When you first go on a gluten-free diet, it is challenging to get all the nutrients you need. The Mayo Clinic notes that people with celiac disease are at risk for deficiencies in iron, calcium, folate, zinc, vitamin B12, and vitamins D and K .
Replacing those nutrients can be a problem, say dietitians, since many consumers’ gluten-free diets mimic today’s conventional North American diet by being too dependent on prepared, carbohydrate-dense foods with an emphasis on breads, cereals, pastas and other simple grains that do not carry a significant vitamin, mineral or fiber punch.
In recent edition of Allergic Living magazine, we spoke to dietitians to help you “Renovate Your Gluten-free Diet“. Here, registered dietitians and celiac experts Rachel Begun, Shelley Case, and Suzanne Simpson share some of their favorite tasty and nutritious recipes to get you started on a better gluten-free menu.
“I advise patients to think positively about their approach to the gluten-free diet,” says Begun. “For starters, being diagnosed with celiac disease is a good thing, because being diagnosed and starting a gluten-free diet is the start of their journey back to health.”
Begun recommends this recipe from her blog for a quick and easy boost in nutrition.
Easy Green Smoothie #1
2-3 medium kale leaves
1 medium apple, cored and cut into chunks
1/2 – 3/4 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup water
1 scoop gluten free protein powder (I prefer a vegan protein powder made with brown rice protein or pea protein and fortified with nutrients)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
If the protein powder doesn’t contain a sweetener, then you can add the sweetener of your choice.
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth.
Yield: 2 servings
Easy Green Smoothie #2
4 medium kale leaves
1 medium banana, peeled and cut into chunks (can be frozen, too)
1/2 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups water
1 scoop gluten free vanilla protein powder (I prefer a vegan protein powder made with brown rice protein or pea protein and fortified with nutrients)
Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
If the protein powder doesn’t contain a sweetener, then you can add agave to taste
Combine all ingredients except lemon juice in a blender. Process until smooth. If desired, add lemon juice to taste.
Yield: 2 servings
“Supplements provide a single nutrient, but not in the same balance as foods do,” says Shelley Case, who has celiac disease and is the author of bestselling Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide.
Case offers the following recipes from Pulse Canada’s “Pulses and the Gluten-Free Diet” booklet as healthy and delicious options.
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1½ chunky salsa
1 12 oz can corn niblets, drained
1 19 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1½ tomato sauce
Dash salt and pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
- In a medium frying pan, cook ground beef with onions and garlic over medium-high heat until beef is browned. Drain excess juices.
- Put beef into slow cooker. Add rest of ingredients and stir until mixed.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Yield: 12 servings
Recipe used with permission from Carol Fenster, author of 100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes.
To cook quinoa:
1 can (14.5 ounces) or 1¬æ cups gluten-free low-sodium chicken broth
¬æ cup water
1 tsp canola oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ tsp salt
¼ cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds
1 English (hothouse) cucumber, unpeeled and chopped
3 green onions, washed and thinly slices
1 small red bell pepper, washed, cored, and diced
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste (optional)
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
¼ tsp salt, or to taste
‚Öõ tsp white pepper, or to taste
- Put the chicken broth, water, and oil in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and salt, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, covered, or until the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes. Drain the quinoa well.
- Toss the cooked quinoa and the salad ingredients (except feta cheese) in a large serving bowl.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously to blend. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss until all the ingredients are thoroughly coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving. Toss with the feta cheese (if using) just before serving.
Yield: 4 servings
Grab and Go Greens
When you’re on the go, Suzanne Simpson recommends grabbing a gourmet vegetable salad kit. This salad is one of the registered dietitian’s favorite lunches, complete with kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, green cabbage, chicory, dried mulberries and pumpkin seeds. To elevate this healthy meal, Simpson adds fruit, a half cup of cooked quinoa, and three ounces of protein from cheese, meat, eggs, legumes or edamame beans.