25 Lunch Meal Ideas for Gluten-Free, Low-Calorie Diets

Updated on December 19, 2019
chef-de-jour profile image

Andrew has many years of experience cooking and enjoys creating unusual meals in the kitchen.

Beef, lettuce, carrot and mint salad (gluten-free).
Beef, lettuce, carrot and mint salad (gluten-free). | Source

Your Gluten-Free Lunch

The number of people needing gluten-free food is on the rise. When my friend was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, she had to radically rethink her dietary needs—so, to help her out, I came up with some ideas for gluten-free lunches.

We worked together to compile 25 lunch combinations that she enjoyed, and bit by bit she managed to adjust her diet. It was a big change for her, but she was so fed up with being bloated and feeling lethargic; she just knew that something different had to be done.

25 Delicious Lunch Ideas

These 25 lunch ideas are delicious—I've tried most of them—and range from the meaty to the full veggie. And they're all low-calorie—that is, all below 450 calories per lunch—so if you're on a weight loss regime, they can help you achieve your goals.

My personal top lunch meal would have to include pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, together with a light pasta and white fish with a green salad to finish it off. I might just add a small glass of chilled white wine! Perfecto.

I hope these ideas for gluten-free meals inspire you to mix and match and try other ingredients.

How Much Is in a Serving of Food?

A serving for one person is roughly a half cup of any grain/veg/cheese/meat and one piece of fruit. All of these lunch ideas are based on this equivalent.

Gluten-Free Low Calorie Lunches

Feta, Carrot and Apple Salad
Reduced fat feta; raisins optional
Rice Noodles with Sun Dried Tomato
Gluten free noodles (or pasta if preferred)
Jacket Potato with Tuna and Cottage Cheese
Alternative cheese if preferred.
Lentil and Brown Rice Salad with Turkey
Sliced breast
Garbanzo Salad
Chickpeas, feta, fennel, tomato
Vegetarian Chilli Stew
Black beans, pinto beans, tomatos, yellow pepper, onion, garlic, oregano.
Chicken, White Bean and Spinach Stew
Fry or boil chicken, add beans and spinach
Goat Cheese and Watercress Quiche
Pastry made with gluten free flour
Lentil Soup
Brown lentils, carrots, celery, onion, ginger, garlic, olive oil
Mackerel and Potato Salad
One fillet, dry.
Cottage Cheese Salad with Vegeburger
Salad made with sliced or chunky apple, walnuts and celery.
Green Soup
Spinach, kale, nettle, parsley, half an onion, clove of garlic, olive oil
Calorie figures are for a single portion
Chickpea Salad
Chickpeas, cooked brown rice, spinach, grated carrot, half sliced avocado.
Millet with Boiled Egg, Chard and Onion
Cooked in olive oil
Potato Salad with Smoked Salmon and Onion and Parsley
Half an onion raw, fresh parsley
Steamed Cod, Green Beans and Pesto
Pesto (olive oil, basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic,lemon juice blended)
Pork and Green Peas with French Fries
French fries oven cooked, boiled peas,half a gammon
Chorizo, Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomato with Salad
Pork/beef, simple salad lettuce and carrot.
A gluten-free frittata.
A gluten-free frittata. | Source

About the Frittata

A frittata is a kind of omelette and comes originally from Italy. Eggs are beaten together with grated cheese—Grana or Parmigiano, for example—and other ingredients are added, such as cooked bacon, sausage, onions, greens, sautéed carrots and so on. Salt and pepper and parsley can be added.

The idea is that you use leftovers and spice them up. I think this is an excellent way to create a delicious meal in double-quick time. Cook in a skillet, finish off for 5–10 minutes at 400°F in the oven.

Avocado Salad
One avocado,celery, roasted almonds, plum tomatoes, garnish watercress
Broccoli with Jacket Potato and Sauce
Steamed/Boiled broccoli, sauce with gluten free flour, onion, garlic, grated cheddar, vegetable stock
Pepper and Zucchini Bake
Red/green bell peppers, onion, garlic, milk and eggs
Spanish Omelette
2 eggs, onion, potato cubes, tomatoes, garlic,
Vegetable Casserole
Beans and peas, aubergine, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms
Red Pepper, Olive and Feta Frittata
Fry peppers til just crispy. Add olives and feta to 2 beaten eggs, pour onto peppers, cook/bake for 10 mins.
Bacon, Mushroom and Onion Frittata
Fry meat til light brown. Add mushrooms, onions/garlic. Beat 2 eggs pour in and cook.
Egg, cress, carrot and tomato salad—part of a gluten-free lunch.
Egg, cress, carrot and tomato salad—part of a gluten-free lunch. | Source

Salad Dressing

The basic salad dressing consists of vinegar and olive oil with a little seasoning added. Three tablespoons of oil to one of vinegar is the usual ratio. These ingredients are mixed thoroughly together and poured onto the salad which is then tossed so that the dressing flavours every leaf and vegetable surface.

Total calories in this basic dressing is around 72.

Gluten-free symbol.
Gluten-free symbol. | Source

About Celiac (Coeliac) Disease

Celiac cases have quadrupled in the USA over the last 60 years, according to scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. There are now estimated to be around 2 million Americans with this genetic disease. Other Western countries are seeing similar rises.

The gut's hypersensitivity to gluten can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening symptoms to occur. A gluten-free diet is the only way forward for celiac sufferers.

Gluten Intolerance

If you're intolerant to gluten, you may get certain symptoms after eating gluten-rich food. You may experience headaches, nausea and bloating. The more gluten you consume, the worse the symptoms become.

More and more people are experiencing problems after having eaten gluten-rich food—it's on the increase—so more are trying gluten-free diets and starting to feel a whole lot better.

Gluten triggers the immune system to react, hence the above symptoms. It seems that the human body is not yet ready for a highly refined Western diet, full of sugar and certain new types of wheat in particular.

This website has a lot of useful information for those who suffer: Gluten Free Help

For the Gluten-Free Diet

In this article, I've created some useful charts for comparison:

1. A helpful table on meats (for example, how they differ and what they offer).

2. A calorie comparison chart for fruit.

3. A comprehensive list of gluten-free flours.

Meat Comparison Table

Meat (grams)
Calories (grams)
Protein (grams)
Total Fat (grams)
Chicken 165g
Turkey 165g
Tuna 165g
Mackerel 165g
Ham 165g
Beef 165g
All figures from caloriecount.com

Fruit Calorie Comparison

If you like fruit with your lunch, just add the following calorie count to that for the main meal:

  • Banana: 105 cals
  • Apple: 110 cals
  • Pear: 90 cals
  • Apricot: 20 cals
  • Orange: 59 cals
  • Melon slice: 25 cals
  • Grapes: 30 cals

Gluten-Free Flours

Many gluten-intolerant people have problems with today's mass-produced bread, which has a high gluten content. There are, however, gluten-free flours that are invaluable for those who prefer to make their own home made breads. The Gluten-Free Bible has great information on gluten free flours and how to use them.

Here is a list of gluten-free flours:

  • Corn
  • Potato
  • Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Tapioca
  • Chickpea (Gram)
  • Amaranth
  • Arrow Root
  • Nut
  • Soya
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Teff (an ancient, tiny and nutritious grain from Ethiopia)
  • Sorghum
  • Bean
  • Mesquite (a tree found in North and South America; the pods are used for the flour)

The Gluten-Free Bible
The Gluten-Free Bible
There are even more recipes in this classic book. Over 100 in fact. I have been inspired so many times by the vegetarian recipes in this book. But the biggest difference between this and other books are the explanations given on Coeliac disease, gluten intolerance and gluten free flours. As a breadmaker I found this information invaluable. If you need to eat gluten free or know someone who needs ideas for a gluten free diet, then this book is highly recommended. Excellent value.
Sicilian salad (gluten-free).
Sicilian salad (gluten-free). | Source

Useful Measurements for Conversion

In the UK the metric system - grams and kilograms - is used for measuring weight but in the USA the volume is measured, in cups. Below is a useful conversion table for different ingredients, together with oven temperatures.


  • 1 tsp = 6ml
  • 1 tbsp = 15ml
  • 1/8 cup = 30ml
  • 1/4 cup = 60ml
  • 1/2 cup = 120ml
  • 1 cup = 240ml

Dried Ingredients

  • 1 tsp = 5g
  • 1 tbsp = 15g
  • 1oz = 28g
  • 1 cup flour = 120g
  • 1 cup caster sugar = 225g
  • 1 cup icing sugar = 115g
  • 1 cup brown sugar = 175g
  • 1 cup sultanas = 200g


  • 1/8 cup = 30g
  • 1/4 cup = 55g
  • 1/3 cup = 75g
  • 1/2 cup = 115g
  • 2/3 cup = 150g
  • 3/4 cup = 170g
  • 1 cup = 225g

Oven Temperatures

  • 275°F = 140°C or Gas Mark 1
  • 300°F = 150°C or Gas Mark 2
  • 325°F = 165°C or Gas Mark 3
  • 350°F = 180°C or Gas Mark 4
  • 375°F = 190°F or Gas Mark 5
  • 400°F = 200°C or Gas Mark 6
  • 425°F = 220°C or Gas Mark 7
  • 450°F = 230°C or Gas Mark 8

© 2015 Andrew Spacey


Submit a Comment
  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you for the vsit and comment Rachel. With your creative gifts in the kitchen I'm sure you'll make some delicious meals!

  • Rachel L Alba profile image

    Rachel L Alba 

    4 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

    Hi Andrew, I have some very dear friends who need to eat gluten free. Now I have a lot of ideas to serve them lunch with. Thanks!

    Blessings to you. I will be pinning this.

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Edible hubs - that would be a breakthrough.

  • peachpurple profile image


    4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    oh the photos alone make the whole hub yummy

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Yummy, yes, and nutritious and easy to make.

  • Amber Harding profile image

    Amber Harding 

    5 years ago from London

    Mmm, yummy!

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Always a welcome visitor Genna, thank you. I'm happy to learn you enjoyed this gluten free feast of ideas!

  • renee21 profile image

    Tori Leumas 

    5 years ago

    I have a gluten intolerance, and I also am trying to eat healthily, low carb, and no sugar, which is rather difficult. But, I'm really enjoying the results. Great hub!

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    Chef, I LOVE these gluten free recipes, and can't thank you enough for publishing them.

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you D, appreciate the constructive comment. What a good idea. A simple conversion table might do the trick!

  • JamaGenee profile image

    Joanna McKenna 

    5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

    Great hub, Andrew. However, I'm not that great at figuring out appropriate proportions, measurements, etc. Will there be a hub with recipes/instructions for the dishes you list? For the salads, for instance, "1/2 cup of this, a quarter cup of that", etc. Just wondering. ;D

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you Chitrangada, appreciate your visit and comment and votes!

  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 

    5 years ago from New Delhi, India

    These are great suggestions for Gluten free lunches. Although I don't have any problem with Gluten, but I can forward this list to some of my relatives who are not tolerant to Gluten.

    I particularly liked your charts and the comparison of different foods.

    A very well presented, useful and informative hub! Voted up and pinned !

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you for the supportive comment, I appreciate it.

  • thumbi7 profile image

    JR Krishna 

    5 years ago from India

    Very nice hub

    Content is good

    Organisation is excellent

    Votes and shares


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