Gluten-Free Vegetarian Diet: The Essential Nutrients
Since gluten is present in many vegetarian meals, it can sometimes seem impossible to follow a healthier gluten-free vegetarian diet. There are, however, still plenty of vegetarian foods that contain essential nutrients and are gluten-free.
To make sure you’re getting a healthy dose of these essential nutrients, consider the following gluten-free vegetarian diet foods and meals when you go grocery shopping:
Gluten-free whole grains are high in fiber, protein, and B vitamins, and include gluten-free oats, amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff, and wild rice. Since Vitamin B12 is mostly found in meat and animal products, consider taking a gluten-free vitamin supplement.
People who are gluten sensitive or have Celiac disease may also avoid dairy products due to the often negative effects of lactose on the gastrointestinal tract. In order to get enough calcium in a gluten-free vegetarian diet, eat dairy products that are low in lactose—such as hard cheeses, and lactose-free yogurt and milk.
Other vegetarian and gluten-free foods that are high in calcium include calcium-fortified juice, non-dairy milk, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and firm tofu.
In foods, Vitamin D is mostly found in vitamin-fortified dairy and orange juice. Sunshine and vitamin supplements—such as calcium with Vitamin D—are also recommended.
Since many gluten-free cereals and products are not iron fortified, it is important for vegetarians who are following a gluten-free diet to take iron supplements and eat beans, lentils, nuts, quinoa, and seeds.
Eating these high-iron foods with foods that are high in Vitamin C—such as berries, citrus, peppers, and other fruits and vegetables—will improve your absorption of iron.
There are many protein sources to include in your vegetarian gluten-free diet. These include;
- Eggs (depending on the diet you follow)
- Whole Grains.
Gluten-free vegetarian food sources that are high in Zinc include grains, legumes, navy beans, nuts, pumpkin seeds, teff, and wild rice.
Gluten-Free Vegetarian Snacks and Meals
Easy gluten-free vegetarian snacks include fruits, vegetables with hummus, guacamole, salsa, cheese (depending on your diet), edamame, hard-boiled eggs (again, depending on diet), nuts, popcorn, seeds, trail mix, yogurt, and smoothies.
Tasty meal options include:
- Eggs, in any form (assuming they are permitted in your diet)—frittatas, omelettes, poached eggs, etc.—with salads and leafy greens
- Beans in soups—chili, black bean soup, lentil soup, split pea soup
- Buckwheat soba noodles with vegetables and peanut sauce
- Gluten-free whole grain pasta with sauce and vegetables
- Quinoa Pilaf
- Wild rice Greek salad—with black olives, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, feta cheese, and olive oil
- Vegetarian protein powders with fresh fruit
As you can see, you’ve got a lot of choices when it comes to gluten-free vegetarian foods.
Consider unique and inventive ways to combine these foods to meet your nutritional needs and satisfy your taste buds, and you’ll have a delicious and healthier diet in no time!