Guest post from Mary Shomon
For many hypothyroid patients, going gluten free is a smart dietary decision. Reducing — or better yet, altogether eliminating — gluten may help reduce inflammation, prevent digestive discomfort, and promote weight loss.
Too often the term “gluten-free” conjures up visions of food that tastes like cardboard, and budget-busting trips to “Whole Paycheck” for pricey specialty gluten-free products. It doesn’t have to be that way! It’s easy to incorporate gluten-free eating, and stay within budget — simply by making some different choices at your local supermarket. Here are a few of our favorite tips.
1. Substitute your regular bread with a gluten-free variety. Fresh gluten-free breads can be expensive, and they can spoil quickly, but check the freezer section of your supermarket for a variety of lower-cost brands of frozen gluten-free bread.
2. The hefty price tag on gluten-free chips and crackers can be daunting. A healthy alternative are rice crackers. You’ll find them in the Asian food aisle, or sometimes alongside the regular crackers, and they make an inexpensive and tasty substitute for potato chips and wheat- or corn-based munchies.
3. If you’re addicted to pretzels or other crunchy, salty snacks that are high in gluten, try this simple substitution: pistachios! A handful of these delicious nuts makes for an excellent, high-protein, gluten-free snack. Even your local convenience store very likely has small packets of pistachios. It is important to note that a handful of pistachios is a healthy snack, but the calories in a whole bag can add up quickly.
4. What about pasta? Try quinoa. Quinoa — pronounced “keen-wah” — is a high-protein grain that can be the base of many healthy dishes. It’s inexpensive, especially if you buy it in the bulk food aisle. Additionally, if you’re an Italian food fan, try substituting spaghetti squash for pasta or spaghetti.
5. If you’re in the habit of enjoying wheat-based cereal — warm or cold — as your first meal of the day, you don’t have to sacrifice your morning favorite. Instead of simply swapping it for specialty, gluten-free cereal, you can save money and time by buying a rice-based cereal like “Cream of Rice” or “Rice Chex”.
Remember — lean protein, eggs, nuts, beans and produce in their natural form are all gluten-free, so there are many wonderful ways to eat gluten-free. If you’re adding sauces or condiments — like salad dressings — be sure to make sure they are gluten-free. Here’s an easy guide to gluten-free foods, condiments, and sauces.
We hope these tips help you get started on a gluten-free regimen that’s as great-tasting as it is good for you.