THE GLUTEN-FREE DIET
HOW TO GET STARTED!
Gluten refers to the composite protein present in wheat, rye, and barley. This particular protein gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise, keep its shape, and giving the final product a chewy texture. Gluten is found in a wide range of foods and beverages including bread and baked goods, pasta, cereal, many dressings and sauces, and beer, and reasons to adopt a gluten-free diet range from keeping health issues such as celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity at bay, to dietary beliefs, and personal choice.
WHY GO ON A
Whether you’ve chosen to eliminate or reduce gluten from your diet due to a health condition, such as celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or for personal reasons, following a gluten-free diet may seem hard and even limiting. But if you make use of the tools and resources at your disposal, it doesn’t have to be! One such tool that will be a critical part of your success is gluten-free diet meal planning.
Creating and following an easy gluten free meal plan on a regular basis will keep you organized and on track. Some of the incredible benefits of a gluten-free diet meal plan include:
- Saving money
- Eating healthier
- Wasting less
- Stressing less
- Saving time
- Eating a wider variety of nutrient-rich foods
WHAT NOT TO
Any foods containing wheat, rye, and barley are off-limits and should be excluded when gluten-free meal planning. It’s not always clear which foods contain gluten, so it’s important to remember which ingredients and products to avoid when formulating your gluten free diet meal plan. Foods that commonly contain gluten include:
DRESSINGS & SAUCES
BREADED MEAT & VEGETABLES
While gluten-free meal planning will require special consideration, rest assured that you can still enjoy a wide variety of foods. Here are just a few of the many delicious foods you can add to your gluten-free diet meal plan and shopping list:
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
MEAT & POULTRY
FISH & SEAFOOD
BEANS & LEGUMES
NUTS & SEEDS
And that’s just of the tip of the iceberg! There are so many delicious gluten-free foods that are both satisfying and nutritious! What’s more, when cooking any of the recipes found on LowFatLowCarb.com, you can rest assured that the ingredients listed contain absolutely no gluten.
GETTING STARTED WITH
GLUTEN-FREE DIET MEAL PLANNING
Lucky for you, LowFatLowCarb.com LowFatLowCarb.com makes meal planning easy!
Create a Template
Create a template, whether it’s weekly or monthly, and commit to adding the delicious, gluten-free recipes that you plan to prepare and eat for each of your meals. A template is a great tool to help you stay organized, and to ensure that you’re including a wide variety of nutrients in your diet. You can keep the template and rotate recipes on a regular basis.
If you’re looking for a handy tool to craft an easy gluten-free meal plan, make use of Low Fat Low Carb’s menu planner (if you’re not yet a member, sign up now!).
Once you’ve created your template, the real fun begins! You can now browse delicious, healthy, gluten-free recipes, and choose your favourites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! The gluten free recipes at LowFatLowCarb.com incorporate fresh, high-quality ingredients, and are as fast, healthy, and simple as possible!
You won’t find recipes for gluten-free sweets or junk disguised as health food, and you can rest assured that all of our recipes include ingredients that will be beneficial to you. We always include a minimum of two cups of vegetables, and five to eight ounces of protein to help you meet your daily nutritional goals.
Create a Shopping List
Your gluten-free meal plan and your shopping list should always go hand-in-hand! Based on the recipes you’ve selected for the upcoming week, create the list that you’ll take with you to the grocery store. Be sure to include each and every ingredient for the recipes you’ll be preparing, and don’t forget to take stock of what you already have at home to avoid waste.
The tool you use to create this list is completely up to you; use a pen and paper, the notes app on your smartphone, or the handy grocery list tool at LowFatLowCarb.com (if you’re not yet a member, sign up now !).
Now that you have your gluten-free meal plan and shopping list, head to the grocery store! Remember that pre-packaged, processed items often contain hidden gluten, so make a habit of reading product labels very closely. Products marketed to gluten-free dieters, including breads, sweets, and pasta will be tempting, but remember that sticking to high-quality, fresh, minimally processed foods will further benefit your health.
Eliminating gluten from your diet may require that you learn how to incorporate some new cooking methods and ingredients. Many ingredients that you’ve become accustomed to cooking with will require substitutions, and sauces and spices will require creativity, since many of those found on grocery store shelves contain gluten. Try substituting starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and eggplant for things like pasta, and make use of fresh herbs for seasoning!
TIPS & TRICKS FOR
GLUTEN-FREE DIET MEAL PLANNING
If you’re new to gluten free meal planning, you may be overwhelmed and wondering where to start. Here are some tips and tricks for incorporating a gluten free diet meal plan into your lifestyle:
Schedule some time at the beginning of each week to prepare large amounts of the gluten-free ingredients that you know you’ll use frequently! Cook chicken breasts or ground beef in bulk for use in stir-frys and salads, and have fruits and vegetables peeled, chopped, and easily accessible!
Keep Your Schedule in Mind
It’s important to plan your meals according to your schedule, rather than the other way around. If your daughter has a ballet recital on Thursday, plan to prepare something quick and easy. If you work late every Friday, pack something portable, since healthy, gluten-free options are often hard to find on the go!
Keep It Simple
Adopting a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean choosing recipes that require extensive prep work, and call for complicated, expensive ingredients. In fact, doing so will almost certainly be counter-productive and stressful. Keep things simple! Make sure you’re still including your favourite foods and ingredients, as well as the cooking techniques that come most naturally to you. Remember, there’s no reason you can’t make a recipe twice, or eat leftovers for simplicity’s sake!
You’ve created a meal plan with the goal of eliminating stress and benefiting your overall health, so don’t counteract the good you’ve done by worrying when your meals don’t go exactly according to plan. Eating this way can be adaptable and flexible, and as long as you’re choosing real, unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods, it’s totally acceptable to eat breakfast for dinner, or to eat a salad for lunch when you were planning to eat soup.
Before an action can become a habit, it must be repeated, and meal planning is no exception. Stay consistent and committed to your goals, and all of the great benefits of gluten-free meal planning will surely follow!
Looking for some delicious, nutritious recipes to add to this week’s easy gluten-free meal plan? Try these dishes!
Visit LowFatLowCarb.com for more delicious, nutritious recipes!