Going gluten-free can seem like a difficult task - and the best way to tackle it is by creating a meal plan. Sarah Howells, from The Gluten-Free Blogger, has put together this handy meal planner to get you started.
Whether you have coeliac disease like me, an intolerance to gluten, or are trying to avoid gluten through choice, the best way to stick to a gluten-free diet is to come up with a plan so you don’t veer off track. Here’s my handy meal planner with some ideas for every meal.
Need something quick and easy for a weekday morning? Try whipping up these gluten-free breakfasts before work or the school run. I often find it easier when I prepare my food the night before, and then I can just serve it up while I sip my morning coffee and adjust to daylight!
Overnight oats are a really easy breakfast to prepare the night before. Try soaking gluten-free oats in almond milk with honey and blueberries, and then warm them up in the morning. This is my favourite wintertime treat for those darker mornings.
Omelette is my go-to breakfast. If I know I’m up early, I’ll mix up eggs, feta, spinach, tomato and shredded ham hock the night before in a measuring jug or bowl, and then pour it into a pan in the morning. It always keeps me full until lunchtime, which is great when I’m trying to avoid office snacks.
Often weekday lunches need to be quick, simple and portable. Eating a gluten-free diet can make it more difficult to eat on-the-go, as it’s not so easy to just grab a sandwich. In fact, most convenience food typically contains gluten, so I find it best to always be prepared and make sure I’ve got something to eat with me. And it saves money too.
One of my favourite school lunches used to be gluten-free pasta salad and I still love it today. Try mixing up tinned tuna, mayonnaise and sweetcorn with some finely chopped peppers and tomato and fresh chilli, with cooked gluten-free pasta. It’s a great weekday lunch for children and grown ups - though feel free to leave the chilli out!
A quiche is a great gluten-free option and is perfect for picnics or parties too. This Free-From quiche Lorraine is perfect for heating up at home or taking with you on the go.
I know a lot of people with coeliac disease get fed up of salads, but I really do love them. In the summer months I like to chuck loads of fresh, raw vegetables into a plastic container with smoked salmon or roast chicken and an olive oil and lemon juice dressing. In the winter, I add roasted root vegetables such as butternut squash and sweet potato cooked in honey. To me, it’s all about trying new flavour combinations to keep it exciting.
Burgers are a really easy dinner to make gluten-free as so many burgers are already free from gluten. I absolutely love the Asda sweet chilli turkey burgers in a gluten-free bun, served with home-made sweet potato fries and lashings of extra sweet chilli sauce for good measure.
Curry is another of my favourite gluten-free dinners, as it is so versatile. A lot of the jar sauces you can buy in Asda are gluten-free, or if you’re dairy-free as well, you can grab a great selection from the Free From aisle, including a Korma. I like to add chicken thigh meat to my curries, as well as wilting some spinach leaves in at the last minute before serving.
When I’m after a really quick meal, it’s always gluten-free stir-fry. Normally soy sauce contains gluten, but the Tamari soy sauce in the free from aisle is gluten-free. I pick up a packet of prepared stir fry veg and some meat such as diced turkey or lean pork, and make my own sauce using honey, gluten-free soy sauce, fresh chilli and garlic. It’s a winner every time.
The biggest tip I have for anyone who has to stick to a rigid, gluten-free diet, is to always be prepared. I have snacks in my handbag, my car and my desk drawers at work, in case I get stuck without anything I can eat.
For quick on-the-go snacks, hit the Free From aisle. Nakd and Nine bars are some of my favourite gluten-free snack bars, and I absolutely love chocolate-coated rice cakes for a bit of a treat. If you want something a bit more indulgent, you could try making a treat like this rather delicious banana and pecan cake.
For more gluten free inspiration, visit The Gluten-Free Blogger or follow Sarah on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.