Oats: Picking a Gluten-Free Product
How to Eat Grain Free
Although whole-grains are considered part of a healthy diet, some people choose to eat grain free.Whether you have an allergy or just feel better without grains, giving up grains is possible. However, it seems like it's easier said than done. Eating a healthy diet without bread, rice, and oats (not to mention the many other kinds of grain) doesn’t have to be a hassle, though. If you want to eliminate grains, just avoid foods like wheat and corn, and substitute with healthy alternatives.
Living Your Grain-Free Lifestyle
Avoid wheat.Wheat is the most popular grain in the United States.Make sure that, when you read a food label, it doesn't contain the following:
- Bread crumbs
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
Don't eat corn or products derived from corn.Corn shows up in many surprising places across our diet.Be sure you're looking out for:
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn oil
Cut rice out of your diet.Don't eat rice or rice-derived foods if you're following a grain-free diet. Although rice does not contain gluten, many grain-free diets exclude it, as it's a staple grain.Watch out for:
- Rice noodles
- Egg roll paper
- Rice bran oil
- Rice vinegar
- Rice milk
- Rice syrup
- Rice crackers
- Rice cereal
Don't consume oats or oat products.Oats are a staple of many breakfast foods, but they're also used as stabilizers and fillers in other foods. Look out for:
- Rolled oats
- Oat fiber
- Oat milk
- Steel-cut oats
Don't eat byproducts like flour and meal.Grains also show up in the form of their crushed and pulverized versions, flour and meal. Watch out for products like:
- Wheat flour
- White flour
- Corn meal
- Corn flour
- Rice flour
- Enriched flour
- Oat flour
Learn to identify lesser-known grains.While these grains aren't as widespread as the others, they'll still need to be eliminated on a grain-free diet. These grains include:
Allow yourself some amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa in moderation.Pseudocereals like amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa do not contain gluten and are not seen by many as grains.
- Try to pay attention to your body's response to these foods. When starting your diet, eat these foods individually to get a sense of how your digestive system responds to them.
Cook meat ahead of time.Having meat in the fridge during the week will lessen your chances of reaching for a grain snack. Use grilled chicken or beef in salads for easy protein.
- Try using your crock-pot to cook meat in bulk.
- Make extra of everything. Making lots of leftovers will make it easy for you to reach into the fridge when you need a snack. It also lets you take food on the go with less effort.
Keep vegetables and fruits in the kitchen.Cutting grain from your diet means that you’ll be looking for foods to fill that caloric void. Luckily, vegetables and fruits are the perfect alternative.
- Easy-to-snack-on vegetables and fruits include peppers, oranges, berries, greens, tomatoes, melons, avocados, raisins, and bananas.
Substituting for Tasty Grain-Free Alternatives
Use cauliflower in place of rice.Cauliflower rice is a healthy and filling alternative to regular rice. You can buy pre-riced cauliflower or rice it yourself by cutting off the stems, chopping it into chunks, and pulsing it in a food processor until it’s your desired consistency.
- Microwave your cauliflower rice for three minutes, giving it a good stir halfway through.
- Roast your cauliflower rice by tossing it in olive oil and baking for 10 minutes at 375 °F (191 °C).
Make bread products with alternative flours.You can use alternative flours like almond flour or coconut flour instead of traditional flours in breads, cakes, and muffins.
- Almond flour contains more fat, which will make your baked goods brown faster and stay moist. It also imparts a nutty flavor. But it doesn't contain gluten, which helps baked goods rise.You can add an extra egg per ounce of flour to help your baked goods rise.
- Coconut flour is a good source of dietary fiber.It will also impact coconut flavor to your baked goods. Try adding an extra egg per ounce of flour to help baked goods with rising, since there's no gluten in this flour.
Spiralize zucchini or carrots in place of pasta.Zucchini and carrots are healthy and flavorful alternatives to normal pasta. Just spiralize your veggies, then cook them in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Trade wraps out for iceberg lettuce.Iceberg lettuce is a crunchy and healthy alternative to grain-based wraps like tortillas.Try using iceberg wraps for sandwiches and hamburgers as well.
Use potatoes or mushrooms in place of sandwich buns.Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and portobello mushrooms are flavorful and healthy substitutes for grain-based buns for sandwiches.
- Grill large slices of potatoes or sweet potatoes with oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes each side.
- Grill portobello mushroom caps on high for 8 minutes.
Meet your carbohydrate needs with grain-free options.Potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils, beans, peas, and fruit are all healthy sources of carbohydrates that can help you meet your dietary needs.
- For example, you could eat potatoes alongside eggs for your breakfast, an apple with lunch, and lentil soup for dinner.
Eating Out Without Eating Grain
Look up the menu before you go.Find the menu online and search for grain-free options.Menu items that consist solely of a meat and a vegetable will probably fit in your grain-free diet.
- Make sure the meat and vegetables aren’t breaded in grains or served with a sauce that contains grains.
Consider calling ahead to ask about grain-free options.The best way to find out if a restaurant has grain-free menu items is to ask the restaurant yourself. If the person who answers the phone doesn’t know, ask if you can speak to a manager.
Ask for a gluten-free menu.Many menus are now offering gluten-free menus. While gluten-free and grain-free aren’t exactly the same (gluten-free is slightly less restrictive), gluten-free menus can help you narrow in on options that might be suitable for your diet.
Be patient with your server when asking questions.Many servers aren’t trained in grain-free menu items; you might be the first person to ever bring this to their attention. If they’re not sure how to answer you, stay kind and admit that it’s a complex issue.
- Try asking a question first, like: "Are you familiar with grain-free items on the menu?" This way, you're not assuming that your server doesn't have knowledge.
- Acknowledge that you're taking up more time that usual with something like: "I realize this is a hassle, but..." Servers are often in a hurry, and letting them know that you appreciate what they're doing can go a long way towards getting you good service.
- When the meal is over, be sure and thank your server specifically for helping you with your dietary needs. If you think your server went above and beyond to help you, let the manager know, or leave a review online.
Video: What I Eat in a Day | Healthy & Grain-Free | December 2016
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