Meal planning can be tricky if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. We have the plans that help.
Let's face it: Gluten intolerance isn't pretty, causing symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, and acne. Gluten can be a major bummer for people who have celiac disease or who are sensitive to gluten. For some, cutting this protein from their diet can significantly help reduce the less-than-glamorous side effects—but avoiding entire food groups can be tough. Here are five meal planning ideas to create and stick to a gluten-free diet that you won't hate. (To clarify, you don't need to give up gluten if you don't have a gluten sensitivity.)
Find Alternative Recipes for Your Favorite Foods
A lot of people jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon voluntarily (their bodies digest the protein just fine), which is actually good news for those who have a legit gluten intolerance. There are more gluten-free versions of your favorites foods than ever, from pancakes to pasta. It's easier than you'd think to find recipes that are just as good (if not better) than your old favorites.
Let the Pros Handle the Hard Part
In an ideal world, we would all have the time to sit down each week and organize our meals (and our lives, for that matter). But in reality, we're busy, and meal planning takes time we often don't have. Take advantage of meal planning services like eMeals—they can take care of the planning for you.
One of the main benefits of meal planning is less kitchen stress. In order to reap the benefits of meal planning, however, you need to actually take advantage of the planning process. Think about what steps you can take to simplify your life later on, such as buying ingredients in bulk to use for multiple meals, making extra at dinner to pack for lunch the next day, or doubling a recipe and popping the other portion in the freezer for future meals.
Find a Go-To GF Restaurant
Successful meal planning means eating out less—which is healthier and saves you loads of money. But sometimes you just need to splurge. Find a few gluten-free restaurants in your area so that when you do need a night out or a quick lunch spot, you know they'll have options that won't completely undo all your hard work. (Here are popular chains with healthy choices.)
Enjoy the Benefits
Instead of obsessing over what you're giving up while you go gluten-free, focus on the positive changes in your body. Is your skin clearing up? Do you have more energy throughout the day? Is your bloating finally under control? Taking the time to notice the small benefits will help reduce the temptation to slip into your old gluten habits. (Yes, you can roll your eyes at that major cliché. But trust us, it works.) Write down one or two of these positive changes while you're working on your meal plan each week for concrete evidence that you're on the right track.
Time for a Taste Test
Try these eMeals recipes for a quick and easy dinner that's so good, you won't even notice that it's missing gluten.
Here are two of our favorites:
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Salmon
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 salmon fillets, patted dry
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Pulse almonds, basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, tomatoes, and oil in a food processor until smooth.
- Rub mixture all over salmon and place in a greased baking dish.
- Bake 15 minutes (or until fish flakes with a fork).
Spring Mix with Avocado and Lime
- 1 (5-oz) package spring mix
- 3 avocados, peeled and sliced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Place spring mix in a bowl and top with avocados.
- Drizzle with lime juice and oil.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
Full Meal: Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 15 minutes; Total: 30 minutes
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