As is the case with any diet, there are certain key points to be aware of in order to get the healthiest outcome. Going gluten-free is an excellent example of a diet meant for people with a medical need, like celiac disease, that is gaining attention from everyday people trying to live healthier. The challenge is that going gluten-free can be a difficult diet to follow and receive proper nutritional benefits from.
Dr. Stefano Guandalini, director at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, notes, “people think that gluten-free diets are more healthy; this is, of course, not the case…the diet is hard to follow and could pose nutritional deficits.”
The misconception is that going gluten-free is healthier when, in reality, the gluten-free options found on typical grocery store shelves have fillers and binders to make up for the missing gluten. If you are going gluten-free, especially in medically required circumstances, it’s better to go gluten-free at home through natural products than through processed options. Naturally gluten-free foods include, but are not limited to: quinoa, millet, corn and polenta, buckwheat, all types of rice, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and animal meats.
When choosing a gluten-free diet, it’s important to monitor your nutritional intake. Some gluten-free foods can be lower in fiber, so drinking fluids and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and gluten-free whole grains is key. Gluten-free whole grains can be found through whole grain corn, whole grain rice, millet, teff, and sorghum. Iron and B vitamins, like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate, are also essential within a gluten-free diet. When going gluten-free, adding a multi-vitamin can help boost nutritional intake as well.
Having trouble coming up with gluten free meal options? You can follow samples like those below to fulfill both nutritional and gluten-free needs. Saffrons, a gluten-free and allergy aware market located in Grand Rapids, offers a plethora of meal options and even allows online ordering.
-Whole grain, gluten-free waffles, maple syrup, and strawberries, low-fat milk, orange juice, egg omelet with low-fat natural cheese and fresh vegetables, rice cake (check label for gluten) topped with jam.
-Pizza made with whole grain, gluten-free crust (homemade or store bought) with low-fat cheese, grilled chicken, vegetables, and pinapple; black bean tacos with corn tortillas, black beans, fresh vegetables, low-fat cheese, and fruit salsa (diced fruit, cilantro, and lime juice).
-Low-fat yogurt mixed with whole grain, gluten-free cereal, gluten-free rice crackers, hummus, low-fat cheese slices.
-Whole grain, enriched gluten-free pasta topped with pesto and chick peas, mixed greens salad with oil and vinegar dressing; chicken and fresh vegetable stir-fry with oils, spices, and brown rice.
What are your favorite gluten-free recipes?
Photo credit: jazzijava