preparation, add a ripe, chopped peach!
Natalie Duggan is a Junior at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, pursuing a dual degree in Global Health and Journalism. Since her Celiac Disease diagnosis in 2011, she has enjoyed recipe development and helping others navigate the gluten-free lifestyle. Check out her photography portfolio on Flickr and her gluten-free pins on Pinterest.