When shopping for a gluten-free diet, stay on the perimeter of the store. This is where you will find naturally gluten-free foods for balanced meals and snacks following Retrofit’s guiding principles the balanced plate principle of the 50-25-25 plate at meals and protein and fiber at snacks. Start your shopping trip with the fresh produce section. There are no worries in this section! Stock up on nutrient rich, low fat, low sodium fresh fruits and vegetables, for meals and snacks. Then, head into the fresh meat, poultry, and seafood section. All of these are naturally gluten-free, as long as, they do not have any breading or marinade added to them. Use caution when choosing luncheon meat and other processed meat. They may contain gluten as fillers or flavor enhancers, so read the labels carefully. After the meat section, it’s time to visit the egg and dairy sections of the grocery store. Keep in mind that eggs are a protein and therefore on the protein section of the balanced plate; and dairy in the carb section of the plate, as dairy is both a protein and carbohydrate source. Most of these products are gluten-free, so once again, check the labels. Calcium-rich desserts and snacks, like yogurt and cheese, are excellent choices for a gluten-free diet. Within the inner isles of the grocery store, look for these healthy options to increase your variety of balanced plate options:
- Corn Tortillas
- Plain Rice (Brown or Wild for more fiber!)
- Dried or canned Beans and Legumes
- Spices and Herbs
- Nuts and Nut Butters
- Cooking oils (except Canola oil, it may have traces of gluten)
- Canned vegetables and fruit
- Cereals: General Mills Chex Cereal (Cinnamon, Honey Nut, Rice, Corn, and Chocolate Only), Kellogg’s Gluten Free Rice Krispies, Nature’s Path, Glutino’s, Bob’s Red Mill, Arrowhead, and Udi’s Granola, just to name a few brands.
- Other options, as well, just remember to READ THE FOOD LABELS
Many grocery stores have begun to now stock more products grainy, carb options that are specifically gluten-free. Look in the Asian section for rice noodles and rice crackers. Check out the “organic” or “health food” section for Gluten-Free pastas, flours, and baking products. Specialty health food stores typically have Gluten-Free foods in the frozen food section. One can select Gluten-Free bagels, breads, or brown rice pizza crusts to defrost and warm at home. Some frozen food sections have Gluten-Free frozen meals as a convenient option.
There are many specialty companies that produce excellent gluten-free products. Although they taste wonderful, the ingredients used may not be a healthy alternative. A gluten free cookie is still a cookie! Also, additional ingredients will need to be added to baked goods to replace the gluten, leading to a higher sugar and fat content. Therefore, good nutrition and eating a balanced diet is important in maintaining a healthy weight while eating gluten free. A balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy, and gluten free whole grains. Keep in mind, all carbs, which includes whole grains, starchy veggies, fruit and dairy, should just be ¼ of your plate for any meal.
these guiding principles for creating healthy meals and snacks:
- 50-25-25 Approach to Meals: 50% fruit/non-starchy vegetables, 25% lean protein, and 25% gluten free whole grain or starch, starchy veggies, dairy, or fruit.
- Protein and Fiber at Snacks:
- Protein foods include, lean meats, legumes, nuts & nut butters, and dairy.
- Fiber foods include, fruits, vegetables, and gluten free whole grains.
- If you have diabetes, be sure to account for all carb choices as well.
GLUTEN FREE SAMPLE DAY
Gluten Free Oatmeal with ½ cup blueberries and 2 Tbsp Sliced Almonds
Greek Yogurt and 2 Tbsp Gluten Free Granola
Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
(Salad vegetables, 3 oz chicken, ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup corn, ¼ cup salsa, and 2 Tbsp Guacamole)
100 calorie pack of Almonds and Apple
Salmon with Steamed Vegetables and Herbed Quinoa
½ cup Frozen Kefir topped with ½ cup fresh berries