Do you have Celiac disease or are you on a strict gluten-free diet? Do you think a diet free of gluten is tasteless, boring, or hard to follow? Think again!
Thanks to gluten-free swaps, or food substitutes without gluten, you can keep eating the foods you love without the proteins that may be causing you pain, inflammation or discomfort. We’ll look at some different gluten-free alternatives to help you create a diet that is not only best for your body, but tastes good, too.
What is Gluten Anyway?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. A gluten-free diet is mainly used to treat Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where the consumption of gluten causes damage to the small intestine.
For people living with Celiac disease or who have a sensitivity to gluten, eating a gluten-free diet isn’t a choice, but necessary since gluten wreaks havoc on their digestive system. Others also choose to go gluten-free for a variety of reasons, such as losing weight or improving their mood.
Whatever your reason for your new lifestyle, here are some gluten-free swaps you can try today:
Swiss Chard for Burger Buns
You know someone is “going gluten-free” when they order a hamburger on a piece of lettuce. They want that same bun and burger experience without the gluten and so often, traditional lettuce is the gluten-free substitute. However, even the most robust romaine leaf can’t hold up to a burger, forcing you to eat a meat salad with a knife and fork rather than enjoying a delicious burger experience.
Instead, try swiss chard tortillas as your “bun” of choice. It is strong enough to hold everything in place and doesn’t have the carbohydrates and processed grains like gluten-free wraps or tortillas. You will also get a healthy dose of vitamin K, A, and C in addition to essential minerals your body needs.
Vegetable Noodles for Pasta
Many people struggle to find a swap for pasta when going gluten-free, craving that beloved Italian dish but not the wheat that naturally comes with traditional noodles. Thanks to spiralizers that transform vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant into spaghetti, you can create your own gluten-free pasta in minutes – and you don’t even need to boil!
Not the biggest fan of your veggies in noodle form? Try rice noodles! Low in fat and calories, they add a familiar pasta-like texture to your favorite dishes. You won’t even miss the real thing!
Crushed Almonds for Breadcrumbs
Almonds are the answer for a breadcrumb alternative to use when frying or baking your gluten-free meals! Almond meal gives you that same coating, while adding some additional health benefits like healthy fats, vitamin E, and plant protein.
Cauliflower Crust for Pizza Crust
Delicious gluten-free pizza is possible thanks to cauliflower crust. This unconventional ingredient creates that same crunchy base required to host your favorite pizza toppings, while skipping the refined carbohydrates, making this a great healthy alternative.
Popcorn for Afternoon Snacks
Popcorn is an easy gluten-free snack to take the place of your wheat-based staples like pretzels and crackers. It can give you that crunchy afternoon snack you crave, with a good dose of fiber. Avoid microwave popcorn and instead, purchase organic popcorn kernels and make your own!
Coconut Aminos for Soy Sauce
For those that love stir-fry, try replacing your soy sauce with coconut aminos, it will give you that same salty flavor with less than half of the sodium content! These sauces are gluten-free and will create that familiar Asian experience without the gluten.
Potato Croutons for Regular Croutons
Who doesn’t love a crunchy crouton on top of a salad? You can still get that crunch by replacing the traditional bread-based crouton with potato croutons instead. Simply cut any kind of potato, even sweet potatoes if you prefer, and season them with salt, pepper, parsley, and garlic and then roast them to create that crunchy texture.
Avocado Brownies for Regular Brownies
Dessert is still possible on a gluten-free diet, it may just look different to you now that you’re avoiding traditional flour-based cakes, cookies and pastries. A gluten-free favorite is an avocado brownie. The thought of adding something green to this chocolate dessert may sound unappealing, but we promise – you can’t even taste the avocado. Instead of flour, swap in a ripe avocado for a deliciously fudgy brownie that is also packed with healthy fats. Avocado brownies aren’t the only option, try almond butter cookies or use those handy almonds again to create an almond crust and bake your favorite pie!
Sweet Potatoes for Toast
This might sound like a weird swap, but this trend is catching on quickly. Cut a sweet potato into 1/4” thick slices and pop them down in a toaster! The sweetness from the potatoes gives it a little extra flavor and you can still maintain the familiar crunch. Top it with anything of your choosing – the same rules apply. Top it with a fried egg or some almond butter and you have a gluten-free (and grain-free) piece of toast.
Quinoa for High-Carb Dishes
Last, but certainly not least is quinoa. This superfood is a pseudo-grain that is one of the most nutrient-dense carbs available today with six grams of protein per cup making it a perfect option for those who can’t eat pasta, but also want to stay away from carb-rich rice. It also contains all nine essential amino acids and is high in lysine, an amino acid that helps to repair muscles after strenuous activity. The best thing about quinoa? You can eat it for any meal of the day! Some people eat it for breakfast with a side of fruit, while others create hearty quinoa side dishes at dinner to replace their typical pasta-based concoctions.
Keep it interesting!
Gluten-free swaps like these can help make your new diet a delicious one. Do you have any to add to this list? Share your swaps below in the comment section to help others learn how easy it is to eat gluten-free.