Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gluten Free is Pain Free!

I posted a month or so ago about our new GF diet plan. It's going well so far and it hasn't taken a whole lot of adjustment. Since we're living with my in-laws who also eat gluten free, I've had a lot of help knowing what to buy, and where to buy it! I've made quite a few dumb purchases and I unknowingly let an amazing deal slip through my fingers, but you live and learn, right?

Since we're now gluten free that eliminated pretty much all of my standard lunch meals. Since I home-school three grades plus have two more that are not schooled yet, by lunch-time I don't have a lot of brain power left over for meal ideas. Also, I have some picky eaters who would eat mac and cheese and hotdogs for the rest of their life is they were allowed to. So it has been more trial and error in finding things that they will eat that will fit our new diet.

The first thing I've learned is that gluten free mac and cheese with real cheese sauce is not only very tasty, but doesn't take much longer than the box stuff. And I feel a lot better feeding it to my children! I've also learned that you cook rice noodles like you cook rice; boil the water, put the noodles in, turn off the heat and let them soak. I'm glad I found that trick because we were getting tired of soggy, mushy noodles!

Also, I've found out that kids aren't as picky as you think they might be when you tell them "This is lunch, you eat it, or you don't eat until dinner." After one or two times of that they will eat just about anything. These are some meals we've tried:

Tuna or grilled cheese on gluten-free bread (Udi's is the best we've tried so far)

Beanie weanies with carrots

Gluten free mac and cheese

Gluten free chicken nuggets (pricey but good for every once in a while when you need fast and easy)
-I tried to make my own gluten free nuggets but that was a disaster.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Stroganoff with gluten free noodles

Quesadillas with corn tortillas

Cheesy rice and broccoli (this was a huge hit!)

Sausage and Potato Hash

Chili Fries

Chili Mac and Cheese (I just added Rotel to mac and cheese)

I'm sure most of these seem pretty normal to most people but for someone that is literally stepping outside the box, this was way out of my lunch comfort zone! I'm pretty proud of myself, and I've found that if I know I'm going to need to spend 20 minutes preparing lunch, it's not so daunting when I actually do. Especially when I know that I'm feeding my children healthy meals and not junk.

This lunch adventure has also made me more creative with breakfast meals, and I've stepped beyond eggs and bacon, cereal, and oatmeal. We've had yogurt, granola, and fruit; apple pancake bake with gluten free pancake mix; sausage and egg quiche; and when I'm done making this blog post I'm going to attempt gluten free zucchini bread for tomorrow.

We have not figured out how to eat gluten free when we're out and still satisfy the kids. It's really hard to resist my two year old saying "Kickin Nuggets and fwench fwies"! But that is my next step in this diet process. We do like Taco Mayo because they have corn tortillas and chips. I also found a website that lists restaurants that have GF menus, so I just need to remember to print it out and keep it in the car!

So far I am pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to switch to gluten free and it hasn't raised our grocery bill too much because our focus is to move away from gluten, not replace it. So while we still eat gluten free bread, we don't eat nearly as much as we did regular bread. And we still eat noodles, but only sparingly.

Now on to the next diet change, no sugar!!

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