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My Gluten Free “Happy Meals”

Alright, I will share my secret for putting a big smile on my little ones’ faces…

In December when Sam was diagnosed with celiac, one of the first things he asked me was if that meant he could no longer have a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

I asked him what his favorite part of a Happy Meal was. The Chicken Nuggets? The French Fries? Sam simply replied, “Duh, the toy!”

Right on, I can do that…

Several months ago I found an AWESOME GF chicken nugget, (kid style) from Allergy Free Foods. Not only are they GF, but they are dairy, soy, egg, tree nut, and peanut free. While there is at least one other company that makes a good GF Chicken Nugget (I personally like Bell & Evans GF Chicken Nuggets but they are made with chicken breast meat versus the “pressed chicken” style that you find at Mickey D’s).

The chicken nuggets from Allergy Free Foods are delicious. BUT, hold on to your seat…they are not cheap. I bought mine at QVC and you get 4 lbs. for $39.52 + $10.19 S & H. Due to the cost, I keep them in my freezer and ration them for special occasions like going to McDonald’s for
a birthday party or as a Friday night treat. One of these days (possibly sooner now that I have private school tuition to pay!) I am going to try and make a homemade GF replica of these nuggets using the Expandex Breading Mix that I have. Allergy Free Foods uses the Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch in their nuggets. I will let you know how it works out!

Next up, Sam’s old favorite chicken nugget dipping sauce: sweet and sour. I do not know where this recipe originated from, but a friend gave it to me. I think it is supposed to be a “copycat” recipe of the McDonald’s version:

“McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce” Recipe

1/4 c. Peach Preserves (I used Smuckers)

1/4 c. Apricot Preserves (I used Smuckers)

2 Tbs.
Light Corn Syrup (I used Karo)

5 tsp. White Vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. Cornstarch

1/2 tsp. Soy Sauce (I used San-J Organic Wheat Free Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce)

1/2 tsp. Yellow Mustard

1/4 tsp. Salt (I used Mortons Lite salt)

1/8 tsp. Garlic Powder

2 Tbs. Water

Combine all ingredients except the water in a food processor or a blender and puree until the 
mixture is smooth. 

Pour mixture into a small saucepan over medium heat. Add water, stir, and bring mixture to a boil. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes, stirring often. When the sauce has thickened, remove it 
from the heat and let it cool. Store sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 3/4 cup.

I am not sure how accurate of a taste this is, I have never had the sweet & sour sauce 
at McDonald’s, I was more of a BBQ or ketchup dipper. Sam said he thought it was close.

Next…the fries. I use either Ore Ida or Kroger brand Krinkle cut frozen fries, then bake them in the oven. Finally, the finishing touch…The Happy Meal components, The Happy Meal Box, the chicken nugget box, the french fry sleeve and last but surely not least…the toy! What I do is 
(yes, this involves some planning ahead) I go into a McDonald’s and order a Happy Meal without the food. Yes, this will garner some funny looks but after explaining that my kids have (for simplicity’s sake) food “allergies” and cannot eat the food but want to be like all of their friends, they charge me $2.02 for the toy and wrappings. 

This is what you get (drum roll please)…

My photos did not turn out great, haven’t figured out the lighting situation yet…or Photoshop!

All the empty “Trappings” of a Happy Meal

Allergy Free Foods Chicken Nuggets in a
McDonald’s Box

Oven baked french fries in the fry sleeve

Ta Da…A GF Happy Meal!!!

When my boys get invited to birthday parties at McDonald’s, I throw some chicken nuggets and french fries in the oven and bake until almost done. While driving to McDonald’s, I throw the nuggets and fries in my handy dandy 12 volt pizza oven that I have plugged in to the back of my Odyssey and by the time we arrive, they are ready to go! All I need to do then is run in and buy the trappings…

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  1. You are an awesome mom!! This post made me smile so much.. thinking of all the parents who struggle with their childrens food allergies and just avoid the situations (like the birthday parties at mc donalds), You've embraced it. It's so great to see!

  2. Hi! I love your blog and have tried several recipes. But I just wanted to share some exciting news! While touring my local (Upstate NY) Walmart, I saw that they had added a section in the frozen foods “Healthy Entrees” with a few shelves of gluten free products. Found a new gluten free Fettuccini Alfredo dinner, and some of the typical GF Amy’s dinners-but! There are now GF Tyson Chicken Nuggets and Tenders! At my store one bag (18 oz) was 5$ even. Had to share!


  1. […] originally posted this last summer, but I thought I would do an update with better […]

  2. […] to be desired. That being said, I LOVE AllergyFree Foods Chicken Nuggets (They are what I use in my McDonald’s Happy Meals…they are simply the best GF kid-style Chicken Nuggets that I have found, they totally remind […]