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Reyanna's Food Tips and Cafeteria Guide:
Most times, eating in the cafeteria is a pain in the butt. So here are some tips to help you get through the years to come:

I think I've become pretty creative when it comes to cafeteria foods and also just eating at home. Both my parents are chefs so I think they had a hand in that! They have taught me well, I suppose. Here are some creative ideas and solutions for eating Gluten-Free (GF). Check out each item listed here because each one has one or more creative ideas. I hope this helps. Happy Eating!

Breakfasts:
If you are trying to put yourself on a menu plan, here are some good breakfast foods.

Eggs (I love eggs, from my head down to my legs. Scrambled or fried, with the guys. The incredible, edible egg!)

Potatoes (diced, sliced, seasoned, hashbrowns, baked potatoes, etc…)
Meats (bacon, GF sausage, ham)

Corned Beef & Hash (Libby's and Hormel are GF. Butter the pan first, fry the contents of the can, and add an egg. It will cook and scramble with the corned beef & hash.)

Pancakes/Waffles (there are many GF mixes out there that are easy and wonderful!)

Fruits (see Fruits section)

Applesauce

Yogurt

Cereal (Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles, and Kellogg's Corn Pops are all GF… Corn Pops is sometimes made in the same station has gluten products. One out of every 100 boxes is said to be cross-contaminated or made next to a gluten-containing product.)

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Cheese:
Cheese is a great GF snack. If you can't have dairy though, you may have to skip this part. I used to have problems with dairy, but now that I'm off of gluten, my intestines have had time to heal, and dairy doesn't bother me unless I have a pint of Haagen Dazs in one sitting (Bad Reyanna!). Here are some 'cheesy' ideas.

Cheese sticks (buy a block of cheese, and cut)

String cheese

Cheese and rice crackers

Grilled cheese sandwich on GF bread

Melt cheese on elbow pasta for Mac&Cheese (See Recipes)

A slice of cheese on a piece of GF bread - then nuke it! (Add a piece of meat too. You could probably do this at your school cafeteria if they have a microwave.)

Oh! And if your school has a pub or grill, you can bring some slices of GF bread, and ask them to make you a grilled cheese. I've done this, and they were totally cool about it. They just charged me for a grilled cheese sandwich, but it was worth it. Since GF bread is thin, they did 3 slices of bread with 2 slices of cheese between each slice of bread. You can also get a Snackster-machine-thingy and make grilled cheese yourself that is super speedy. Or you can just make it on a pan (the regular way). When GF bread is grilled or toasted, it tastes JUST like real bread! Yeah! And you can use two slices of bread. Just use 2 or 3 slices of cheese for the best taste.

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Dinners:
You can eat the same foods for lunch and dinner. They're pretty much the same. And all the foods on this website can be used for dinner. I'll give you a list of what I like for dinner.

Tacos/Tostadas (If you keep ingredients in the fridge, these are quick. See Tacos/Tostadas section)

GF Chicken Strips (see Recipes)

Chicken (If you have a Foreman Grill, just put basil, salt, and pepper on a chicken breast, and throw it on the grill.)

Grilled Cheese Sandwich on GF bread

Sandwiches (see Sandwiches section)

Salad (see Salads section)

Pasta (see Pasta section)

Hot dogs (these are super quick!)

Rice w/steamed veggies

Corned Beef & Hash (one of my faves! Butter the pan first, fry the contents of the can, and add an egg. It will cook and scramble with the corned beef & hash.)

GF Chicken Soup (see Recipes section)

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Eating Out:
McDonald's french fries are gluten-free, but Burger King's fries are not.

IN-N-OUT serves a protein-style burger (just ask for protein-style without dressing because the dressing is not gluten free). This cheese\hamburger does not have a bun. It is wrapped in lettuce.

Many restaurants have gluten-free alternatives. Ask the chef, or call before you go.

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Fruits:
Fruits are always good snacks. But there is so much more you can do with fruit!

Dip it in peanut butter
Throw it in some vanilla yogurt
Top off ice cream
Freeze it for yummy snack-slices
Smoothies (throw some fruit, juice or milk, and ice into a blender)
Chocolate covered
Fresh on top GF pancakes, waffles, or cereal
Dehydrate your own for dried fruit
Fruit Salad mixed with whipped cream and marshmallows!

Apples - Always tastes yummy with melted caramel dip or peanut butter! Oh, and applesauce is good with some cinnamon.

Bananas - my favorite fruit! Dip these in peanut butter for a yummy treat or slice some onto peanut butter and a rice cake. Or… microwave some GF chocolate chips. Use a fork to dip small slices of banana inside. Then dip in chopped peanuts and place on waxed paper. Stick in the freezer! And presto! Frozen Monkey Bites! Also… if you have ripe bananas (all brown ones), you can smash them into some pancake mix for banana pancakes! It makes them light and fluffy too!

Blueberries/Raspberries - These are delicious when they are frozen! Place them on waxed paper on a cookie sheet in the freezer. When they are frozen, you can put them in a plastic baggie. Put these in yogurt, ice cream or cereal!

Cantaloupe - My favorite dessert uses cantaloupe. It's quick and easy to prepare and very yummy. Jeremy perfected the recipe. (see Recipes)

Grapes - These taste best frozen, I think. Take them off the stem first, stick in a sandwich baggie or on a plate, and freeze! (Oh, hey this just reminded me! Gummy bears taste really good frozen too!)

Grapefruit - You can cut this like you cut orange slices. Or you can cut in half, sprinkle on sugar, and eat with spoon.

Lemons - Now that I can't have most salad dressings, I use lemons instead. Just squeeze a lemon on your salad. Don't worry about it being sour. It's not bad at all! It tastes like Italian dressing (only healthy and GF!) Also, you can squeeze a lemon on any fruit or vegetable and will keep it from turning brown or wilting throughout the day. Use this idea for salads (fruit or vegetable) that you want to take to school.

Strawberries - Slice these and stick them in a bowl. Pour in a little bit of water and some powder sugar in there to make it sweet! You can eat it like this or use this along with whipped cream on top of GF waffles!

Watermelon - Since this fruit is water-based, you can blend it into a "slushy." You can add ice like a Mr. Misty from Dairy Queen or… My Aunt Joy taught me to pour it into Jell-O cups and freeze them with a popsicle stick or without. They make great frozen desserts or popsicles!

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Hummus:
Hummus is garbanzo beans (chickpeas) all ground up. This tastes really good when dipped with rice crackers or celery! Also, eat it with plain rice cakes.

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Lunches:
All the foods on this website are easy to prepare and fairly quick so they all make excellent choices for lunches. Also see Dinners.

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Pasta:
Just because we're gluten-free, does not mean that we have to live a pasta-free life. We are so lucky these days because our possibilities are endless when it comes to pasta alternatives. I think corn and rice pastas taste just as good as wheat.

When I found out that I had CD, I thought I'd really miss spaghetti. However, I have found two great alternatives. My favorites are Thai Rice Noodles and Quinoa brand corn spaghetti. You can make both of these in the microwave or stovetop. After you're done boiling them, and their nice and soft, make sure you rinse them off nicely with cold water because rice and corn noodles both have this filmy stuff that sticks to it when it's cooked. At the dollar store, you can get a colander (a bowl with holes in it) to rinse them in. You need to re-heat the pasta if you want it hot. Both taste great with spaghetti sauce. Makes a great meal!

Another idea for these spaghetti noodles: If you don't mind cold pasta, add some lettuce, veggies, and salad dressing for a nice pasta salad. This is great! And you can put it in a plastic container and bring it to school.

Well, since Mac&Cheese is one of the major food groups in the teenage years, I thought I'd give you some tips on making GF Mac&Cheese. See Reyanna's Macaroni & Cheese in the Recipes section.

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Peanut Butter:
Peanut butter has always been my favorite food! I love it! So I eat it with everything. There is a children's song that says, "I love Peanut Butter! Peanut butter tacos. Peanut butter pizza. Peanut butter egg foo yung!" Now, I don't go that far, but I do get creative. Peanut butter is great because it's high in protein and carbohydrates. It's great because you can just eat it right out of the jar with a spoon or in other crazy ways. The following fruits, vegetables, and other foods are great with peanut butter! Okay, some may sound gross at first, but just give them a try! One little bite. Hey, it's worth it if it means another snack for you, right?!

Peanut butter with…
Apples
Bananas
Strawberries
Pear-Apples
Pears
Celery
Cucumbers
Pickles (get the sandwich slices, dry them off w/ a paper towel, and spread PB on the top!)
Cheese slices (okay, this sounds gross to me, but my dad ate this once… I think)
Rice cakes
Chocolate chips
Hershey bars

P.S. If you didn't know it… In addition to being a wonderful snack, Peanut butter will get gum out of your hair. Just rub creamy (never chunky) peanut butter on the gum in your hair, and the oils in the PB will dissolve the gum. Just rinse under water and comb it out!

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Rice:
I eat so much more rice now that I'm GF. I love Uncle Ben's 5-minute rice because it's fast and easy (at our age, that's a plus!) Is it too 'blah' for you? Here are some ideas:

Before you cook the rice, add a teaspoon or two of GF chicken base. It gives it just a hint of chicken flavor.

Add some spaghetti sauce. It's different at first, but very yummy!

Add some steamed vegetables. Go to the 'Vegetables' section for an idea on quick steaming.

Add some salad and salad dressing for something new. This travels well in a plastic container. But don't add the salad dressing before you leave or it won't taste as good.

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Salads:
Since most bulk salad dressings are not gluten-free, we need an alternative. Grab a slice of lemon and squeeze it on there! You would think it would be sour, but it's really not. It tastes like Italian dressing. Also, go to the grocery store and pick up your favorite gluten-free salad dressing (my favorite is Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette and many of Annie's are GF also… and delicious!). Ask your food-service director if you can keep it in the fridge in a bag with your name on it. Then anytime you want a salad, just go back there, and get your dressing! Be creative in your salads also! Use different veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, green peppers), garbanzo beans, ham, turkey and sunflower seeds (instead of croutons if you want a crunchy alternative). Add cold GF spaghetti noodles or rice for some carbohydrates!

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Sandwiches:
Everyone loves sandwiches! But we can't have regular bread. Well, I have a few suggestions here. First, you can simply use GF bread (write your name on it; and ask to keep it in a fridge in the cafeteria kitchen). If you have a microwave in your cafeteria, grab a few slices of cheese and slap it on a slice of bread. Use only one slice of bread because GF bread usually over-powers whatever is in between. Put it in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds or until the cheese is melted. Ta-Da! A hot-cheese open-face sandwich! You could also add a piece of ham, turkey or roast beef. Eat it like pizza. Yummy!

GF bread tastes better when it's heated. You can stick it in the toaster or the microwave for a few seconds to make your sandwich taste better.

Another idea is using lettuce instead of bread to make a sandwich. My Honorary Grandma, Rebekah, showed me this, and I love it! Take one piece of lettuce, add a slice of cheese, a piece of meat, some tomato, and slap another piece of lettuce on there to sandwich it! This lettuce idea also works GREAT with hamburgers. I love hamburgers again. If your cafeteria is having hamburgers one day, just ask them to 'hold the bun!' AND… You can still have McDonald's and Burger King! Just ask for no bun, and two pieces of lettuce! Or… for a super-duper quick snack, use one piece of lettuce, one piece of cheese, one piece of meat, and roll it up like a burrito.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on GF bread are my new favorites! I eat them just about every day.

The last idea I probably use most of all. Grab a rice cake and throw some peanut butter on there. Go for the jelly too! My cafeteria has a jar of peanut butter out for sandwiches. I bring my own rice cakes if I don't feel like bread. Place slices of apple or banana on top of the peanut butter. This is my favorite!

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Snacks:
I get the most emails about teens asking what kinds of foods we can eat for snacks. But all the foods on this site you can eat as snacks. So the more you read on the foods list, the more ideas you will get for snacks. I'll list some quick ones for you though.

Jell-O
Pudding
Nuts
Peanut butter with fruits/veggies
Marshmallows
Rice cakes
GF Cereal in a baggie
Rice crackers
Cheese
Applesauce
Yogurt
Fruit cups
Salad
GF cookies
Yogurt raisins
Trail Mix (Craisins, peanuts, M&Ms and marshmallows)
Marshmallow Crispy Treats (see Recipes)
Popcorn (Act II Kettle Corn is my very favorite!)
Craisins/Raisins/Other dried fruits
Chips and salsa (Fritos, Cheetos, Ruffles, Tostitos)
Fruits/Vegetables
Hummus w/rice crackers

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Soups:
Most soups you buy in the grocery store are not gluten-free. And probably all the soups in your school cafeteria are not gluten-free. But I called Campbell's personally (because I love soup), and they gave me this list of their GF products.

Chunky Chicken Broccoli Cheese
Chunky Chicken and Rice
Ready to Serve Chicken Broth
Ready to Serve New England Clam Chowder
Ready to Serve Heart Chicken Vegetable

Over Christmas vacation, my dad and I made GF chicken soup from scratch. It was delicious. You can find it in the Recipes section of this site.

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Tacos/Tostadas:
I buy hard corn tortilla tostada and taco shells. They usually come in packs of 10. You can spread Rosarita brand refried beans on them, and then sprinkle cheese, lettuce, and tomato on top for tostadas. I think they're a quick meal.

If you want a quicker snack, grate some cheese and sprinkle on top of a tostada shell. Stick it in the microwave for about 15 seconds or until cheese is melted. I call this a cheese-crisp. Yummy!

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Tuna Fish:
I always drain and add 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise to each can of tuna I make.

Toss in some chopped celery. This tastes great. Eat it with a fork or spread on GF bread or a rice cake. If pickles are your fancy, throw some chopped pickles in your tuna fish.

Sometimes I won't put celery in there, and I'll just use celery sticks to dip in tuna.

You can also use rice crackers to dip in tuna (with the celery too!)

For a new tuna meal, see my recipe for Reyanna's Macaroni & Cheese in the Recipes section.

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Unsafe Cafeteria Foods:
All soups, salad dressings, gravies, marinades, curly/waffle fries (usually shoestring fries are fine, but ask, just in case they use a batter), rice stir-fry (uses soy/teriyaki sauce), mashed potatoes and taco meat (unless you want to ask for the ingredients). To look at these items, you would think them to be gluten-free. However, when you eat in the cafeteria, foods that are usually made with corn starch use wheat flour instead. Wheat flour is much cheaper than corn starch, and when you cook in bulk (as cafeterias do), cheaper is better for them (not us!). Mashed potatoes in the cafeteria are from a box and add flours to thicken. Taco meat usually has bulk packets of seasoning added, which contains wheat flour. If you think that your school could be different, make sure you check on these items, but generally they are not safe for us.

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Vegetables:
If you're stuck to make dinner for yourself once you are in college (or even in high school), you may not think too highly of veggies. And you may think they take a long time to prepare. Well, here are some quick suggestions on how to add veggies to any meal.

Steamed Vegetables - This is probably one of the most important cooking lessons I got from my parents. Okay, you are never going to believe how easy this is! Okay, first, grab a plastic baggie that zips to close on the top. Throw in some fresh broccoli, celery, spinach, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, snow peas or whatever vegetable you prefer. Run the baggie (with the veggies already inside) under water and shake it up. Pour out most of the water, except maybe a tiny little bit on the bottom. Close the bag except for about a half inch to an inch at the corner. Throw the bag full of veggies in the microwave for about one - two minutes. Voila!! You have steamed veggies! Be careful though, this bag will be so hot! Pour them in a bowl and put on some butter and salt. Yummy!

Celery - I buy a whole stalk and then cut it up into celery sticks on the first day I buy it. I put the sticks back into the bag and put it back in the fridge. Then throughout the week, I can just grab a handful and go! You can use celery sticks to dip in peanut butter, GF salad dressing, tuna fish, hummus, or just eat them alone.

Canned Veggies - These are so cheap! Usually you can buy them 3 for a dollar at the grocery store. Stock up and keep them on hand. When you need some veggies, just pour the can into a bowl and nuke for about 1-2 minutes or until hot. Add butter and salt!

Raw Veggies - These are great because they don't need to be prepared. You can just stick these in a sandwich baggie and throw them in your lunch.

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