(BPT) - As awareness of gluten-free diets continues to grow, more people are searching for ways to make their menus delicious, creative and varied while still staying gluten-free. In the past, forgoing gluten was challenging at best and frustrating at worst, due to a lack of available ingredients and products. But that was then. Now, whether it’s gluten intolerance or a goal of healthier eating that drives your meal plans, you can indulge and enjoy great meals from breakfast to dinner (and everything in between).
The expanding availability of gluten-free substitutes for favorites like tortillas, breads and pastas means that you don’t need to give up the dishes you love. For truly healthy options, it’s important to look for gluten-free products with shorter ingredient lists filled with familiar items.
Get your gluten-free menu started with these tips for meals throughout the day. Packed with flavor, nutrition and great ingredients, they’ll keep the whole family happy.
* Breakfast burrito bar – Get the day off to a spicy start with delicious breakfast burritos. Make it an interactive morning event on the weekend with a burrito bar. Set out an array of gluten-free ingredients, like scrambled eggs, beans, vegetables and cheese, for your family to mix and match. Fold it all up in black rice tortillas made by Food For Life, which are highly nutritious – black rice boasts antioxidant levels on par with “superfruits” like acai and blackberries.
* Dressed-up English muffins – Crispy outside, fluffy inside and topped with delicious, nutritious goodies – what could be a better way to start the day? Try topping yours with mashed avocado that’s been whisked with crushed chili, a splash of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Or, if you like something sweeter, try gluten-free almond butter with raspberries, blackberries or a dash of cinnamon sugar. Gluten-free English muffins are available from Food For Life.
* Standout sandwiches – Go beyond the basics for your midday meal. Using gluten-free bread, you can create gourmet sandwiches that would cost far more in a restaurant. Rethink tuna salad by using Dijon mustard instead of mayo, and adding capers, diced sundried tomatoes and preserved lemon. Or, go for a veggie extravaganza with Portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, crunchy sprouts and hummus.
* Seasoned quesadillas – Add a little something extra to your classic quesadilla, that well-loved snack of melted cheese between two gluten-free tortillas. Try adding a variety of cheeses and boosting the flavor with herbs and spice mixes.
* A new take on pizza – Everyone loves pizza for dinner, especially when they can make it their own. Using gluten-free tortillas, the whole family can create personalized mini-pizzas with thin, crunchy crusts. Simply assemble the toppings of choice and either grill or toast in the oven. For busy nights, it’s a meal that’s quick, easy and guaranteed to please.
* Enchiladas –This classic Mexican dish is great for crowds, so if you’re welcoming friends, add it to your menu. Black rice tortillas will add eye-catching color and lots of nutrition, without bringing gluten to the table. Fill the enchiladas with the meat of your choice (such as shredded chicken or beef) as well as rice, beans and grilled onions and peppers. Top with a spiced sauce of roasted tomatoes, as well as Mexican cheese like cotija or chihuahua, and bake.
Today, gluten-free diets can be every bit as delicious and rich with nutrition – and maybe more so – than other diets. Celebrate the possibilities and find creativeness in your gluten-free kitchen. For more ideas, go to www.foodforlife.com.