When you find out you have to switch to a gluten free diet, you may not even quite understand what that means. A lot of people think it means they will have to live a breadless, cakeless, cookieless and pastaless existence for the rest of their lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can enjoy plenty of baked goods and flour based products and still maintain a diet free of gluten.
You may start to doubt this statement the minute you walk into a supermarket, though. With isles upon isles of foods that are suddenly off limits, it can be hard to know where to begin your shopping. If you want to keep your shopping trip from turning into an exercise in futility and frustration, it’s helpful to know where to start and what to look for.
Naturally Gluten Free
The thing most often overlooked by people trying to find gluten free food in the supermarket is that a lot of food comes this way naturally. Fresh vegetables and fruits are just about all fine for someone who needs to avoid gluten. Fresh, plain meat and fish are also excellent options under these circumstances as well.
You generally won’t be able to go and buy the Seafood department’s salmon burgers because they probably have bread crumbs in them. But you can buy a side of salmon and add your own seasonings at home or even make your own gluten free burgers. The same goes for things like plain beans, rice, peanut butter, jelly, honey and other basic ingredients that you can use as the basis of your meals at home.
Nix the Mixes
For the most part, what you have to stay away from in the grocery store is prepared foods and entrée mixes like those for rice and pasta dishes. Most name brand frozen entrees will be out of the question too. Instead, buy your own fresh ingredients and make the entrees and sides yourself. This may sound like an awful lot of work, especially if you’re used to relying on these types of foods for the majority of your meals.
There are actually plenty of quick and easy recipes out there, though. Once you have a routine down, you’ll likely find that you don’t have to spend much more time in the kitchen than you did before. The important thing is to focus on how much healthier you will be and how much better you will feel. A gluten free diet will change your lifestyle, no question about that. But it can be for the better.
Bread, Baked Goods and Pasta
These are staples that you may or may not be able to find in your local grocery store. The good news with these types of products is that they will always be clearly labeled whether they contain gluten or not because they have to be specifically made that way. Unfortunately these products can be hard to find and often come with a hefty price tag. If you want to avoid the high prices or trips to specialty food stores, you may want to start looking for these types of products online. Amazon.com is one excellent place to get gluten free baking mixes, pastas and other products at a reduced cost and delivered right to your house.