Wednesday, March 18, 2009

GF Dinner Ideas

When I found out I could no longer have gluten I was at a loss as to what I’d ever eat for dinner again. Being a college student, most of my meals consisted of burritos, Wendy’s hamburgers, pizza or spaghetti. All of which I could no longer eat without reaping the consequences. It was hard for me to believe I’d ever be able to find something to eat again, but I did. Here are some guidelines to help make the gluten-free dinner transition easier for you:

1. Look at your favorite recipes and figure out what foods you eat already that are naturally gluten free. Rice dishes are a good place to start, as are meals with a meat and vegetable for a side dish. Potatoes are also great. Pretty much, rice and potatoes will become your starchy foods to fill you up at each meal. Nice that they’re inexpensive. You’ll be surprised at how many options you have from the meals you already eat and love.

2. Continue looking in your recipe box and find recipes that you can alter to make them gluten-free. Do you love Mexican food? Most of it is gluten-free and if it’s not, it’s easy to make that way. Instead of soft flour tortillas when eating a taco try hard taco shells or corn tortillas. Tastes delicious! (Be sure to check the taco seasoning you use. Many have gluten in them, but don’t worry… many don’t). Do you love Sunday dinner of pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, but you think those days are over because you can no longer have gravy? Think again. Substitute corn starch for flour. Works beautifully and doesn’t taste any different. BBQ can also still be eaten. Just check the label. Like the taco seasoning a lot of bbq sauces contain gluten, but there is a wide variety that don’t (soy sauce too). There are even options for those dishes that require creamy soups like cream of mushroom. You can either make your own or buy organic soups that are gluten-free.

3. Check out gluten-free products. You can now purchase them at most grocery stores, but for a wider selection check out health food stores or purchase online. I recommend checking reviews about them online or asking others about their favorite brands before purchasing anything (they’re kind of pricey and some are not worth the cost). Feel free to ask my opinion on products and where to get them. You can find delicious gluten-free pasta, so you can still make your favorite pasta dishes. Get the rice pasta. Potato pasta gets mushy really fast.

4. You can still go out to eat on a gluten-free diet. I’ll do posts in the future about this. Until then, let me give you this tip: a lot of restaurants now post their menus and allergy information online. Check out your favorite restaurants and the ones nearby so you can be prepared if you get a craving when you’re out on the go.

In future posts I’ll have delicious gluten-free recipes you can try out (and don’t worry, I’m all about easy and cheap meals, so you’re not going to have to worry about going out to purchase a bunch of ingredients you’ve never heard of and then spend hours slaving over the dish). Let me know if you have any questions about how to make a favorite meal gluten-free or anything else you’d like to learn about or need help with.

No comments: