Eating a balanced diet is essential for everyone, but it's especially important for those on a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). It can cause serious health problems for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. A gluten-free diet can help reduce symptoms and heal damage to the small intestine.
The Essential Vitamins and Minerals Your Body Needs
When following a gluten-free diet, it's vital to ensure you get all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, certain whole grains, dairy products, oils, fresh meat, fish, and poultry are all naturally gluten-free foods that provide essential nutrition. Additionally, many delicious foods, such as eggs, fish, meat, and potatoes, are safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet. It's also essential to read labels carefully when shopping for food, as some processed foods may contain hidden sources of gluten.
Other Ways to Ensure You’re Getting Enough Nutrients
In addition to eating plenty of fruits and vegetables each day, there are other ways to ensure you're getting enough nutrients while on a gluten-free diet. Eating fortified foods such as cereals or bread made from alternative grains like rice or quinoa can help you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Taking supplements may also be beneficial if you cannot get enough nutrients from food alone.
Be Mindful of Portion Sizes
It's also important to pay attention to portion sizes when eating a balanced gluten-free diet. Overeating of any food group can lead to an unbalanced diet that doesn't provide enough nutrition for optimal health. Aiming for variety in your meals by including different types of proteins (such as beans or nuts), carbohydrates (like sweet potatoes or brown rice), and healthy fats (like avocados or olive oil) will help ensure you're getting all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs without overeating of any one type of food.
For example, P2 Eat Smart offers a tasty selection of high-protein foods with easy-to-measure portion sizes, including:
- Powerful Penne
- Fabulous Fusilli
- High-Protein Chocolate Croissant
- Optimal Orzo
- Toned Toast
- Heroic Hazelnut Protein Cocoa Spread
- Shredded Spaghetti
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Don’t Forget About Snacks
Finally, don't forget about snacks! Snacking throughout the day can help keep hunger at bay while providing extra nutrition between meals. Choose snacks high in fiber, like fruit or nuts, and snacks that contain protein, such as cheese or hard-boiled eggs.
Eating a balanced gluten-free diet is possible with some planning and preparation! By choosing nutritious whole foods like fruits and vegetables along with fortified grains and taking supplements when needed, you can get all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs without eating gluten!