Posts Tagged ‘losing weight on a gluten free diet’

Ask Shelley Case: Taking Control of Your Gluten-Free Diet… and Weight!

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Question: Since getting diagnosed with celiac disease, I feel like I’ve been buying and eating “anything and everything” as long as it is gluten-free! Now that it’s the New Year, I need some tips for getting back on track and take some control over my diet, especially since I have gained unwanted extra pounds. Do you have ideas for healthy gluten-free eating?

The gluten-free market is booming which is good news for those with celiac disease.  A growing number of gluten-free products ranging from breads, cereals, pasta, crackers, cakes, cookies, snack bars, soups, sauces, ready-to-eat entrees, mixes and other items are available in grocery and health food stores, wholesale outlets and even online. But people often gain too much weight because they only focus on the gluten-free status of items and do not pay attention to nutrition and meal planning. Just like gluten-containing products, not all “gluten-free” items are necessarily healthy options. Here are some of suggestions and resources for starting out the New Year on the right gluten-free track!

Plan Ahead: Planning your menu a week (or even a few days) ahead will help you select the right things to eat, and help control unnecessary or “binge type” eating.

Keep Nutrition on the Front Burner: The USDA MyPyramid and Canada’s Food Guide are practical tools to help you make healthy food choices. I have adapted these guides for the gluten-free diet to get you started. Check out this article for more information.

Watch Your Portions: Make sure that you read the back of all packaging labels so you know what “one portion” size is. Don’t be fooled! One portion could indeed be a ½ of a bagel. Being aware of portion control is a good step to manage your calorie intake.  Here’s a great portion control tool from WebMD. Although not all the items are gluten-free, it visually compares food items to commonly recognized items such as a deck of cards, light bulb, baseball or computer mouse.

Eat Breakfast: Skipping breakfast leads to overeating later in the day – often at dinner and in the evening when you are usually less active which is double trouble!  For gluten-free breakfast ideas see

Fill up on Fruits & Veggies: Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Many are low in calories so you can fill up at meals and snacks with these healthy foods. Check out this link for tips on using fruits and vegetables to help manage your weight.

Go for Whole Grains: There are a variety of nutritious gluten-free whole grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, millet, Montina™ (Indian ricegrass), millet, oats (pure, uncontaminated), quinoa, sorghum, rice (black, brown, red) and teff.  These healthy grains contain many nutrients, especially fiber- which is often lacking in the gluten-free diet because many gluten-free products are made from refined starches and flours. For more information about whole grains and how to add them to your gluten-free diet check out

Snack Sensibly: Snacking can be part of a healthy gluten-free diet but you need to choose wisely. Need some nutritious options?  Check out

Short on Time? Nowadays we all seem to be running from here to there. We’re always on the go-go-go! Don’t beat yourself up trying to make all your own gluten-free foods from scratch for every meal.  There are companies who offer a variety of gluten-free mixes and ready-to-eat items that are delicious and nutritious. Check out my book Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide that includes over 3100 gluten-free products from more than 270 companies at

Successful and healthy gluten-free eating takes a little time and planning. But with informed choices, current resources and the motivation to make a new start in the New Year, everyone on a gluten-free diet is able to get back, and stay, on the healthy gluten-free eating track!

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:

Eating Gluten & Allergen Free … and Watching Your Weight!

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

This weekend a friend asked if I wanted to join her in a “Six Weeks to Fourth of July” group tone up and get-in-shape plan. Thinking of the bathing suit season ahead, I decided that maybe I should jump aboard, partner with my good friend and the rest of the group, and embrace this challenge.

When I asked her what the group’s game-plan was she told me they planned on eating more whole and pure foods, start making more of their meals from scratch, plus start reading ingredient and nutritional labels on all the food they ate – no exceptions. In addition, they hoped to save money on their food bill during the process.

As she told me the game-plan I shook my head in agreement… again, and again and again.  I mean let’s face it… I have never in my life read so many food labels since getting diagnosed with celiac disease!

It then occurred to me that what she was describing as the healthy and more conscience method of eating in order to get-in-shape described the way those on a gluten or allergen free diet eat… and live.

The prerequisites of eating gluten and allergen free are to eat more real “whole” foods, preparing most meals at home and also reading every single ingredient label of any food you eat – basically a cleaner, healthier and more aware way of eating.

When my friend asked if I had any other ideas, tools or guidelines to add to the groups six-week tone-up and get-in-shape plan, I thought about ways my gluten-free lifestyle and know-how could help with this healthier and more mindful way of eating. These are the points that I shared:

Eat more fruits & vegetables: My motto is you can never eat enough. After you’ve had your recommended daily servings, eat more! If you fill up on vegetables and fruit, you will be less likely to reach for pre-packaged fattening foods.

Don’t eat it just because you can: After going gluten-free I find myself eating a lot of foods just because I become so over joyous at finding new gluten-free products. Could it be that every gluten-free cookie I see is calling out my name? I’ve learned to limit the amounts of sweets I eat, and when I do eat them to be very mindful of the taste and flavor, while savoring every bite.

Eat grains that are high in fiber: Some nutritious and healthy gluten-free grains that everyone should try are: Teff, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, flax, indian ricegrass (Montina), legume flours (bean, chickpea/garbanzo bean, pea, lentil), mesquite, millet, and nut flours.  

Get creative: Just as a gluten or allergen free diet does not need to be boring neither does a diet for getting in shape. Sometime just the “restriction” of not being able to eat something opens up a window of new food discoveries!  Get courageous and make it a goal to try one new healthy food every week.

Use herbs, spices and vinegars: Using fresh or dried herbs and spices can liven up the taste of foods without adding calories and fat. Plus, using spices and herbs assists in using less salt, helping to keep blood pressure low. Vinegars are also great to splash on salad greens, fish, chicken, or steamed vegetables – while adding no calories.  

Do you have any tips to share on how to eat gluten/allergen free while staying in shape? If so, please share!

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