With the abundance of gluten free products on the market today you could very easily fill a shopping cart with nothing but readymade, processed gluten free foods without the use of a gluten free shopping list. But just because you CAN fill diet with such packaged gluten free options, does not necessarily mean you SHOULD. The truth is that, though convenient, most packaged gluten free foods are filled with ingredients that don’t support your goal of a healthy gluten free lifestyle (find out more about why you may never want to eat processed gluten free foods again).
Gluten Free Shopping List
Instead of reaching for those processed gluten free foods full of refined grains, sugars, and chemicals, fill your shopping cart and stock your kitchen with these nutritious, easy to use, gluten free staples. They are sure to keep your diet actually gluten free and are guaranteed to make preparing a wide variety of tasty gluten free meals a snap!
1. Almond Meal
Almond meal can be used for baking a variety of foods in much the same way you would use conventional flours. Its dense texture makes it a terrific choice for muffins, quick breads, pie crusts, and more. It is also well suited to use as a coating on things like chicken or fish. Unlike refined gluten free flour blends, almond meal packs a nutritional punch offering protein healthy fat, fiber, and a good source of vitamin E. Note that almond meal does not exchange cup for cup for conventional flour, so look for recipes that specifically call for almond meal, or spend some time experimenting to find the right exchange.
2. Whole Grain Rice and/or Quinoa
Whole grain rice and quinoa are better options to keep on hand than processed gluten free pastas which often contain refined grains and monoglycerides. Choose a whole grain brown or black rice if you opt for rice, or go for any color of quinoa (the difference in nutritional value among the different colors of quinoa is scant). Both options have benefits such as fiber, but quinoa edges out as a slightly better option because of its protein content. Quinoa and rice also mix well to be served together. Use them as a convenient side dish or build a “Buddha Bowl” by topping them with plenty of vegetables and your favorite meat or tofu option.
Nuts can satisfy the craving for crunch far better than gluten free cracker options. While most processed gluten free crackers will spike your blood sugar and leave you hungry again in no time, the protein and fat in nuts will help keep blood sugar levels stable and keep you full longer. Crushed nuts can also add crunch to a salad in place of gluten free croutons or add a crisp coating in lieu of gluten free bread crumbs. Be careful to select nuts without any flavored coating as these coatings often contain gluten, sugar, and other undesirable ingredients.
4. Lettuce and/or Collard Leafs
Skip the packages of starchy gluten free breads and wrap your favorite sandwich fixings in a large leaf of lettuce or collard leaf instead. This better option provides antioxidants and vitamins and is a perfect way to sneak in an extra serving of vegetables at lunch.
5. Coconut Flakes
Keep a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes around to take the place of those sugary gluten free cereals. Top shredded coconut flakes with nuts, berries, and milk or milk alternative for a cereal alternative that will actually nourish you. Coconut flakes can also be used for a base for a delicious and nutritious gluten free granola or tasty add in for baked goods.
6. Coconut Flour
Like almond meal, coconut flour can provide a smart alternative to traditional flour and gluten free flour blends. Packed with fiber and beneficial medium chain triglycerides, coconut flour can instantly improve the nutritional profile of foods in which it is used. Note that coconut flour does have a drier texture than conventional flour, making it often necessary to add extra liquids to recipes with coconut flour.
Anyone who has perused Pinterest lately knows that cauliflower just might be the most versatile vegetable out there. This mild cruciferous vegetable be used to create an antioxidant rich pizza crust that will blow away that readymade gluten free pizza crust with the hard to pronounce ingredients.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are well deserving of their reputation as a superfood. Not only do they have loads of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, they can fill a variety of roles in a healthy gluten free diet. Use sliced rounds to replace gluten free buns; spiral cut it as a yummy noodle alternative (zucchini also works well for this job!); bake them into crispy chips to replace crackers. You can also bake several sweet potatoes to use as the base for a healthy and quick gluten free lunch throughout the week.