How To Shop For Gluten-Free Food

How To Shop For Gluten-Free Food

How To Shop For Gluten Free Foods

Two years ago we got the call that B had to eliminate fructose from his diet. I was given a list of things to eliminate and one of the biggest pieces was gluten. At the time he was 2 years old and no longer allowed to eat gluten, fruits, and vegetables until we got things on track with his diet.

I was completely lost.

After an hour call with a pediatric nutritionist, I thought I had at least a small grip on things. That night I went to the grocery store and walked up and down the organic aisles for an hour. I bought a whole bunch of different things and we started figuring out what works in his diet.

Now, two years later I’ve gotten the basics down of what we need to shop for. However, you never know when ingredients may change and what brands might throw a curve ball your way. I get excited at the prospect of gluten-free Oreos coming in January but also take it with a grain of salt until I see what the ingredient list is.

One of the biggest questions I get asked when I talk to someone about going gluten free is “where do I start at the grocery store?” Going gluten free can be extremely overwhelming if you think about all of the foods you need to eliminate. However, what many people don’t realize is that there are so many foods you GET to eat.

Who Should Eat Gluten-Free Food?

One of the biggest misconceptions about going gluten free is that it is for weight loss. I see where the misconception comes from. Those with a gluten sensitivity generally find that when they no longer eat gluten, weight loss happens. However, that is not the reason that someone should switch to a gluten-free diet.

Three types of people who should be eating gluten free:

Those with an auto-immune condition such as Celiac Disease

Those who are allergic to wheat

Those who have gluten sensitivity

If you are someone who thinks you might have a gluten sensitivity, it is good to talk to your doctor about it first prior to eliminating it. There are no medically approved ways to test for gluten sensitivity, but there are so many different symptoms that can be associated with it. The best way to find out if you are sensitive is by eliminating gluten and other certain foods.

Where To Shop For Gluten-Free Food

One of the biggest shocks with going gluten free was how much our grocery bill exploded. Gluten-free eating is NOT cheap. It took a lot of experimenting to find what we needed at the best price. 

Amazon Subscribe & Save – One of the first places I turned to was Amazon. We got lucky and found a number of B’s snacks available on subscribe and save. When you add more than 5 products to your shipment each month, you get up to 15% off. This came in handy as we started sending his snacks to school. We were able to buy ahead for the month as well as some gluten-free brownie mixes.

Thrive Market – Honestly, I was hesitant. Thrive does come with a subscription fee but ultimately I did find that we were saving a few dollars by using it. Over time it adds up. They also have their own brand of food which is cheaper than most of the name brands. So far we haven’t found anything we don’t like.

Grocery Store Shop – In 2020 it is a little difficult to do but I found that by spending an hour in each of our local grocery stores I got a much better idea of the average price of things. Some stores increase the price of specialty products, whereas other stores were in line with what I was finding at Amazon & Thrive.

What To Shop For?

Now that you know why and where to buy, how about what to buy. As I mentioned, going gluten free isn’t as scary as it once seemed. There is a lot you can still eat as long as you make sure to read the ingredients.

Instead of making it more overwhelming, I’ve got good news. I finally put everything I’ve learned into a guide for you on how to get started shopping for gluten-free foods at the grocery store.

Tell me! What is your favorite way to shop gluten free?

 

Pumpkin Recipes For The First Day of Fall

Pumpkin Recipes For The First Day of Fall

You may now proceed to drink your Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Just kidding, we need to have a quick conversation first. I know the PSL came out early (as usual) this year but I have refused to even think about Fall foods until today. While I’m not spending the day baking, I did round up a number of healthy pumpkin recipes we plan to dig into this Fall.

Happy First Day of Fall!

It’s Okay To Get On The Pumpkin Recipes Bandwagon

There, I said it. I never thought that would come out of my mouth. Truth be told, I’m not a pumpkin fan. A few weeks ago @OneUponAPumpkin shared this graphic on Instagram highlighting the benefits of pumpkin in your diet.

To break down the nutrition benefits she shared…pumpkin has:

  • Pumpkin has anti-oxidant content that helps protect from disease
  • High in vitamin C
  • Also high in potassium
  • AND high in vitamin A

Since I typically don’t just trust a single instagram post (you shouldn’t either). I dug into things further. It turns out, we really do need more pumpkin in our lives.

One cup of pumpkin not only is high in the nutrients above but also has:

  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 11% of your recommended daily B12 intake
  • 8% of your recommended daily iron intake
  • 2 grams of protein

Do you see now why I feel like I need to add more pumpkin into my life?

Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Watch The Sugar When You Bake With Pumpkin

Now, I don’t expect you to eat a full cup of cooked pumpkin every day. However, something like pumpkin muffins can be a good source of vitamins and nutrients if baked properly.

Many pumpkin recipes I have come across are extremely high in sugar. This is where I caution the pumpkin baking.I’m sure by now you’ve seen memes or images shared around social media about the amount of sugar in a pumpkin spice latte. (Not to mention, a pumpkin spice latte doesn’t ACTUALLY contain pumpkin) Unfortunately that seems to be the case for most pumpkin recipes I come across most days.

The key to cooking with pumpkin is making sure you have REAL pumpkin to use in the recipe. Pumpkin purée is a good way to start. However, if your pumpkin purée is from a can, just make sure nothing has been added to preserve it. You can also make your own pumpkin purée at home.

Healthier Pumpkin Recipes

In order to help get more pumpkin into your diet this Fall, I rounded up a few pumpkin recipes that are made from pumpkin puree and do not have added sugar. I may even try to work my way through a few of these this Fall. As someone who doesn’t necessarily love pumpkin, these actually all sound delicious!

Do you have a go to pumpkin recipe? Where should I start?

How To Make A Green Smoothie (That Actually Tastes Good)

How To Make A Green Smoothie (That Actually Tastes Good)

For the last 6 years, smoothies have become a staple in our household. It isn’t normal if you don’t hear the blender going as everyone is getting ready to get out the door. However, over the years I’ve had to cater our smoothies to different tastes (picky), diets (low fructose) and need (filling).

One thing I noticed is that my personal green smoothie tastes were changing throughout the year. In the Summer I prefer a more tropical smoothie (vanilla with pineapple, peach, mango, etc) but in the Winter I like going down the chocolate strawberry route.

Throughout many years of testing and trying I’ve come to find that everyone just has their own preference when it comes to smoothies. So instead of sharing with you my perfect smoothie recipe, I built out a guide of all of our different ingredients for making green smoothies.

Why are there so many ingredients?

A common misconception about smoothies is that all smoothies are healthy. Wrong. Many smoothies from restaurants and fast food places (hi, dairy queen) are made with ice cream, sugar filled yogurt and flavored syrups that are basically high fructose corn syrup. In our house, most of that stuff doesn’t fly with anyone’s digestive systems.

However, green smoothies can be healthy, delicious AND filling by including the right ingredients. Let’s break down each category.

How to Make A Green Smoothie

Fruits

The cornerstone of a smoothie. No smoothie is complete without a fruit but be careful how much you add into your smoothie. We keep it to about 1 cup of fruit at the most since fruit is good but also fairly high in sugar.

Fats

I love talking to new smoothie makers about this category of smoothie ingredients. It is actually fairly important usually the most skipped category. Not only are they packed with some good vitamins and minerals, (good) fats will help fill you up and keep you full longer. If you’re going to make a smoothie for breakfast, this is key to staying full until the next meal!

Protein

Another important ingredient when it comes to staying full is protein. Not only will it help keep you full but protein is an important part of building up bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Protein powder is usually the easiest way to get it in, we love Garden of Life as its high in protein and not filled with sugar like some we’ve tried in the past!

Greens

Parents take note, this is BY FAR the easiest way to sneak spinach into your child’s diet. For a long time my kids thought it was AWESOME that their smoothies turned green. The hulk is green so it must be a good thing. Load up all of the vitamins with your favorite greens as you usually can’t taste them!

Liquids

There’s nothing I play around with more in smoothies than liquids. We’ve tried all different kinds of milk, water, yogurt, etc. Truthfully, it comes down to personal taste. My family prefers heavy on the yogurt while I prefer heavy on the almond milk. There is no wrong way to do this category.

Add-Ins

Here’s where the magic happens. This list could go on for pages and pages. There are so many other things you can mix into your smoothies. To me it all depends on the need. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, high in fatty acids and stocked with fiber. Flax seed can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Cocoa can help mood and lessen depression symptoms.

The. list. goes. on.

What are your favorite smoothie ingredients? I can’t wait to hear about them below!

 

Why Should I Eat Kale? Health Benefits & Recipes For The Plant With The Worst Reputation

Why Should I Eat Kale? Health Benefits & Recipes For The Plant With The Worst Reputation

Of all plants, kale somehow has developed the worst reputation. Chances are you’ve seen a meme about kale and how someone hopes it is not the way to solve their problem. While it has a bad reputation, kale is actually a plant you should consider adding into your weekly produce selection. It has a number of benefits and is actually pretty delicious if you learn to cook it the right way!

Why Kale?

Here’s the thing, Kale is a superfood and it has super powers. Okay not really super powers but it is packed full of vitamins, minerals and all of the good things we need to be consuming on a daily basis.

Let’s take a look at one cup of raw Kale (thanks to WebMD for the facts):

Calories: 33

Protein: 3g

Fiber: 2.5g

Vitamins: A, C, and K

Additional Nutrients: Folate, Alpha-linolenic Acid, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin

Minerals: Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, and Zinc

What does all of this mean?

Let’s start with the Fiber. On average women under 50 should be getting 25g of fiber a day. Yet, the average American diet falls significantly short of that number (track your fiber intake for a day, I promise you’ll be surprised). One of fiber’s most important jobs is to help manage your blood sugar levels. Fiber is also is a huge factor in helping you feel full after a meal. Adding just one cup of Kale to a smoothie in the morning (or salad at lunch) can help propel you much closer to that goal.

Protein is another hot topic in diet trends (btw, I hate diet trends) these days. While everyone is different in the amount of protein they eat in a day not a lot of leafy greens are high in protein as well as vitamin and minerals. Kale’s looking pretty good right about now, isn’t it?

Why Should I Eat Kale?

I think vitamins, minerals and nutrients tend to speak for themselves when you look at what is in them. Everyone loves an excuse to eat more vitamins and your body can be much happier when it’s loaded up on the best nutrients. The nutrients found in kale can help with brain development, protecting against macular degeneration and cataracts…you know the basic things in life.

Kale Recipes

As much as everyone seems to despise kale, a lot can come from how you prepare it. For awhile, I ONLY used it in a smoothie because I couldn’t handle the taste. Eventually I took to Pinterest and realized there is a whole world of kale recipes out there. Do you know how delicious kale is in a salad with the right dressing?

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Next time you find yourself staring at the produce section of a grocery store (or Instacart order), branch out from the normal lettuce and add in a bunch of kale.  If you are like me and not too sure about it… start by just putting it a smoothie.

Kale comes with too many benefits to live out its life as a meme.

Are you pro kale? What is your go to way of cooking it?