Make Your Gluten-Free Diet a Healthier One!

Research reports that eating a gluten-free diet may result in a diet that supplies little iron, folate, niacin, zinc and fiber.  This isn’t a surprise since gluten-free ingredients in packaged products typically consist of cheap basics like white rice and tapioca, not whole grains like quinoa or amaranth.  In addition, gluten-free packaged foods are usually not fortified with B vitamins or other nutrients like conventional packaged foods are.  Although “gluten-free” products may help you to control your symptoms, they may not be helping you to eat a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet. 

As a Registered Dietitian, I encourage clients with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity to eat fresh, naturally gluten-free foods rather than processed gluten-free alternatives found on supermarket shelves.  There are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods to choose from…fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, amaranth, quinoa, millet, wild rice, and brown rice.  However, with busy schedules, the need for convenient, packaged foods can leave people who need to eat a gluten-free diet with nutritionally inadequate options. Below you will find some options and tips that you can use to supplement your intake of naturally gluten-free foods.

If you eat this:

Try this instead:

Add even more nutrition by:

Cream of white rice Gluten-free oats*, Cream of Brown Rice, Cream of Buckwheat, quinoa flakes, or Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Gluten-Free Hot cereal Mixing in some nuts, seeds, fruit or ground flaxseed.
Rice Chex or similar rice-based cereal Nature’s Path Sunrise Multigrain or Crunchy cereal

Nature’s Path Whole O’s cereal

Mixing in some fresh berries
Gluten-free cookies or sweets KIND bar

Lara bar

Udi’s Chocolate Chip Muffin Top

Or if you make your own treats, start using brown rice flour, teff or quinoa in recipes

Check out Bob’s Red Mill for gluten-free flours and mixes that are high fiber and tasty!
Rice pasta Lentil pasta

Pastariso’s fortified pasta

Tinkyada Vegetable Brown rice pasta

Add some vegetables to the pasta sauce
Gluten-free pretzels Mary’s Gone Pretzels

Air popped popcorn Nuts

Baked kale chips




Rice cakes or rice crackers Mary’s Gone Crackers French Meadow Multigrain bread (toast it to add crunchiness) Spread some natural peanut or almond butter on these!              

* Not all oats are gluten-free!  These brands are gluten-free: Cream Hill Estates Gluten-free oats, Avena Foods Only Oats, and Glutenfreeda Gluten-Free oats.