So you’ve made the decision to go gluten-free.
You’ve just made a huge step in improving your health, especially if you are living with an autoimmune disease, mental health issues, or ASD.
At first, it can feel a bit overwhelming. All of your go-to staples like bread and cereal are suddenly ripped away from you, and it’s easy to feel like it’s all too hard.
I’ve put together my top 5 tips to help you get started.
1. Read Labels
It all begins here. Reading labels.
There is the obvious to look out for, things like “gluten” and “wheat”, but there are many other ingredients that you’ll find on labels that contain gluten, but don’t scream it at you.
Some examples are malt (including malt vinegar), barley, glucose, miso, soy sauce and many more.
It’s absolutely vital that you do your homework and know all the “alias” names of gluten so that you don’t accidently eat it.
2. Be Prepared
Being prepared will be your saviour, particularly when eating outside the home. For the first couple of weeks, I recommend staying home where you know the ingredients of everything you are eating and you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.
When you do venture out, if you are unsure of what will be available for you, take your own food with you. Even the most well-intentioned family and friends often don’t understand that yes, a little bit does matter, and they may not be aware of how sick hidden gluten can make you.
3. Think Outside the Square
It’s time to get creative.
It’s easy to fall into a rut with food and eat the same things over and over, so when they are suddenly not an option, it can feel like there is nothing left to eat.
Breakfast can be challenging if you’ve been eating toast and cereal for years. Why not try something new? Bacon and eggs (just check the label on the bacon) are great on the weekend, smoothies can be made ahead and frozen in icecube trays, ready to be blitzed in the morning for a super-fast breakfast on the go, and chia pudding is another great breakfast that can be made a day or two beforehand (and it’s a great excuse to start your day with chocolate!)
4. Make Sure You Eat
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making when they are still finding their new “normal” after going gluten-free, is skipping meals. When they can’t have their regular chicken and salad sandwich, it can be all too easy to just skip lunch altogether instead of having to come up with something new.
This is where tip number 2 – Being Prepared comes into play. Make sure you have a few options in the fridge and pantry, or if you like to buy your lunch, find somewhere near work that caters to the gluten-free crowd.
5. Meal Plan
My final tip will help make sure you don’t miss any meals because you don’t have anything at your fingertips.
I’ve been meal planning for years – even before we went gluten, dairy & soy-free, and it really does make life so much easier.
By planning your meals, you know you’ll always have something “safe” to eat, so you won’t have to go hungry or eat something you know you shouldn’t. It also saves you money, especially given the price of gluten-free snacks if you’re caught out and need to buy something on the run.
Now you have the top 5 tips to make going gluten-free as fuss-free as possible. If you need more support, such as help with reading labels, easy family-friendly recipes, helping your child navigate other kid’s gluten-containing birthday parties and more, get on the VIP list for my upcoming 6 Weeks to Gluten & Dairy-free. I’ve got all the tips, techniques and sneaky ideas to make the transition smooth, stress-free, affordable and tasty (no cardboard flavoured gluten-free products I promise!!!)