What to Eat When You’re Gluten-Free
If you’re thinking about going Gluten-Free, it can be overwhelming.
Whether it’s for an elimination diet to determine if you have issues with gluten (for digestion, migraines, general inflammation, etc.), because you found out you’re sensitive to gluten, or any other reason, most people find the prospect of “what do I eat” to be a bit overwhelming. I’ve been there, friend!
I’m not going to go over basic info like you can find at celiac.org here. As a person with Celiac who hasn’t had gluten in well over a decade, I want to share tips, brands, restaurants, a great app to help you navigate daily meals, AND how to find your fav foods gluten-free! There are so many choices out there now!
Getting Started With A Gluten-Free Life: Keep it Simple
When you are just starting your gluten-free life, keeping it simple is the way to go. You’ll probably be able to adjust your favorite recipes by swapping out gluten for gluten-free ingredients. Just check labels on marinades, sauces, and seasoning to make sure it’s gluten-free.
What do I mean by simple?
- Toss a chicken breast or salmon filet, a veggie, and cubed sweet potatoes in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning, put a baking dish and bake at 400º for 20 minutes or til chicken is 165º
- Salad with a protein
- How about a nice frittata full of veggies?
- Tacos (with corn tortillas)
- Stir Fry (use Tamari sauce instead of Soy Sauce, which is high in wheat)
- Buddha bowls
- Grill up some meat and fresh corn and grilled veggies
Keep your ingredients minimal and fresh and you can’t go wrong!
The best gluten-free versions of your favorite foods
Sometimes you want your comfort food. Or it’s your birthday! Or you just really want a nice treat once in a while. Don’t fret, gluten-free foods have come a long way!
My family loves to bake, and King Arthur Gluten-Free baking mixes, GF All-Purpose Flour, Measure for Measure Flour, and Baking Mix are our absolute favorites for all things baking. We LOVE their pancake mix, their brownies are rich and moist, and people never have a clue that yellow cake is gluten-free. Their Measure for Measure flour can be substituted for your favorite regular non-yeasted recipes, and you will find so many excellent gluten-free recipes on their website. They have loads of amazing gluten-free recipes.
I make their Gluten-Free cinnamon rolls every Christmas, various scones throughout the year, and so many more. I really appreciate all the reader’s tips in the comment sections. Best of all, you can find many of their mixes and flours at Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, and even at Target!
We also use Pamela’s Bread mix to make focaccia bread (recipe here), and Pamela’s vanilla cake mix to make gluten-free poundcake for fondue night (recipe here).
- Outside the Breadbox (Natural Grocers)
- Canyon Bakehouse (Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods)
- Udi’s (all of the above plus Target and King Soopers), and Natural Grocers carries their baguettes and dinner rolls, too.
- Outside the Breadbox or Udis. If you like almond flour, try Cappello’s at Natural Grocers.
- We like Udi’s, and Target has that as well as some GF versions of other name brands we haven’t tried.
- Goodie Girl (fudge stripes, mint thins….so good! At all the stores above)
- Kinitoos (like Oreos) AND now they actually have
- OREOS gluten-free, both regular and double stuff.
- Tate’s crispy thin chocolate chip cookies
- Pamela’s: Figgies & Jammies (like fig newtons), and love their chocolate chip and dark chocolate chunk cookies.
- You can even find some GF cookie dough in the refrigerated section of Natual Grocers and Whole Foods.
- Simple Mills crackers (made w/ Almond Flour–even available at Costco lately), Miltons’ Crackers
- Nut Thins
- Mary’s Gone Crackers
- Jovial Gluten-Free pasta is our very favorite, and the brand our gluten-eating older children say is similar to regular pasta. Our tops are the Cappellini, lasagna noodles, and farfalle pasta, which we get at Natural Grocers or Whole Foods. Amazon even has GF manicotti shells from Jovial which we get every now and then.
- Tinkyada brown rice noodles
- Natural Grocers quinoa noodles
- GF Ramen noodles from Costco
- Soba noodles (any brand, they’re buckwheat which is GF)
- Asian Rice Noodles (same)
- Rice Chex and Corn Chex
- Barbara’s brand, like Puffins or rice crisps
- Van’s brand
- Kind GF granolas
- Gluten-Freeda’s instant oats
- Bob’s Red Mill GF oats
- Nature’s Path (WildBerry or Pumpkin are our favs)
- Katz brand (in the freezer section at Sprouts, and some at Natural Grocers and Target). They have donuts, donut holes, hostess-like cupcakes and twinkie-like creme cakes, hand pies, and even oatmeal sandwich cookies.
- Whole Foods cupcakes (freezer section)
- Ice cream….just check the label for hidden gluten and make sure no obvious gluten like cookie dough
I’m sure I’m forgetting many brands, but these will at least get you started! Just get good at reading labels! Luckily it’s now federally regulated that all processed foods must list allergens, including gluten, after the ingredients in bold.
Out and About
So your friends and family want to go out to a restaurant. Here are some tips.
First, get the app “Find Me Gluten Free.” Here’s the website.
This app is an absolute life-saver when you’re eating out GF, and especially for traveling! It’s also great to find local restaurants instead of chains, although you can find both.
The reviews are also super helpful to find out how careful a restaurant is with GF, what they offer, and how the food is.
If you go someplace that isn’t on the app, try to order food that is simple, and don’t be afraid to ask the server to double-check with the chef about ingredients. Good restaurants often have a manager come over to ask you specifically what you need.
Here’s my list of restaurants we’ve actually tried, many of which we go to often.
Best Local Restaurants with Gluten-Free Options:
- Wave the Grain – Gluten-free dedicated bakery. Seriously, everything is gluten-free…the Boston-creme cupcakes, the croissants, donuts, danish, cookies, even pop tarts, and breakfast burritos.
- Snooze – so many options…french toast, pancakes, toast….
- Urban Egg – pancakes, benedicts, huevos rancheros….
- Early Bird Restaurant – try the Johnny Cake waffles!
- The French Press – Gluten-free crepes!
- Palenque Cocina y Aqaveria – one of my all-time favorites. All sauces are gluten-free. Try the Molcajetes!
- Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant – all sauces now gluten-free, too!
- Hacienda Colorado
- Blue Bonnet Cafe
- Adelita’s Cocina y Cantina
- India’s Castle
- Garnish Indian Cuisine
- India’s Kitchen
- Rice Bistro & Sushi
- Hapa Sushi Grill
- Viet Pho – 95% of their menu is gluten-free, even eggrolls and orange chicken.
- Wing Wok
- Cranellis’s Italian Restaurant
- Farro Italian Restaurant
- Zane’s Italian Bistro
- Patxi’s Pizza – my 2 gluten-eating older kids love their thin crust gluten-free pizza
- The Garlic Knot – Calzones!
- Virgilio’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar – gluten-free garlic bread, lasagna, pizza, calzones and desserts!
- Smokin’ Fins
- True Food Kitchen
- The Brutal Poodle – dedicated fryer, burgers, and mac n cheese! Loud death metal music is their schtick.
Chains with the Best Gluten-Free Options Near Centennial, CO
- Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews – even has GF fries
- California Pizza Kitchen
- MOD Pizza
- Tokyo Joe’s
- Ted’s Montana Grill
- Modern Market
- The Melting Pot – You can get the whole experience GF!
- Chipotle – Safest bet for lunch
- Olive Garden
- Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse – most of the menu is gluten-free, including the pao de queijo (cheese bread).
- Most Steakhouses, actually
- Red Lobster – Gluten-free cheddar biscuits!
- PF Changs
- Outback Steakhouse
- Bonefish Grill – macadamia nut brownie!
- Noodles and Company
- And here’s a link to a whole list of gluten-free-friendly Just keep in mind that gluten-free friendly may not be safe for celiacs.
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas, some sense of normalcy around food and going out, and helps make the whole gluten-free experience seem a bit easier.
You really do get used to it.
Plus, you will feel so much better! I often get asked if it’s hard for me to be gluten-free. The answer is a resounding NO. I feel AWFUL for weeks if I eat gluten. And as you can see, I eat pretty well! And so can you.
Let me know in the comments what restaurants or products you love!
Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness