Is a Gluten-Free Meal Plan Right for You? It’s a question you may have asked yourself given the sheer number of articles on the potential benefits of a gluten-free diet. While we don’t recommend going gluten-free unless you have a medical reason to do so, this beginner gluten-free meal plan gives you some ideas for hearty gluten-free meals for any time of the day.
Breakfast can typically be a wheat-heavy meal, and you may be desperate for how to replace your usual slice of toast with something rich and gluten-free. We’ve listed a few breakfast ideas below that will give you the slow-release energy you need in the form of complex carbohydrates and protein.
According to one study, celiac disease occurs in about 1% of the population lancet (opens in new tab) Journal, which may not seem like a lot, but means millions of people who need information and access to good gluten-free food and meal ideas. So if this is your first time living gluten free, read on for our comprehensive guide.
Gluten-free diet: foods to eat
Many foods are naturally gluten free and can make a great starchy base for your meals. Potatoes, rice, and legumes are great alternatives to wheat-based products, and you might be able to find some gluten-free alternatives to things like pasta that use these as the main ingredient (e.g., gluten-free lentil pasta). Below we list some of our favorite gluten free meals, most of which are based on naturally gluten free foods as opposed to the gluten free alternatives you might buy at the supermarket.
We spoke to Naomi Leppitt, Nutritionist for Celiac Disease nutritionist fit (opens in new tab), who told us that celiacs can trust the cross grain symbol. “Although people with celiac disease must avoid gluten, it’s safe to eat many foods, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, lentils and legumes, potatoes, corn, fruits and vegetables,” she says. “Gluten-free grains include rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, amaranth, arrowroot, and teff. Foods marked “gluten-free” or with the crossed-out grain symbol are also safe to eat, as are prepackaged foods that don’t contain gluten, such as soups or ready meals.
“Some foods are originally made from wheat, but their end products, such as glucose syrup or maltodextrin, do not contain gluten and are therefore safe to consume. If a food label indicates that a food may “contain” trace amounts of gluten, it may be best to speak to the manufacturer.”
Gluten-free diet: foods to avoid
You must avoid foods made from wheat, barley, spelt, and rye, all of which are gluten-containing grains. If you have celiac disease, you also need to watch out for cross-contamination. Some foods, like oats, can be contaminated with gluten because they’re often processed in factories that process both oats and wheat. In this case, you should buy gluten-free oats to be on the safe side. Additionally, many processed foods contain gluten because it’s a cheap ingredient and it’s used for stuffing. So you’d better eat freshly prepared meals to make sure they’re gluten-free.
Leppitt also recommends paying special attention to cross-contamination. “To avoid cross-contamination of gluten in the food, the recommendation is to use toaster bags in the toaster and use separate spreads and jams at home,” she says.
She also flags oats as a potential problem food. “Oats are often produced in the same place where wheat, barley or rye is used in their other products, so there can be a risk of cross-contamination. It’s best to buy gluten-free oats, but some people with celiac disease are also sensitive to gluten-free oats because they contain a protein called avenin, which has a similar structure to gluten.”
7 day gluten free diet menu
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with your choice of milk, topped with fresh blueberries and chia seeds
- Having lunch: Jacket potato with tuna corn and broccoli
- Dinner: zucchini lasagna
- Breakfast: Buckwheat pancakes with golden syrup and strawberries
- Having lunch: Mushroom hash with poached eggs
- Dinner: Crispy tofu and vegetables fried with rice noodles
- Breakfast: Green smoothie and a slice of buttered gluten free toast
- Having lunch: Smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and rocket
- Dinner: Chickpea coconut curry with rice
- Breakfast: Baked eggs with spinach and tomatoes
- Having lunch: Red lentil pasta with pesto, pine nuts and parmesan
- Dinner: Meatball and bean stew with a rich tomato sauce
- Breakfast: Rösti with mushrooms, tomatoes and a fried egg
- Having lunch: Stuffed sweet potato with black bean sauce and smoked cheese
- Dinner: Lamb tajine
- Breakfast: Bacon, eggs and gluten-free sausage with a slice of buttered gluten-free toast
- Having lunch: Teriyaki tofu with broccoli and rice
- Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie with a cheesy potato topping
- Breakfast: Smoked Haddock Kedgeree with Peas
- Having lunch: Spicy Spanish tortilla
- Dinner: Roast beef with hash browns, homemade onion sauce (thickened with cornstarch) and honey glazed carrots
Gluten-free diet tips for beginners
dr Marion Sloan, a UK GP and Chair of the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology, recommends getting medically tested for celiac disease, a gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy. “It’s always better to test first before implementing a GF diet,” she says. She also notes that for some, relying on gluten-free alternatives to foods like pasta or bread can be expensive and unsustainable. “It’s potentially more expensive to the point where people say I can’t stick to this diet because it’s too expensive,” she says.
Leppitt adds that while being diagnosed with celiac disease can be challenging, there is light at the end of the tunnel. “Coming to terms with a diagnosis of celiac disease can be difficult because it’s a lifelong condition with no known cure and the only treatment is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet,” she says. “As awareness of the condition and diet trends increase, gluten-free foods are becoming more prevalent on the market, giving people with celiac disease more choice of ready-to-eat products than they did a few decades ago.
“I would also recommend speaking to a nutritionist for expert advice and scheduling annual blood tests with your GP to rule out related conditions and checking nutrient levels to help restore gut lining through good gluten-free diet adherence to confirm. It’s also important to remember that mistakes do happen and occasional mistakes don’t cause significant or permanent damage to the gut lining, but symptoms can appear shortly after exposure, which can last up to several days.”
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice.
https://www.livescience.com/gluten-free-diet-plan-for-beginners Gluten-free diet plan for beginners: Meal ideas & tips