On January 1st, 2012, a new gluten-free website launched that you all need to know about. It’s called The Balanced Platter created by Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake and Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, and it’s purpose is to provide you with gluten-free diet tips from your favorite gluten-free bloggers. You’ll find tips, recipes, how-to’s, and product reviews from a variety of perspectives, but each contributor is linked with one common goal…balanced, healthy, gluten-free living.
Whether you have been newly diagnosed as a celiac, lived gluten-free for years, or just feel better when eating a healthy, gluten-free diet, The Balanced Platter will be a wonderful resource for you.
I’m honored that Amy and Maggie asked me to contribute today’s post for The Balanced Platter. And since we’re starting at the beginning of a new year, I thought I’d start by sharing tips for the beginning of a healthy day.
Breakfast is often seen as the most challenging meal for those on a gluten-free diet. If you’re used to eating donuts, pastries, pancakes, and pop tarts, well yes, you’re going to struggle a bit with the transition. BUT YOU’RE GOING TO FEEL A WHOLE LOT BETTER SOON! There are gluten-free versions of all of your old favorites, but that doesn’t mean that they’re good for you. Kick the morning junkfood out of your diet and you’ll find that new-found energy and well-being is much more valuable.
The most balanced gluten-free breakfasts are those that are naturally gluten-free.
My favorite way to start the day is with a smoothie. Pack it with whole fruits, a protein supplement, and maybe even some veggies. What, veggies? Yes, veggies. Smoothies are a great way to start your day, and if you build a balanced smoothie with protein, good carbs, and healthy fats, your day will be off to a great start.
Here are some of my favorite smoothie recipes:
For a template for building your own balanced smoothie read Smoothing the GF Transition with Smoothies.
As much as I love my smoothies, sometimes I need something warm in my tummy to start the day. Hot cereal is my second go-to breakfast, and it hardly takes any time at all. I just bring my grains to a boil in a saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer while I dash to the mirror blow dry my hair.
Be careful when selecting a gluten-free hot cereal as grains are often processed along on the same production lines as wheat products. You can’t go wrong with gluten-free cereals from Bob’s Red Mill. And have you discovered quinoa yet? Quinoa has 24 grams of protein per cup! Here are some gluten-free hot cereals and grains that I love:
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain, Rolled Oats
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Buckwheat Groats
- Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Gluten Free Hot Cereal
- Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
- Gifts of Nature Certified Gluten Free Whole Oat Groats
But I rarely prepare a plain hot cereal. I enjoy combining my favorite flavors, and I love the combos that can be prepped ahead of time so I can grab a satisfying breakfast and run out the door. Three of my favorite hot cereal combos are:
Eggs are a great way to start your gluten-free day with a tasty protein source and vegetables. Add a sprinkle of cheese, saute a few veggies, slide them on a slice of your favorite whole-grain gluten-free toast, and you’re on your way. If you have time for something a little more culinarily romantic, how about these?
But aren’t there cold cereals that are gluten-free and wholesome? Absolutely. You just need to read your labels. Look for a cereal that is high in fiber without added sugar. I love Erewhon Corn Flakes, because their ingredients are simply organic milled corn and sea salt. Can you get any more pure than that? Add a protein source like skim milk or a nut milk, sprinkle on a few nuts, slice up some fresh fruit, and you have a balanced breakfast.
Here’s a soaked raw grain breakfast called tRAWpical Oat Breakfast that I’m crazy about. Soak buckwheat and oat groats overnight, puree the soft grains in the morning with dates, nuts, and spices, and you’ll have a creamy, delicious breakfast with leftovers for the rest of the week.
Fresh fruit is always naturally gluten-free. Stick with seasonal fruits to give variety to your diet and to find the most delicious options. Just add a protein source to make sure you stay satisfied throughout the morning.
Additional Gluten-Free Protein Sources:
I keep mentioning the need to add protein. While gluten-free grains do have some protein, my body seems to require more. If you’re like me, try these options:
- cottage cheese
- milk or nut milks
- nuts and seeds
- nut butters
- hemp seeds
- protein powders (read labels carefully)
- super greens like spirulina
According to About.com
, these are the top 10 gluten-free grains ranked highest to lowest for protein content in one cup of the uncooked grain.
- Amaranth – 28.1 grams
- Oats – 26.3 grams
- Teff – 25.7 grams
- Quinoa – 24 grams
- Wild Rice – 23.6 grams
- Buckwheat – 22.5 grams
- Millet – 22 grams
- Sorghum – 21.7 grams
- Brown Rice – 14.7 grams
- White Rice – 13.1 grams
Make a Healthy Version of Your Favorites
Eating a balanced, gluten-free diet doesn’t mean that we say goodbye to our old favorites. It means we’re smarter about how we make them. I still make French toast, but I use egg whites, almond butter, and bananas instead of drenching it in powdered sugar and syrup. I still make pancakes, but I choose almond flour to increase satisfaction and to decrease the post carb lull.
Give it a try. How can you make your favorite breakfast just a little more balanced?
(For more wonderful breakfast ideas like chia puddings and tofu scrambles, check out Breakfast Bias by Valerie of City|Life|Eats.)
Each day in January you’ll find more balanced tips at The Balanced Platter. Be sure to check out Kalinda’s tips tomorrow at Wheat Free Meat Free. And you won’t want to miss the Balanced Platter Baking Gift Pack give-away on February 1st!
- What are you favorite gluten-free breakfasts?
- How have you adapted your favorite breakfast items to make them gluten-free and healthier?
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or health expert. The above tips are based on 7 years of personal experience of pursuing a well-balanced, gluten-free diet.