The Easiest Way to Avoid Gluten
Ok, what I’m about to say probably isn’t the most glamorous thing or the most popular view, but it is true: the easiest way to avoid gluten is to eat as close to natural as possible. If you keep your meals basic and stick to simply prepared protein, vegetables, and fruit, your meals are naturally gluten free. Add in some starch in the form of rice or potatoes to round it out if you want.
When a person learns she has to avoid gluten, I think the first instinct is to frantically start looking for gluten free alternatives to all your “regular” foods. I know that’s what happened in my house. We panicked and started searching for gluten free cookies, cakes, breads, flours, pizzas…. you get the picture. Now, we did discover some really great-tasting alternatives to gluten, but there was a flip side: we were eating an awful lot of highly processed foods. And we were spending a ton of money.
Over time, we realized that our meals could be much simpler, cheaper, and in many cases, tastier if we just went back to basics. We try to eat things as close to their natural state as often as possible and reserve the processed “goodies” for special occasions. We find that we’re feeling better, saving money, and enjoying our food even more. Another fabulous side effect? We spend even more time together in the kitchen, preparing and eating our homecooked meals! (We still keep handy boxed and frozen gf favorites around for days when we don’t have time for a full-blown cooking experience.)
Our Favorite Simple GF Meals
Remember that homecooked doesn’t have to equal hours laboring over a stove. Many of these meals are (almost ) just as easy as popping a frozen meal in the microwave.
We love to bake up large baked potatoes and then set out a variety of toppings:
- Sour cream
- Cooked chicken or beef (great use of leftovers)
- Peas and carrots, broccoli, and other veggies
Prepare all of your family’s favorite salad essentials and place them in separate containers. Line them up on a bar, table, or counter buffet-style and let everyone assemble their own salad. We like to include:
- Salad greens
- Sunflower kernels
- Toasted nuts
- Leftover steak, fajita meat, taco meat, or other meat
- GF salad dressing
- Sour cream
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Strawberries and other fruit
Peas and Carrots with Stew Meat
If we’re going to be out for the day, I love to pop this in the crockpot. It’s such a nice feeling to come home to the smell of dinner!
I chop up an onion and a couple cloves of garlic. I saute these in butter in a large pan until the onion is translucent. Then I toss in about a pound and a half of stew meat and cook until the stew meat is just browned. I add a can of tomato paste and about a half cup of water. Then I pour in a bag or two of frozen peas and carrots. I stir until everything is mixed well, and then add salt and pepper to taste.
Then I pour all of this in the crockpot and cook on low for about 8 hours. I serve this over rice.
Other Family Favorites
Here are some other favorites in our house:
- Roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, corn, and salad
- Duck roasted with onion, chopped potatoes, and tomato paste; served with rice and assorted veggies
- Steak, cauliflower and broccoli mix, salad, and baked potato
- Kofta with cucumber yogurt dip and hummus; served with assorted veggies and rice
- Grilled hamburger patties without the bun, cooked with mushrooms and Swiss cheese; served with homemade fries and salad
When you’re eating this well, you hardly miss your old gluteny favorites! We do still keep gf pasta, bread, flour mixes, and even frozen meals in the house. They’re just not staples of our diet like they used to be.
What’s your favorite gf dinner?