I was a willing vacay guinea pig. Here’s what I discovered…
Sometimes you just want to indulge.
No, I won’t order you a low fat, soy, decaf latte with stevia.
Switching to a gluten-free diet isn’t as hard as it seems when healthy snacks (and a vivid imagination) are always on the agenda. Try some of our wholesome ideas below which are low on calories, and ideal for a busy summers day. Simply pack them in your tote, and enjoy whilst you’re on-the-go!
No bake energy balls
A simple and healthy snack for morning and afternoon tea. The recipe only uses seven ingredients, and takes just 5 minutes to prepare. Roll them up, and store in the fridge until they harden.
Baked kale chips
Enjoy a handful of baked kale chips and drizzle them with fresh lemon and lime juice for an extra kick.
These delicious blueberry bars provide a kick of natural sugars which are perfect if your energy levels begin to slump around 3pm.
Just like a pizza, only healthier! These delicious treats are gluten and grain-free, plus they taste amazing. Made with just zucchini, spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
Baked sweet potato fries
If you have a little extra time on your hands, bake (or grill) these healthy fries for lunch or dinner.
Cocoa and banana smoothie
Blend 1 tablespoon of cocoa, almond milk and 2 bananas to create this filling smoothie if you just don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast.
Images via Gimme Some Oven, Petite Allergy Treats, Sweet CS Designs, Sally’s Baking Addiction, A Spicy Perspective, Natural Chow
Do you suffer from aches and stomach pains that just won’t go away? The culprit is likely to be in your diet and switching up a few of the usual suspects in favour of organic food is the best option.
FODMAP or (Permentable Oligosaccharies, Disaccharies, Monosaccharides and Polyols) are usually sugars which are found in almost all food groups, but are harder for people suffering from gluten allergy and gut disorders such as IBS to break down. They can lead to painful stomach cramps, bloating and nausea.
Dr Sue Shepard developed the FODMAP Diet in 1999 after conclusive researched indicated that a diet low in these sugars could actually help people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut-related conditions.
Foods to avoid
Main sources of FODMAPs are usually found in fructose-rich fruits, dairy and even legumes.
- Fruits: apples, honey, pear, watermelon, avocado, cherries, plums.
- Vegetables: artichokes, garlic, leek, corn, mushrooms, beetroot, asparagus.
- Dairy: milk, ice cream, soft cheese, evaporated milk, custard, yoghurt.
- Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas.
Foods to eat
In terms of what you can eat, stick to gluten or lactose-free alternatives and see how they make your body feel. They are usually a safe option and will help your body digest food a lot easier. A few options include but are not limited to:
- Vegetables: baby spinach, roma tomatoes, book choy, capsicum, ginger, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, sweet potatoes and zucchini.
- Grains and starches: potatoes, quinoa, rice, buckwheat.
- Nuts: raw almonds, pistachios and cashews.
- Lactose: hard and ripened cheese.
- Fruits: bananas, grapes, mandarins, oranges, kiwi fruit, lemon, lime, pineapple, strawberries, rhubarb.
Would you try the FODMAP diet?
Image via RM Dietetics
Enjoy a delicious avocado pasta dish which is perfect if you want something light for the summer.
Perfect for those on a gluten-free and paleolithic diet who love avocado a little bit too much, the recipe is easy enough to cook and serve for two.
4 medium zucchinis
350g boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 large endive
12 fresh asparagus spears
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tbsp fresh parsley
Creamy avocado sauce
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 lemon (juice)
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme
- Turn the zucchinis into noodles using a spiraliser (it’s too difficult to cut them so finely yourself). Then set them aside in a large bowl.
- Cook the chicken over a pan on medium heat, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Make sure it’s cooked through – this will take 5-10 minutes depending on your cooktop.
- Add the endive and asparagus, and cook until the vegetables are tender (another 5 minutes).
- Add the ingredients for the avocado sauce into a food processor, and mix until smooth and creamy.
- Now add the chicken and vegetables to the zucchini and mix well. The heat should cook the zucchinis just enough to become soft and tender.
- Sprinkle the fresh parsley and walnuts over the top before tossing and serving.
We could all eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, right? Mmmm… Well, you can indulge all your sweet senses at the Raw Degustation Dining Experience taking place on November 9 at 6.30pm, held by Pana Chocolates.
Seven courses of flavoursome gourmet dishes made only from plant-based ingredients and produced using minimal heat. Dishes that are nutritious as they are delicious.
Brought to you by Pana Chocolate, this will be the most talked-about raw event of the year. An introduction and celebration of handcrafted food that is full of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and without preservatives, that’s low GI, vegan, and free from gluten, dairy and soy.
Tickets are selling fast. Buy yours here: http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/pana-chocolate-raw-degustation-dining-experience-tickets-13278078089?aff=Instagram
Lentils are such a versatile lunch or dinner option since they can be cooked in a variety of ways, but also bring lots of taste and texture to a meal. This special dinner recipe is on the healthier side, but still features filling flavours of lemon and garlic which will no-doubt have you going back for seconds!
Serves 3-4 and is a great option for those looking for a gluten-free and vegan alternative.
3-4 cloves medium head garlic
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil/ghee
1 medium head roasted garlic
1/2-2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2-1 tsp salt and pepper
1 box gluten-free spaghetti
12 cups loosely packed baby spinach
2/3 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup cooked black or green lentils
Topping options: sliced almonds, parsley or basil, lemon, salt and pepper, capers, fresh Parmesan cheese.
For the roasted garlic:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and peel away the skin from the garlic until you can see the cloves.
- Drizzle with oil, sea salt and let it soak for 5-10 minutes before roasting it in the oven.
- Roast the garlic for 50 minutes in the oven until it is golden-brown in colour, and feels tender. Remove from the oven and leave it out to cool.
For the sauce:
- Mash the garlic heads in a medium bowl, then combine with 1/2 cup oil, teaspoon, salt, pepper into jar and shake well.
- Refrigerate the sauce until you’re ready to finally use it.
For the pasta:
- Cook pasta and lentils according to the directions, then sauté over medium heat with olive oil.
- Add the hot spinach and dried tomatoes before stirring the entire mixture for just 2-3 minutes.
- Now include the pasta and lemon sauce into the mixture, and season to your liking. Place 1/4 cup of lentils over each pasta dish, and serve with freshly chopped parsley, almonds and basil for a fresh pop of flavour.
Image and Recipe via Edible Perspective
Who doesn’t love the crunchy texture of freshly baked oven chips? Almost any vegetable makes a delicious substitute if you still crave some chips without the added calories.
Our gluten-free, vegan recipe takes just 30 minutes to prepare and serves 3-4 people, perfect if you’re having a few guests over.
3 medium/large beets
2 sprigs rosemary
Sea salt and black pepper
Olive or canola oil
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF and line a tray with baking paper.
- Slice the beets (thinner is better) with a mandolin or a sharp knife to keep them consistent. This will give them a better crunch!
- Fan the chips over the tray and lightly drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Cool then serve!
Image and Recipe via Minimalist Baker
The next time you’re feeling peckish and looking for an afternoon meal, pass on the preservative-filled snacks and try something that’s a little bit healthier for your overall wellbeing. Not only are sugar-free snacks quick and easy to whip-up, but can be enjoyed at almost any time of day.
Strawberry creme truffles
Make these delicious strawberry creme truffles if you have a soft spot for berries, or simply if they’re just in season! The filling is so soft that it just melts in your mouth, and they are also gluten free, grain free, and paleo friendly as well.
Who doesn’t love a traditional pretzel recipe? The great thing about this delicious snack is that the pretzels are gluten-free and completely made from scratch – so you know exactly what goes into the recipe. Serve with a side of sweet sauce to infuse the salty taste of the pretzel.
Pumpkin seed bars
Prepare these bars a few days earlier to enjoy them as a snack if you’re feeling hungry at home, or simply if you’re on-the-go. Use organic honey and your favourite seeds for a genuine taste without the hassle of any extra refined sugar.
Images via No Gluten No Problem, Lexie’s Kitchen, My Whole-food Life
Tired of slaving away in the kitchen every time you want a filling meal for breakfast? Create these no-fuss protein bars which are yummy to enjoy as a snack, and are gluten-free as well. The recipe makes 12, so you can just store away some of the bars and treat yourself to a healthy snack throughout the day (or night if you can’t help yourself!).
1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats, blended into a flour
1/2 cup protein powder
1/2 cup rice crisp cereal
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup natural peanut butter/almond butter sunflower seed butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- Start by lining a a square pan or tray with baking paper and spraying just a bit of canola oil so the mixture doesn’t stick.
- Mix the oat flour, protein powder, rice crops, and salt together in a large bowl until well combined.
- Add the nut/seed butter, maple syrup, and vanilla into the bowl and stir them all well. If you find that the mixture is a bit dry, add a tablespoon of milk.
- Pour the mixture into the pan and pop it into the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
- Combine the coconut oil together with the chocolate chips in a small pot over low heat until they start to melt.
- Remove the tray from the freezer, then slice it into bars and drizzle with melted chocolate. Freeze again until the chocolate has set.
Image and Recipe via Oh She Glows
It doesn’t take much persuading to add a bar of chocolate into a shopping cart at the supermarket, but have you ever contemplated making your own chocolate at home? Sure it might take a little longer, but you can customise the recipe to suit your dietary needs, especially if lactose-free food is at the very top of your priorities. Test your MasterChef skills with this straight-forward recipe to achieve yummy homemade chocolate.
200g raw cacao butter
50-60g raw cacao powder
100g raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Get started by chopping the cacao butter until the pieces are 1-2cm large. Then transfer to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high for 40 seconds.
- Make sure to mix the cacao butter until it has melted into a soft texture. Take your time with this step so that the batter is consistent.
- Add the cacao butter, raw honey, vanilla bean extract and sea salt into the bowl and mix on low speed for 10 minutes. By now the mixture should be creamy enough to pour into a lined dish or rectangular tray. Wait for the chocolate to cool, then it’s ready to eat!
Feel free to add fruits and nuts such as cashews and almonds to create a yummy and healthy treat.
Image and recipe via Quirky Cooking
By Felicia Sapountzis
Meal planning can be challenging for anyone. Add in a dietary restriction like needing to eliminate glutencan be downright daunting. Whether you need to be gluten-free for medical reasons or it’s personal choice, this seven day meal plan has you covered with easy and delicious gluten-free dinner ideas.
Monday: Stir Fry
This easy meal is flavorful and quick to prepare. Just combine cooked rice and cooking oil in a hot sauté pan or wok with your favorite vegetables, a protein source like chicken or tofu, and two to three fried eggs. Be sure to opt for tamari sauce or coconut aminos for seasoning as soy sauce contains gluten. Bonus: switch out the rice for grated cauliflower to make it low carb.
These aren’t your ordinary nachos. Skip the calorie-laden chips that can sometimes contain wheat and opt for antioxidant-packed green, red, and yellow sliced peppers. Lay the peppers out flat on a baking sheet and top withyour favorite gluten-free nacho toppings, like beans, cheese, lettuce, and cooked chicken or ground beef. Bake in a 400F for around 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are thoroughly heated. For those with additional dietary restrictions, this meal is easy to modify to vegetarian by leaving off the chicken or beef.
Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash and Marinara
Don’t underestimate the versatility of the mighty spaghetti squash! It is a low calorie and nutrient-rich replacement for pasta. One great use for spaghetti squash is pairing it with marinara and grilled chicken. Or if you prefer, sauté some ground beef along with your marinara for a hearty Bolognese sauce and filling gluten-free pasta dinner.
Thursday: Chicken Fingers
When you embarked on the gluten-free journey you probably thought chicken fingers were a thing of the past, but you can still enjoy them by tweaking the recipe. Even better, our version is tastier and healthier! Dip raw chicken strips in a mixture of whisked raw eggs and your favorite chicken seasonings. Next coat the chicken fingers in almond flour. Spray with olive oil and bake or fry. These are perfect served with baked sweet potato wedges.
Friday: Crustless Quiche
This one is a perfect meal to help you clean out the refrigerator at the end of the week and get a scrumptious dinner on the table. Begin by whisking 6 eggs in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of milk. Finely chop whatever vegetables you have available and add to your egg mixture. You can also add leftover chopped chicken or ham pieces. Finish by stirring in a cup of shredded cheese. Bake at 425F for about 45 minutes or until the quiche is firm.
It would be a shame to miss out on this hearty classic simply because it is typically paired with cornbread or crackers. Cook a batch of your favorite chili recipe and pair it with rice, sour cream, and green onions. You can always use a gluten-free cornbread recipe, but we don’t think you’ll even notice it’s missing!
Sunday: Quinoa and Roast Chicken
One common complaint among those of us on a gluten-free diet is that rice can get boring. Avoid that problem by using tasty alternatives to rice, like quinoa. Rub a whole chicken with your salt, pepper and thyme, place on a bed of root vegetables, and let it roast while you cook the quinoa. Be sure to rinse your quinoa before cooking. Top with the roasted chicken and vegetables for a gluten-free Sunday classic.
Remember, always verify that your chosen ingredients are gluten-free.
Just been diagnosed with coeliac disease – or simply gluten intolerant? Either way, no matter how hard you try to cut gluten from your life, chances are that it keeps finding a way to creep back in. The result may be abdominal pain, bloating, tiredness, headaches or poor concentration.
Even if you’ve got your gluten-free diet worked out at home, it can be challenging maintaining it in situations like parties, travelling and dining out. Michael Carp, owner of yummy gluten-free snacks company Kez’s Kitchen, shares his top tips for avoiding gluten in every situation.
1. Dining out
This is often when we throw any diet commitments out the window – simply because of the enjoyment factor associated with dining out, and especially if the menu isn’t in line with our dietary needs. “When we’re really enjoying good food and good company, we might tell ourselves our symptoms aren’t that bad – then have regrets afterwards,” Michael says. “Although a menu may not offer gluten free meals, if you call ahead most establishments will be happy to pre-prepare a couple of suitable options for you to choose from. And an increasing number of restaurants are now offering gluten-free options on the menu – including some pizza and pasta establishments.”
When sitting on long flights, it can be tempting to consume any meal a flight attendant places in front of you – including the dinner rolls. When you’re booking flights, be sure you pre-order the gluten free option. “On nearly every flight, my gluten-free meal is often served first and looks better than the person’s next to me, as chefs need to get creative with gluten-free. The remainder of your flight will be much more enjoyable. You might also want to pack your favourite gluten-free snacks for long-haul flights.”
3. On the go
Many of us eat on the run. Instead of grabbing a bagel – which you’re sure to regret later – there are now great-tasting alternatives when you’re searching for a snack on the go. For instance, the Kez’s Free range includes cereal snack bars and bites including roasted Florentine Bars and biscuits that are all 100 per cent gluten free, without making any sacrifices on taste or texture.
You may know exactly where to find great gluten-free meals and snacks in your own neighbourhood, however when you’re on holidays it can be like finding a needle in a haystack, often leaving you with little choice but to take advantage of takeaways and local eateries conveniently located on every street corner. “A good breakfast is important when you’re travelling. Make gluten-free breakfast options an important criteria when choosing a hotel – ask whether they can provide gluten-free cereals and breads at the time of booking, most are happy to oblige if you give them notice. For dining out, research restaurants around your hotel, or ask your hotel to do the research for you – most restaurants have menus available on their websites.”
5. Work functions
Readily available canapés drifting past every few minutes is enough to make even the strongest-willed crumble to the temptation – especially when hungry. “If you ensure to eat a full meal before attending any event you’ll be much less likely to reach for a few cocktail spring rolls. Additionally, bringing a snack bar in your bag is always a good idea in case you feel peckish, and remember to opt for a cider instead of beer as they’re commonly gluten free,” Michael says.
6. Living with young kids
Chicken nuggets, fish fingers and potato gems can be a staple food group in any household with young children and, in turn, can become a quick meal for exhausted parents too tired to prepare an additional for themselves. “Take advantage of any free time you have during the day – for example during kids’ nap time or while they are at day care – to prepare fresh gluten free meals that are ready to eat later on when you’re pressed for time. Chicken schnitzel is always a family favourite, and you can still enjoy this by using rice crumbs instead of bread crumbs – the kids won’t even tell the difference!”
7. When entertained by friends
“These situations – particularly if it’s a dinner or lunch – are sensitive, as they’re more intimate and the host will notice you avoiding foods that were prepared for you,” Michael says. “If it’s a meal, it’s best to let the host know about your dietary limitations beforehand so they can organise gluten-free options. If it’s a more casual get-together, bring a gluten-free share plate that everyone can enjoy. This way, you’ll appear polite and thoughtful and you’ll know there will be at least one gluten-free dish available!”
What are your best tips for maintaining a gluten-free diet in different situations? Tell us in the comments!