People with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease must adopt a gluten-free diet, sometimes feeling deprived of certain foods they used to enjoy. However, there are many healthful, flavorful options that don’t contain gluten. With a bit of creativity and a little effort to read labels, individuals living a gluten-free lifestyle can enjoy a variety of nutritious foods.
Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free and can be enjoyed anytime. Whether raw, cooked, or canned, they provide important vitamins and minerals and can be served in a variety of ways. Berries are a great source of antioxidants and contain excellent amounts of fiber and vitamin C. Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and broccoli contain vitamins A, K and B6, as well as fiber and magnesium. Carbs like potatoes and quinoa are also gluten-free and contain fiber and many essential nutrients.
Gluten-free grains are a healthful addition to any diet and can include products like brown or wild rice, popcorn, quinoa, buckwheat and millet. Pulses, or legumes, like lentils and beans, provide essential vitamins like folate, zinc and iron. When eaten with a whole grain like quinoa, they form a complete protein.
Dairy is another important part of a gluten-free diet, providing vital amounts of calcium, protein, and Vitamin D. Low-fat options like soy, almond, and coconut milk can be used in recipes or to drink by itself. Cheese, yogurt, and cream-based products are also good sources of calcium, protein and vitamins.
Gluten naturally occurs in wheat, rye and barley, but many other foods can contain hidden sources of gluten. Gluten-free foods should be labeled as such to ensure they don’t contain any gluten ingredients. Processed foods like soups, sauces, and even some condiments can contain gluten and should always be checked.
Gluten-free diets offer plenty of options for a healthy lifestyle. With a few simple changes, people with gluten sensitivities can enjoy a wide array of nutritious and tasty foods. From fruits and vegetables to grains and dairy, gluten-free foods provide essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet. With some creativity and label-checking, going gluten-free doesn’t have to be limiting—turn it into an adventure with exciting new flavors and dishes.