When you realize that you need to make the change to Gluten Free it can be very overwhelming. My patients start to search the internet and they get bombarded with info. I always try to reassure them and say just start slowly and keep it simple. I recommend starting by giving them a few reliable sources, such as the Gluten Free Diet Guide for Families provided by CDHNF and NASPGHAN. Look for the key words- wheat, barley or rye in the ingredient list of your packaged foods and in the beginning just stick to whole, unprocessed foods. This means keep the diet simple initially – eat fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein.
Also a good starting point is to look for the labels on food that state Gluten Free. There are many quality gluten free options that you can find in most grocery stores. That being said, realize you may not like the gluten free food the first time you eat it.
More importantly, if you are changing to a gluten free diet due to an illness such as celiac disease, you may feel awful from being sick for a long time. Many people don’t have much of an appetite and have lost weight prior to their diagnosis. They may be suffering from stomach pain and no food tastes really good at this point. Gluten free food is different. It takes time for your taste buds to change. I still remember the first time I ate gluten free pasta. My kids did not like the taste of it, it is a bit heavier than white pasta. Start with some of the simple tested and true good gluten free unprocessed food and give yourself time to feel better and time for your taste buds to adjust.
For the first few weeks when you are learning, try some of these easy Gluten Free options.
- Yogurt, Smoothies and Parfaits – Chobani and Stonyfield yogurts are certified GF by the Gluten Intolerant Group. Top with fresh fruit for a great start to your day.
- Eggs – scrambled, fried, or hard boiled
- Gluten free cereal – there are several GF cereals. General Mills and Van’s Cereals have a few Gluten free options.
- Pocono Cream of Buckwheat – Buckwheat is good for you and naturally sweet. Top with milk, sugar and cinnamon!
- Certified Gluten Free Oats – only consume certified GF oats such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats.
Lunch and Dinner Ideas:
- Any natural unprocessed meat
- Baked potato
- A sandwich on Udi Bread – you can go gluten free and still eat your favorite GF sandwich toppings on Udi bread.
- Lunchmeat – Boar’s Head cold cuts and Hormel Natural Choice lunchmeats. For an easy lunch, roll some lunchmeat and cheese together and stick a toothpick in it.
- Brown rice and risotto.
- Nachos – Tostitos tortilla chips with melted cheese on top. Click on the Tostitos link to see a list of Frito Lay products that are gluten free!
- Peanut butter on some toasted Gluten Free bread or with some Snyder’s of Hanover GF Pretzels.
- Fruit and vegetables. Do not underestimate the value of fruit and veggies. We eat more of these than anything else.
- Cheese is a great option for anyone on a gluten free diet. Gluten is not included in the standard ingredients in cheese that include milk, enzymes and sometimes salt. Most processed cheese is also likely though not guaranteed to be gluten free. You might find wheat in the seasoning and noncaking ingredients used for some shredded cheeses, but anytime wheat is used it must be clearly labeled. I recommend shredding your own cheese if that is how you prefer to eat it. Also blue cheese is also considered safe for those on a gluten free diet.
- Chips are not necessarily healthy but many are gluten free. Click this link for Frito Lay Gluten Free List. Eat them with hummus, GF salsa or GF guacamole.
- Real popcorn. Most microwave popcorn is gluten free but save yourself the worry and time and make your own popcorn.
- Hard boiled eggs
- Kozy Shack pudding
- Kind bars. My kids favorite GF snack bar!
- Make your own fresh fruit smoothies as a great snack. (and you can sneak veggies in the smoothies and your kids won’t even notice, I always try to sneak in either carrots or kale to ours at home)
Ice Cream itself is gluten free but may contain products which are made from gluten so avoid ice cream sandwiches, cone products, cookie and ice cream flavors such as Oreo, and flavors which contain brownie pieces, cookie dough and cheese cake etc.
Stay Healthy and Be Well. Please share your thoughts and comments.
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