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6 Naturally Gluten-Free Foods Everyone Loves

Celiac disease, a condition in which your body cannot metabolize gluten, affects 1 in every 133 people (Beyond Celiac, 2014). Thousands more people have a gluten sensitivity, in which they experience gastrointestinal and other physical symptoms after they eat products that contain gluten. Because of increased awareness about celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, following a gluten-free diet is more popular than ever. However, transitioning to a gluten-free diet can be tricky because all products containing wheat, rye, or triticale are forbidden. Eating these naturally gluten-free foods can help you add variety and excitement to your gluten-free diet.

Steel Cut Oats

Breakfast can be tricky for people following a gluten-free diet. Pancakes, waffles, French toast, and other common breakfast foods typically made with wheat flour are not allowed (although it may be possible to find gluten-free baking mixes). Instead, enjoy a hearty bowl of steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are a whole grain product that provide your body with plenty of complex carbohydrates to keep your energy levels high. Steel-cut oats also contain 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving (Self Nutrition Data, 2015a). Dietary fiber promotes digestive regularity, reduces blood cholesterol levels, and promotes healthy blood sugar regulation. Although steel cut oats are naturally gluten-free, it is important to check food labels to be sure that the oats have not been processed on the same equipment as wheat or rye products.

Quinoa

Quinoa is often called a “superfood,” and for good reason. This naturally gluten-free grain is actually not a grain at all, but the seeds of a plant native to the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein (Self Nutrition Data, 2015c), making it an excellent vegetarian source of protein. Plus, quinoa is considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids that your body cannot produce itself.

To boost your intake of quinoa, try making a quinoa pilaf with roasted vegetables, use it for stuffed peppers, or blend it into your morning smoothie.

Brown Rice

Some people who follow a gluten-free diet find themselves missing starchy carbohydrates once bread and other wheat products are out. Brown rice is a good, healthy substitute when you find yourself craving a starchy grain. Brown rice is naturally gluten free and is also a complex carbohydrate. Unlike white rice, which is robbed of its nutritional value by the milling process that removes its hull, brown rice is an unprocessed food. As such, the grain is a source of vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese, phosphorus, and iron (WHFoods, 2014). Make a stir fry with brown rice, broccoli, tofu, and an egg for a healthy, protein-packed dinner.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are almost magical in their qualities. When soaked in water, they plump up and become similar to tapioca in texture. Plus, they are full of beneficial nutrients. An ounce of chia seeds contains a whopping 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, 18% of your recommended daily intake of calcium, and 30% of your recommended daily manganese.

These properties make chia seeds the perfect healthy food to use as a pudding. When you’re craving a gluten-free dessert, simply mix chia seeds with coconut milk and a bit of honey and vanilla extract. Once they form a pudding texture, top them with roasted almonds or a drizzle of chocolate for a sweet treat.

Cornmeal

Coarsely ground cornmeal can be an intensely satisfying alternative to wheat products that contain gluten. For example, try corn tortillas, corn muffins, or cornbread to enjoy this naturally gluten-free food. One cup of cornmeal contains 9 grams of fiber, 31% of your recommended daily thiamin, 23% of your daily iron, and 39% of your recommended daily magnesium (Self Nutrition Data, 2015b).

Fruits and Vegetables

Of course, outside the realm of grain products, there are plenty of other foods that you can eat that are naturally gluten free. This includes all fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds. In fact, a healthy gluten-free diet prioritizes many of these foods. Try to eat several servings each of fruits and vegetables every day to ensure you get the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs. Making these foods a central portion of your diet will keep you excited by the variety of foods you can eat and will support your overall health.

Gluten-free Recipes

While you can find a more comprehensive list of gluten-free recipes here, we encourage you to enjoy the small sample we’ve included below.

Moringa Oatmeal

Moringa Oatmeal Recipe

Though this recipe calls for rolled oats, substituting a steel cut variety should only serve to add to the dish with their naturally chewy texture. Try this scrumptious cereal to improve your morning meals today!
Ingredients: Gluten-free rolled oats, almond milk, agave or maple syrup, vanilla extract, moringa powder, pistachios, dried mulberries, unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds.
Total Time: 10 minutes | Yield: 4 324-gram servings

Protein-Packed Detox Smoothie {vegan}

Protein-Packed Detox Smoothie Recipe {vegan}

Smoothies are the perfect place to put those prolific chia seeds to good use. This recipe couples the seeds with other superfoods to create a blended beverage that can serve as a meal replacement or a post-workout shake.
Ingredients: Almond milk, frozen banana, spirulina, hemp protein powder (optional), fresh mint, chia seeds, hemp hearts.
Total Time: 5 minutes | Yield: 2 399-gram servings

Veggie Quinoa Casserole {gluten-free, vegan}

Veggie Quinoa Casserole Recipe {gluten-free, vegan}

This quinoa casserole couples the grain with bell peppers, herbs and spices, and extra firm tofu to create a blend of savory flavors that is simply superb. Try this hearty meal and enjoy its wholesome offerings tonight!
Ingredients: Quinoa, extra firm tofu, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, paprika, cumin, oregano, thyme, salt.
Total Time: 35 minutes | Yield: 4 - 5 204-gram servings

No-Bake Cheesecake Bites {gluten-free}

No-Bake Cheesecake Bites Recipe {gluten-free}

This airy cheesecake is a sublime sweet that is sure to satisfy. Unlike other recipes that rely on graham cracker crumb bases, this dessert defies expectations by being both vegan and gluten-free! Create this incredible confection and expand your dessert horizons today!
Ingredients: Pitted dates, almond flour, cacao powder, vanilla extract, almond milk, raw cashews, maple syrup, canned pumpkin, pumpkin spice.
Total Time: 20 minutes | Yield: 16 - 20 squares

Gluten-free Snacks

The following snacks are just a small sample of the ways to enjoy these delectable gluten-free foods. You can find more suggestions on our gluten-free snacks and gluten-free diet pages. Lastly, you can find a comprehensive guide to all of our gluten-free foods here.

References

BBC Good Food (2015). Top 10 tips for a gluten free diet. Retrieved from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-tips-gluten-free-diet

Beyond Celiac. (2014). Celiac disease fast facts. Retrieved from http://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/facts-and-figures/

Gunnars, K. (2016). 11 proven benefits of chia seeds. Retrieved from https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

Self Nutrition Data (2015a). Bob's Red Mill steel cut oats. Retrieved from http://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/facts-and-figures/

Self Nutrition Data (2015b). Cornmeal. Retrieved from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5692/2

Self Nutrition Data (2015c). Quinoa. Retrieved from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10352/2

WHFoods (2014). Brown rice. Retrieved from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=128