Archive for the ‘Ask Shelley Case’ Category

Ask Shelley Case: Sweet Endings – Healthy Gluten-Free Desserts

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Question: Valentine’s Day is here and I want to make some healthier gluten-free baked goods. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: With Valentine’s Day just a couple of days away, many of us want to bake sweet gluten-free treats. Fortunately it’s possible to make gluten-free desserts more nutritious and just as tasty as their gluten-containing counterparts!

Check out the following baking tips and discover how your gluten-free bake goods can be made with less sugar, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates. Now that’s sweet!

Yogurt… It’s not just for breakfast: To reduce calories and fat, yogurt can be used as a substitute in baked goods for sour cream, butter and buttermilk. Yogurt, especially creamier low-fat Greek Yogurt, is a fantastic substitution for whipped cream. Try this Gluten-Free Yogurt Dip recipe for your sliced fruit!

Keep your baking well oiled: Looking to get rid of the oil in your baked goods? A great healthy substitute for cooking oil in baking is unsweetened applesauce. Use 3/4 to 1 cup of applesauce for every 1 cup of oil. Want inspiration? Try this Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake recipe.

Refine yourself: When baking gluten-free, choose whole grain or bean flours instead of refined white rice flour. Some gluten-free flours that are healthy alternatives for baking include: Brown rice, pea flour, white bean flour, amaranth or gluten-free oats. Try these Best Chocolate Brownies made with pea flour… Delicious!

Use your bean: Black beans make a smooth, rich base for baked goods! An extra bonus? The fiber the beans provide. Check out this recipe… so rich & chocolaty: Black Bean Brownies with Espresso Ganache.

Sweet substitutes: Consider sweetening baked goods with fruit, such as mashed bananas, apple sauce, pineapple, chopped dates, raisins or pears. The fruit adds a pleasant sweetness as well as added fiber and nutrients.  Want to try sweetening your baked goods with fruit? Then check out this Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe.

Fruit frenzy: Fruit makes a healthy dessert when sliced and topped with a dollop of vanilla low-fat yogurt, or drizzled with honey. Get innovative and serve grapes, pineapple chunks, strawberries and melon balls on skewers, and serve with a sweetened low-fat yogurt dip. Think beyond the basic fruits of apples, bananas and pears, and experiment with tropical, more exotic, fruits such as mangos, kiwis, and papayas. Your taste buds will thank you! Check out these recipes… Creamy Apple Cinnamon Fruit Dip and Exotic Broiled Fruit Plate.

Think dark chocolate: If using chocolate in your baking recipes opt to use dark chocolate, opposed to milk or white chocolate. Dark chocolate contains more cacao which is full of antioxidants and may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Like Dark Chocolate? Check out these recipes: Flourless Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Frosting and this Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Just a little will do it! Consider desserts as a special treat. Appreciate your gluten-free dessert creation by eating slowly and enjoying every single bite.

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case is a Registered Dietitian, Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Ask Shelley Case: Surviving the Holiday Season… Gluten-Free

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Question: The holidays are here and I’m concerned about how to tackle all the parties and get-togethers with my new gluten-free lifestyle. I’m feeling overwhelmed! Do you have any tips, ideas and recipes for me?


The holiday season can be overwhelming for many that are diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The normal day-to-day consistency of preparing and eating foods that you know are gluten-free and safe from contamination can be disrupted by the parties, get-togethers and holiday traditions that focus around food and eating. It is no wonder that many on special diet feel overwhelmed.

It is important that you first recognize and are aware that during the holidays you are at a greater risk of encountering a social situation that makes eating gluten or allergen-free challenging. But by using your day-to-day tactics of safe eating, and applying them to the situation at hand, you can eliminate any uncomfortable feelings, emotional issues and the chance of ingesting gluten.

Here are a few tips to make your holidays happy and healthy:

Redesign It! Have a favorite stuffing recipe from your Aunty Ruth? A beloved apple pie from your grandma? Redesign it to be gluten-free! Many recipes can be substituted cup-for-cup with gluten-free all-purpose flour, or can be tweaked to become gluten-free by eliminating or substituting ingredients. Other tips for converting recipes to be gluten-free can be found here in my blog post “Converting Recipes to Gluten & Dairy Free”.

A Rule of Thumb: Not Even a Crumb! During the holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Years, there are so many scrumptious temptations. However, celiac disease requires a lifetime commitment to a gluten-free diet. When hostesses or family members offer you a dish that is off-limits politely remind them of your food restrictions. We’ve all encountered those family members, friends or co-workers that just don’t get it and try to tell us “just one bite won’t hurt”.

If this happens stand your ground and remind yourself of this: Your health is more important than hurting someone’s feelings.

Plan Ahead: Before going to a sit-down holiday dinner contact the hostess. Explain in the simplest of terms the food restrictions that you have. Ask what the main-course will be, and suggest any easy ways to make your serving be gluten-free. An example of this would be to eliminate a sauce or roux on a piece of meat, to prepare a single chicken breast without any stuffing, or to prepare a dinner salad with no croutons or dressing.

Many folks that have celiac disease, food intolerances or allergies tell me that they feel they are inconveniencing hosts by calling ahead of time to discuss their allergies. I tell these people to put themselves in the hostess place, and to ask themselves this: Wouldn’t you, as a hostess, rather know ahead of time of any guest’s food restrictions? By contacting the host ahead of time you prevent them from having to scramble last minute to accommodate you, or even worse, to have them feel awkward about not having any suitable alternatives and having you sit and watch everyone else eat. Remember – Most hosts want to know to ahead of time of any food restrictions, and are more than willing to accommodate you!

BYOD – Bring Your Own Dish: When attending holiday open-houses and get-togethers, bring a dish to the party. This way you know that there is at least one dish you can eat. Also, make sure that you bring a copy of the recipe – others may love your dish so much they’ll want a copy! Another tip: I always bring my own serving utensil for my dish too. It helps to prevent people using the same serving spoon with other dishes that my contain gluten.

Here are some delicious holiday recipe ideas:

Glazed Chicken with Rosemary & Golden Raisins Tossed with Wild Rice

Brown Rice Salad with Toasted Almonds, Grapes & Curry Lemon Zest

Herbed Brown Rice & Mushrooms

NY Times Recipes for Stuffing

Appetizers, Main Dishes, Sides, Desserts, Baking Treats, Food Gifts from Canadian Living Magazine

A Catered Affair: When attending a banquet or holiday function at a restaurant contact the host of the get-together, and let them know that you would like to contact the catering department and/or chef several days ahead of time and to explain your dietary restrictions.

And last, and most important…

Always say a gracious “Thank You”: A thank-you note, telephone call or email to the host and/or catering department for accommodating your special dietary needs is all greatly appreciated.

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case is a Registered Dietitian, Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Ask Shelley Case: Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Question: Do you have any suggestions on celebrating a safe gluten-free Halloween? How about a gluten-free candy list?

Answer: It’s that time of year again – Time for witches, ghosts, goblins and other scary stuff. And for those that are on a gluten-free diet, many favorite Halloween candies can be added to the list of frightening thing. That is why it is so important that due-diligence and extra caution is given when it comes to deciphering what Halloween candy is a “treat” vs. a “trick”.

Following are a few tips and pointers to make you and your family’s Halloween a goblin’ good time!

–    Hidden Gluten Is Scary! When people think of foods that could possibly contain gluten, candy is normally not on the list. That is why so many people are surprised to learn that many candies, such as licorice and caramels, can be packed with wheat. My rule of thumb? Never assume that candy doesn’t contain gluten. Treat all candy like “normal food” and read every single label before eating!

–    Fun-Sized Candies May Not Be Fun! Many food manufacturers use different formulations for different sizes of the same candy. So that jumbo sized candy bar you eat during the year may contain gluten in the fun-sized portion. Again, read every single label before eating!

–    Watch Out Smartie-(Pants)! Depending on what country you live in different candies can be called the same thing. One may contain gluten and the other may not. An example of this is Smarties. In the USA, Smarties are tiny, tart pastel colored candies that are free of gluten, while Smarties in Canada are small candy coated chocolates – that contain gluten. This is why it is so important that when you review a gluten-free candy list you are sure that the list is specific to the country where you live. I love the gluten-free Halloween Candy List that is published, each year, by They have two lists – one candy list for Canada and the other candy list for the USA.

–    Don’t Eat Candy With No Label: Many people like to put candy corn and other small Halloween candies in little, cute bags for party favors or to hand out to Trick or Treaters. This means that there is no ingredient label on the candy. If this happens follow this mantra: No label = Not Able.

–    Other Resources: Check out these other links for more info on enjoying a safe & gluten-free Halloween:

Ask Shelley Case: Gluten-Free Family Activities for the Fall
Wish Craft: Keeping Halloween Gluten and Allergen Free

–    Recipes: Check out these recipes that are healthy and perfect for Halloween festivities:

Quick & Easy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Flax Pumpkin Squares
Pumpkin Spice Rice Pudding
Pumpkin Nut Muffins

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Ask Shelley Case: Tomato Tips & Gluten-Free Recipe Ideas

Monday, August 27th, 2012

My garden has an abundance of tomatoes – can you give me some tips on using them, as well as some gluten-free recipe ideas?

Any way you slice them, tomatoes are a nutrition powerhouse that are so versatile in a gluten free diet. They are low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin A and C, as well as lycopene, an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color. Lycopene has been shown to play a role in lowering the risk of some cancers, particularly prostate cancer.

Another added bonus – tomatoes are delicious! Let’s face it… you can’t beat the taste of a local fresh-picked tomato! Although you have an abundance of tomatoes now, come winter you’ll be missing these juicy gems, when you can’t find a good tomato anywhere.

Here are a few tips, tricks and recipes to enjoy tomatoes now and in the months to come:

~ Start with selection: Select tomatoes that are heavy for their size, brightly colored, slightly firm and blemish free. If tomatoes are not ripe enough, place them in a paper bag and allow them to ripen at room temperature.

~ Storage: Refrigerating tomatoes stops the ripening process and kills the flavor, aroma and texture (this is why tomatoes turn mealy). Store them at room temperature instead. However, if they are very ripe they can be stored in the refrigerator.

~ Serrate them: The best way to cut tomatoes? Gently with a serrated knife to avoid crushing.

Tomato Types and Uses:
There are so many types of tomatoes it is often difficult to determine what type should be used for which purpose. Use this handy chart below to decide what tomato is best for your use or gluten-free recipe.

Type of Tomato Distinctiveness How to Use
Globe Tomatoes Most common; medium sized; mild taste; juicy Sandwiches, salsas, salads
Beefsteak/Big Boy Grows up to 1 pound or more; very juicy; lots of seeds; more acidic Sliced on sandwiches and burgers; Salsa; gluten-free pizza.
Plum (Most common type is the Roma) Oblong shaped with fewer seeds; Meatier and not juicy Great for making gluten-free tomato paste; ketchup and tomato based soups; perfect in chili and pasta dishes
Cherry Bite-sized sweeties Snacks; salad toppers; garnishes
Grape Meatier and less seeds than the Cherry variety Snacking; Veggie trays served with gluten-free dips

Think beyond the summer: Although the peak growing season for tomatoes is June through October there are ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes year-round. Here are some methods to preserving your just-picked tomatoes:

~ Canning: Canning has become very popular once again over the past several years. Check out the canning tomato tips from Canadian Living Magazine.

~ Freezing: Freezing tomatoes is a simple way to enjoy tomatoes off-season for casseroles, soups and chili.  Start by thoroughly washing the tomatoes, and dipping them in boiling water for about 30-45 seconds to loosen the skins. Remove from the water – peel and remove the core. Cut into pieces or leave whole and pack into freezer bags. Remove excess air and seal tight. Remember, when thawed the tomatoes will be slightly mushy so they are best used in casseroles and soups.

~ Cook recipes and freeze to enjoy later:
Salsas and sauces freeze up nicely and are the perfect quick and easy start to hectic weekday dinners. Whip up a quick batch of Fresh Pomodoro (Tomato) Sauce today and enjoy over gluten-free pasta once school starts!

Need some healthy recipe ideas using fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce? Check out these links:

Mediterranean Cod with Olives & Feta
Sautéed Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes & Basil

Cilantro-Lime Halibut with Fresh Tomatoes

Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora)

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Ask Shelley Case: Summer Fruits – More Than Just a Healthy Snack

Saturday, July 14th, 2012


Shelley: I love the summer since there are so many seasonal fresh fruits and they are  my favorite on-the-go snack! Do you have any other interesting ways to incorporate them into my gluten-free diet?


Cheers to you for reaching for a piece of fruit for a healthy gluten-free snack while on the run! Summertime is the season for fresh, local fruits and with a little know-how and recipe ideas, it is easy to incorporate summer’s fresh bounty into breakfast, lunch, dinner & dessert – as well as snack time.

Smooth Moves: Fruit smoothies are easy, quick and most important – portable, which makes them a perfect breakfast for those that eat on the run. Start with a base of cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk or yogurt; combine in a blender with fresh berries, ground flax and honey – blend and enjoy! Smoothies are also a great way to get kid’s excited about breakfast. Really rushed in the morning? Combine all the smoothie ingredients in the blender the night before so you can just “blend and go” in the morning!

Need some smoothie recipe ideas? Check these out:
Very-Berry Breakfast Shake
Melon-Lemon Smoothie

Learn to do the Salsa: Most people only think of the sweet flavors of fruits and lend them only to desserts. But surprisingly, fruit is perfect paired with spicy and savory herbs and spices, which can perfectly balances the natural sugars that are plentiful in most summer fruits. Chopped cilantro gives a tropical flair to this Mango Salsa over Swordfish dish or try this sweet, savory and delicious Grilled Chicken with Rosemary Pear Salsa with a Citrus Zest.

“Nice Cubes”: Toss some grapes, cherries, strawberries or blueberries into a plastic bag and freeze. These frozen little fruits make perfect edible ice cubes for summer drinks.

Fruity Sippers: Add some fruit slices in a large pitcher of water and keep in your refrigerator all summer long. Your whole family will love the fruit infused taste. Check out this Fruit Infusion Pitcher that makes drinking water all summer healthy and easy!

Jam It: Make some homemade quick and easy jam. Add some blueberries, raspberries, or sliced strawberries and peaches in a blender, and pulse until the texture is spreadable. Enjoy on your favorite gluten-free whole grain bread, along with a hard-boiled egg for a perfect breakfast.

Salad Mix-Ins: Get tired of boring salads? Add in some fruit and kick your salads up a notch! Halved grapes go perfect in chicken salad, sliced strawberries are great toppers for a spinach salad, and mangos sliced thinly and tossed with arugula create a sweet, yet tangy salad creation. The goal is thinking beyond the traditional salad bowl and getting yourself out of the habit of adding just vegetables to salads!

Dessert on the Grill: Try grilling sliced peaches, mangos, bananas or pineapple. The natural sugars in the fruit caramelize to create a perfectly natural sweet treat. An added bonus – Grilled fruit is also a no-guilt / no-gluten after dinner treat! Need some recipe ideas and tips on how to grill fruit?  Check out this article:

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Ask Shelley Case: Celiac Disease Awareness Month Resources

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Question: Can you suggest some resources that will help me understand more about celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the gluten-free diet?

Answer: May is celiac awareness month so it is a great time to highlight some resources, guides, information sheets and articles about celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the gluten-free diet. Explore and enjoy these links. Print them out. Hang them on your refrigerator or bring them grocery shopping with you. Use them as reference for yourself, and also share them with others in order to spread more awareness, visibility and knowledge about celiac disease.

Basics on Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity and the Gluten-Free Diet: If you are looking for a handout that explains the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, as well as an overview of the gluten-free diet, nutritional concerns, labeling, resources and helpful links– this guide is for you.

A Quick Reference for Allowed & Non-Allowed Foods for the Gluten-Free Diet: The only treatment for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is a gluten-free diet. And it can get confusing when it comes to what grains are a “GO” and what grains are a “NO”! All forms of wheat, rye and barley must strictly be avoided, including spelt, kamut, einkorn, emmer, faro, durum, couscous, semolina, bulgur and triticale. Barley malt, barley malt extract, barley malt flavor, brewer’s yeast, malt vinegar, as well as barley-based ale, beer and lager must also be avoided. Here is a more detailed list of foods allowed, to avoid and to question.

Looking for Some Facts about Celiac Disease? This blog post addresses 10 facts about celiac disease that will help you understand the disease and better explain it to others.

What is the Difference Between Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity and a Wheat Allergy? This is one of the most common questions I receive. This blog post addresses facts and pointers regarding each of these conditions to help you understand the differences in these somewhat similar, yet very unique medical conditions.

Nutrition and the Gluten-Free Diet? The gluten-free diet can create challenges when it comes to getting the proper nutrients. This chart provides a quick reference and ideas to improve the nutritional quality of your meals and snacks.

Is the Gluten-Free Diet Healthy for Everyone? Gluten-free foods are popping up everywhere and the gluten-free diet is being promoted for everything that ails you. To separate the “wheat from the chaff” you need to check out the facts in this article.

What’s New in the Gluten-Free World? Although there is still a lot we don’t know about celiac disease, there is a lot we do know, thanks to research efforts across the globe. This article recaps some of what we do know about the disease, as well as some important new developments in the gluten-free world.

Finally, as a dietitian specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free, my mission has been to provide consumers, health professionals, the food industry, media and others with accurate and practical information. One way I’ve accomplished this is through my book, Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, now in its 4th edition, 9th printing. In addition, my website, newsletter, blog and Q&A columns – like the Ask Shelley Case column on feature lots of free information. Happy reading!

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Ask Shelley Case: Gluten-Free Breakfast Cereals

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I like to eat cereal for breakfast but now that I am on a gluten-free diet I have to give up so many of my favorite ones. Can you offer some suggestions?


Cereals made with wheat, barley, barley malt extract, barley malt flavoring, or rye are off limits since they all contain gluten. Also,  regular oats are not allowed since they are frequently cross-contaminated with gluten.  But thankfully for everyone on a gluten-free diet there is now a wide variety of  tasty cold and hot gluten-free cereals on the market. It used to be that you could only find these products in health food stores but now more gluten-free cereals are showing up on the shelves of grocery stores. They are also available online from gluten-free specialty stores like,,, as well as a wide variety on or direct from the manufacturer.

Gluten-Free Ingredients
Cereals that are gluten-free and also nutritious can be made from grains such as brown rice, white rice, corn, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff and pure uncontaminated oats. Some may also contain nuts; seeds (e.g., flax, chia, sesame); dried fruits (e.g., raisins, cranberries, apples); or pulse flours (e.g., yellow pea flour).

Pure Uncontaminated Oats
These specialty oats have been grown on fields where wheat, rye or barley have not been grown for a number of years.  They also have  been harvested with dedicated equipment,  processed in dedicated facilities and have  been tested for gluten using very sensitive ELISA tests. The following companies produce these specialty gluten-free oats:

To find out even more information on gluten-free oats see my website:

Focus on Nutrition!
When choosing a gluten-free cereal read the ingredient list and nutrition facts table.  Look for cereals that are low in sugar, sodium, fat and calories; are high in fiber; contains whole grains and are enriched with iron and B vitamins.  Want to see how your favorite gluten-free cereal measures up? Check out my detailed charts comparing various gluten-free cereals on the market in the USA and Canada.

US Chart:

Canadian Chart:

Learn more about whole grains in my free handout called Whole Grains and the Gluten-Free Diet that offers nutrition information, cooking instructions, tips and recipes.

Gluten-Free Product Listing
I have over 3100 gluten-free products listed by company name, product name and package size in my book Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. In addition to all the products, there is detailed information about the diet including foods allowed and to avoid, meal plans, recipes, cooking hints and substitutions, nutrition information and practical strategies for healthy gluten-free living, a directory of more than 270 companies, resources and much more! See the table of contents at and you can order the book directly at or on

Shakes, Fruits, Yogurt… and More!
If you are looking for some new breakfast ideas that are both tasty and gluten-free, see these ideas. Some of the breakfast ideas are perfect for “eating on the run” for those that don’t have time for preparing breakfast.

Ask Shelley Case: Healthy Gluten-Free Eating

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Shelley, can you give me some tips on how to eat healthy on a gluten-free diet?

March is national nutrition month so this is a perfect time to offer up some tips on eating nutritiously!  The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Dietitians of Canada want to help consumers focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits not only in March but throughout the year.

Following a gluten-free diet can present certain challenges that arise when it comes to eating a balanced and nutritious diet due to the dietary limitations. Here are a few pointers and tips on eating nutritiously… and gluten-free:

Get your plate in shape everyday: When people first begin the gluten-free diet it is quite common to eat the same foods day after day such as rice crackers or rice cakes and white rice. This not only gets boring but can result in missing out on essential nutrients. To make sure you are eating adequate amounts from each food group use this food plate nutrition as a guide.  Also check out Canada’s Food Guide for more information, including tips for choosing and preparing foods from each group.

It’s about the whole grain: Many gluten-free baked products, cereals and pastas are made from refined flours and starches such as white rice flour, tapioca, corn and/or potato starch that are low in iron, B vitamins and fiber. When choosing gluten-free products, select ones that contain whole-grains, such as amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats (pure, uncontaminated*), quinoa, sorghum, teff, and wild rice.  And to find out more read my blog post on whole grains and how to incorporate them into your gluten-free diet.

Start your day out right- eat breakfast: It’s true. Breakfast helps you jump start your day both mentally and physically. A healthy breakfast fuels your body with food and provides key nutrients such as protein, iron, B vitamins, carbohydrates and fiber. Many traditional breakfast items are made with gluten-containing grains, especially wheat and barley. But not to worry- there are plenty of great gluten-free breakfast options available. Check out my blog to find more nutritious gluten-free options.

Eat more veggies and fruits: Whether you are on a gluten-free diet or not, most people do not get enough fruit and veggies! With a little planning and creativity it’s possible to get more at snacks and meal times. I like adding blueberries, strawberries or sliced bananas on my gluten-free oatmeal or granola. How about apple or pear slices and nut butter on a gluten-free waffle or toast? Baby carrots, sliced peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers make a great snack with hummus or low fat dip. Double up your portion of vegetables or serve a salad and a cooked vegetable for dinner. Need more ideas? Check out this link for tips on adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet.

Boost the nutritional content of sweet treats: For those with a  sweet tooth incorporate fruit and gluten-free flours from whole grains, nuts and pulses (aka legumes) when making cookies, muffins and cakes to make them more nutritious. Need some ideas? Check out these recipes: Oatmeal-Berry Bars, Anise-Apricot Biscotti, Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler or Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti.

Remember quantity, as well as quality: Being overweight  or obese are at an all-time high in North America, so controlling the amount you eat can help prevent these two epidemics. Many gluten-free products are high in sugar, fat and calories and low in fiber so check the nutrition facts label and compare products for the healthier option. Also practice eating slowly, eating food from a plate or bowl… instead of eating out of a bag, and being conscious of portion sizes, especially while dining at restaurants, can all help in weight management, and ultimately better health.

Get more nutritional information:

Check out my website for more healthy tips on eating gluten-free at:

Also contact a registered dietitian in your area for personal assistance.
Registered dietitians are uniquely trained and qualified to translate the science of nutrition into practical advice for people of all ages, whether you have a health problem or just want to eat better. Here are links to find a dietitian in the USA and Canada.

Ask Shelley Case: The Gluten-Free & Vegetarian Diet

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012


I am interested in eating vegetarian, at least some days of the week, but I am on a gluten-free diet. Can you give me more information about vegetarianism along with some nutritional pointers and tips to accomplish this?


What exactly is a vegetarian? Here’s a quick primer on the different types of vegetarian diets:

  • Vegetarian: avoids beef, pork,  poultry and fish
  • Vegan: avoids beef, pork, poultry, fish,  eggs, milk products and any products derived from animal products (e.g., gelatin, honey)
  • Ovo-Vegetarian: eats eggs but not dairy products, beef, pork, poultry or fish
  • Lacto-Vegetarian: eats dairy products but not eggs, beef, pork, poultry or fish
  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: eats milk and eggs but not beef, pork, poultry or fish

Health Benefits: Plant based diets are high in fiber, phytochemicals (naturally occurring compounds such as antioxidants) and a variety of vitamins and minerals, plus they are low in saturated fat. Research has found that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cancer. In addition, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index.

Budget Benefits: Pound for pound pulses (aka legumes- dried beans, peas and lentils), grains and even gluten-free pasta cost less than meat, fish or poultry. One of my favorite gluten-free protein-substitutes, that are also easy on the wallet, and loaded with vitamins and fiber, are pulses. Both dried and canned, they tend to be a budget and nutritional staple for gluten-free vegetarians.

One of my suggestions if you use canned beans or lentils is to drain and then rinse them off with cold water under a colander prior to eating or using in a recipe. This will reduce the sodium content by up to 40%. Rinsing can also reduce the “gassy” effect some people experience after eating beans.

Check out the recipes and tips for incorporating pulses (legumes) into the gluten-free diet that were developed by Shelley Case and Carol Fenster.

Gluten-free whole grains are also another healthy vegetarian option. Another FREE resource is  “Whole Grains and the Gluten-Free Diet” by Carol Fenster and Shelley Case. It is loaded with practical tips for getting more whole grains in your diet, nutrition information and recipes.

More Nutritional Tips for Eating Gluten-Free & Vegetarian: Like any diet, eating a variety of foods will best assure that you are getting the required nutrients your body needs to thrive. However, it is important to focus on the following key nutrients when following a vegetarian gluten-free diet. Examples of foods containing these nutrients are included:

  • Protein– pulses, soybeans, tofu, nuts, seeds, amaranth, quinoa, wild rice, teff, buckwheat, gluten-free oats, eggs and dairy products
  • Iron– seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower), quinoa, amaranth, gluten-free oats, teff, sorghum, millet, soybeans, pulses, almonds, peanuts, dried apricots, prunes and raisins, cooked spinach, baked potato (with the skin), green peas, acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, blackstrap molasses, enriched gluten-free bread products, cereals and pasta.
  • Zinc- pulses, nuts, seeds, amaranth, buckwheat, teff, quinoa, gluten-free oats, wild rice, sorghum, gluten-free “Chex” brand cereals, milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Calcium- tofu made with calcium, calcium fortified orange juice, calcium fortified soy milk, chickpeas, green soybeans, collards, kale, spinach, beet greens, turnip greens, bok choy, Brazil nuts, figs, dairy products
  • Vitamin D- fortified orange juice with vitamin D and calcium, soy milk, fortified rice milk, fortified almond milk, gluten-free “Chex” brand cereals (rice, corn, honey nut, chocolate and cinnamon), eggs and milk
  • Vitamin B12soy milk, other non dairy fortified beverages (rice, almond), gluten-free “Chex” brand cereals, Glutino “Sensible Beginnings” cereal,  eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese

Learn to substitute gluten-free vegetarian options. Get creative and try your favorite recipes without meat. For example, make vegetarian chili by leaving out the ground beef and adding an extra can of black beans. Or make fajitas using extra-firm tofu rather than chicken. You may be surprised to find that many dishes require only simple substitutions to make them healthier… and even tastier too!

Discover new gluten-free & vegetarian recipes: Looking to get inspired to get cooking vegetarian? Try new recipes and see how simple eating gluten-free and vegetarian can be. One of my favorite cookbooks to help you get on the right track is “125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes” by Carol Fenster. This cookbook offers tasty and easy gluten-free and vegetarian recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacking. Here are two of my favorite recipes –  Butternut Squash Soup with Chipotle Cream and Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts and Dried Fruit.  A must-have this book is available on and is available with free super-saving shipping.

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Ask Shelley Case: Sweet Holiday Gluten-Free Treats… with a Healthy Twist!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Since being on the gluten-free diet, I have been careful about trying to eat more nutritious. Do you have any ideas on making gluten-free desserts more nutritionally sound? The Holidays are coming soon… help!

The holidays are here and it is the perfect time to enjoy festivities, fun and food with family & friends! This is also the time of year that we tend to eat more sweets and desserts.

Thankfully for those on a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of recipes for brownies, cookies,  cakes,  muffins, and sweet breads in cookbooks and on the web that are made with nutritious gluten-free flours, grains, nuts and even beans.

Here are a few of my tips on making your holiday desserts healthier without sacrificing taste…Enjoy!

Get fruity: Some of my favorite gluten-free dessert recipes that include fruits:
Baked Apples with Raisins and Goat Cheese
Fruit Pudding

Figs & Pears in Honey

Use your bean: Believe it or not, black beans, as well as other pulses (aka legumes) make the most moist, chewy and delicious gluten-free brownies as well as other sweet treats! Pulses include all types of dried peas & beans, lentils and chickpeas.  Frequently overlooked, pulses are one of the most nutritious and versatile foods. They are high in fiber, protein, B vitamins (especially folate), and a variety of minerals-plus they are low in fat and sodium. Talk about sneaking good health into a dessert that everyone will love. You have to try these recipes to believe how good these sweets are!
Black Bean Brownies with Espresso Granache
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Apple Crisp

Peanut butter favorites: If peanut allergies are not an issue, peanut butter is high in protein and loved by “kids” of all ages. These Peanut Butter cookies are made with only three ingredients. Perfect for when the cupboards are bare and cookies are needed in a jiff!
Peanut Butter Quickie Cookies

Oats for good health:
Pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats are a perfect ingredient for making cookies and cakes for the holidays. If you can’t find gluten-free oats in your local market, you can find them on-line from Cream Hill Estates.
Apple Cranberry Crisp
Fruit Flan
Oatmeal-Berry Bars

Go Nuts:
Try using ground almonds or almond flour, in your baked goods when nut allergies are not a concern. This sweet flour alternative is perfect for desserts and is very nutritious and high in fiber, protein, and other nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. For more on baking with almonds check out my past blog post, Using Almonds in Gluten-Free Baking & Cooking – A Healthy Addition. Try this moist and fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe from Carol Fenster… you won’t be disappointed!

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

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