25 Ways to Eat Well and Stay Healthy on the Gluten-Free Diet

16. Choose whole grains.

If you want to have a healthy gluten-free diet, you have to include whole grains. This includes brown rice, sorghum, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet and specialty gluten-free oats. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and selenium and vitamins B6, E and niacin.

Some make great breakfasts in their original whole grain form. Others are ground into nutritious flours. And some make great side dishes at dinner, particularly brown rice and quinoa. In addition, many gluten-free food companies are now using whole grains in products as diverse as energy bars, pasta, bread and muffins.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you eat at least three servings of whole grains each day. It’s easy to do if you eat brown rice instead of white rice, trade rice noodles for quinoa pasta and make your sandwich with whole-grain gluten free bread instead of bread made with white rice flour and potato and tapioca starch.

17. Emphasize calcium.

Be sure to eat plenty of calcium-rich food, especially if you are newly diagnosed and making the transition to a gluten-free diet. The rigors of learning the diet might make you forget how important this mineral is, especially to those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. Calcium is one of the main nutrients robbed from the body by undetected celiac disease and inadequate calcium can lead to long-term problems, such as osteoporosis.

Dairy foods are the best sources of calcium (see next tip). In addition, the following foods are among the best non-dairy sources of calcium and they are all naturally gluten free (but be sure to read all labels): canned sardines and salmon with bones, canned shrimp, bok choy, collard greens, turnip greens and broccoli. You can also take advantage of products that sometimes include added calcium, like orange juice.

Consider taking a calcium supplement every day. Calcium carbonate is usually recommended as the best, most bioavailable form (meaning it dissolves so the body can absorb it). Dose recommendations vary, depending on age and gender. Ask your doctor or dietitian how much you should take.

Health care professionals suggest spreading your daily calcium supplement over two or three doses each day, with a partial amount taken at or near mealtimes.

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