In this series, we’ll talk about ideas for how to approach the government’s new MyPlate guide while eating gluten-free. Each part in the series will cover a section of the MyPlate icon starting with Grains and then covering Protein, Dairy, and Fruits and Vegetables.
On June 2, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled the federal government’s new primary food guide called MyPlate, which replaces the former MyPyramid and Food Guide Pyramid. The idea behind the new design is to make it easier to build a well-balanced, healthy meal.
This article will focus on gluten-free foods to fill the “Grains” portion on your plate. People with celiac disease or who have gluten intolerance must avoid wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten will mostly be found in the Grains portion so much of the work will be finding alternative grains in this food group.
The Grains portion is made up of breads, cereals, pastas, or rice. If you’re new to the gluten-free diet, you may not be aware of all the grain-related options you have available. The following is a list of brands or manufacturers who offer excellent options:
- Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery - they make a variety of breads including basic breads, buns, and pizza crusts. Their bread is widely available around the country. I like their Original bread the best. It tastes great and it has the size and qualities of gluten bread making it the most versatile option for cooking.
- Udi’s Gluten Free Bakery - they too make breads, buns, pizza crusts, and bagels. I like their Whole Grain loaf the best for taste, but its smaller size limits its usability in my kitchen. The bagels are outstanding.
- General Mills - the Chex line of cereals including Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Honey Nut Chex, and Chocolate Chex are fortified with vitamins and minerals. These are available everywhere.
- Nature’s Path - they offer a wide variety of cereals including Koala Crisp, Leapin’ Lemurs, and Whole O’s Cereal. Other options are available, but these are the most popular in my family.
- Annie’s - Gluten Free Rice Pasta and Cheddar is an excellent macaroni and cheese option
- Tinkyada - All of their pastas are made from rice flour. They are an excellent replacement for gluten pastas.
Rice makes an excellent alternative grain to wheat. These are suggestions for rice-based sides:
- Lundberg Family Farms - they have a variety of Risotto sides which are quite good. I like the Creamy Parmesan Risotto best.
- Carolina Rice and Mahatma Rice - they offer a variety of rice sides including Authentic Spanish Rice, Broccoli Cheddar Rice, and Long Grain & Wild Rice.
Check out these brands and be sure to verify for yourself what products are acceptable. Generally, these brands can be found in major grocery markets across the United States. If they aren’t available in your area, you can often order them online.
Finally, while it is relatively easy to fill the Grains portion of your plate with gluten-free options, it can be a challenge to get the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. Most gluten-containing breads, cereals, and pastas, are fortified meaning that they have added vitamins and minerals.
Gluten-free breads, cereals, and pastas are not usually fortified; therefore, you have to pick up your vitamins and minerals in other ways. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources, as are some of the proteins we’ll talk about in part two of this series.
Did you know gluten also has desirable properties as a binder and/or thickener? It can be hiding as an ingredient in other food groups like meats and proteins. In the next part of this series, I’ll explore gluten-free options in the Proteins food group.