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Blog Nutrition Diets Gluten Free Gluten-Free Diet Plan For Beginners: How To Eat Better For Better Health

Gluten-Free Diet Plan For Beginners: How To Eat Better For Better Health

gluten free diet plan for beginners

A gluten-free diet plan for beginners is the best starting point for anyone looking to stop consuming gluten. This eating works best for anyone curious and considering attempting a gluten-free diet plan but has no clue how to start or has health issues that require them to stop consuming this product. In this article, we are not only going to show you how to spot gluten-free products during your next grocery shopping, but we are also going to explain what gluten is, and how to eat gluten-free to avoid illnesses and other problems caused by this production.

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What Is Gluten And How Does It Affect The Body?

According to a study published in 2018 by the journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, in the last three decades, the popularity of gluten-free diets has been steadily on the rise, with more and more people choosing to eliminate gluten from their everyday diets (11).

But what is gluten, and why are more people choosing to avoid it?

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, gluten is a protein naturally found in some grains, including wheat, barley, and rye. A review by the Food Microbiology journal further states that in wheat, gluten helps how it absorbs water as well as the cohesivity, viscosity, and elasticity of dough (3).

While most people have no issue with gluten, some – less than 1% of the population – are dealing with gluten-related illnesses such as celiac disease (2), gluten ataxia, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (17), which require them to avoid these grain proteins.

If you are sensitive or intolerant to these proteins, you may experience symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation, fatigue, nausea, joint and muscle pain, headaches, confusion, depression, anxiety, and anemia. Please note that a blood test is the best way to determine if you have an issue with these proteins or not.

Read More: How To Go Gluten-Free: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

gluten free diet plan for beginners
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Gluten-Free Diet Plan For Beginners Meal Ideas: Easy Meals To Get You Started

Starting a new eating plan is always an exciting yet scary idea. It is exciting to try out new meal ideas and flavors, but it is also scary thinking of messing everything up and missing some of the old foods that you are used to.

To make this process less scary and more exciting for you, here is a practical gluten-free diet plan beginners can try. Not only are these meals really easy to make, but they also have their calories and macros included, something that anyone on a fitness journey can appreciate.

Day 1

Meal 1: Acai Bowl

Bowl Ingredients: 

  • 100 g frozen acai berry 
  • 118 g sugar-free apple juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Toppings: 

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 33 g vanilla almond granola

Calories: 619; Fats: 10 g; Protein: 24 g; Carbs: 102 g

These macros include toppings.

Meal 2: One Pan Creamy Shrimp

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 454 g shrimp
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 green onions, sliced 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro and jalapeno for garnish, chopped and sliced

For The Sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 chipotle peppers 
  • 1/2 lime juice 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt to taste

This makes four servings.

Calories for one serving: 455; Fats: 36 g; Protein: 27 g; Carbs: 10 g

Get directions from Downshiftology (6).

Meal 3: Steak And Eggs Salad

See also  Gluten-Free Diet Weight Loss Diet: Is It An Effective Solution For Stubborn Fat?

Your last meal of the day does not always have to be something heavy. This salad is a great example of a simple gluten-free dinner that is not only healthy but filling too.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound beef skirt steak
  • 1 tsp steak seasoning
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized yellow summer squash
  • 1 medium-sized sweet red pepper, chopped 
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded 

This makes four servings.

Calories for one serving: 344; Fats: 21 g; Protein: 33 g; Carbs: 4 g

Get directions from Taste of Home (22).

Total Intake For The Day: Calories: 1418; Fats: 67 g; Protein: 84 g; Carbs: 116 g

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Day 2

Meal 1: Peanut Butter Banana Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Calories: 431; Fats: 18 g; Protein: 10 g; Carbs: 64 g

Meal 2: Lamb Tagine

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg lamb neck fillets
  • 5 tbsp mild olive oil
  • 3 medium onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Large pinch of saffron
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 preserved lemons, thinly sliced 
  • 300 g dried apricot, ready-to-eat 
  • 250 g dried pitted dates, ready-to-eat  
  • 100 g shelled pistachios
  • 2 tsp rosewater 
  • 25 g cornflour
  • Small bunch coriander leaves, roughly chopped

This makes eight large servings. Serve with brown rice, couscous, or cauliflower rice.

Calories for one serving: 667; Fats: 39 g; Protein: 39 g; Carbs: 37 g

Get directions from BBC Good Food (16).

Meal 3: Meatballs And Zucchini Pasta

Ingredients For Meatballs:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, minced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/4 cup parsley, freshly chopped 
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated  
  • 1 pound ground turkey 
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground 

Ingredients For Pasta: 

  • 3 pounds spiralized zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

This makes four servings.

Calories for one serving: 393; Fats: 18 g; Protein: 33 g; Carbs: 28 g

Get directions from Pure Wow (14).

Total Intake For The Day: Calories: 1491; Fats: 75 g; Protein: 82 g; Carbs: 129 g

Read More: The Gluten-Free Mediterranean Diet: How It Works, Benefits, And Tips For Getting Started

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Day 3

Meal 1: Almond Flour Carrot Cake Scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup carrots, finely grated 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 1/3 cups almond flour 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded 
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp walnuts, finely chopped  
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp orange juice, fresh squeezed 

This recipe makes eight scones.

Calories for one scone: 350; Fats: 28 g; Protein: 8 g; Carbs: 20 g

Get directions from Dishing Out Health (1).

Meal 2: Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 900 g mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped  
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped  
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 425 g white beans, cooked 
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Parsley, chopped, for serving

This makes six servings.

Calories for one serving: 190; Fats: 5 g; Protein: 9 g; Carbs: 28 g

Get directions from Woman’s Day (5).

Meal 3: One Pan Chicken Zucchini Pasta

Ingredients: 

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves, finely chopped 
  • 500 g chicken breast fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 g tomato pasta sauce
  • 3 medium-sized spiralized zucchini
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated 
  • Fresh basil leaves to serve

This makes four servings.

Calories for one serving: 452; Fats: 27 g; Protein: 40 g; Carbs: 11 g

Get directions from Taste (4).

Meal 4: One Pot Chicken And Rice

See also  Gluten Free Diet Plan For Beginners: How To Eat Clean And Feel Better

Ingredients For Chicken & Marinade:

  •  5 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Ingredients For Rice:

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped  
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Lemon zest or slices for garnish

This makes five servings.

Calories for one serving: 423; Fats: 29 g; Protein: 23 g; Carbs: 19 g

Get directions from Downshiftology (15).

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1424; Fats: 89 g; Protein: 80 g; Carbs: 78 g

Whether you’re looking to simply pep up your fitness routine, jazz up your diet with mouth-watering low-calorie recipes or want to get your act together and significantly drop that number on your scale – BetterMe app has got you covered! Improve your body and revamp your life with us!

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Is Gluten-Free Healthy? Benefits, Risks, And Challenges Of This Eating Plan

The question of whether a gluten-free diet is healthy is a complicated one to answer. According to Medical News Today and the Harvard Health Publishing Medical School blog, there is very little to no evidence showing that this eating plan is beneficial for anyone not suffering from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

The Harvard blog further states that other than testimonials from a handful of people in the media or online, there are no scientific studies that show that going on a gluten-free for beginners best diet plan, or any other gluten eliminating plan for that matter, will lead to weight loss, increase in energy levels, treatment to autism, or a general healthier feel.

With that being said, some research has shown that this diet can have some positive benefits in other areas. For example:

  • Endometriosis And Chronic Pelvic Pain. Two studies, one by the Minerva Chirurgica journal and the other by the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, stated that this diet can improve the pain level in patients with endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain for six (6) and 12 months, respectively (10, 19).
  • Fibromyalgia. A study published in 2017 by the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology showed that after 24 weeks of a gluten-free diet, patients showed an improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms that lasted past the 6-month study period (20).

So is a gluten-free diet plan for beginners a good idea? Yes, mostly for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

A point to note is that if you do not suffer from these ailments but are willing to try this diet just for the sake of it, you might be exposing yourself to some unseen challenges and risks.

gluten free for beginners best diet plan
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Challenges And Risks Of A Gluten-Free Diet Plan For Beginners

  • The Expense. Gluten-free products might now be available in most grocery stores, but this does not make them any less expensive. Most of the products you will find labeled as gluten-free, or even meals at restaurants, are often more expensive than their counterparts (9, 12).
  • It Can Be Challenging To Follow. As seen above, going gluten-free means giving up all wheat and wheat-related products; this does not just mean bread and cakes. It also means giving up things like beer, pizza, condiments like soy sauce, some vitamins and minerals, and even toothpaste. This can make your shopping trips an absolute nightmare, especially in the beginning.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies. Other than, say a traditional healthy diet, almost all diets come with risks; this eating plan is no exception. According to a 2016 review by the Clinical Nutrition journal, consuming only gluten-free products and meals can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals such as iron, Vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, Vitamin B12, folate, and calcium (8).
  • Increased Risk Of Heart Disease. A study published in The BMJ in 2017 stated that the avoidance of gluten, especially in persons without celiac disease, may increase your risk of cardiovascular illnesses. This was attributed to the lack of whole grains in this eating plan (13).
  • Obesity (Especially In Children). If you are looking to introduce your child or adolescent to a gluten-free diet for beginners, you might want to hold off. According to several studies done on gluten-free products and diets, these foods and eating plans contain too much salt, trans-fats, and other not-so-healthy substances that lead to elevated protein and lipid consumption, as well as obesity (23, 21, 18, 7).
gluten free dinner
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The Bottom Line: What Is The Best Gluten-Free Diet Plan For Beginners?

The best gluten-free diet plan for beginners is one that takes into consideration their allergies and is simple to follow. Such an eating plan is the best starting point for anyone who might be suffering from a sensitivity to these proteins, celiac disease, or any illness related to gluten as it will help alleviate their symptoms and improve their overall well-being. If you are not suffering from any illness but would love to give this meal plan a try, please be sure to first speak to your doctor and take into consideration all the risks that come with this diet first.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. ALMOND FLOUR CARROT CAKE SCONES (2020, dishingouthealth.com)
  2. Celiac Disease (2007, nejm.org)
  3. Chemistry of gluten proteins (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Chicken, parmesan and zoodle skillet (n.d., taste.com.au)
  5. Cream of Mushroom Soup (2020, womansday.com)
  6. CREAMY CHIPOTLE SHRIMP (2020, downshiftology.com)
  7. Evaluation of the nutritional quality of the lipid fraction of gluten-free biscuits (2007, link.springer.com)
  8. Gluten free diet and nutrient deficiencies: A review (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. Gluten-free and regular foods: a cost comparison (2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  10. Gluten-free diet: a new strategy for management of painful endometriosis related symptoms? (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  11. Health Benefits and Adverse Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet in Non–Celiac Disease Patients (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  12. Limited availability and higher cost of gluten-free foods (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  13. Long term gluten consumption in adults without celiac disease and risk of coronary heart disease: prospective cohort study (2017, bmj.com)
  14. Meal-Prep Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles (n.d., purewow.com)
  15. ONE PAN CHICKEN AND RICE (2020, downshiftology.com)
  16. Persian lamb tagine (2014, bbcgoodfood.com)
  17. Recent advances in understanding non-celiac gluten sensitivity (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  18. Restoration of body composition in celiac children after one year of gluten-free diet (1996, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  19. Role of Gluten-Free Diet in the Management of Chronic Pelvic Pain of Deep Infiltranting Endometriosis (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  20. The Effects of a Gluten-free Diet Versus a Hypocaloric Diet Among Patients With Fibromyalgia Experiencing Gluten Sensitivity-like Symptoms: A Pilot, Open-Label Randomized Clinical Trial (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  21. The gluten-free diet: a nutritional risk factor for adolescents with celiac disease? (1998, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  22. Vegetable, Steak and Eggs (n.d., tasteofhome.com)
  23. Weight overgrowth of coeliac children on gluten-free diet (1992, sciencedirect.com)
С. Kamau

Clare is an excellent and experienced writer who has a great interest in nutrition, weight loss, and working out. She believes that everyone should take an interest in health and fitness, as not only do they improve your way of life, but they can also have a significant impact on your health.
As a writer, her goal is to educate her readers about the ways they can reprogram themselves to enjoy exercise, as well as break free from bad eating habits. In her articles, Clare tries to give advice which is backed by scientific research and is also easy to follow on a day-to-day basis. She believes that everyone, no matter their age, gender, or fitness level, can always learn something new that can benefit their health.

J. Paul

Jovial is from Dubai, and is a Head EMS Instructor/Fitness Manager/Nutrition Consultant for REMS Fitness. He is certified by the Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute and Registered as a Gym Instructor.
Jovial specialises in HIIT training, Rehabilitation/injury recovery, Strength and Conditioning, Kickboxing, Body Weight Training and Weight Training, and practices each discipline himself. His approach is to focus on improving his clients’ lifestyle by motivating them and setting an example.

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