By Deborah Gerszberg, RD, CNSC, CDN
Clinical Nutritionist, The Pancreas Center
Going gluten free can be a very drastic change, especially if you are currently eating a significant amount of bread and pasta. While whole grains are healthy, refined grains such as white rice, white bread, and white pasta, certainly are not. Unfortunately many gluten free processed foods contain significant amounts of white potato and white rice, which can have a larger impact on your blood sugar than whole grain varieties.
Therefore, as often as possible, try to eat whole foods rather than processed foods. Tuna salad could be served on top of a salad rather than on bread. Beans or whole grains make a great side dish instead of pasta. Here is my favorite quinoa recipe.
Suggestions for gluten free cooking:
- Instead of rice pasta, make zucchini noodles (this requires the purchase of a spiralizer, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! I purchased mine on Amazon). After spiralizing your zucchini, sauté in a teaspoon of olive oil until “al dente,” just 2-3 minutes; don’t overcook or it will turn to mush.
- You could also make sweet potato noodles, beet noodles, and even cold cucumber noodle salad. The possibilities are truly endless.
- Instead of wheat wraps, use collards. I like to steam these large leaves, damp the moisture off once cool, and store in fridge to easily assemble a simple lunch sandwich.
- If you tolerate gluten free oats, great! (oats not labeled as gluten free are often cross contaminated with gluten from other grains) If even gluten free oats provoke symptoms, try making amaranth or buckwheat porridge. My family actually prefers these to oatmeal!
For baking, there are pre-made gluten free all-purpose flour blends (such as King Arthur’s or Bob’s Red Mill) or you could be adventurous and make your own! I baked gluten free (and egg free) rolls this weekend. They passed the child and husband taste test (both batches). The first batch I measured the flour by scooping the measuring cup into the flour container. This resulted in a drier, heavier, roll (it was delicious but fell apart easily, more like a scone). The second batch, I weighed my flour (140 g per cup) and added a tablespoon of pysllium husks (to help create a gummy texture that gluten would otherwise provide). It was a completely different result, with a more traditional bread texture. Be adventurous, and have fun!
Banana amaranth porridge
To save time in the morning, I make this the day before and reheat on the stovetop with a little extra milk.
- 1 cup amaranth
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 banana
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk (or milk of choice)
- ½ cup toasted pecans (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in small pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes until most of water absorbed.
- Mix in coconut milk for a creamy texture.
- Top with toasted pecans and serve.