GLUTEN-FREE FOODS:
  • Unprocessed/plain fresh and frozen meat, poultry (chicken, turkey), fish and seafood: 
    For a healthy diet, try to eat lean proteins such as fish and chicken. Limit red meats (beef, pork, game meatsto a few times per week. Visit the Labeling Section to read more about USDA-regulated food labelingfor processed meat and poultry. These foods follow different labeling rules and may contain hidden gluten.
  • Plain dried or canned legumes (chickpeas, lentils, and soybeans, etc) and plain dried or canned beans (navy, white, black, pinto, etc) if no gluten-containing ingredients are listed: Beans are good sources of protein and fiber. Most people do not get enough fiber in their diet. Beans are an inexpensive and easy way to add more fiber.
  • Whole, fresh eggs: Read more about USDA-regulatedprocessed egg products which follow different labeling rules and may contain hidden gluten.
  • Milk and dairy products (plain milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, buttermilk, most ice creams): Avoid malted milk. Low-fat dairy (milk) products are excellent sources of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and magnesium. If you cannot tolerate dairy products, substitute gluten-free soy, rice, or nut milk that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
  • Gluten-free grains and grain products and the products made from them:
    • Gluten-free whole grains add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your diet.
    • Try to eat whole or enriched gluten-free grains and products like amaranth, millet, buckwheat, teff, sorghum, and quinoa.* Corn, potato, and white rice are also gluten-free starches/grains but have less fiber and fewer nutrients.
    • There are many tasty and healthy naturally gluten-free grains. Explore and enjoy!
    • Read more about whole grains in Healthy Eating on the Gluten Free Diet.

*Only buy grain and grain products that are labeled "gluten-free." Many naturally gluten-free grains and flours may be contaminated.

To read more, click on Cross Contamination 1 and Label Reading.

Click here for a 15-page guide to the gluten-free diet by Food Category.

Table: Gluten-Free Grains and Starches 2,3

REFINED GRAINS AND FLOURS WITH LOWER NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Arrowroot Potato starch Sago
Corn bran Potato flour Sweet potato flour
Corn flour Rice (glutinous, sweet, white) Tapioca (also called cassava or manioc)
Corn germ Rice bran Taro
Corn meal Rice flours (glutinous, sweet, white)
Corn starch Rice polish
WHOLE GRAINS AND FLOURS WITH HIGHER NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Amaranth, amaranth flour Legume flours (garbanzo, bean, chickpea, Garfava TM, lentil, pea) Seed flours (sesame)
Bean flour (whole) Mesquite flour Sorghum, sorghum flour
Brown rice, brown rice flour Millet, millet flour Soy flour (whole)
Buckwheat, buckwheat flour Nut flours (almond, chestnut, hazelnut) Teff, teff flour
Corn (whole, also called maize) Oat flour/oatmeal (specially produced, labeled gluten-free) Wild rice (pure)
Flax seed meal Quinoa, quinoa flour

VERY IMPORTANT: Avoid any food made with or containing:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Malt
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Oats(unless specially produced labeled gluten-free oats)

Click here to see a more detailed list of gluten-containing foods and ingredients to avoid.

Be sure to visit Labeling to read important details about how to avoid gluten.

HOW TO AVOID COMMON PITFALLS OF THE GLUTEN-FREE DIET:
  • Gluten-free products cost more than products that are made with gluten-containing grains. Visit the Budget section for ideas on how to save money on the gluten-free diet.
  • The gluten-free diet can be low in fiber. Fortunately, there are simple and healthy ways to find fiber in the gluten-free diet.
  • Many gluten-free products are highly processed. In this processing, vitamins and minerals can be lost. Fortified or enriched foods have vitamins and minerals added back in after processing. Unlike many gluten-containing products (cereals, bread, pasta, etc), most gluten-free products are not fortified with key vitamins and minerals.
  • Look for gluten-free products that are labeled "fortified". Add them to your diet to make it more wholesome. 4 Visit Healthy Eating on the Gluten Free Diet Level 2 to read more about fortification.
  • See the label on the right to see how fortification is listed on a food label.
  • It is common for people with celiac disease to gain weight after starting a gluten-free diet. Visit the Weight Gain and the Healthy Eating sections to learn more about the reasons for weight gain and how to maintain a healthy weight and a balanced diet.
MORE TIPS TO AVOID GLUTEN:
  • Consider the possibility of cross-contamination and unlisted ingredients which may have been used in processing. Visit the section on Cross Contamination to learn more about this important issue.
  • When buying processed foods, look for the gluten-free label. Learn to read the ingredients and labeling statements on all processed foods very carefully to make sure they are not contaminated with gluten. Click on Label Reading to learn more.
  • Some products are "certified" gluten-free. A certification symbol on a gluten-free food package means that the manufacturer has tested the product for gluten and found it to be less than 20ppm (parts per million) gluten. The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) definition of a "gluten-free" product is one containing less than 20ppm gluten.
  • Most importantly, whenever possible, consult with a dietitian who specializes in celiac disease. A skilled dietitian will monitor your diet and health, help you to identify hidden sources of gluten, and give you new ideas and recipes. 

    If you have food allergies or other food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, or another medical condition, a dietitian can help you create an individualized, balanced meal plan.

TAKE HOME MESSAGES:

  1. Understanding how to read labels and how to avoid cross-contamination with gluten are the keys to successfully following a gluten-free diet.
  2. Look for foods that will add more fiber to your diet. Choose some fortified foods, when possible, to get more vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Visit Healthy Eating on the Gluten-Free Diet and Gluten-Free Snacking for creative ways to expand your many food choices.  

References:

  1. Thompson T, Lee AR. Gluten contamination of grains, seeds, and flours in the United States: a pilot study. JADA, 2010,110(6):937-940.
  2. Celiac Center Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Basics of the Gluten-Free Diet.www.bidmc.org/celiaccenter.
  3. Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide , Revised and Expanded Edition, Shelley Case. Case Nutrition Consulting, Inc., December 2010
  4. American Dietetic Association. Executive Summary of Recommendations. Evidence Analysis Library. Celiac Disease. http://www.adaevidencelibrary.com/topic.cfm?cat=3726. Accessed September 14, 2011. 

    Revision Date: 11-13-13 
    Author: Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN 
    Editors: Anne Lee, MSEd, RD, LD and Daniel Leffler, MD, MS

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