When making a gluten-free meal plan, it is important to find items the entire household will enjoy if everyone in a family is eating a gluten-free diet. If living alone or with a family, it is important to make a list of the large variety of healthy and natural gluten-free foods like vegetables, fruits and animal products. Finding gluten-free pastas and breads, as well as other snack foods at your local grocery store, will also make it easier to help replace gluten ingredients in recipes. Creating a gluten-free menu that includes a variety of foods will help ensure that the meal plan does not become boring or tedious.
The most daunting task of making a gluten-free meal plan is finding foods that you or your family like, depending on who is changing their lifestyle and eating habits. Whether an entire family or just one person is making a gluten-free meal plan, it is important to make a detailed list of enjoyed foods that are naturally gluten-free. Naturally gluten-free foods include fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as animal products like dairy and meat. This can help create a safe gluten-free base that can accompany future breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
It is also important when making a gluten-free meal plan to find sources of grain products that are also gluten-free, though this can be more difficult than finding vegetables, fruits and animal products. Since gluten-free pasta, bread and packaged snacks are considered specialty items, it may take more effort to find, depending on the store or area. Most recipes that use pasta or bread can easily be substituted with these gluten-free varieties, and usually do not sacrifice flavor or texture. Many dessert recipes using crushed breadcrumbs or cookie crumbs can also be substituted with freshly ground nuts, which helps avoid gluten and improves the nutritional quality of the recipe.
Also, it may be important to consider that not all food products that would seem to be gluten-free are actually gluten-free. If you or a family member has a serious gluten allergy or suffers from celiac disease, it is important to only consume products that have been certified to be gluten-free. A gluten-free meal plan contains foods that have only been processed in facilities that do not process grains like wheat, barley or rye. All of these grains contain gluten and can cross contaminate a food during processing, which often results in allergy symptoms in those suffering from gluten intolerance.