Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on a gluten free diet needn’t be a chore. Check out my five tips below.
Disclaimer: I’m not a nutritionist or medically trained in any way. These are just a few things that I do to try and stay healthy while living gluten free. Enjoy!
1. Cook from scratch
There’s a great range of free from ready meals available in the major supermarkets now, but I genuinely can’t remember the last time I had one. If I’m in need of a quick tea (yep, it’s tea not dinner where I’m from!) I much prefer to chop up a load of veggies and whip up a quick stir fry or pasta sauce. Or make a jacket potato with salad. Check out my easy gluten free meal ideas for more inspiation.
Takeaways are a bit of a minefield for coeliacs so I tend to avoid those too. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy the odd gluten free pizza now and again, but generally I’ll have something home cooked. This invariably leads to making healthier choices.
2. Take a pack up
While it’s great that more and more places are providing ‘on-the-go’ gluten free options, I always take a pack up to work. Not only does this help to keep the costs down, but I also know exactly what’s going into my lunch. Have you noticed the insane amount of ingredients in sandwiches from coffee shops?!
Most days I take a sandwich but in the summer I love a salad. I also often take leftovers from the night before and heat up in the microwave. Taking plenty of food from home ensures that I never go hungry, meaning the temptation to go and buy something naughty at lunch is never there!
3. Switch up your snacks
If you’re anything like me you’ll need to take gluten free snacks with you when out and about.
While I do enjoy a snack bar, a lot of them aren’t as healthy as you’d think. Some snack bars contain as much as 15g of sugar so I’m always on the lookout for low sugar options. These Nature Valley protein bars are my current favourite as they’re ridiculously tasty while containing less than 6g of sugar.
Or why not ditch the snack bars altogether and try cucumber and carrot sticks, rice cakes or a nuts and seeds mix for a completely sugar free option?
4. Eat more fruit and veg
Pretty obvious huh? But the good news for us coeliacs is that all fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten free. That means we can eat as much as we want without fear of being glutened!
I like to start the day off with at least one portion of fruit for breakfast. I usually go for some berries, kiwi fruit or frozen fruit salad with some combination of gluten free corn flakes, muesli and yoghurt.
I take another two portions of fruit, usually grapes and a banana, for my lunch. If I’m having a sandwich I’ll take some cherry tomatoes to have with it, and often sneak some lettuce into my sandwich for another stealthy portion.
Tea will invariably involve vegetables of some variety and bob’s your uncle, that’s at least five portions a day.
5. Don’t take risks
Now, of course the best way to keep your tummy healthy on a gluten free diet is to avoid gluten. If you have coeliac disease, eating gluten damages your gut. As such, it’s important to take steps to risk being ‘glutened’, and suffering through all of the delightful symptoms that come with it.
Having had coeliac disease since I was a baby and being quite sensitive, I’m always super careful. I do all the obvious things at home to avoid cross-contamination such as having a dedicated gluten free toaster, using separate spreads etc.
I avoid any products which carry a ‘may contain’ gluten or wheat warning. This statement is there if the manufacturer thinks there is a risk of cross contamination.
When eating out I generally try to go for somewhere with an accredited gluten free menu, or if that’s not possible ensure I speak to the staff to make sure they’re aware of my needs.
Check out the Coealiac UK website for loads of great advice on sticking to a gluten free diet.