Find the best gluten-free recipes for kids that the whole family also enjoys! Family-friendly gluten free meals includes a complete recipe resource with dinners, snacks, lunches, and breakfast that will please even those who don’t need to follow a gluten-free diet!
Family-Friendly Gluten Free Recipes
I know from experience it can be tricky transitioning to cooking gluten-free when someone in the family needs those meals provided for them. No one wants, or has the time, for making two different meals so it’s important to make the whole family happy with every recipe!
Plus, buying speciality GF ingredients can be expensive. Utilizing affordable ingredients that are naturally gluten-free not only inspired my gluten-free cookbook, but all gluten-free dinner ideas for kids shared here.
Although the purpose of this resource is to find a collection of gluten free recipes for kids, they actually all keep the whole family happy. Make one delicious, family-friendly meal and save yourself time and money!
For more affordable family and kid-friendly gluten free meals, be sure to check out this cheap gluten free recipe resource!
What To Avoid In A Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, malt, and brewer’s yeast. Gluten is the protein that gives dough its elasticity, holding it together, and giving it a soft, pliable structure.
When reading food labels you should look out for the obvious red flags, such as wheat, rye, barley, and malt. However, even if grains, like oats and rice, are naturally gluten free, they may have been processed on equipment shared with wheat products.
To be confident look for a “certified gluten free label” on the package or cross reference with the manufacturer’s website. Although first experiences shopping gluten free can be overwhelming and time consuming, it does get easier! Once you are familiar with “safe” products it’s easier to grab and go.
Best Shopping Tips For Gluten Free Ingredients
- The label may just say a red flag ingredient, like malt, or have a descriptor after it like malt flavoring, extract, or flour. It’s all a no-no.
- Modified food starch and dextrin are only bad if they are made from wheat. Some certified gluten free products will include as an ingredient, but these versions are safe.
- Read the labels on anything packaged or seasoned.
- Even if a grain is naturally gluten free, like oats, they still may be processed on equipment shared with wheat products so there will be cross-contamination.
- When gluten-free baking, most recipes can be adapted to GF by using a 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour. My favorite brand to use with the most consistent, best -tasting results is Cup4Cup. However, I did put together a guide on the best gluten free flour, to see how different brands compare with each other.
- Other flours made out of safe grains can also be used with great results. However, they are best used in recipes tested with that flour. Check out these easy almond flour recipes or gluten-free oat flour recipes for alternative baking options.
- Gluten free kids deserve candy! Here is a great resource – gluten free candy list.
Meal Ideas for Kids and Families
Most recipes can be adapted for gluten using affordable ingredients. With a little creativity and savviness, you can avoid buying expensive gluten-free substitutes and instead use what you already have!
Below are my go-to tips for making delicious gluten free substitutes kids and families enjoy!
- For breading proteins (like chicken nuggets!) think beyond gluten-free breadcrumbs and flour. I use crushed potato chips, tortilla chips, crushed Chex cereal, ground nuts, and crushed gluten free pretzels.
- If a sauce or soup is thickened with flour, cornstarch or gluten free flour will achieve the same results.
- Any pasta dish can be transformed using gluten free pasta. My favorite brand is Barilla because it’s affordable and no one detects a difference. When adding to casseroles, boil for half the time as directed on the box. Otherwise, the elongated bake time results in mushy pasta!
- Use potatoes creatively because everyone loves them, especially kids! Tater tot casseroles (Ore Ida brand is GF), like Cheeseburger Casserole and Mexican Tater Tot Casserole, are huge hits at our house. I also use thinly sliced potatoes for crusts, such as in a Potato Frittata.
- Use oats as binders, instead of breadcrumbs, like in meatloaf, meatballs, or salisbury steak.
Meal Plans for Families
I’m a huge meal planner because it saves me from unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Once a week I sit down and jot down the meals we’ll be having, plus sides, and build my grocery list off of that.
It also saves you from unnecessary stress at the grocery store because you can research ahead of time the GF brand to purchase. Check out these gluten free dinners for my favorite meal ideas!
Family-Friendly Dinner Recipes
Move beyond gluten free chicken nuggets and avoid making separate meals! Make a dinner that kids will enjoy right along with you with these gluten free family-friendly recipes.
Chicken is a great meal option for kids meals. Not only do parents love how affordable it is, but the variety of ways it can be prepared. Kids love the mild flavor and tender juiciness! Below are our family’s favorite chicken dinner-time recipes!
Beef and Pork Recipes
When looking for cost-friendly proteins it’s hard not to beat ground beef! It can morph into many kid-approved meals, such as meatloaf, hamburgers, meatballs and more. However, don’t over look pork and sausage options as well, which can be just as quick and easy to prepare.
Vegetarian dinners are great for Meatless Mondays or when you want to save on buying pricier proteins. Pasta dishes are always a hit with kids, but meatless grain bowls and veggie burgers are also favorites.
Fish and Seafood
Kids love more than just fish sticks! These easy fish and seafood dinners disappear fast at our house and give some much needed variety to our family meals! If you have a picky eater, try one of these dinner ideas!
Slow Cooker / Instant Pot Meals
Of course the hardest part of dinner time is actually making the meal! Using effortless kitchen equipment, like slow cookers and electric pressure cookers alleviate some of the burden. For more ideas, check out this helpful gluten-free Instant Pot recipes resource!
Best Kids’ Snacks
Any of these options make great after-school snacks or may be packed for trips and practices. If you are hosting a kid’s party, many make great take-home party favors or treats as well!
Lunch Ideas for Kids
Not only do soups make comforting kids’ lunch, but are ideal for make-ahead meal prep. If your child loves sandwiches, make and freeze this ultra soft gluten-free bread recipe to have on hand for busy mornings and PB and J’s!
The key to getting out the door on time is being prepared! Many of the gluten-free breakfast recipes shared below are freezer-friendly so you can prep early. For laid-back weekend treats, try any of the delicious pancakes, waffles, or these extra special gluten-free cinnamon rolls!
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