Nowadays there is a sudden craze among the youth about gluten-free meal plans, but what is it? Do you even actually need it? Here are the answers to all your queries along with the best gluten-free meal plan for 1 week and some amazing recipes. Sit back and check it out!
What is Gluten?
Before we go into gluten-free meal plans, we must have some idea about gluten. Gluten is an insoluble protein composite made up of 2 proteins named gliadin and glutenin.
- They are the proteins known as prolamins.
- They give elasticity to the flour.
- Gluten gives a soft and chewy texture to the food.
Foods to avoid in Gluten-free meal plans
Foods containing gluten must be avoided while following gluten-free meal plans. The list is provided below.
- Grains such as Wheat: whole wheat, wheat germ, wheat flour, and semolina.
- Processed food, like -Any type of bread, Noodles, cookies
- Salad dressing
- Packaged foods
- Oats (generally they are gluten-free but often it gets contaminated with gluten while being processed, so while buying it check the packaging label)
Foods you can include in gluten-free meals
The list of what to avoid includes almost all wheat-based foods and most of your favorite go-to snacks also. So, what to eat? Don’t worry, here are a lot of options for you:
- Millet, like pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), foxtail millet
- Fresh fruit
- Dairy products
- Butter, ghee
- Oils containing healthy fats, e.g., Olive oil, Avocado oil, and Coconut oil
- Oats (Check the label as gluten-free while buying)
The list of the items which you can add to your grocery shopping list is vast, right? But always remember to double-check some products.
Products to double-check:
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Previously cut veggies
- Processed meats, e.g., sausage, bacon, salami, and pepperoni
- Processed cheese and cheese products
- Any beverages with added flavors.
If you want to know more about what you can eat and what to avoid you may refer to this article.
Can Everyone follow a Gluten-free diet?
The answer is you should not follow a gluten-free diet unless and until you are diagnosed with any kind of food allergies or diseases associated with gluten. Besides having a lot of benefits, there are so many adverse effects of following this meal plan also. But we’ll come to that part later.
First, discuss who can get more benefit after following the gluten-free meal plans.
People having Celiac disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the cells of the small intestine get affected after they come into contact with gluten. People with this type of disorder can definitely follow this type of gluten-free meal plan. Researches say that almost 1% of people in the U.S. are affected by this disorder.
Gluten can cause serious adverse inflammatory and immune reactions to people who are actually sensitive to gluten. If you have any kind of wheat allergy, you may follow a gluten-free diet.
Nonceliac gluten sensitivity
This is also known as Wheat intolerance. Even if you are not affected or not diagnosed with celiac disease but there’s some problem in your body when you eat wheat products, you should avoid eating them and follow a gluten-free meal plan.
The problems one can face in this type of intolerance include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain and fatigue Although these symptoms can be associated with many other diseases also, they can’t be avoided.
1-week Gluten free meal plan
Here is the sample 1 week gluten free meal plan.
You can start your day with 1 glass of lukewarm water with lemon early in the morning.
You can have a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal in your breakfast. Garnish it with fresh fruits and nuts.
White bean soup can be on your choice list for lunch. Have some salad or 1 sliced avocado with it.
You may have grilled chicken with 2 gluten-free flatbreads.
You can have roasted fox nuts as your go-to snack.
Enjoy some banana pancakes. You can check the recipe below.
1 bowl of rice with vegetable soup.
1 serving of vegetable poha with scrambled egg white.
Avocado-yogurt dip is a good choice.
Grilled chicken tacos with salad.
Make a gluten-free pizza of your own and enjoy it.
Healthy smoothies. You may like ragi porridge, the detailed recipe is given here as well.
Kiwi blackberry fruit salad with some soaked almonds.
Mushroom Risotto with cauliflower rice. This tastes great, try this out.
Vegetable soup with 2 gluten-free flatbreads.
Sandwich (see recipe below) with 1 cup of coffee.
Mini spinach frittatas.
Zucchini noodles with boiled or scrambled egg.
A chicken quinoa bowl.
Have a cup of green tea with some roasted chickpeas.
Chia pudding is a good option.
A bowl of brown rice and vegetable with Greek yogurt.
White bean soup with some salad.
Quinoa chocolate crisp is a delicious dessert option. Here is the recipe.
Have some homemade banana pancakes.
1 bowl of zucchini noodles with a boiled egg.
1 serving of chicken quinoa bowl.
Any fruits of your choice. This is one of the best snack ideas for a healthy lifestyle.
You can give it a try or you can personalize it according to your choice and routine and make your own meal plans. For more meal plans you can check out this video.
Some delicious recipes for gluten-free meal plans
If you are following a gluten-free lifestyle, you’ll probably like these delicious meals. Here are some meal prep recipes. Surely you can’t resist cooking these delicious dishes.
Gluten-free Banana Pancake
Ripe banana, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, eggs, salt, oats powder (make sure they are gluten-free), or buckwheat flour as a substitute for oats powder, cinnamon powder.
Peel off the bananas, slice them into pieces and mash well. Use one medium, or, one or two of the mini ones for serving of 2-3 people.
Add 1 egg and two tablespoons of buckwheat flour or gluten-free oats powder. Add 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon. If you are vegetarian and don’t consume eggs, you may add baking soda, baking powder, or Greek yogurt in the required amount. Now mix them well using a blender or even you can use a fork.
Add cooking oil to a frying pan. Heat it in medium flame, and put the batter into patches. After one side is cooked well, turn each of them and wait for the other side to be cooked well.
Your banana pancake is ready. Easy, isn’t it? Serve them with some sliced banana and enjoy!
Are you craving a sandwich? Unfortunately, you are not allowed to have wheat bread in your gluten-free diet. Don’t be so upset, we are providing you with a healthy recipe that doesn’t contain gluten. Check out.
- Parboiled rice (3 cups)
- fenugreek seed (1/2 tablespoon)
- black gram (1 cup)
- Veggies of your choice
- Cooking oil
Step I : Prepare the batter
- Take the rice and fenugreek seed in a bowl and add water to it and soak it for 6 hours.
- In another bowl take the black gram, add water to it and soak it for 4 hours.
- Blend the soaked rice and the soaked gram separately and turn them into two smooth batters.
- Mix them well and keep the mixture for fermentation for 8 hours.
- Mix the fermented batter slightly and scoop the required amount of batter.
You can refrigerate the leftovers for 1 week and use them when needed. Take out the leftovers from the freeze 2-3 hours before using it.
Step II: Prepare the Sandwich
- Chop the vegetables, add them to the batter and add salt to taste.
- Grease your pan with cooking oil and put the batter in patches. Cook it well on both sides. Make two for 1 serving.
- Add beans, onions, carrot, tomatoes, lettuce or any veggies between them and your snack is ready.
You can also have it as pizza, just add some healthy cheese and grab it!
Here is another without gluten quinoa bread recipe, you may like it.
Chicken Quinoa Bowl
- Quinoa: 1-2 cup
- Veggies including tomato, onion, and green leafy vegetables
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
Step I: Prepare the chicken and veggies
- Marinate the chicken with salt, the spices mentioned, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Saute onions in a pan.
- After the onion is cooked, add chicken and tomato to it.
- When the chicken is cooked well, put it aside and add the vegetables of your choice to the pan, cook it for a few minutes.
Step II: Prepare the quinoa
Add 1.5 cups of water for every cup of quinoa. Put it in a deep pan and cook it for 15 minutes on low heat.
Step III: Prepare the bowl
Now, mix the cooked quinoa with the chicken and vegetables. The delicious chicken quinoa bowl for a perfect lunch or dinner is ready.
Are you looking for a quick, healthy, budget-friendly breakfast or afternoon drink option? Ragi Porridge is probably one of the best choices. This easy-to-make recipe is also a savior for hostel students.
Ragi or, finger millet powder, water, salt, coconut milk or curd (optional), cinnamon powder (optional), jaggery (optional)
Take 2-3 tablespoons of ragi powder in a bowl, add a half bowl of water to it and mix well.
Take another pan and add 1 bowl of water to it. Add the previous mixture to it and stir in low flame for 7-9 min until it gets a glossy consistency.
After that pour it into a glass or cup and add a pinch of salt to taste. You may add jaggery and cinnamon powder also to enhance the flavor. You can also add curd or coconut milk to it to make it more delicious.
Apart from being gluten-free, it’s rich in iron which helps in getting rid of anemia, and also a good source of protein. Give it a try.
For more amazing recipes, check out this video.
Benefits you can get from following a gluten-free diet
There are lots of researches claiming that the gluten-free meal plan can actually control much more disorders than we can think. Let’s have a look.
- They help in autoimmune disorders.
- It helps in decreasing joint pain and inflammation. As a result, it can show positive results in the case of Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Although it is not scientifically proven yet, some anecdotal reports claim it to be helpful in the cases of Autistic children.
- May be helpful to women having endometriosis or pelvic pain.
- The gluten-free meals are helpful in IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), and other digestive disorders, and also in Colitis and Piles. If you want to know more, you may refer to this article.
- People having normal digestion issues like bloating, gastritis and indigestion may get benefit from this meal plan.
- Gluten-free meals also help in ADHD. What is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder? Do you want to learn more? Check out this amazing article from our website.
Cons of having gluten-free meals
Besides having so many positive sides, there are also so many cons of this type of diet plan.
#1 Nutrition Deficiency
A gluten-free diet can cause serious nutritional deficiencies if not followed properly.
#2 Mineral Deficiency
If your gluten-free lifestyle is not followed properly and not under supervision, it can cause a deficiency of Zinc, Iron, Folate, Niacin, and fiber in the diet.
#3 Problems with Packaged foods
Most of the packaged gluten-free foods contain additives, like- sugar, sodium, saturated fats to enhance the flavor and increase their shelf life. These make them a poor choice in PCOD or, PCOS and normal cases also.
Common queries regarding the Gluten-free diet are answered!
I want to lose weight: Will this meal plan help me?
There are some disagreements among people about this topic. Some believe that gluten-free meals do help in weight loss and some say, no! It’s not possible. So, what to believe?
Although there is hardly any research on how a gluten-free diet affects weight loss, researchers collected the data of healthy nonceliac gluten intolerant patients, and we may come to a rough conclusion from this. So not just going by what people say, let’s check out the conclusions of the reports.
>1 Increased rate of Weight loss
It was seen that people following a gluten-free diet had an increased rate of weight loss and their waist circumference measurement also came out to be less than before.
>2 Increased level of Good Cholesterol
Increased level of good cholesterol was found in people following a gluten-free meal plan. When present in a healthy amount, the good cholesterol or the HDL (High-Density Cholesterol) cleans up the arterial plaque and the other unwanted cholesterol in our body.
>3 Keep a track of your Calorie
If you really want to lose weight, you have to follow a calorie-restricted diet, irrespective of whatever the diet plan is. No exception in this case too.
>4 Exercise is the key
Researches say that people who lost weight by following this type of diet plan also scheduled time for exercise in their daily routine and had a calorie-restricted diet.
If you are not gluten intolerant and wanna follow this diet for weight loss, you may, but it’s always better to consult with a doctor before picking up any diet plan.
PCOD or, PCOS and Gluten-free meal plan: Is there really any relation?
Nowadays PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) or, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is common among females all over the World. PCOD is a complex disease for multiple reasons, like- inflammation, insulin resistance, sedentary lifestyle. Apart from hormonal imbalance and irregularity in the menstrual cycle, it can also cause infertility and acne problems, excessive hair growth if left untreated.
Proper diet and proper lifestyle can control the problem as there is no proper cure for this disease to date.
As of now, there is no evidence that having gluten in your diet can actually worsen your PCOS. But studies say that regular consumption of food with gluten may increase the chance of inflammation and increase the risk of autoimmune diseases in your body.
So if you are diagnosed with PCOD and you are planning to go for a gluten-free diet, the best you can do is consult your gynecologist or any certified nutritionist. They will guide you the best because these cases vary with patient history.
Some small Tips
>1 Gluten-free meal plan should only be followed when you have confirmed gluten intolerance or been diagnosed with celiac disease.
>2 Do not go for a gluten-free diet to check whether you are intolerant to gluten or you have celiac disease. If you feel the symptoms, go to your doctor and get yourself diagnosed. If the doctor recommends following a gluten-free diet, then only you should give it a try.
>3 A gluten-free label on the packaging doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Try to have homemade foods, eat healthy meals, stay healthy and stay happy!
REMEMBER, It is always better to consult a certified nutritionist or a doctor before picking up any meal plan.
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Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.