Gluten & Dairy Free Lunchbox Treats and Snacks

backtoschoolWith a new school year approaching, the idea of packing lunches is looming in the back of most parents’ minds. You want them to eat healthy, but you also want them to enjoy what they are eating.

This can be especially hard when dealing with an allergy or sensitivity to gluten or dairy; however, there are many delicious lunchbox approved recipes for children, which won’t hurt their bellies; and with many speciality markets popping up on Long Island, the options for these special treats are endless!

Gina, a Long Island mom and the wonderful chef behind Skinny Taste, has some delicious and easy to make cookie recipes, which are all dairy and gluten free! Any child would gobble up her Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, and devour her PB&J Oatmeal CookiesBoth recipes are gluten free, but make sure to get oats which are made in a gluten free facility; you can find these oats at Strictly Gluten Free in East Northport.

If you need these cookies to be dairy free, as well, check out Enjoy Life chocolate chips, which can be found at Eat Good Market in Huntington. Gina’s Healthy Cookies are three simple ingredients, and there is no eggs, so even small hands can help mix! Instead of buying granola bars full of ingredients you can’t pronounce, check out Gina’s recipe for Banana Split Bars:

banana-split-bars Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups quick rolled oats (use gf oats for gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups very ripe mashed bananas
  • 1 large egg, beaten (You can find farm fresh eggs at Kerber’s Farm in Huntington)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (or pure maple syrup)
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or craisins)
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:  Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with 2 pieces of foil or parchment paper, criss-crossing over so they fold over the pan; spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until liquid is barely absorbed. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 to 6 minutes, remove lid and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a medium bowl and let it cool completely. Mix together the oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add mashed bananas, egg, honey, oil and vanilla to the cooked bowl of quinoa and stir until just blended. Add the banana mixture to the oats mixture and stir until just blended. Mix in dried cherries, walnuts and chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly over the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. For best results, refrigerate 20 minutes before cutting. Using the liner, lift the mixture from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars and refrigerate or freeze to store.



The Paleo Parents website is another fantastic resource for parents starting off on their gluten and dairy free journey. Their dairy and gluten free Apple Cinnamon Mini Crumb Cakes would not only make your house smell divine, but are sure to bring a smile to your little one’s face at lunchtime.


Does your gluten or dairy free child need a cookie to bring in for snack-time?

Check out this recipe for Not Sugar cookies, which are not only dairy and gluten free, but nut free too, making them perfect for sharing with their friends at school (they’re also easy to decorate, making them a great option for school birthday treats!):


  • 1 C fresh, pitted dates
  • 1/3 C coconut oil
  • 1/3 C palm shortening or butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 C coconut flour

Directions:  In food processor or blender, puree the dates into a paste.  Add eggs, vanilla, oil and shortening to date paste and pulse until combined.  Add flour and pulse until a thick dough forms.  Spread extra coconut flour on rolling surface to reduce sticking.  Gently roll out dough until 1/4″ thick, don’t press too hard or dough will not easily release when transferred.  Using cookie cutters, cut shapes into dough and transfer to baking sheet (we were able to do this with our hands, but if you’re having problems with it sticking and not releasing from the counter-top after you’ve “floured” your surface, roll it out on parchment paper, leaving space between the cookies, then transfer the paper to a baking sheet).   Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes (until edges start to turn golden brown).

If you don’t have coconut oil or coconut flour in the house,  Wild By Nature, with locations in East Setauket, Hampton Bays, Huntington, Oceanside and West Islip, have many options and forms of coconut to choose from.

Lastly, if you need a treat in the oven real fast, check out these gluten free muffin mixes which can be found at Sherry’s Healthy Gourmet in Babylon, or a gluten free cake mix, which can be found at Eat Good Market.



By: Olivia Howell


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