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

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).

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.

Gluten-Free Low Calorie Lunches

MealCaloriesIngredients

Feta, Carrot and Apple Salad

380

Reduced fat feta; raisins optional

Rice Noodles with Sun Dried Tomato

280

Gluten free noodles (or pasta if preferred)

Jacket Potato with Tuna and Cottage Cheese

260

Alternative cheese if preferred.

Lentil and Brown Rice Salad with Turkey

200

Sliced breast

Garbanzo Salad

160

Chickpeas, feta, fennel, tomato

Vegetarian Chilli Stew

257

Black beans, pinto beans, tomatos, yellow pepper, onion, garlic, oregano.

Chicken, White Bean and Spinach Stew

350

Fry or boil chicken, add beans and spinach

Goat Cheese and Watercress Quiche

315

Pastry made with gluten free flour

Lentil Soup

255

Brown lentils, carrots, celery, onion, ginger, garlic, olive oil

Mackerel and Potato Salad

350

One fillet, dry.

Cottage Cheese Salad with Vegeburger

200

Salad made with sliced or chunky apple, walnuts and celery.

Green Soup

120

Spinach, kale, nettle, parsley, half an onion, clove of garlic, olive oil

MealCaloriesIngredients

Chickpea Salad

320

Chickpeas, cooked brown rice, spinach, grated carrot, half sliced avocado.

Millet with Boiled Egg, Chard and Onion

235

Cooked in olive oil

Potato Salad with Smoked Salmon and Onion and Parsley

340

Half an onion raw, fresh parsley

Steamed Cod, Green Beans and Pesto

320

Pesto (olive oil, basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic,lemon juice blended)

Pork and Green Peas with French Fries

380

French fries oven cooked, boiled peas,half a gammon

Chorizo, Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomato with Salad

420

Pork/beef, simple salad lettuce and carrot.

A gluten-free frittata.

A gluten-free frittata.

MealCaloriesIngredients

Avocado Salad

350

One avocado,celery, roasted almonds, plum tomatoes, garnish watercress

Broccoli with Jacket Potato and Sauce

300

Steamed/Boiled broccoli, sauce with gluten free flour, onion, garlic, grated cheddar, vegetable stock

Pepper and Zucchini Bake

385

Red/green bell peppers, onion, garlic, milk and eggs

Spanish Omelette

260

2 eggs, onion, potato cubes, tomatoes, garlic,

Vegetable Casserole

300

Beans and peas, aubergine, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms

Red Pepper, Olive and Feta Frittata

275

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

350

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.

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.

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

Meat Comparison Table

Meat (grams)Calories (grams)Protein (grams)Total Fat (grams)CholesterolSodiumPotassiumCalciumIron

Chicken 165g

271

52

5.9

48%

8%

12%

2%

12%

Turkey 165g

173

28

2.6

23%

69%

15%

-

12%

Tuna 165g

191

42.1

1.4

17%

3%

11%

2%

14%

Mackerel 165g

348

37.9

26.5

34%

11%

-

4%

8%

Ham 165g

271

27

14.1

24%

88%

12%

6%

12%

Beef 165g

306

50

10.27

48%

4%

19%

-

173%

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)
Sicilian salad (gluten-free).

Sicilian salad (gluten-free).

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.

Liquids

  • 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

Butter

  • 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