Gluten-Free Pizza Lunchables

So you knew “it” had to be coming at some point, right? :-D I must say this first, Mike and I are REALLY working with Sam to embrace his “differences” (as we all have them), and I think it is starting to catch on. He is not asking for GF Lunchables all that much anymore (YEA!!) but it is nice to know that if I need one for a deposit in his self-esteem bank, I can do it!

So here is what I did, I got the Lunchables in the Green package (they are easy to disassemble so you can throw away the offending gluten components, then clean and reassemble and slide the wrapper back on so it looks almost store-bought, the Press’n Seal kind of gives it away, but that’s okay.)

Another GREAT Udi’s gluten-free product… pizza crust! I love this thin crust and it is super easy in a pinch! Here is how I normally make mine: I place it in the oven, directly on the rack, in a preheated 425° F. oven for about 5- 6 minutes. I then add my toppings and place back in the oven, on the rack, and heat for an additional 6 minutes or so. This keeps the crust nice and crispy, which is how I like it!

For the GF Pizza Lunchables though, I did not cook it (keeping with the Lunchables theme…). The Udi’s pizza crust is actually quite tasty when simply thawed to room temperature! I might have to try these to make GF “pita” chips! After I thawed the crust, I went on a scavenger hunt to find the right size cookie cutter to fit the Lunchables tray section.

I settled on a large cup.

Cut out your crust, then freeze the remaining portion… I will figure out something to do with it and post an update later… no waste! ;-)

For the cheese, I just used shredded mozzarella. For the pepperoni’s, I used Hormel’s Pepperoni Mini’s, which I found a huge bag of at Costco.

I tossed out the Tombstone Pizza Sauce Packet that came in the Lunchables because I could not find any solid information on the ingredients, processing, etc. and opted for filling a little disposable container that I snagged from a recent dinner at Boston Market (and in case you didn’t already know, Boston Market’s Poultry Gravy is Gluten-Free). ;-)

Now here is an example of one of “those” product labels that are just downright confusing! When I bought it, I did so (sheepishly) because I only targeted one section of the label:

So my husband called me one day when I was out and about to ask me if I had bought this by mistake because he targeted this section of the label:

This is a two photo shot, it’s hard to take a picture of some labels!!

Huh.

So let me ask you, would you take the risk and buy this product, just based on the label information??

Bottom compartment of the GF Pizza Lunchables: the water is the only thing I kept from the original Lunchables components.

And there you have it!! A Gluten-Free “Mom” Pizza Lunchables! :-D

Now, just in case you are interested, check out the ingredient label for the Original Lunchables “edible” components:

Holy Moley! You know what’s funny? Truth be told, if Sam and I did not have celiac disease, I would probably have bought these for him!! Before my gluten-free journey began 5 years ago, the furthest I went into “label investigation” was to the fat and calorie content!! I didn’t understand ingredient labels back then and I am only marginally better now! I always assumed that if it was sold as “food” in the grocery store, it “must” be safe, right? LOL! Have you watched Food, Inc. yet??? IF you haven’t, it will be airing on PBS on April 21, 2010. I viewed it for the first time back in December, and it set my view of the food world on fire. There is something more to this movie, that I think celiacs and folks with food allergies and gluten intolerance, in particular, might see as a “not as obvious correlation” to this film. Maybe it is just me, but I am curious as to what others think…

Do you know what your child’s daily maximum intake of salt should be? And believe you me, I know that my “assembled” gluten-free pizza Lunchable is probably not much better, it any at all. This is why I am hoping and praying that SOMETHING is changing. Between this economy (people eating at home more or packing their lunch) and Food, Inc. and Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution (more awareness)… that packing healthy sack lunches (or even if schools get involved by gardening, etc. and kids can “see” what real food looks and tastes like… kids are highly influenceable, they WANT WHAT THEIR FRIENDS ARE EATING!!!! If one’s friends are eating healthy whole foods, then it is cool! Not to mention… most whole foods are naturally gluten-free! ;-)

10 Responses

  1. I love your message Heidi! Will be tuning in for Food Inc, for sure. Change starts small!

    • Hi Todd!

      You are right, change does start small. At least lasting change starts small. The biggest problem I had with Food, Inc. after I first watched it, was feeling overwhelmed at what to do, because I wanted to overhaul everything at once! That is not realistic for most people (well, at least not for me), so the key is making small changes that you know you can do, all the while continuing to educate ourselves. Once you realize you can be successful changing one thing, then it is easier to build on that.

      I started changing small things last year, when I quit buying paper towels and started using some super absorbent automotive towels at I found at Costco. They come 30 to a pack for under $20/each, so I bought 3 packages (I went threw A LOT of paper towels each day, often a roll or more!), and I just throw them in the washer each night. Mike and I figured we have probably saved at least $500.00 by doing this, not to mention the impact on the environment. Once I was successful with that change, we started recycling, and so on. For me, I have a tendency to “knee jerk” and try to change everything at once, which only sets me up to fail. Once I fail at one thing, then I tend to fail at them all! After seeing Food, Inc. in December, I decided that I would not buy store bought tomatoes that aren’t in season (or organic) anymore. I am proud to say that has been successful! :-D I also committed to only buying grass-fed beef, while reducing our consumption at the same time. That has also been a success, and now I am ready to do more.

      We are also continuing to educate ourselves on labels, etc., all the while daring ourselves “to ask the next question” in regards to how food is made and the impact that all the GMO foods, pesticides, packaging methods (like canned foods and BPA), have had on our health. Can we do better? We think so, and are starting our first garden this year. I am planting 30 tomato plants in the hopes I can learn how to make and preserve my own tomato sauce, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, you name it! See what I mean by overwhelming? I don’t even know if we will manage to produce a single tomato yet! ;-)

      Baby Steps… or as another friend of mine just said (quoting Ellen DeGeneres‘ character “Dory” in Finding Nemo):

      “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”

  2. I agree – I hope that we can influence change as a society, so our kids will all go back to wanting “real” food! While my kids don’t eat gluten-free, changes in our eating habits have caused us to have less and less of the “crap” food around. Luncheables, chips, etc are treats, not a staple. That being said, great job on the effort in making a GF Luncheable for your kid!

    • Thanks Alta!! I think you are right on the money, things like chips, GF Lunchables, etc. are a TREAT, not a staple. It’s all about choices and if you make mostly good, healthy choices, then the occasional splurge is okay. The sad thing is that in today’s society, with a lot of households that have both parents working, and kids are chauffeured from school to sporting events or other after school programs, eating on the fly by relying on pre-packaged processed foods has become the norm, instead of a treat. My husband made a good point the other day; “It’s ironic that we want our kids to be active by playing sports, etc. but then on the way home from said practice, people pull into a drive through for dinner! Doesn’t that defeat some of the purpose of playing sports?”

      Huh.

  3. Hey Heidi!

    I love your Lunchables idea! My daughter is not GF, but I’ve been trying to ween her away from the school lunches and pack more healthy, fun lunches from home for her.

    I had the same questions regarding the Walmart Great Value Brand Gluten Free labeling. I wrote them and posted their response on my blog. http://lisasblogetyblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/letter-from-walmart-regarding-great.html

    Thanks for all your great ideas!!!

    Lisa

  4. What a great idea!! Love it!! I love all the ideas you come up with!

  5. Brilliant! I also made your bread sticks in chocolate with sprinkles and the kids loved them :)

  6. [...] Easy Lunchbox System (while simultaneously trying to recreate an “authentic looking” GF Lunchable), I really started to ponder how most kids perceive foods just by how they look and how they are [...]

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