8 Tips for a Successful Gluten-Free Diet
By Stella Reynolds
Giving up gluten is no easy task. Even though there are so many companies out there who are making gluten-free options of our favorite foods or even catering to gluten-free living, it’s still a challenge. When you make the decision to eliminate gluten from your diet, heading to the grocery store to do your shopping can be overwhelming. When you aren’t sure what to eat, it can become stressful to live the gluten-free life. Fortunately, we have a few tips that should make the transition much easier for you. These eight tips for a successful gluten-free diet will help you make smart choices about your food so you can cut out gluten with more ease.
- Try Using a Smartphone App
When you aren’t sure what’s safe for you to eat and which foods could have gluten lurking within, it’s helpful to have a resource that can help guide you. Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources to aid you in making gluten-free decisions while doing your grocery shopping. You can conveniently download an app straight to your smartphone for quick and easy access while on-the-go! The Gluten-Free Scanner helps you decide whether or not a product contains gluten through the use of a barcode scanner. You can scan the barcode on a product and the item will come up in their database. You can then see if it’s gluten-free or not. This particular app has quite an extensive database of over 500,000 products. It’s always growing, so it’s one way to help you have a successful gluten-free diet. This app will quickly become your best friend as you navigate gluten-free living.
- Make Connections With Others Who Are Gluten-Free
For those who are so accustomed to eating gluten, cutting it out is actually a pretty big lifestyle change and commitment. Gluten is in a lot of different foods, many of which you might not even realize. It makes grocery shopping and eating out rather tricky as you try to determine what’s safe for you to consume. To help make your transition to a gluten-free diet much easier, try finding a support group or friend to lend their support. Find someone else who is also gluten-free, whether they have a sensitivity to it or they’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. You could exchange product recommendations, recipes, and even try gluten-free dishes at the local restaurants where you live. Having someone else who is following the same choices and/or necessary restrictions as you are will make things much less intimidating.
- Choose Whole Grains
Once you’ve cut gluten from your diet, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting plenty of whole grains to nourish your body. You can eat things like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, and even gluten-free oats. The reason these are so beneficial is because they’re packed with fiber, as well as minerals like magnesium, calcium, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and niacin. You can start eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, which is hearty and yet delicious. You just want to make sure you purchase gluten-free oats, so there’s no risk of cross-contamination with gluten. (Brands like Bob’s Red Mill provide gluten-free oats) Another option is to add quinoa to your salad at lunchtime or have dal or rice as a side dish with your dinner.
- Eat More Indian Food
How often do you eat Indian food? If it hasn’t been your go-to food choice, you might want to consider it. Indian food is largely gluten-free, is easy to digest and is jam-packed with nutrients and healing spices. Indian restaurants offer a variety of naturally gluten-free dishes, and are usually very accommodating if you ask them. You can enjoy a variety of meals such as, vegetable, meat, chicken, seafood dishes that are fantastic. One of my favorites is Tandoori Chicken and Biryani (eggplant, saffron, and rice), as well as some of the breads, which are so good with the sauces.
- Remember Many Foods Are Naturally Gluten-Free
Once you’ve made the decision to cut gluten from your diet, you might be wondering which options are available to you. It is not as difficult as you may think, there are so many options now for all food categories, so you are not having to feel like you are “giving” anything up. There are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods out there that you can stock your kitchen with. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, and poultry are all suitable options. You can also enjoy potatoes, beans, rice, quinoa and more. If you keep these on-hand, you can easily create r a healthy and delicious meal that’s pleasing to your palate, nutritious, quick and easy to make.
- Be Cautious of Cross-Contamination
Another important thing to remember is that you need to be cautious of cross-contamination. For those who are especially sensitive to gluten, this is incredibly important because even the smallest amount of gluten can cause an issue. For example, some potential problems that may flare up include bloating, belly pain, and other digestion problems.
To avoid cross-contamination just take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re 100% protected. Here are a few simple tips:
- If you share a household or foods at work, buy separate butters and jams, which people are often sticking knives into, and spreading on their non-gluten-free bread, bagels, etc.
- Wood fired pizza ovens: even if the restaurant offers gluten-free pizza, beware that it’s cooked in the same oven with wheat flour – major cross-contamination.
- Have separate cookware, such as pots and pans. You can easily label which ones are used for gluten and which ones are for gluten-free cooking.
- Wipe down all surfaces to make sure that there are no minuscule crumbs lingering around.
- Allow Yourself to Have Fun in the Kitchen
Eliminating gluten doesn’t mean you’re doomed to eat bland food forever. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you’ll never enjoy cooking again. These days, it’s even easier to live a gluten-free lifestyle with so many substitutions readily available at our local grocery stores. You can allow yourself to have fun by experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. Take an old favorite and make gluten-free swaps to see how it turns out. Go online and research gluten-free recipes and try something new. Gluten-free dishes can still be flavorful, delicious, and healthy.
- Try Gluten Free Meal Delivery
One of the best decisions my family ever made to help us eat smarter was choose a meal delivery service. Why? It takes the hassle and thinking out of choosing meals. And on a more wholesome note, it allows the family to share time together while cooking. Some favorite gluten-free meal delivery services that we’ve tried have been Veestro and Sun Basket.
Going gluten-free can seem stressful. There are a lot of things to consider and even more “what if” questions to answer. The number one key to success is determination. It’s okay if you slip up here and there! As long as you stick to a set of rules, like the ones outlined above, you’re gluten-free diet will be much easier in the long run.
My Bio: Stella is a part-time blogger and full-time mom. In her free-time she can be found trying new gluten-free recipes or shuttling her sons around town.
Find out more about her at NewJerseyMomsBlog.com.
Thank you for your contribution, Stella! NK