irst off, what’s a gluten “allergy”?
Well, it actually isn’t really a thing: there’s no such thing as a gluten “allergy,” but there is Celiac Disease, a condition that has the symptom of severe diarrhea after consuming products containing gluten (but you need to be properly diagnosed by a gastroenterologist to know you have it). Also, there is such a thing as having a gluten intolerance, but that does not necessarily mean that you have Celiac Disease. The bottom line is that you need a gastroenterologist to confirm that you need a gluten-free diet.
So, what if you do need a gluten-free diet? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let's begin!
A Quick Overview of the GF Diet
In a gluten-free diet, there is no gluten (duh), but it’s actually quite difficult to avoid it. You see, to avoid gluten and have a gluten-free diet, you need to avoid eating and drinking food products made from most grains (here is a thorough explanation by Mayo Clinic).
So no wheat, barley, rye, triticale — a cross between wheat and rye, and oats, in some cases. Still don’t understand? Well, here are some processed foods that contain gluten unless otherwise noted: beer...cakes...cereals...French fries...pastas...hot dogs...tortilla chips...yes, I think you’re beginning to understand now. Therefore, extra caution needs to be exercised in order to be completely true to a gluten-free diet. Also, you would need to compensate for the nutrients that gluten foods can provide in the gluten-free diet, and also exercise caution about consuming added fats and sugars that could be found in some gluten-free foods. Now, on to the logistics.
Balanced Gluten-Free Breakfast Ideas
If you have hectic mornings and need stress-free breakfast ideas that are gluten-free, then here are some of these great ideas:
Egg in a Basket
Makes 4 servings | Prep Time: 5 minutes
- 4 slices of gluten-free bread
- 4 eggs
Directions: Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut holes in the slices. Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Butter both sides of the slices, and cook each slice one by one. After you add the slice to the pan, crack one egg into the hole of each slice and cook until the egg looks brown on the bottom. Then flip the slice and cook for one more minute. Repeat these steps for the rest of the slices and eggs, and serve.
Superfood Smoothie Bowl
Makes 1 serving | Prep Time: 5 minutes
1 medium banana
1 handful of spinach
A few pieces of chopped kale
1/2 cup frozen berries (of your liking)
¼ cup chopped avocado
¾ cup to 1 cup of almond milk (adjust for preferred consistency)
For the garnish:
Assorted toasted nuts
Fresh assorted berries
Directions: Blend the banana, spinach, kale, frozen berries, chopped avocado and the almond milk together. Then, pour the smoothie out into a bowl, and then garnish the bowl and serve.
Spinach Scrambled Eggs
Makes 1 serving | Prep time: 15 minutes
One teaspoon of butter
Two cups fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Parmesan cheese (to taste)
Directions: Melt a teaspoon of butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat, then add the baby spinach and cook until the spinach has shriveled up. Separately, whisk two eggs with salt and pepper and then add them to the pan. Cook the eggs for 1-2 minutes, and stir the eggs sometimes, until the eggs are almost set. Then, stir in the parmesan cheese and cook until the cheese has melted, then remove the eggs onto a plate and serve.
Easy, Healthy No-Gluten Lunch
Here are some selected lunch ideas from Stanford Children's Health:
- Grill some chicken (breasts or thighs) and then slice the chicken pieces after they are cooked. Serve the chicken over mixed greens, red peppers, sliced tomatoes, broccoli florets, and chickpeas, and drizzle either a mixture of oil and vinegar or a gluten-free salad dressing.
- Toast slices of gluten-free bread or corn tortillas and then set aside. Assemble the sandwiches or tacos with cooked tuna fish mixed with mayonnaise, chopped onion, sliced tomato, shredded lettuce, and chopped cucumber.
- Grill some salmon fillets or tuna and set them aside when they are cooked. Serve the desired fish over mixed greens with shredded carrots, chopped tomatoes, and cucumbers. Drizzle either oil and vinegar, or your favorite gluten-free salad dressing. Then garnish with gluten-free rice crackers and lemon wedges.
- Marinate some chicken (breast or thighs) in garlic, oil, and lemon juice for a preferred amount of time. Then, mince the chicken in a food processor and then shape cutlets out of the minced chicken and grill the cutlets until fully cooked. Serve the cutlets over chopped romaine lettuce, and then add a drizzle of gluten-free Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese, and gluten-free rice crackers.
- Grill or broil sirloin beef burger patties and serve them on a gluten-free roll if available – if not available, cut the patties into small pieces and serve over a mixed salad with oil and gluten-free vinegar. Add lettuce, tomato, sliced onion, ketchup, or any other combination of condiments and vegetables of your choice.
- Marinate some chicken (breast or thighs) in garlic, oregano, oil, salt, and pepper for a preferred amount of time. Then, on a sheet pan, grill the chicken with a sweet potato and mixed veggies.
- Cook some chicken in a preferred method (grill, fry, bake, etc.) and assemble a salad made with the cooked chicken, mayo, onions, walnuts, and grapes, and mixed greens.
Snack Time (The Gluten-Free Edition)
Want a snack break? It's no so simple when so many popular snacks involve gluten. Fret not -- we've gathered some of the quickest, easiest gluten-free munchies. Whether you're a savory snacker or have a sweet tooth, these gluten-free snacks are sure to satisfy:
- String cheese*
- Sliced veggies with gluten-free bean dip*
- Rice crackers with peanut butter or cheese*
- Baby carrots and snow peas with hummus*
- Hard-boiled egg
- Celery with peanut butter or cream cheese*
- Strawberries with Cool Whip
- Fresh fruit
- Vanilla ice cream, sorbets, sherbets, ice milk*
- Canned fruit in its own juices
- Plain yogurt
- Applesauce with cinnamon
- String cheese and dried fruit*
* Double-check labels particularly in these items.
Delicious Gluten-Free Dinner Options Anyone Can Mak
Not sure what to do for a healthy, tasty gluten-free dinner? No worries. Having a gluten-free evening meal doesn't have to be complicated -- simple combinations of protein and added seasonings and ingredients that pack an impressive flavor punch can transform a dull, drab dinner into a culinary creation you're excited to chow down on. Check out these ideas for gluten-free dinner ideas that will have you licking your plate clean:
- Glaze salmon with mustard and honey and bake, then serve it with brown rice and steamed green beans.
- Prepare a hard-boiled egg, then slice it and serve it with steamed green beans, baby spinach, sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, and chickpeas with oil and vinegar or gluten-free salad dressing.
- Marinate some chicken (breasts or thighs) in garlic, oil, and onion powder for a preferred amount of time. Then mince the chicken and grill cutlets and serve them with cooked brown rice, steamed broccoli, and mixed greens served with oil and vinegar or gluten-free salad dressing.
- Broil a skirt steak with garlic, onion powder, and a dash of salt, and serve it with steamed cauliflower and a baked potato topped with butter or margarine.
- Bake a flounder with chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and onion powder, and serve with steamed spinach, rice, and a mixed green salad, a sliced tomato and a cucumber and drizzle either oil and vinegar or a gluten-free salad dressing.
- Marinate a pork loin cut into two-inch, cubes of pineapple and cherry tomatoes in gluten-free Italian dressing, and then grill them. Then serve them with steamed broccoli and corn topped with butter or margarine and a dash of salt.
- Assemble some cubed chicken (breasts or thighs), sliced carrots, cubed potatoes, and sliced onions, season them with garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, and Italian herbs, and roast them until fully cooked.
- Place either some chicken (breasts or thighs), shrimp, or veal in a casserole dish, top it with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese, and grill or bake it until fully cooked. Serve it with cooked gluten-free pasta.
- Cook either rice, corn, or quinoa pasta with tomato sauce and serve it over a mixed green salad with favorite gluten-free dressing.
- Grill some shrimp over a mixed green salad with baby potatoes and favorite gluten-free dressing.
- Assemble hand-pressed hamburgers or turkey burgers (100% pure ground beef or turkey), with sliced onions and sliced tomatoes, and serve the burgers with baked sweet potato fries and green beans.
- Buy and bake a frozen gluten-free pizza and serve it with a mixed green salad and drizzle a gluten-free salad dressing.
Yes, It IS Possible: Your Guide to Gluten-Free Dessert
So many delicious desserts involve gluten -- traditional cookies, cakes, and pies, to name a few. Luckily, there are plenty of gluten-free swaps available. If you're look for tasty dessert ideas to try out (minus the gluten-related bloat and discomfort), check out some of these mouthwatering gluten-free dessert ideas:
- Coconut-Chocolate Mousse
- Gluten-Free Coconut Turmeric Pie
- Gluten-Free Chocolate-Tahini Brownies
- Salted Chocolate Halva
- Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
- Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Spiced Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
So as you can see, it takes some effort (and some creativity) to figure out a gluten-free diet that is also very exciting for the palate. However, once everything is sorted, there is less stress and more enjoyment. Hope you take in all of the recipes at some point, and bon appétit!