This post is for those of you who feel that way. :) Actually, I'm not gluten-free, but two of my children are gluten-free and another one, plus my husband are transitioning to gluten-free. In the beginning of our gluten-free journey, my daughter thought she was going to starve, and she felt like giving up. But we knew we had found the answer to her health problems, so giving up was really not an option.
So, we went shopping and bought her all the things labled "gluten-free" that we could find, which cost a smallfortune a lot. Those things are handy, and we still use some of them, but what's even better is knowing what you can use that you probably already have on hand, or at least things you usually buy anyway.
I was preparing this list for family members who are trying to avoid gluten, and I thought I'd share it for those of you who may be feeling overwhelmed, like we did at first. This list is by no means exhaustive, and through learning and being creative, you will find endless possibilities. But if you're new at this, (unless you're a professional chef, in which case this process is a piece of *gluten-free* cake for you) you can use this as your gluten-free-rookie's-survival-guide. I wish I had it two years ago! It's been our experience that the first month is the hardest. But you can do it! :) Easy Gluten-Free Menu Options:
***Note: ALWAYS read the labels on packages and ask quesions at restaurants, especially if you are very sensitive to gluten. Example: My daughter found out that some restaurants put pancake batter in scrambled eggs to make them fluffier. Pancake batter=gluten. Who woulda thought?
***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or nutritionist. These are things that have worked for us. Do research and check with your doctor if you have celiac disease to see what is safe for you.
Hashbrowns (not hashbrown casserole, unless you check ingredients)
Bacon, Ham, Sausage
Rice (not preseasoned)
Some Cereals (ex. Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, and others that say GF and you can read the ingredients if they don't say GF)
GF Pancakes (using a GF mix such as GF Bisquick or make your own using GF flour) or GF Waffles
GF Frozen Waffles or GF PopTarts sold in some grocery stores
Salad with GF Dressing
Sandwich (using GF Bread) Grilled Pizza (in a corn tortilla)
Quesadilla (in a corn tortilla)
Soup (homemade or a GF canned version, such as Progresso-it will say gluten free on the label)
Pasta Salad (made with GF pasta)
Hot Dog (no bun or GF bun)
Burger (no bun or GF bun)
*Ask restaurants to bring your burger without a bun, but with a knife and fork, or wrapped in lettuce.
Grilled chicken nuggets
*When eating out for lunch, a Mexican restaurant is a great choice, because you get to eat lots of chips & salsa and guacamole and rice, and many things on the menu are made with corn tortillas, like enchiladas. Ask the waiter about your menu item of choice, just to be sure!
Any meat that's not breaded or seasoned with regular (wheat) flour
*This means avoid fried chicken.
Steamed, baked, boiled, or grilled veggies
Homemade soup (without adding flour to thicken, unless it's GF flour)
Taco Salad Fried Tortillas (to garnish your soup, chili, salad, or taco salad)
Enchiladas, made with corn tortillas
GF SpaghettiRice (not preseasoned)
Potatoes (Baked, Boiled, Fried, Roasted)
GF Mac-n-Cheese (Buy the GF elbow macaroni, cook, and add velveeta.)
Stir-fried Meat and Veggies
Grilled, Boiled, or Sauteed Seafood
Fried fish (fried in CORN MEAL only)
Meatloaf (without flour added) Cornbread
Nachos & Cheese
Chips & Salsa
Granola (homemade or check label for wheat)
Potato Chips (plain or check ingredients for wheat)
GF snacks from the grocery store, GF section
Maybe this short list will at least get you through the tough just-getting-started stage. Like us, you will learn and add to it often. Learning to make things from scratch helps tremendously, and it teaches children some great home-ec skills. It has become a fun challenge for us: making new tasty, inexpensive, gluten-free, and (preferably) easy meals and snacks. But in the meantime, I wouldn't want anyone to starve! ;)