Going gluten free can mean giving up many different types of food, but luckily there are still plenty of options available to you. Your biggest culprit will be prepackaged foods that are made with items that contain gluten in them. It’s safe to assume that unless it’s listed as Gluten Free it likely contains gluten. There are many products hitting the market that are specifically gluten-free, but you’ll want to start off with these whole food sources as a foundation to nutritional eating.
Beans don’t contain any gluten, and are a great food to use for weight management as well as blood sugar management. They are digested slowly by the body, provide fiber, and contain antioxidants, making them a great choice while following a gluten-free diet. Beans are a hearty way to make a meal more satisfying, while at the same time adding a bunch of nutrition to the equation. Mexican food is a great cuisine to enjoy, as long as you replace flour tortillas with corn. It’s easy to go gluten-free, as long as you have a strong understanding of what has gluten and what doesn’t.
Eggs are a GF food that can be prepared any number of ways, and provide plenty of protein and minerals to help round out your diet. Since eggs show up in so many different dishes it’s easy to make your favorite foods, by just making a few slight adjustments to the way it’s made. For example, you could make a quiche, you’ll just have to replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free alternative. Going gluten-free usually doesn’t mean going without, it just means you’ll have to make certain substitutions to make sure the gluten stay behind.
Beef as well as any other meat will contain no gluten, although you may want to go with grass-fed beef to avoid any concern about eating grain-fed beef. This means you can enjoy hamburgers and other beef-heavy dishes, you just have to be sure to pass on the bun with that burger, and cut out items like bread crumbs from dishes like meatloaf. Many find that when they take on a gluten-free diet they automatically lose weight. This is a combination of ceasing the intake of foods that their bodies don’t process well, as well as being more conscious of food in general.
Considering that you can eat any vegetable under the sun while on a gluten-free diet you won’t be hard-pressed to find something to eat. You can partake in the phytonutrient-rich leafy greens like spinach and collard greens, or the many health benefits of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Be on the look out for vegetable casseroles or any other vegetable dish that contains other ingredients besides plain vegetables, as it could contain ingredients that have gluten in them, even though it’s listed as a vegetable dish. Many casseroles will contain bread crumbs or flour as a thickener.
Fruit can provide your body with plenty of antioxidants, but it will never contain any gluten. Some of the best bets when it comes to fruit are those rich in antioxidants like blueberries and raspberries, or fruits high in potassium and fiber like bananas and avocados. Avocadoes also provide plenty of healthy fat, making them a great choice as an add-on to any meal. It’s nice to be able to enjoy fresh fruit, just don’t be lured in by fruit pies and other fruit-based desserts that may be served on a wheat-based crust. Always check the additional ingredients if you are considering anything but fresh, raw fruit.
6. All Types of Nuts
Many nuts are an excellent source of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, fats your body needs to actually help it burn fat. Some of the best nut choices are almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios as all of these are loaded with nutrients and healthy fats. These nuts consistently make the list of healthiest foods on the planet, and they’ve been a part of the human diet for thousands of years. Of course, if you also have a nut allergy you’ll want to avoid these, or at least test for a sensitivity before adding them as a mainstay to your diet.
7. All Types of Seeds
Seeds make a great snack, and keep you on the gluten-free side of the equation. They have a nice crunch to them, and many will provide you with additional nutrients. Take chia seeds for example, they contain omega-3s in them. Pumpkin seeds are another great choice for their nutritional value, as well as sunflower seeds. The great feature of seeds is that they can be eaten directly as a crunchy snack, or they can be used as part of a recipe and will still provide their nutrition and flavor.
Flax is a seed, and therefore doesn’t contain any gluten, but it does contain an impressive amount of omega-3s, which you’ll want to consume while leading a gluten-free life. The beauty of flaxseed is its small size, allowing you to sprinkle it on anything you’re eating for added nutrition. You can also easily add it to any soup or smoothie and you won’t even know it’s there. Many gluten-free followers have a bad ratio between the amount of omega-3s and the amount of omega-6s they consume, so something like flaxseed can help to balance that out.
Rice may seem like it has gluten in it, but it’s an entirely different species of plant than wheat, and therefore contains no gluten. You can enjoy a side of rice, rice cakes, or recipes that call for rice, like sushi. Keep in mind that if you are trying to lose weight you may want to go easy on white rice, since it is high in carbohydrates. Stick to brown rice for maximum nutrition and to help with any weight loss efforts.
One of the best things about going gluten-free is that you don’t have to give up chocolate. You can have milk chocolate as well, as long as it’s labeled as gluten-free. The added milk and sugar that goes into milk chocolate is free of gluten, but you’ll want to check the label to make sure that there aren’t any other additives that have gluten in them. But we’d recommend going with dark chocolate to reap the benefits of the antioxidants it contains. That way you’ll get your chocolate fix, but also help your body and overall health at the same time.
Soy makes a great break from meat, and comes in many different forms, all of which contain no gluten. Many vegetarians and vegans use soy to replace the meat in their diet, crafting it into things like tempeh and tofu. Whether or not you use these to reduce the amount of meat you eat, they do make healthy alternatives to meat when you want a meat-free meal. Just because an item is listed as being made with soy does not mean it is automatically gluten free. Also verify that the other ingredients are gluten free if ordering at a restaurant, or check the label to see for yourself what else is in it.
Peanuts are gluten-free, and they’re a tasty treat while on a GF diet. You can enjoy them as peanut butter just make sure that you buy an organic brand and check that the ingredients are nothing more than peanuts. You can add peanut butter to a smoother to give it added thickness and flavor, or snack on peanuts between meals or at a baseball game without veering off your gluten-free course. As you can see there are plenty of foods you can eat on a gluten-free diet, which is why it’s surprising that so many claim that it is limiting or that it reduces food choices to a minimum.