It’s Gluten-Free Picnic Time

gluten-freeJuly is always a hot month but this year it seems like August.  You might feel like spending the rest of the summer in air conditioned comfort but then you’ll miss out on all the summer fun! You might spend time at the local swimming pool, attend family gatherings or travel and to do all that you’ll need gluten-free food that can travel.

We’ve done the research and found some gluten-free picnic food that you can pack and take with you all summer long.  Remember to follow all the food safety guidelines for gluten-free food that you would follow for any other food.

Sweet Savory Strawberry Avocado Salad
Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad with Mustard Herb Vinaigrette
Summer Squash Noodles with Basil Lime Dressing
Red Quinoa with Mango Salad from Taste Love Nourish
Gluten Free Burger Buns
Quinoa and Bean Burger
Gluten-Free Cherry Crumble Pie
Snap Pea Slaw with Creamy Cashew Dressing
No Bake Blueberry Custard Pie

Eating Gluten-Free On A Budget

The availability of gluten-free food is now widespread.  Grocery stores have dedicated gluten-free food sections but something that hasn’t changed is the outrageous price.  On average gluten-free versions of food are often about 450 percent more expensive than the non-gluten free version.  We’ve done some research and come up with a few tips to help you save money!

  1. Plan your meals at least a month in advance.  This allows you to search for sales in advance because you know what you will need.
  2. Always use a list.  Never leave home without a list and don’t impulse buy.
  3. Stick to natural gluten-free food.  Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, tofu, eggs, nuts, legumes and dairy are less expensive than processed food and may often be on sale.
  4. Prepare and cook your meals at home.  Use a slow cooker as much as possible and pack lunches to take to school or work.
  5. Learn to bake at home.  Buy a few cookbooks, on sale or second hand, and give baking bread and pastries a try.
  6. Shop at international grocery stores.  These stores may offer big savings for items such as gluten-free grains and spices.
  7. Create your own flour blends at home.  There are prepared gluten-free flour blends but they tend to be pricey.  Check the internet for instructions and prepare your own.
  8. Check out store brands in grocery store chains.  Many chains are creating their own brand of gluten-free foods and they likely already have their own brand of canned vegetables and other items.
  9. Buy in bulk and use sales and coupons.  Look for opportunities to double the value of your coupons.  Join some of the coupon forums on the internet and consider coupon swapping with other members.
  10. Shop on the internet.  There are many grocery chains offering gluten-free products online and specialty stores that feature only gluten-free options.  Amazon.com and Vitacost.com offer good deals on gluten-free staples.
  11. Use your freezer to store food you buy on sale and food that you prepare in advance.  Many people cook food in large batches on the weekends and store it in individual containers in the freezer to defrost during the week.
  12. Shop around.  Start by visiting all of your local food stores and keeping a notebook of non-sale prices.  Then watch for sales and determine where you will get your best buys.  To save the most money you’ll need to shop from more than one store at least twice a month.

With a little preparation and some research you can reduce your food budget despite being on a gluten-free diet.  If you have any tips we missed let us know by leaving a comment!

The Skinny On Gluten-Free Beverages

gluten-free beveragesYou’ll find thousands of articles in print and online covering gluten-free options for food but what about beverages?  Most people are concerned about the sugar content in their beverages but never give much thought to gluten.

The same rules apply to beverages that apply to food.  You must read labels before purchasing a beverage to rule out that they contain wheat, barley, rye, malt, brewer’s yeast and oats.  You can learn more about reading labels here.

Some of the safe gluten-free beverages (but still check those labels) are:

Coca-Cola beverages (claim to be gluten-free for the US market)
PepsiCo beverages (claim to be gluten-free for the US market)
A&W Root Beer
Gatorade and Powerade
100% Fruit Juice
Carrot Juice
Tomato Juice
Cider
Vitamin Waters
Kool Aid
Tang

If you are unsure if a product is gluten-free even after reading the label contact the manufacturer.  Consider posting on their Facebook Fan Page (if they have one).  This is often a way to get a quicker response!

Case Study of Nima – Gluten Detector

Popular Science author Sara Chodosh has celiac disease and tries very hard to avoid even the smallest amount of gluten in her meals.  Her nightmare literally is of eating an energy bar that didn’t seem to have gluten but did.

For many years Chodosh and many others hoped for a detector that could verify the amount of gluten in any food.  This was nothing but a dream until now.

The gluten detector, Nima, was created by 6SensorLabs of San Francisco.  In order to test your food for gluten you need to take a small portion and put it in a disposable capsule and place it in the device.  It takes two to three minutes to yield the results.

Chodosh was excited to take the Nima on a test drive and she shares her results in any article here!

Who Doesn’t Love Bread?

Warm, yeasty bread fresh from the oven or from your favorite bakery.  What could be better?  Most people would say nothing… but those with celiac sensitivities and celiac disease could not agree.  They might have memories of enjoying bread but the side effects of eating bread are unpleasant and dangerous.

Thanks to the innovation of companies like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur bread is back on the menu for the gluten-free.  There are many recipes available on the internet and we’ve gathered our favorites.  So get your ingredients ready, pull out your mixing bowls, warm up your ovens and get ready for some delicious gluten-free bread.

The Best Gluten Free Bread Recipe
Gluten Free Apple Bread
Easy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread made with baking mix
Soft Gluten Free Sandwich Bread Recipe
Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
Gluten-Free French Bread
Dark Teff Sandwich Bread
Gluten-Free Challah
Gluten Free Artisan Bread

Gluten-Free Holiday Leftover Recipes

Now that the holidays are nearly over what do you do with all the leftover turkey or ham?  Can you recycle some of the side dishes to make them appetizing again?  Every cook has holiday fatigue and family members may not want to each just regular leftovers again!

What to do, what to do? The answer is clear… you need some gluten-free holiday leftover recipes.  Following are some of those we like the best and if you do some research you’ll find many more on the internet.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Casserole (substitute with turkey)
Mexican Casserole with Chicken & Corn (substitute with turkey)
Leftover Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Gluten Free Leftover Turkey Casserole
Gluten Free Leftover Turkey Casserole
Broccoli and Ham Frittata
Gluten Free Savory Muffin Recipe
Ham & Swiss Puffs with Smokey Honey Mustard

Don’t Overlook Lentils!

Most clients that I work with know that I am a very big fan of lentils. Besides the fact that lentils are gluten free, the nutritional profile for lentils is excellent! Lentils are not just for lentil soup. Try using lentils in salads or casseroles. One of my favorite sites to visit is the Canadian Lentils site. It’s the perfect place to pick up new recipes and ideas.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a good video showing how easy it is to cook lentils:

Favorite Gluten-Free Facebook Fan Pages

There are dozens of Facebook Fan Pages for people who must eat a gluten-free diet and it’s hard to know which ones are worth your time.  Many of them exist for the sole purpose of selling products or promoting their restaurant/bakery. We’ve gone through many of these pages and selected a few as our favorites.  You’ll find our recommendations below!

Celiac.com – This fan page is a component of a website that has been active since 1995.  The share personal stories of people who have to live a gluten-free life.
Gluten Free Baking – We love the videos and recipes on this fan page and the fact that the owner responds to all the comments and questions.
Gluten Free Goodness – We like that they include recipes, pictures and keep up with the current gluten free news!
Gluten Free Connecticut – Even though this fan page has fewer fans than others it offers just as many recipes and resources.

Gluten Free Snack Ideas

Although researchers have reached no consensus most studies have recommended that people eat three small, healthy meals a day in addition to two snacks.  People have gone snack crazy and food and beverage manufacturers are cranking out new snacks as quickly as possible.

If you need to eat a gluten-free diet then avoid processed snacks as much as you can.  It is best if you create your own snacks and keep them stored in plastic zipper bags so you can grab them on the go.  We’ve come up with a list of gluten-free snack ideas below that are easy to make and easy to keep!

Apple Slices and peanut butter
Applesauce
Bananas
Bell pepper slices
Carrots Slices
Celery with nut butter
Cottage cheese
Dried fruit
Edamame
Frozen Grapes
Hard boiled or deviled eggs
Hummus
Oranges
Pickles
Pineapple
Popcorn
Pumpkin seeds
Raisins Or Craisins
Rice crackers
Roasted chick peas
Sunflower Seeds
Tuna Packed In Sunflower Oil Or Water
Unprocessed nuts
Zucchini

If you purchase any of your supplies commercially check the ingredients to make sure nothing with gluten has been added!