Giving your kitchen a complete makeover may seem like a daunting task when you decide to go gluten-free. Here are some tips to help you stock your kitchen during your next grocery store trip.
Meats, Chicken, and Seafood
Fresh protein sources such as meats, poultry, and seafood are naturally gluten-free. Beware of processed meats, such as meatballs and sausages, that often contain wheat-based fillers. Check labels on prepackaged meats for gluten-containing ingredients such as wheat flour, malt vinegar, or soy sauce.
Dairy products such as milk and cheese do not contain gluten, but pay close attention to the labels of yogurt and ice cream that contain cookies, granola, pretzel pieces, or sprinkles that contain gluten.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh produce is also naturally gluten-free. Check the labels of frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables to be sure that they are not made with sauces or seasonings that contain gluten.
Breads, Cereals, and Pasta
Fortunately, many brands of gluten-free pasta, bread, and cereal can be found in your local supermarket. Experiment with different brands and varieties of these grains until you find the ones you like best since the flavor and texture is somewhat different than those products that contain wheat. Look for cereals made with rice or corn instead of wheat. Check the front of the box for the words “gluten-free” since many multigrain products also contain wheat.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts are gluten-free, and most nut butters do not have added ingredients that contain gluten, making nuts a good choice for snacks or as an added ingredient to baked goods.
Since many snack foods are made from wheat and contain gluten, search for plain chips that are made from corn or potatoes. Rice cakes and popcorn are also excellent gluten-free snacks. Avoid seasoned snack foods that are flavored with cheese and spices that may contain fillers or flavoring agents made with gluten. Multigrain chips and snacks also contain wheat, so avoid these mixed grain products.
Though unflavored coffee and tea do not contain gluten, flavored varieties of each may contain it. Barley malt, which can be used as a sweetener or flavoring agent, contains gluten, so be sure to look for this ingredient on the label of your favorite beverage.
Condiments that are safe to use include ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles, olives, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar. Read the ingredient listing carefully on all dressings and sauces, since many are thickened with wheat. Be sure that the label says “gluten-free.”
When cleaning out your pantry, be sure to stock your gluten free kitchen with the following essentials you will need to prepare meals and snacks:
- Heart healthy vegetable oils such as olive and canola oil
- Sweeteners to include sugar, maple syrup, honey, and jelly
- Thickening agents such as potato starch, cornstarch, and arrowroot flour
- Whole grains such as cornmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and gluten-free oats
- Gluten-free soups and broth
- Herbs and spices, salt and pepper, and gluten-free flour blends and baking mixes
The Bottom Line
Overhauling your kitchen to become gluten-free may seem overwhelming at first, but utilizing these simple tips on your next grocery store trip will help you to manage your new way of eating. Since gluten is not only found in wheat, but also in rye, spelt, barley, and triticale, becoming a savvy label-reader of packaged products is the best way to ensure that you are avoiding gluten-containing foods.
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Carmen Roberts, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is a registered dietitian, receiving her undergraduate degree in dietetics from James Madison University and her master’s degree in health education and administration from Towson University. She is a certified specialist in adult weight management and teaches cooking classes. Carmen enjoys educating her clients about how nutrition affects the body and its role in overall health and wellness. She also loves volunteering, including as a Girl Scout troop leader.