Top Tips For a Successful Gluten-Free Diet
Naturally gluten-free? Always check…
You may be surprised to learn there are already many basic foods that are gluten-free! Such as poultry, fish, meat, vegetables, eggs and cheese. You can use these as the basis for your planned meals but remember the importance of always checking labels.
Under UK and EU law on allergen labelling, all food packaging is required to clearly display the exact ingredients used in a product. Specific ingredients that indicate the presence of gluten will often be highlighted in bold for your attention.
Keep a lookout for foods containing wheat, rye, barley, triticale, Kamut®, malt, and other grains made from breeding these together. Also, be wary that products labeled wheat-free are not always going to be gluten-free. Many still contain elements that are not gluten-free like spelt or other barley-based ingredients.
The solution is to substitute
The thought of potentially missing out on some of your favourite foods like pastries, pasta, cereal and crackers, isn’t pleasant. Luckily there’s an option to simply switch to gluten-free alternatives.
Many health food stores and supermarkets stock gluten-free substitutes for all kinds of popular foods, so there’s no need for you to miss out! Everything from pasta to bread rolls have substitutes available.
Some cereals and grains are also naturally gluten-free so feel free to switch to those as well. Examples include corn, amaranth, rice, tapioca, sorghum, millet and others that can all be included in your diet. Always check for uncontaminated versions on the labelling.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Coeliac disease, you can receive some gluten-free staple food on prescription from the NHS.
Can you still enjoy a drink?
Don’t worry, you can make sure you continue to enjoy nights out with family and friends by knowing which alcohol to avoid for your gluten-free diet.
Lagers, beers, stouts and ales all contain certain amounts of gluten and will not be suitable. But there are specially made beers and lagers available, and these can usually be found in most supermarkets in the free-from section. Always make sure you’re drinking those that are labelled accordingly.
Other options include wine, sherry, spirits, cider, port and liqueurs, all are gluten-free. So enjoy!
Eat out, experiment or meal prep
Being on a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a meal out at a nice restaurant. It is required by law that caterers provide you with information on any allergens, in all dishes they serve.
Caterers don’t have to offer gluten-free meals so always make sure to check their website, or simply call ahead to see what options they offer. You can also keep a look out for Coeliac UK’s GF symbol on menus and venue windows.
Fancy staying in? Spend time in the kitchen getting accustomed to gluten-free flours and baking aids.
Be wary of cross-contamination
Be careful when preparing your meal, to avoid any cross-contact with foods that aren’t gluten-free.
Foods or ingredients can come into contact with gluten easier than you think, through shared cooking environments and utensils.
It sounds simple but washing your kitchen surfaces, pots, pans and utensils thoroughly before use, can work wonders to minimise the risk of cross contamination. As well as using separate cutting boards for gluten-free food prep, you can also invest in products like toaster bags to keep your gluten-free bread separate.
It’s always worth doing a little research and experimentation with your cooking.
For more information on gluten-free and Coeliac disease – check out our blog on the subject.
Also feel free to check out our wide range of gluten free options on our menu!