Gluten-Free Diet: Alternatives to Wheat in Menu Planning
If you suffer from celiac disease or a milder form of wheat intolerance allergy, planning a menu can become significantly more difficult. However, with growing numbers of people reporting some level of food allergy symptoms (wheat & being allergic to peanuts being quite common), it’s becoming easier than ever to eat well without feeling too restricted.
Cutting Out the Wheat when allergic to wheat
Here are some alternatives to wheat to build a healthy, delicious, and gluten-free diet around. And of course, we recommend that you see a gastroenterologist as well, since these doctors specialize in celiac disease and are the best ones to diagnose it.
Rice flour is an excellent alternative to traditional wheat-based flours. This fine, starchy flour can thicken sauces and soups and is also a great substitute for using in baked goods. Just like wheat flour, rice flour’s mild flavor will not overpower your dish.
In Arizona, corn tortillas and authentic Mexican tortillas can be found everywhere, at any grocery store. Plus, these easy-to-find snacks are extremely affordable. Corn tortillas are a great alternative to flour-based wraps and breads. The sweet, earthy flavor complements just about anything, so you needn’t stick to eating these only when making Tex-Mex food!
Baked Tortilla Chips
Tortilla chips are a delicious gluten-free snack on their own. With a bowl of salsa or guacamole on the side, you can have a yummy snack that will satisfy your cravings. Tortilla chips are also extremely versatile in the gluten-free kitchen. Crushed tortilla chips make an excellent breading alternative for dishes like fried chicken and coconut shrimp. Plus, ground tortilla chips can work as a thickening agent for sauces and soups while offering a slightly sweeter flavor than flour.
Up until recently, those who avoided gluten had a difficult time finding an alternative to wheat pasta in the grocery store. However, quinoa pasta is now widely available in major outlets across the country. Quinoa pasta requires about the same cooking time as traditional wheat pasta, and its flavor and texture is basically indistinguishable from the original.
Brown rice is an excellent and nutrient-rich alternative to gluten-filled side dishes. You can enjoy brown rice on its own or use flour produced from it to make breads and pastas.
Popcorn is a delicious gluten-free snack that is extremely filling without necessarily being heavy on the fat and sugar. With just a little salt and olive oil, a big bowl of popcorn can be deeply satisfying.
Many people are unaware that soy sauce contains gluten, which when combined with the ubiquitous noodles can make Chinese food a minefield for wheat allergy sufferers. Luckily, there is an alternative to soy sauce called tamari. Like soy sauce, tamari adds deliciously savory ‘umami’ flavor to any dish, yet contains no gluten whatsoever. If you’re an avid sushi or oriental food lover, tamari will be your new best friend.
If you like your morning oatmeal, gluten-free oats provide the same texture and flavor as the traditional version. Plus, these oats can serve other purposes as well. For instance, if your meatloaf recipe calls for breadcrumbs, gluten-free oats make an excellent substitute.
Suffering from a wheat allergy can make life complicated in the kitchen, but if you want to avoid the unpleasant or dangerous symptoms, then it’s essential to cut out gluten completely. Luckily, these days there are many alternatives, and so there’s no need to feel your enjoyment of food is being restricted by your dietary requirements.
By the way, if you, or your loved one are needing food allergy testing, please contact one of our local Phoenix Metro offices for an appointment with one of our allergy specialists!