If a gluten free diet is something new to you, it can seem quite overwhelming in the beginning. All of those favorite foods that you used to love so much like bread, pasta and pizza are out now – don’t panic and stay calm. All you have to do is focus on all of those delicious foods that you can eat and learn how to get your gluten free kitchen stocked.
Like anything that is associated with leading a gluten free lifestyle, the key is preparation. There’s nothing worse in the world than to have an empty kitchen when you are tired and feel defeated when it comes to following your gluten free diet and feeling tempted to drive away in your car in search of gluten-laden take out food! Resist that temptation! If you keep your kitchen well stocked with gluten free staples you won’t need to worry about getting yourself trapped by that type of situation. I have compiled some of the basic gluten free staples that should be kept in your kitchen, ranging from when you feel like throwing a pizza into the oven to when you are more in the mood to do some cooking.
Vegetables and Fruits:
Fresh vegetables and fruits are gluten free naturally in their purest form. Therefore go ahead and stock up on your favorite ones! Be careful about buying pre-cut vegetables and fruits since you won’t know whether any cross-contamination may have taken place on the knife or cutting surface that was used.
Meat and Poultry:
Meat and poultry are naturally gluten free, so you will be good as long as you purchase them in their pure forms. Avoid buying pre-marinated meat since you can’t be certain that it’s gluten free. The best thing to do is marinate it on your own. If you are purchasing, veggie burgers, sausage, bacon, etc be sure to check the package to see if it says that it is gluten free.
Seafood and fish in their purest form are gluten free, so just make you don’t anything that is stuffed or marinated. You should also be aware that there is gluten contained in most imitation seafood.
Cream cheese, most yogurt, milk and pure cheese (blue cheese should be avoided since gluten is contained in it) are gluten free. I make sure to always have some yogurt in my refrigerator since it’s a great source of probiotics and protein. Siggi’s is my favorite brand.
There are many different variety of rice, and is gluten free in its purest form. You just need to avoid pre-packaged season forms.
This is my favorite go-to grain! Although it is gluten free naturally, I also make sure I’m buying “certified gf.” That why I don’t need to worry that any cross-contamination occur either during processing or out in the fields. I love making quinoa hot as a substitute for rice or cold in a tabbouleh-type salad.
Legumes and beans are inexpensive and provide plenty of protein. If you purchase them in canned form, just be sure not to get the seasoned kind in case there is gluten contained in them. You can always spice and season them on your own.
When purchasing pre-made trail mixes be very cautious unless is say it is gluten free. Seeds and nuts are gluten free in their pure form. The problem with seeds and nuts is they often are packaged or processed in a facility that also uses wheat, so be sure to read the label carefully.
Gluten Free Pasta:
It might be necessary to try a couple out before finding a gluten free pasta you like. My favorite is Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta. For one thing it doesn’t always break apart the way that so many other gluten free pastas do. It is also more nutritious than rice or corn pasta. Always keep your pantry stocked with some gluten free pasta for when you need a fast meal on a hectic day.
All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour:
Make to stock up on some all-purpose gluten free flour, especially when you first get started on a gluten free diet since I guarantee that you are going to be doing plenty of baking. When it comes to flavor and texture, so many of the pre-made baked goods that are gluten-free just don’t cut it. That is why baking is a necessity. I prefer to use all-purpose gluten free flour so you don’t need to worry about having to mix several ones together. Cup4Cup is my favorite. You can use it in place of regular flour in any recipe.
I recommend that you always snack on whole food items (nuts, veggies, fruits, etc) because they are a lot healthier. However, that isn’t always realistic. When purchasing gluten free snacks be sure to read the label carefully and avoid any products that are manufactured or packed in facilities that have wheat in them.
Gluten Free Cereal:
Another great staple to have handy in your gluten free kitchen is cereal. Many of the major brands these days carry gluten free cereal (such as Chex and Cheerios). So that makes it easy to find it and you won’t have to spend a fortune on a small box of it.
Gluten Free Tortillas/Bread:
A majority of gluten free breads are stored in the freezer, so be sure you do that at home as well. You will probably need to do some experimenting with bread first before finding one you really like. There are some bad ones out there, so be prepared! Canyon Bakehouse and Schar make my favorites. Since I am gluten free now, I don’t eat as much bread. However, it’s nice to have some in the freezer for those times when I’m in a bind and just want to be able to make myself a sandwich. In addition I keep tortillas on hand since I like to make wraps sometimes. Be sure to read labels carefully and stick with gluten free corn tortillas. Mission Soft Taco Gluten Free are my favorite tortillas. You won’t ever miss those flour tortillas!
Gluten Free Frozen Foods:
Living on just frozen meals isn’t something that I recommend that you do. However, it’s nice to have them whenever you are tired or in a hurry. Amy’s Kitchen has great frozen meals and I definitely recommend them. You just need to be careful since some of their products are not gluten free. Before buying, just make sure you read the label first. I also always keep frozen gluten free pizza in my freezer. You’ll need to experiment to find on you really like. Freschetta Gluten Free Crispy and Thin Pizza is my favorite.
There tends to gluten lurking in a lot of sauces out there, so again make sure to read the labels carefully. For instance, there is gluten in soy sauce so make sure to only purchase gluten free soy sauce. However, you don’t need to miss out on tasty flavors just because something is gluten free. Don’t hesitate to play around with using different sauces and marinating.
This is another thing that comes in handy when you don’t have a lot of time. Make sure they are labeled gluten free and avoid pre-seasoned forms.