If you are not feeling as happy, healthy and as energetic as you would like — even on a gluten-free diet — the new year is a good time to assess where you are in your gluten-free lifestyle and how you can do better. And by doing better, I mean eating for better nutrition AND enjoying a happier gluten-free life.
Here are some ideas for ways you can change your habits to live healthier, feed your family better, add new foods into your diet, give to others and become more disciplined about the way you treat your body. All this without feeling depressed or deprived about what you can’t do or eat.
New Year — New Gluten-Free You
♦Play with your food. Making food is being creative; treat the plate as your canvas, the ingredients as your paints. You and your family will have so much fun making cookies, stuffing ravioli, topping homemade pizzas, drawing with pancake batter … and will enjoy the results far more than simply reheating a frozen dinner or eating a lackluster meal out.
♦Try a new fruit – starfruit, kiwi, mango, plantain, clementines … surprise your kids by packing a fun new fruit in their lunches!
♦Add fiber to your diet – whole gluten-free grains like certified gluten-free oatmeal and flaxseed meal can be added to existing recipes, sprinkled on cereal or yogurt, or can be the foundation of a meal.
♦Pack a healthy snack instead of candy for a treat – easy to eat fresh fruit like clementines, grapes or bananas, trail mix or yogurt can be just as sweet, but also offer loads of health benefits.
♦Go meatless – on Fridays or Mondays or whenever you like. Explore other protein sources like tofu, quinoa, nuts and fish.
♦Start a new weekly dinner tradition. Even if your family is too busy to sit down for a meal together every night, choose just one night each week where everyone can count on sitting down to the same meal and enjoying the food and fellowship of eating together.
♦Eat a better breakfast! We’ve all been told it’s the most important meal of the day (and it is), so make it count with a hearty bowl of gluten-free oatmeal or grits, scrambled egg whites, yogurt and gluten-free granola, healthy granola pancakes … you get the idea!
♦Give up dairy. See how you feel. Up to sixty percent of adults are lactose intolerant and most don’t realize that dairy is what is making them feel yucky. There are amazing dairy-free products available now: coconut, soy or almond ingredients make wonderful yogurts, ice creams, milks, shredded cheeses, cream cheeses, sour creams, butter … the choices are nearly endless!
♦Add nutritional yeast to your diet. Loads of B vitamins, fiber, protein and minerals, with just a tablespoon here and there on your popcorn, quiche, nachos – really anywhere you’d like to add a subtle cheesy taste with tons of added vitamins!
♦Resolve to never leave home without a healthy snack or protein bar, so when your energy levels dip or your stomach starts to growl, you aren’t tempted to “cheat” by eating gluten or unhealthy junk food. Gluten-Free protein bars are a great thing to have with you at all times because they’re portable and won’t go bad if you don’t eat them right away.
♦Try a new gluten-free recipe at least once per week – you never know what new foods you might absolutely love, and you’ll never know how much pleasure you can derive by making it yourself … until you try!
♦Don’t deprive yourself of treats. Everybody deserves a cookie now and then, and if dessert is your thing, then by all means indulge! Moderation is the key to any healthy way of life, but hard-core deprivation is the fastest way to failure. Any recipe can be made gluten-free, and by making it homemade, you’ll be avoiding all the nasty preservatives, questionable ingredients and potential contaminants, too.
♦Looking for recipe inspiration? Use the search bar on my blog and you’ll have access to over 300 delicious gluten-free recipes for everything from gluten-free doughnuts to soft pretzels, oatmeal cookies to rum cake, and of course lots of healthy dinner recipes for everything from Pad Thai to fish tacos, too!
♦Share the love: invite a friend to your house for dinner and show them how delicious gluten-free can be!
♦Volunteer to make gluten-free communion wafers for your church.
♦Donate gluten-free foods to a shelter or soup kitchen near you – help a fellow gluten-free person have a good meal.
What are some ways you resolve to live better on a gluten-free diet this year?
To hear more, listen to the podcast of my radio show on Gluten-Free New Year’s Resolutions!