This is a guest post brought to us by Julia Wisniewski.
Julia Wisniewski lives with Fibromyaglia and blogs regularly for Bready, the gluten
Living Healthy While Remaining Gluten Free
So you already know that you have to eliminate gluten from your diet because of whatever reason, whether it is celiac disease, gluten allergy, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or more. However, there is more to think about than just avoiding gluten; you need to think about the overall health of the food you’re consuming. So, here is a list of things you need to consider when planning a gluten free meal.
The USDA’s new MyPlate Campaign does a great way of visually showing how much of each food group you should have on your plate for any given meal. So what does that mean for gluten free dieters? Here are some tips and tricks broken down into each food group for us GF-ers.
Luckily, we don’t have to worry too much about fruit when it comes to gluten. However, the USDA recommends that half our plate be made up of fruit and vegetables. The hard part is to consider what you put on your fruits or veggies. Don’t forget that if you put sugar or whipped cream on your strawberries, those sugars count toward your allotment of fats and dairy. If you can eat the fruit without any toppings, you are really good to go. Look into sugar alternatives that don’t have gluten in them such as this gluten free sugar and honey alternative.
The same rules apply here. Make sure that anything that you put on your veggies have to go into your goals for the whole meal. There are some great gluten free healthy butters. Also look into gluten free salad dressings so that you can get more of your veggies in their raw state. The fiber in raw veggies takes more energy to break down than cooked veggies and are, therefore, better for you.
This is the food group that is the toughest for GF eaters. All of the best grains (pasta and bread) contain that dreaded gluten. Grains should take up about a fourth of your plate and you can fill up that space with gluten free pastas or bread so that you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing with your gluten free diet. A great company that makes gluten free bread machines also provides different kinds of mixes for a variety of gluten free bread. There are also some great grains that do not contain gluten like rice, quinoa, and oats. However, oftentimes, oats are processed in factories that deal with products with gluten, so make sure you read that label! (Note from Cassandra: look for certified gluten-free oats.)
Last, but not least, is protein, which is critical to keep yourself in good health. Look for lean proteins like chicken and turkey as opposed to pork or beef, which often contains more fat. There are tons of turkey products out there made to taste like fattier meats. For example, turkey ham tastes just like real ham, but is healthier for you.
Again, the USDA MyPlate is a great tool to use as a guideline when planning healthy meals. Try to keep each food group represented. Take advantage of and enjoy your gluten free lifestyle!