Gluten-free eating is an intimidating prospect in a culture of eating entrenched in breads, cookies, pastas, cakes, muffins, pretzels, pizza and many other glutenous carbohydrates. Many people, however, choose to omit gluten from their diet due to health issues or dietary concerns (I personally cut out gluten when I was constantly sick to my stomach; since stopping, I’ve felt significantly better and more energetic, honestly). But, how can we eat gluten-free when the relative access to gluten-laden dining options seem to far outweigh the gluten-free ones, and when gluten is, frankly, so deliciously tempting? If you’re about to begin your gluten-free journey, read on for my go-to, sans-gluten food guide to help inspire and encourage you.
Don’t despair that gluten is off the table! While many of the carbs we eat are gluten based, it’s important to remember what starches can be consumed. These will be your new best friends!
If you’re looking at the three items above and starting to feel a sinking sadness that bread isn’t on the list, don’t despair! Your days of sandwiches and toast are not over yet! There are plenty of gluten-free breads made from rice flower (yes, rice can be made into flower!) that are delicious and really don’t taste that much different than normal bread. From extensive taste testing of my own, the type I recommend is Udi’s Gluten Free White Bread (they make a wheat, but it’s drier and crumbles quite a bit, so just go for the white). Trader Joe’s sells Udi’s, which is so mainstream, it hurts my hipster gluten-free pride.
Another great bread substitute are rice cakes and corn thins. Completely undervalued, these are lovely, crunchy receptacles for all kinds of great eats. Slap some hummus and turkey between two corn thins, or make a PB&J on rice cakes and enjoy a sandwich-like experience without the gluten.
Many people who go gluten-free are saddened by the loss of baked goods. However, you can buy gluten-free flour from many companies – Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur make good gluten-free flours. These flours are great for making your own cookies, cakes, and even homemade pasta.
Gluten-free desserts are also very tasty and really can’t be distinguished in flavor from gluten-full treats. Mi-Del offers a great variety of gluten-free cookies and Udi’s makes a mean gluten-free blueberry muffin and cinnamon roll. Additionally, all meringues and macaroons are naturally gluten-free, so feel free to enjoy these any time!
Snacking can be the downfall of many gluten-free diets – with so many glutenous treats in the world, it can be hard to resist unless you have snacks planned out. If you’re feeling like a more hearty, proteins-rich snack try Kind Bars or, my personal favorite, NuGo Free Gluten Free protein bars (which are also dairy-free and soy-free if you happen to have more food allergies).
There are also many small gluten-free snacks you can indulge in. Popcorn, any cereal from the Chex family, Rice Krispies, Quaker Popped rice snacks (which come in lots of fun flavors), and Snyder’s gluten-free pretzels.
To get you inspired to start cooking gluten-free, here are some meal ideas to get you through the day. Also remember that you can always forego a grain at meal time. There’s nothing wrong with eating meats, fruits and veggies!
-Van’s Gluten Free waffles with maple syrup and fresh fruit
-egg, cheddar, and bacon sandwich made on Udi’s Gluten Free Bread
-Glutenfreeda oatmeal with raisins and strawberries
– lettuce wraps with ground chicken or turkey, onion, taco, and salsa
– corn tortilla tacos with pork, guacamole, cilantro and lime
– any kind of sandwich made on Udi’s Gluten Free Bread or on rice cakes
– Trader Joe’s Gluten free pasta with chicken apple sausage, corn, and edamame
– Chicken/pork/beef stir fry with veggies and soy sauce
– Baked potato with sloppy joe meat and broccoli
– Corn on the cob and turkey burger (no bun!) with lettuce and tomato
If you have any gluten-free suggestions or meal ideas, be sure to comment below and let us know how you eat gluten-free!