7 Common Gluten Free Foods

Thanks to the increase in awareness about gluten allergies and sensitivities, the food options available for those on gluten-free diets is becoming more varied. While it is easy to eat completely gluten free meals using only fresh, unprocessed foods, there is considerably less safety where baking ingredients and processed goods are concerned. However, there are a handful of things that are considered staples among gluten-free people. Here are seven of the most common.

1. Flours

The flexibility and reasonable cost of most gluten-free flours makes them practical to have around. Flours like sorghum, rice and corn can be used to replace wheat flour in exact proportions. However, keep in mind that some flours are better for different purposes. Rice works well for cakes, pancakes, cookies and batters. Sorghum performs the most closely to wheat and is best for pie crusts, breads and muffins.

2. Starches

The lack of gluten in most grains means you’ll need to add a starch to your baking recipes. Corn starch can be used as it is naturally gluten-free, but it’s not the most cost-effective choice. Potato and tapioca starches are much cheaper and perform better. They also make ideal thickeners for soups, stews, sauces and gravies.

3. Xanthan Gum

If you bake gluten free food, it’s good to have xanthan gum. It acts as a binder and mimics gluten’s stickiness. It’s not critical, but you will achieve better results by using it, particularly with bread. Like starch, it is also a common thickener for many foods and liquids.

4. Chocolate

Finding gluten-free chocolate can be an arduous task, but if you see it, get some. There are a few brands that manufacture allergen-free chocolate chips and chocolate bars, which can be found in most health food stores and some regular grocers.

5. Cereal

Being gluten-free, breakfast can feel limited without cereal. Fortunately, there are a lot of popular cereals on the market that are now free of gluten. These are great for eating on their own, or you can use them with your chocolate to create delicious cereal bars as a snack.

6. Brown Rice Syrup

This is a popular sweetener in many gluten-free foods. Its rich texture and buttery flavor make it an ideal addition to pastries, ice creams and caramel sauces. It can also be used to give breads a darker crust. Use caution before buying since some sources use barley to make it. They won’t usually list this, so call the manufacturer to find out. When people have spent a while being gluten free sensitivity can decrease, which means you might not immediately realize you’ve been exposed.

7. Oil

Most oils are gluten-free by nature, and they’re an essential part of getting good results from your gluten free meals. Your oil choice depends strongly upon your personal preferences, but coconut oil, butter and olive oil tend to produce the best results when used in gluten-free baking.

7 Tips For Affordable Vegetables and Fruits

Celebrate the season– Use fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season.  They are easy to get, have more flavor, and are usually less expensive.  Your local farmer’s market is a great source of seasonal produce.

Stick to your list– Plan out your meals ahead of time and make a grocery list (or better yet purchase a membership from Greatdinnermeals.com and have your weekly meals planned out for you PLUS receive your grocery list for each week.) You will save money by buying only what you need.  Don’t shop when you are hungry. Shopping after eating will make it easier to pass on the tempting snack foods.  You will have more of your food budget for vegetables and fruit.

Try canned or frozen– Compare the price and the number of servings from fresh, canned, and frozen forms of the same veggie or fruit. Canned and frozen items may be less expensive than fresh.  For canned items, choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.

Store brands=SAVINGS– Opt for store brands when possible.  You will get the same or similar product for a less expensive price. If your grocery store has a membership card, sign up for even more savings.

Keep it simple– Buy vegetables and fruits in their simplest form. Pre-cut pre-washed, ready-to-eat, and processesd foods are convenient, but often cost much more than when purchased in their basic forms.

Buy small amounts frequently– Some fresh vegetables and fruits don’t last long. Buy small amounts more often to ensure you can eat the foods without throwing any away.

Plant your own garden– Start a garden-in the yard or a pot on the patio- for fresh, inexpensive, flavorful additions to meals.  Herbs, cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes are great options for beginners.  Browse through a local library or online for more information on starting a garden.

Welcome to GreatDinnerMeals.com

Hello, and welcome to the GreatDinnerMeals.com blog. My name is Diane Hill. I am the founder and owner of GreatDinnerMeals.com, an innovative meal planning service with a simple goal in mind, to help you plan healthy, flavorful meals for you and your family, and reduce the hassle and expense of doing so.

I know what it is like to plan and provide healthy meals for my family. For twelve years, I was a single mom, working full time and raising three children. My main goal was to provide healthy meals and sit down as a family for dinner every night. Reality is – life happens! Work responsibilities, dance lessons for the girls, baseball for my son and the overwhelming need to figure out what to fix for dinner each night were all an incredible time-suck. I could only dream of a personal chef!

Save time and money with monthly meal plans from GreatDinnerMeals.com

How many evenings during a busy work week have I had to stop at the supermarket again to buy that critical item I need to make dinner? How many times have I spent MORE money than necessary because of that extra stop? How can I stop myself from doing this?

 Out of frustration and much desire, GreatDinnerMeals.com was created. I thought, if I feel this way, there must be others that feel the same. I wanted to help, in not only providing “Already Done For You” meal plans for the week, but also shopping lists to help save time and money.

Through the use of effective meal planning and aisle-by-aisle shopping lists, I have reduced the time I spend planning weekly menus for my family; I waste less time at the grocery store; and, I save money! It’s a win-win!

While I may have designed GreatDinnerMeals.com to help the busy professional and working mom, I know it can benefit anyone who does the meal planning for their family. Some of the Meal plans are designed by a registered dietician and are “kid-tested” for appeal and flavor. The meals recommended are simple and easy to prepare and with just a click of the button you can have an entire month of meals planned. What could be simpler? You won’t have pages and pages to print out like some other meal plan sites. Our meal plans are designed for simplicity. Yep, just 2-3 pages including your printable shopping list that you can print and go!

We will be providing you with practical solutions to your meal planning problems and recipes right from our Sunday night family dinners as well as Specialty Meal Plans; for example vegetarian meal plans, gluten-free meal plans, Paleo meal plans and low carb meals designed by a registered dietician. We will also bring you easy, flavorful recipes to help you feed your family, and shopping tips to help you stay within your food budget.

Stay tuned for more from GreatDinnerMeals.com!