All posts in Gluten-Free Snacks

Refreshing Minty Green Smoothie

Refreshing Minty Green Smoothie

This smoothie is refreshing and light, and a great way to start the day!

Ingredients:

  • handful of spinach
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp raw whole flax seed
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cup water (for creamier version, replace 1/2 cup of water with milk of choice)
  • couple ice cubes

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender or NutriBullet, blend until smooth.

What’s your favorite green smoothie recipe? Share it by sending me a tweet or posting it on my Facebook page!

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Simple Weekday Quiche (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

Simple Weekday Quiche (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

This quiche is an easy recipe for any busy mom! Make it on a Sunday evening to have on hand for breakfasts during the upcoming week…the entire family will thank you!

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk (almond, rice)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large bunch kale, finely chopped
  • ½ sweet yellow onion
  • 1 pepper (yellow, red or green), diced
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 gluten-free/dairy-free unbaked pie crust

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350. As the oven is warming, heat oil on stovetop in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add diced onions, diced pepper and chopped kale and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Remove from the stove. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Next, add diced sundried tomatoes and sautéed ingredients. Stir together well and pour all contents into unbaked pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Looking to incorporate more healthy recipes like this into your  food routine? Not sure how to get started? Contact me to schedule an introductory health coaching session and we’ll create your next steps!

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My Top Picks for Packaged Foods

My Top Picks for Packaged Foods

I recommend filling your cart with whole and fresh foods. Still, we all know it’s difficult to avoid packaged foods at the grocery store – they make our lives easier! Check out my top picks for packaged foods which includes items I feel good about and bring home on a regular basisMy list will help you make better choices during your next grocery run. Plus, I offer 2 rules to guide you in choosing the right foods for you and your family.

My rules…

Rule #1: Focus on foods that contain only a handful of ingredients. The fewer the better.

Rule #2: Buy foods with only recognizable ingredients. This will keep you and your family from eating foods that are loaded with preservatives, sweeteners and trans fats.

My list…

1. Brown Rice Crackers (by Edward & Sons).

Gluten Free Crackers

These crackers have two simple ingredients – brown rice and sesame seeds. That’s all you need when you’re craving something crunchy to go with your hummus or some cheese.

Gluten-Free Crackers

Gluten-Free Crackers

2. Larabars

Larabar

Not all bars are created equally! Just say “NO” to bars with added sweeteners and a long list of ingredients! Larabar offers nearly 20 bars, many of which have only 3 ingredients and use dates – not sugar – to sweeten.

3. Brown Rice Pasta (Organic varieties offered by Lundberg and Trader Joe’s)

GF Brown Rice Pasta

Whether you’re gluten-free or not, brown rice pasta is delicious. Plus, it’s now available in most stores and is a far better option than the pasta you grew up eating (i.e., Enriched Wheat Pasta). Look for a pasta that contains nothing beyond brown rice and water. There’s no need for other ingredients, pure and simple. If you’re at Trader Joe’s, they offer an organic option which in my opinion is the best brown rice pasta on the market.

4. Frozen Fruit

sugar free fruit

I always have frozen fruit on hand for smoothies. You can also defrost it for morning oatmeal or to top off your waffles in place of syrup. But be sure to check the package  before placing it in your cart – oftentimes companies sneak in sugar, so choose a brand that only gives you fruit – that’s all you need! Choose organic when you can to free your body of toxins from pesticides.

5.  Raw Nuts

Raw Almonds

Nuts are a delicious and filling snack, plus are loaded with beneficial fats. I always have a bag or two on hand.  Look for packaged nuts that contain nothing more than the nuts themselves – you’ll notice that oils, salt, sweeteners or preservatives are often added, but need not be there. 

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Keep your spring break gluten-free

Keep your spring break gluten-free

If you’re gluten-free then you know how stressful traveling can be. On a recent trip to Yellowstone with my husband’s family, I found myself with few options as we picked up a picnic lunch at a small grocery store. My lunch was a bag of chips and piece of fruit. Luckily the chips were a healthier version of chips by Way Better, which are gluten-free, non-GMO and contain sprouted seeds, grains and veggies (delicious!). Yet it was annoying to be surrounded by nothing but processed and gluten-filled food options in a place filled with lots and lots of food!

Maintaining a gluten-free diet is much easier in the comfort of your home. From airports to highway exits to family’s homes, it’s always a guess what gluten-free food options will be available when we’re away from our own kitchens.

So, as you embark on your spring break travels, here are some simple tips for keeping your vacation gluten-free:

  1. Eat before you go to the airport. Make sure to fill up on a healthy, gluten-free meal prior to arriving at the airport so that you’re not left with less than ideal options like fast-food. The airport is full of bad-for-you food and cross-contact can be a huge concern even for foods that are naturally gluten-free. Bring some healthy GF snacks in your carry on bag to tide you over during the flight.
  2. Make the grocery store your first vacation destination. Before you leave home, go online to locate a grocery store close to your hotel. (I always google Whole Foods, which is packed with GF foods!) Once you arrive, stop by the store to pick up your favorite GF snacks for the week – nuts, fruit, and even your favorite healthy ingredients for GF cocktails (fresh juices, GF vodka and beer, etc.)
  3. Check out glutenfreetravelsite.comThis site allows you to search for GF food spots and hotels by city or zip code, plus you can read travelers’ reviews of these places. They also have apps you can download for both iPhone or Android devices.
  4. Call restaurants ahead of time. It’s never safe to assume that a restaurant is equipped to serve a gluten-free meal. Even if its menu has gluten-free options, call ahead and ask if they can safely handle preparing a meal for a gluten-free customer. If you don’t feel confident, make a reservation elsewhere.
  5. Chat with locals! Seek out a food spot – like a juice bar or Whole Foods – where you know folks who know gluten-free will be hanging out. Chat it up with employees and customers. Ask for restaraunt recommendations for spots where the servers and kitchen staff are equipped (and can be trusted) to prepare a gluten-free dish.

 

 

 

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Back away from the sugar!

Back away from the sugar!

Follow my tips for decreasing sugar and other sweeteners from your diet.

Let’s face it – sugar (and sweeteners) is all around us. It’s in our morning lattes, peanut butter, dried fruits, and it even shows up in pasta sauce! That’s right — pasta sauce! Seems unnecessary doesn’t it? It’s normal to crave sweet foods, but according to Dr. Mark Hyman, the average American consumes approximately 150 pounds of sugar and high fructose corn syrup each year! That’s WAY TOO MUCH!!! Clearly, we could all benefit from less of it in our diets. Let me get you started with some ideas for satisfying your sweet cravings with healthier whole foods, and tips for avoiding sugar and sweeteners in common packaged foods.

TIP #1 — EAT FRUIT INSTEAD OF SUGAR-FILLED ENERGY BARS AND BAKED GOODS: This is an easy way to give your body something sweet, naturally. Added bonus – fruit contains fiber.

TIP #2 — REPLACE ONE SUGAR-FILLED FOOD EACH DAY WITH ONE OF THESE NATURALLY SWEET VEGETABLES: These foods are sweet when cooked and are great as side dishes at any meal. They’re great on salads too!

Carrots
Sweet potatoes and yams
Beets
Winter squash
Corn
Sweet onions

TIP #3: TRY AN ALTERNATIVE TO SOFT DRINKS: There’s nothing REAL about a soft drink. Our body’s do not appreciate our consumption of them, and we should all strive to rid them from our routines. It can be hard though! Start out by simply adding one sparkling juice spritzer to your daily routine. Fill your glass with 3/4 sparkling water and 1/4 100% fruit juice.  This is a refreshing thirst-quencher that still has some sweetness and carbonation. After a few weeks, try to replace one of your soft drinks with the spritzer and go from there. Another option – pick up a 12-pack of Lacroix Water on your next grocery store trip.

TIP #4 — READ LABELS: Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a little time to read the ingredient labels.  You’ll notice quickly that a lot of the foods you put in your cart each week have ingredients that simply don’t need be there – often sweeteners like sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  With each discovery of sugar, ask yourself – do I really need this food?  If you answer “yes” then take steps to find an alternative without sugar. There are plenty of options. For example:

Peanut Butter These brands offer natural peanut butter with NO ADDED SUGAR:  Joseph’s, Santa Cruz Organic and Smucker’s.
If you shop at Whole Foods – many of their stores have make-your-own nut butter stations, which will allow you to make pure peanut butter that contains nothing but NUTS!

Dried Fruit: Be sure to check the labels of dried fruits like raisins. Many have added sugar to make them taste less sour and to keep the fruit from sticking together. If shopping for dried cranberries, look for varieties that are apple-juice sweetened vs. sugar-sweetened.

Fruit Drinks: Juice should be just that – JUICE. There’s no need for added sweeteners. Look for 100% juice. Better yet…buy a juicer and make your own.

Yogurt: Yogurt contains strains of healthy bacteria that are great for your gut, so don’t let the benefits be ruined by added sugar. Opt for PLAIN yogurt (non-flavored) and add some fresh fruit and a dab of raw honey to it. Stonyfield Organic offers a few sugar-free Plain Yogurts, and their Yobaby Simply Plain is also sugar-free and great for kids.

Pasta Sauce – It’s hard to find a pasta sauce that doesn’t contain sugar. Be diligent and remember that it’s an unnecessary ingredient.Two brands I enjoy are  Monte Bene and Rao’s

Want to detox from sugar or other unhealthy foods? Get started with an introductory health coaching session with me. Contact me today to schedule!

(Photo by Chance Agrella and obtained from Freerangestock.com)

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If you can’t eat gluten, you still have plenty of options (trust me!)

If you can’t eat gluten, you still have plenty of options (trust me!)

To anyone about to go gluten-free, it may feel like you’ll never be able to eat like a normal person again. Stop right there and take a deep breath. Your gluten free life is going to be FABULOUS. Not only will you likely feel better once the gluten is gone, but you’re about to realize all the foods you CAN eat…and the options are endless. Trust me when I say that your gluten-free diet will be just as delicious as – if not more than – your gluten-full life.

When I first went gluten-free, I did so with hesitation and bitterness. I kept telling people about all the foods I couldn’t eat. Then one day someone helped me take on a new perspective. This person asked me “why not think about what you CAN eat vs. what you can’t?” From that day on, my relationship with food became healthier and happier.  I also became more open to trying new things, which is something I hadn’t anticipated but happily accepted. Fast forward many years later and my life with food is more delicious than ever (the proof is in the gluten-free chicken pot pie I recently made – see the image above).

So, to get YOU started in your GF journey…here’s a starter-list of foods that are FREE OF GLUTEN! And just think…this is just the beginning. Take them all in and imagine a life full of fabulous food from here on out. Enjoy!

Beans
Rice
Eggs
Avocado
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Squash
Carrot
Bananas
Kiwi
Mushrooms
Grapes
Strawberries
Blueberries
Raspberries
Blackberries
Peas
Milk
Tomatoes
Spinach
Fresh Chicken
Fresh Beef
Fresh Turkey
Fresh Seafood
Fresh Fish
Nuts
Seeds
Fresh (unprocessed) Cheese
Olive Oil
Canola Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Peppers
Onions
Cantaloupe
Grapefruit
Butter
Chia seeds
Flaxseed
Quinoa
Corn
Millet
Buckwehat
Amaranth
Sorghum
Teff
Distilled Vinegars
Coconut
Collard Greens
Kale
Papaya
Mango
Lettuces
Oranges
100% Rice Pasta
Pineapple
Cherries
Lemons
Limes
Pears
Peaches
Pomegranates
Asparagus
Artichokes
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Celery
Cucumbers
Garlic
Sprouts
Fresh Herbs

Get the support you need to go gluten-free and stay gluten-free!

If purchasing packaged or processed versions of these foods, make sure to READ the labels to ensure they truly are free of gluten. Avoid products that are manufactured in facilities where wheat is also processed to avoid foods that are contaminated. 

 

 

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Garlic Lover’s Hummus Recipe (Gluten-Free)

This recipe is not your store-bought hummus – it’s much better! When purchasing the ingredients, choose options that are free of preservatives and gluten-free. Pair this gluten-free treat with gluten-free crackers or cut veggies.

Ingredients:

3 large garlic cloves, minced. 1/4 tsp reserved for garnishing

Fresh juice of 1 lemon, squeezed

1/4 cup of tahini

1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinse and liquid reserved

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup of reserved liquid from beans (or less if you prefer a thicker hummus)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Optional: 2 tbsp pine nuts for garnishing

Directions

  1. Mince the garlic cloves and reserve 1/4 tsp for later use.
  2. Add garlic, tahini and lemon juice to a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds.
  3. Scrape contents from side of processor.
  4. Add the garbanzo beans, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and reserved liquid to the processor.
  5. Mix on high for 1 minute or until hummus has reached your desired smoothness.
  6. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl. Garnish with olive oil,  1/4 tbsp of minced garlic and pine nuts.

This recipe makes enough to serve 3-4 people as a light appetizer.

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Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding (gluten-free and dairy-free)

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding (gluten-free and dairy-free)

This gluten-free and dairy-free pudding is an easy recipe and a crowd-pleaser! Your kids will love it!  Plus it contains chia-seeds, which are packed with soluble fiber and contain beneficial Omega-3 fats. (Check out what Dr. Oz has to say about these seeds.)

Ingredients:


  • 1 can coconut milk (Trader Joe’s sells an option that does not contain any added thickeners)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For sweeter pudding, add:

  • 
1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1-2 tsp raw honey

Directions:


  1. Combine and mix all ingredients.
  2. Pour contents into mason jars and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  3. Once ready, spoon out into bowls. Top with favorite nuts for a little added crunch!

Looking to incorporate more healthy recipes like this into your  food routine? Not sure how to get started? Contact me to schedule an introductory health coaching session and we’ll create your next steps!

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Homemade Peanut (or Almond!) Butter Cups

These kid-approved peanut butter cups are a great alternative to store-bought versions like Reese’s. Plus, they’re super easy to make, which makes them mom-approved too!

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 ounces mini chocolate chips (~ 1/2 bag of chips; Enjoy Life is a great brand free of soy, gluten, dairy and nuts)
  • 1 cup of natural crunchy peanut butter or almond butter (Trader Joe’s raw crunchy almond butter works great! If you don’t like crunchy nut butters, creamy is fine too.)
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Place 10-12 mini cupcake liners onto a plate or in a muffin pan (you’ll place it in the freezer, so make sure whatever you choose fits!)
  2. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips in the bottom of the liners until they are 1/3 full.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in the microwave (~20 seconds) or on the stove until melted. In a small bowl, mix the oil with peanut or almond butter and stir until well-combined.
  4. Pour the coconut oil/nut butter mixture into the cupcake liners over the chocolate chips. Fill to the top
  5. Place cups into the freezer until frozen, about 45 minutes.
  6. Enjoy! Make sure to keep uneaten peanut butter cups in the freezer – once you take them out they will start to melt

 

 

 

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Gluten-free websites that will help you go gluten-free and stay gluten-free.

Transitioning to a gluten-free diet can be a confusing and overwhelming process. When my health practitioner first recommended I remove gluten from my diet, I didn’t even know what gluten was! She gave me a list of foods that I couldn’t eat and sent me on my way.  I was left feeling lost and worried I wouldn’t get it right. And from this initial recommendation, it took many attempts for me to finally commit to the diet. Critical to my ultimate success? Easy-to-go-to resources including websites that spelled out how to go gluten-free and offered ideas for gluten-free substitutes so that I wouldn’t feel like my daily food routine was being turned upside down.

Here are my main go-to sites:

Living Without: As indicated on the site, Living Without is “The magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities.” Packed with recipes and forums, there’s not much in terms of gluten-free that you can’t find on this site.

CeliacCentral.org: This is the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ website. Find up-to-date news and endless information related to health, food, medical research and more. The NFCA also offers free webinars and a list of gluten-free blogs.  This site is useful for anyone affected by Celiac Disease or a non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.

Whole Foods: Not only does Whole Foods offer a range of gluten-free products, but this market’s website contains over 1,300 gluten-free recipes. Simply do an “Advanced Search” in the recipe section of the site and filter by “Gluten-Free”.

 

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