This gluten free cooking guide is intended to help you get started on the diet while you are reading and learning. It is focused on foods that are easy to digest, giving brands and
recipes you can use.
Gluten free lunch ideas for school are also listed for those
who's children need to be gluten free. It is an effort to give
you a little breathing room, while you continue reading about
the foods to avoid, how to prepare your kitchen, and what to
expect. You can use the menu plan on page 2 for a week, a
month, or however long it takes for you to feel comfortable
enough to branch out a bit. However it is still important to
learn the finer points of following the diet.
Before You Start
Things you need to know before using this quick start guide:
If you plan to get tested for Celiac disease, you
should do that before going gluten free. You must be eating
gluten during the test in order for it to be accurate. So if
you are going to get tested, do it before starting the diet.
The condiments you have must be replaced with brand new
jars or bottles. When you have used mayonnaise, for
example, and made a sandwich, you have most likely gotten
some crumbs from your bread into it. That kind of cross
contamination is not safe on the diet. So anything that has
had a knife put into it, or touched foods containing gluten,
will need to be replaced.
If others in the house continue to eat gluten, then the new
jar or bottle must be marked for gluten free use only.
A separate cupboard for other foods, and a shelf in the
refrigerator, should be cleaned and dedicated to gluten free
A gluten free dish soap like Palmolive, and a new sponge
or scrubby will be required. They should be kept for use on
gluten free dishes only. Wash them first or separately.
It's important that foods are situated so that crumbs,
flour dust, or other gluten containing foods can't fall or
drip onto them.
For gluten free cooking, do not use cast iron, scratched
Teflon, or other items that have a porous surface if they
have previously been used to cook foods that contain
gluten. They will cross contaminate your food.
Colanders and toasters are something you will need to
replace, or have a new one for gluten free use only.
Prepared foods that are quick to make are usually not
safe for the diet. In the beginning, with sore intestines,
it is best to stick with home cooked meals that are not
heavily spiced, deep fried, or have very acidic sauces.
It means a lot of home cooking from scratch.
Gluten free breads and baked goods taste very different
from wheat based products. It will take some time to
get accustomed to the difference. They can also be
hard to digest in the beginning. It is better to use
other foods while healing.
In the very first weeks, however, you will crave bread and
baked goods, so a gluten free version is still better than
giving in to a craving for wheat. Any wheat will further
damage your intestines and body.
Gluten Free Cooking Helpful Hints
Most gluten free breads will require warming or toasting before
use. If you have a toaster oven you can temporarily clean it
and use aluminum foil to avoid cross contamination when
warming gluten free breads. Udi's bread can be used without
warming, and you can find it online or at Whole Foods.
A gluten free rice flour blend will be needed for
some of the recipes. Sweet rice flour and potato flour (and
also potato starch) are also used, and these are also available
some health food stores like Whole Foods, or online grocer's
like the Gluten Free Mall below.
Please note that purchases made through the links on this site
may result in a small commission which helps to cover the cost
of operating and maintaining the site. Thank you in advance for
Most of the other items on the menu list are available at
WalMart and other grocery stores. For more information on
Gluten Free Kitchen
you can read this section.
It's a good idea to freeze some of your bread in individual
servings to make it handy to take out and thaw when needed. I
use sandwich bags inside a freezer bag.
The meal ideas listed below can be used in any order you wish.
If you want to make a substitution, check the shopping section
for acceptable alternatives. The next page has a
Menu and Shopping List
to help you with your gluten free cooking.
For many people with Celiac disease, the damage to the villi in
the intestines will make it difficult to digest milk, for
several months. If you are still uncomfortable after a week
on this menu, try to see if milk products are in the meal you
just had. If so, you can try using Lactaid or other lactose
free milks. If you still have trouble, you can use Pacific
brand Rice Milk or Almond Milk instead. (Also at Whole Foods or
Unprocessed raw meats, vegetables, and fruits are naturally
gluten free, and milk also. Plain canned/frozen vegetables as
well. Avoid vegetables that are flavored or mixed with
sauces. Aim for nutritionally complete meals as much as
possible, your body needs them.
When serving a family meal, prepare the gluten free plate first
to avoid cross contamination. It's a good idea to wash and
store plates, utensils, etc. in a separate place to keep them
Meal ideas are listed below. The next page will have a gluten
free menu plan and the shopping list.
Bacon and eggs, with gluten free toast if desired.
Sausage and eggs, with rice cakes
Omelet with diced ham and grated cheese
Gluten Free Cereal and Milk or Milk Substitute, banana
Warm leftovers from previous dinner if none of the above appeals to you.
Rice Cakes or GF Toast with peanut or nut butter and fruit spread or jelly.
Rice cakes with cream cheese and sliced strawberries
Gluten Free Pancakes and bacon (see recipe)
The following suggestions can be used for school lunches
as well as work/home lunches. It is important to have a new
lunch bag with a thermos and freezer pack to keep foods at safe
temperatures. One with 2 or more compartments is helpful. If
your child needs to bring their lunch, make sure you explain to
them that they cannot swap lunch items with others and eat
foods not on the diet.
Hot foods for the thermos should be heated to at least 140
degrees farenheit before putting them into the thermos to keep
them at a safe temperature. For cold foods, the freezer pack
will keep them safe for several hours. It's a good idea
to have extra freezer packs that you can keep in the freezer in
case you forget to put it back in after school.
Peanut or nut butter and fruit spread or jelly on
Udi's bread, and a banana or apple
Tuna salad and rice cakes or corn chips and grapes
or other fruit
Turkey sandwich with lettuce leaf on Udi's bread or
rice cakes, and fresh fruit salad
Beef Stew (homemade or Dinty Moore, heated) and an
Egg salad (or egg salad sandwich on Udi's bread) and
yogurt or a gluten free fruit bar
Ham and Cheese sandwich on Udi's bread with potato
chips and applesauce
Chicken Soup (heated) and salad, dressing on the side
in separate container, muffin or 2 cookies
Grilled or Baked Chicken chunks, add to lettuce salad
with Italian dressing
Cooked hot dogs sliced lengthwise and made into
sandwich and chips or raw vegetables (if tolerated)
Cottage Cheese and canned peaches (on the side) or
applesauce. Use Lactaid version if needed.
Take a romaine or other leaf lettuce leaf and some
turkey lunch meat and roll them into a lunch roll, with some
chips on the side.
Please note that salads and raw vegetables may not be well
digested for the first week or longer, depending on how badly
the intestines are damaged. If they are uncomfortable, leave
them for later as an option.
The tuna and egg salad are made with mayonnaise or Miracle
Whip, and you can add a teaspoon of Vlasic sweet or dill
relish if desired. If you can tolerate tomatoes, they are a
nice addition to the grilled chicken salad.
Yogurt should have live cultures to help digestion. Choose plain
cream cheese for now to avoid confusion. Avoid pasta for the
first few weeks, unless you want to use gluten free elbows in
your tuna salad, and you've bought a new colander to rinse them
If you have eggs for breakfast, choose a lunch that doesn't
include them. On days with cereal for breakfast, choose a
lunch that includes meat, tuna or eggs.
For the first few weeks, life will be simpler if you make gluten
free meals for the whole family. My recipes for Chicken and
Rice, and Beef stew will require weekend days or your days off
to prepare. Portions can be set aside before serving to
provide a lunch for the next day, or frozen for another time.
If you make meals that contain gluten some days, or bring home
something prepared, the frozen portion of a previous meal can
be served to the person that is gluten free. If you are going
to bake or grill chicken, cook a few extra pieces to use for
lunches and salads.
It is best to start with the lighter meals and work up to
Chicken Soup with vegetables and rice (Quick Chicken Soup)
Baked Chicken, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy and
Beef Stew (See Recipe or use Dinty Moore brand)
Roast Beef, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy and a
Chicken and Rice and a vegetable (See Recipe)
Fried Rice (Ground Beef and Chinese vegetables with
Chicken Stir Fry with rice
Pork Chops, Zatarain's Garden Vegetable Rice Mix,
and a vegetable
Meat Loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a vegetable
Shepherd's Pie (ground beef, mashed potatoes,
mushroom white sauce) and a vegetable (See White Sauce Recipe)
Steak, baked potato, and green salad
Pot Roast, homemade gravy
Chicken and Dumplings (using Gluten Free Bisquick),
fruit for dessert