NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Is it Gluten Free?

Is it Gluten Free?


                It's one of the most buzzed-about diets today—but how do you get started eating a gluten-free diet? While less than one percent of Americans have celiac disease and follow a gluten-free diet as a medical necessity, more of us are ditching the bread for other reasons. One in five Americans say they try to eat gluten-free foods, while one in six avoid gluten altogether, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.

                What does a healthy gluten-free diet look like? Foods recommended for those following a gluten-free diet are similar to healthful foods suggested for the general population — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, eggs, plant-based proteins — such as beans, nuts and seeds — fish and lean cuts of poultry and meat. The only difference is that those following a gluten-free diet have to steer clear of wheat, rye and barley when making their choices.

                Fruits and Vegetables - Think beyond fresh to meet your family’s fruit and vegetable needs. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, without added sugar or salt, are as nutritious as fresh produce. Also, shop locally at farmers markets for the best deals on fresh produce.

                Protein- Low-cost protein sources are critical for sticking to your budget. Great choices for protein while staying under budget are dried beans, lentils and peas. Alone or used as a substitute for ground beef dishes, these are options to keep the protein but reduce the expense of meat.

Eggs also are a cost-effective, high-quality protein. Canned salmon and tuna can help your family meet the recommended two servings of fish per week at a fraction of the cost of purchasing fresh seafood.

                Grains- Ancient grains are all the rage, but tried-and-true favorites cost less while offering great nutrition. Corn and rice are good everyday options, and are available in whole-grain form, such as whole-grain cornmeal and brown rice. Supermarket sales and buying in bulk allow you to supplement with more expensive gluten-free grains such as quinoa, millet, sorghum and buckwheat.

                Meal Planning Tips

  • Make gluten-free versions of convenience foods, including breads, baked goods, sauces, dressings and soups. Cook in large quantities and refrigerate or freeze until needed.
  • Invest in a few gluten-free cookbooks. You'll overcome the cost by saving money on groceries. You can also check out cookbooks from your local library and see which ones you'd like to buy.
  • Plan gluten-free meals for the entire family and avoid purchasing both "regular" and gluten-free versions of the same foods.
  • A whole-wheat bagel is obviously not gluten-free, but you might be surprised that some of your other favorite foods aren't either. Watch out for flavored nuts and chips (the seasoning often contains gluten), energy bars (with non-gluten-free oats), creamy soups (flour may be used as a thickener), candy, salad dressings, marinades and soy sauce. If you're vegetarian, you might eat a lot of fake meats (veggie bacon!), but know that these are often made with seitan, which is wheat gluten.

Chocolate Mint Chex Mix

(Courtesy the Celiac Disease Foundation)




  • In large microwavable bowl, measure cereal. Set aside. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper.
  • In medium microwavable bowl, microwave mint chips uncovered on Medium (50%) about 1 minute, stir. Microwave an additional 15 seconds at a time, until chocolate is mostly melted and can be stirred smooth. Pour over cereal, evenly coating pieces.
  • Microwave uncovered on High 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Spread on waxed paper; cool 5 minutes. Stir in candies. Store tightly covered.
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