In this article I share some naturally gluten free foods and provide some inspiration for meal and snack ideas. Hopefully it will help those of you who are new to the gluten free diet whether you’ve been diagnosed with coeliac (celiac) disease or just want to eat less gluten.
How to find naturally gluten free foods
It is often daunting to be told that somebody has to avoid certain foods, but it needn’t be.
My top tips for finding suitable gluten free food are:
- Read packaging well (currently there will be a box warning of any potential allergens – look out for gluten here)
- Go to the ‘free-from’ aisle in any supermarket
- Stick with food that is naturally free of gluten.
I am concentrating on gluten for the sake of this post because that is what we have to avoid in our family. However, the same would apply if you have to avoid other allergens.
If you want to learn more about how to find suitable gluten free food, how to avoid cross contamination, how to read labels etc then check out my Say Goodbye To Gluten online course. In it I outline everything you need to adapt to the gluten free diet quickly and easily.
Naturally gluten free snack & meal ideas
- Jacket potato with tuna mayo (check mayo), cheese, baked beans (check ingredients), chilli (check ingredients and don’t add flour to thicken the sauce – cornflour will do the trick), ratatouille, coleslaw (check ingredients if buying)…the list could go on
- Grilled or baked fish with potatoes and vegetables or salad
- Roast dinner (minus the gravy – unless you find or make gluten free gravy)
- Meat – grilled, baked, in a stew…if in the latter just make sure you don’t thicken the sauce with flour (see above)
- Tofu – can be used as a meat substitute if catering for a vegetarian or child who doesn’t like meat
- Eggs – so an omelette for example would be ok
- Beans and pulses – for example butterbeans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils…use them in casseroles or stews but remember the sauce thickening warning again
- For a quick snack instead of sandwiches use rice cakes or corn cakes (although the latter is high in salt for kids). Toppings such as peanut butter (check ingredients), cheese, ham (not breaded), egg and jam would all be fine.
- Most soup is gluten-free. If buying, just check the ingredients and if making, check the stock.
- Lots of crisps are gluten-free, but lots aren’t. We have found that Tesco own brand are pretty good. Pom bears are also a very good option as are Burts.
- Humous is gluten-free and is a good dip for sliced up pieces of vegetables – a great way to get kids to eat some veg
- All fruit and vegetables are gluten-free
- Rice is gluten-free as is polenta, quinoa (can be used instead of cous cous), buckwheat, millet, corn, amaranth and teff.
How to cater safely for someone with coeliac (celiac) disease
If you are catering for a coeliac just remember that cross-contamination is an issue. For example don’t use the same chopping board to make sandwiches and then chop up vegetables. And don’t put gluten free items on the same plate, or near food with gluten in.
A way around this at a buffet is to put the gluten-free food in colour coded bowls along with a spoon and ask people to use the spoon in the bowl and not from anywhere else (and no fingers allowed – tricky with kids I grant you).
The other ‘fail-safe’ is to get the person with coeliac disease to choose their food first. That way they will know that no hands have strayed from the sandwiches into the crisps.