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4 Tips for Gluten-Free Meals


4 Tips for Gluten-Free Meals

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten-Free

Celiac Disease

Have you heard anyone mention these terms lately? It seems like almost all of us know someone who has been hit with a gluten intolerance. Just this month alone, I’ve had two friends whose children were diagnosed with Celiac Disease- a very serious disease where their bodies cannot tolerate any gluten. And after a few years of feeling really lousy myself-and blaming it on food poisoning or the stomach flu one too many times, I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. (Trust me, the irony isn’t lost on me that I cook for a living and love bread and pasta more than life itself! The idea of a gluten intolerance put a bit of a cramp in my style and my career.)

It’s funny though-my first thought wasn’t about how I was going to deal with it, but how it would affect my children’s diets. But after doing a little research on the topic, I found that many moms are looking to feed their children a gluten-free diet.

By eliminating gluten, many parents believe their children have better attention spans, less hyperactivity, and fewer moods swings. There are inspiring stories coming out of the autism community where parents see an incredible improvement in their child’s symptoms after eliminating gluten and casein from their child’s diet. (Jenny McCarthy’s son is probably the most high-profile example of this.) Whether you have to eliminate gluten from your home for the sake of a family member or simply want to see if you feel better, here are my tips for creating a gluten-free home. And don’t worry-if your children are carb-loving, starch-eating fiends like mine, there are many ways for them to still get their fix! Here’s what I do:

  1. I cook a lot of recipes that don’t call for gluten in the first place. Since becoming gluten-free at home, I find myself making more complete meals with great sources of protein like fish, chicken, and even tofu.
  2. I’ve discovered new grains and starches. We love quinoa pastas, polenta, all kinds of rice, corn chips, and potatoes to give us our carb fix without using grains containing gluten.
  3. I’ve found a few gluten-free products that taste delicious. My kids don’t even know the difference! My favorites are Udi’s Sandwich Bread, Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta, and the famous Italian pasta producer Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s corn pasta. Also, Gluten-Free Pantry makes mixes for pancakes, pizza dough, cornbread, and even brownies that are delicious. Annie Chun’s makes wonderful rice noodles that are a fun alternative to pastas. To replace soy sauce, I use Tamari, a gluten-free version that is delicious and readily available in the Asian section of most major grocery stores. Many of these products cost a bit more, but if you begin to feel better, it may be worth the splurge.
  4. I focus on eating more fresh ingredients. I don’t think I realized how dependent my family was on wheat until I had to eliminate it from my diet. At every meal, we’re eating more fruits, vegetables, and herbs, which we’ve all loved.

Here’s a wonderful recipe that's naturally gluten-free. Chicken Pho

Amanda Haas is a cookbook author, teacher, cooking video host, and the founder of One Family One Meal, a website that helps families menu plan, grocery shop, and cook on a budget. She's also on Twitter and Facebook.

Image Source: Andrea Nyugen via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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