Wheat & Gluten-Free Healthy Eating Guide

Wheat & Gluten-Free Healthy Eating Guide

Author -  Jenna Walker - Nutritionist

Find out how to maintain a healthy balanced diet the wheat and gluten-free way.

Eating gluten free doesn’t have to be boring, nor does it need to exclude all bread and grain foods. Discovering intolerances to wheat and gluten can be a shock, with some people reacting by simply removing all grains and bread products from their diet. Individuals with sensitivities to wheat or gluten, including those with Coeliac Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), can be left feeling deprived of options and unsure what is safe to eat.

The good news is that there are plenty of naturally gluten-free options to choose from and an increasing amount of gluten-free alternatives to your staple carbohydrate containing foods like bread, pasta and cereal. Wholegrain carbohydrate foods are important to include in the diet to provide fibre and important vitamins and minerals to maintain good health and bowel regularity.  

  • Wholegrain carbohydrate options which are gluten-free include; brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, corn, which all make a great base for main meals and offer plenty of variety.
  • Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans are also good gluten-free options to include in main meals as a source of carbohydrate and protein. Lentils are a good base for soups and chickpeas and beans can be used to make meals go further or as a vegetarian alternative to meat.
  • Other protein sources which are naturally gluten-free include; meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds and tofu.
  • Fruit is also naturally gluten-free and makes a handy, tasty and vitamin-packed snack. Combine some fruit with a small amount of nuts or a pottle of low fat yoghurt for a balanced and nutritious morning, afternoon, or evening snack.
  • Vegetables are also naturally gluten-free and can make handy snacks as well as being included at main meals to ensure you are reaching your vitamin and mineral requirements each day. Non-starchy vegetables contain fibre to keep you regular and help fill you up. They also provide different tastes, textures and colours to keep meals interesting.
  • Other vegetables such as kumara, potato, pumpkin, beetroot, parsnips and carrots also make great bases for main meals. Carrots and celery are also great healthy snack options and can be useful to take to social gatherings with a gluten-free dip like hummus or cottage cheese.
  • There are also plenty of gluten-free bread and bread products available these days, or you can make your own using gluten free bread mixes, rice flour, cornmeal flour and almond flour.
  • Baking gluten free can be easy by simply substituting standard flour for a gluten free baking mix. Gluten free bread mixes give you the option to make your own bread products and taste great with added nuts and seeds, such as a ground LSA.
  • There are also many gluten free snack options available to offer convenient options on the go. When you are purchasing food products in the supermarket, any product labelled gluten free is your best option as the manufacturer has ensured no detectable gluten in present in the product.
  • At cafes and restaurants it is best to check what ingredients have been used and ensure all sauces, herbs and main ingredients are gluten free. For anyone with Coeliac Disease, it is important to also ask about the preparation areas and storage to ensure no traces of gluten have been picked up.

When you take a step back and see all that is available in a gluten-free diet, you can see that with a small amount of planning and the odd question here and there, you can eat a healthy, varied and symptom-free diet. We hope this guide helps you feel ready to take on your gluten-free lifestyle with enthusiasm, options and knowledge.