Prepared gluten free meals can be a good option for people who have a gluten allergy or sensitivity. Many restaurants and other food providers offer prepared gluten free meals, and the selection can be very good. If you are planning to purchase prepared meals, make sure to check the label for ingredients.
Foods that contain gluten
When you’re looking for gluten free meals, it’s important to know what ingredients to look for. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. It gives foods a chewy texture and maintains their shape.
Although it is safe for most people, those with celiac disease should avoid it. Gluten can cause diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain, and can damage the lining of the small intestine.
Gluten can also be hidden in many processed foods, including flavored potato chips, ice cream bars, and frozen yogurt. Some of these items contain wheat starch that is not certified gluten-free.
The best way to find out if a food contains gluten is to read the label. You can check the ingredient list or ask the manufacturer.
Gluten is added to foods in order to add moisture, thickness, and elasticity. If it is hidden in the product, it is not mentioned on the label.
A gluten-free diet can be helpful for those with celiac disease. However, it can also cause uncomfortable reactions for those without the disease. Keeping your kitchen and eating area clean and separating gluten-free and gluten-containing foods is critical.
Some prepared gluten-free foods are contaminated with gluten if they’re made in the same facility as other gluten-containing foods. For example, a restaurant’s eggs may be boiled in a pan with wheat flour. Or, a frozen dessert bar may contain wheat starch.
Foods that can be contaminated with gluten
Gluten can be found in many food items, which is why you need to be careful when preparing gluten free meals. It can sneak in in unexpected ways. For example, the dried fruit you eat might have traces of gluten, or the flavored mustard you use might contain a hidden wheat ingredient.
One of the best ways to avoid gluten is to be diligent in reading labels. If you don’t find “gluten-free” on a product, chances are it doesn’t meet FDA standards.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all products labeled as gluten free contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This is also true for dietary supplements.
In fact, it’s important to check for hidden ingredients in blended beverages and protein powder. You may even want to buy certified pre-made options.
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat and barley. It’s used as a thickening agent, emulsifier, and flavoring.
Wheat flour is a common thickener, but can be contaminated with hidden gluten. Maltodextrin, which is made from potato or rice, can also be a gluten source.
When purchasing fresh foods, you’ll be at lower risk for contamination. But be careful to separate your kitchen items and kitchenware, including forks and spoons, for foods that are not gluten-free.
Pre-made sauces are a common source of cross-contamination, since wheat is used as a thickening agent. Some condiments, such as ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, are made with malt vinegar, which isn’t a gluten-free food.
Creating a gluten-free meal plan
Creating a gluten-free meal plan can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Meal planning can help you stay on track with your nutritional goals and keep food costs down. Here are a few tips for making meal planning a breeze.
First, you’ll want to set a budget. It’s easy to go overboard on the diet, so be smart about your spending.
Next, you’ll need to decide how many meals you need. This will depend on your individual needs and preferences. You may be able to get by with less meals or more. Alternatively, you may need more if you’re a family or have children.
For a complete meal plan, you’ll need to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Snacks are optional, but they can help keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent overeating at meals.
The best gluten-free meal plan will offer plenty of fiber and protein. It should also be low in fat and calories.
Finally, you’ll need to do a little research on gluten-free foods. Read labels carefully. Gluten is hidden in many foods. Some common sources are bread, pasta, and processed meats. Using packaged, certified gluten-free products will ensure you’re eating something that’s free of gluten.
Choosing the right meal delivery service can make all the difference. Make sure you’re getting a service that will meet your budget and personal preferences.
Arrangements for gluten-free meals in a nursing home
Choosing an assisted living facility may be difficult for those with gluten allergies. While some facilities offer gluten-free meals, many lack the budget to offer separate menus.
Those looking to avoid gluten should consider a facility that serves prepared, fresh foods. This can make mealtime more manageable. The kitchen staff should be well versed in nutrient-rich alternatives.
If you need a quick fix, some facilities may be able to provide you with special utensils or cookware. Make sure they are labeled to prevent mishaps.
A facility might have a dedicated gluten-free menu, or it might simply have a list of dietary restrictions that they will honor. You can even ask the culinary team to come up with a list.
Some people choose to follow a gluten-free diet to avoid digestive problems or other medical issues. They may also choose to adhere to a diet to maintain their weight. Other concerns may include dairy and nut free options.
If you are a home health aide, you should be able to read the ingredients on food and medication labels. In addition, you should ask your patients about their favorite foods and beverages. Providing a list of these items can prove invaluable in managing your patients’ diet.
Using a gluten-free diet can be a real challenge, especially for seniors. However, a few facilities have made it their mission to accommodate their gluten-free residents.
Store gluten-free items away from other items
One of the most important aspects of preparing and eating gluten free meals is keeping them safe and secure from cross contamination. This can be done in a number of ways. It starts with proper storage. Store them in a well ventilated area that is not shared with other items. You may also want to consider a color coded system to help you distinguish the gluten free from the rest.
Similarly, a separate prep area and kitchen equipment are needed to make gluten-free meals. Also, be sure to clean your equipment thoroughly and regularly. If you don’t have a dedicated space to prepare your meals, you may want to use a greaseproof paper to keep your gluten-free treats dry.
Keeping gluten-free foods away from other foods and ingredients is not an easy task, but it’s doable if you do your homework and plan ahead. For example, if you plan on taking your gluten-free meals with you to a dinner party, you’ll want to make sure the host is aware of your dietary restrictions.
Likewise, make it a point to purchase the appropriate cookware and dishware. Having your own set of dishes means you don’t have to waste time or money transferring your gluten-free foods from their original containers to new ones. Another good idea is to store your gluten-free items on separate shelves from the regular foods in your fridge.
Marketing and merchandising
In recent years, prepared gluten free meals have become a popular choice among foodies. Having a dedicated gluten-free section in your store is one way to attract shoppers who prefer to avoid wheat and other grain-based foods. But retailers need to use effective merchandising and marketing strategies to capitalize on the trend.
Whole Foods Market, a natural and organic retail chain, has seen a major increase in its supply of gluten-free products. It has doubled its offerings over the past five years.
The company has also launched a specialty gluten-free pizza chain called Cappello’s. The company offers a variety of paleo and gluten-free options, including frozen chocolate chip cookie dough.
Other specialty retailers are starting to see the benefits of integrating gluten-free items. Trader Joe’s is a popular gluten-free destination, and its private-brand products have been gaining popularity.
A number of stores have a dedicated gluten-free section, and others are offering enhanced signage and displays. Some even stage cooking demonstrations.
Whether your store is already geared up for gluten-free sales or you want to create a special diets department, you need to keep up with consumer demand and the latest trends. If you do, you’ll be able to offer consumers a wide variety of tasty and nutritious alternatives to wheat and other grains.
Regardless of your merchandising strategy, it’s important to consider the media’s influence on the demand for certain foods. For example, media coverage of products with gluten-free claims can have a direct impact on sales. Several major publications have been reported to have a significant impact on gluten-free demand in recent years.