How to Maintain a Balanced Gluten Free Diet

Learn my best tips to maintain a healthy, balanced gluten free diet. Including wholesome meal prep ideas and what to look for at the grocery store.

woman sitting on a counter holding a plate of salad and looking at a cupcake

If you’re starting a gluten free diet, you have plenty of delicious, healthy foods to look forward to. It’s easier than you think to maintain a balanced gluten free diet that makes you feel great. I’ve been gluten free for years and have developed hundreds of wholesome, family-friendly recipes for every meal designed to nourish your body and satisfy your taste buds.

So now, I’m thrilled to share my best tips for maintaining balance with you! Use these strategies and meal hacks to eat a gluten free diet that feels and tastes great.

Tips for Eating a Well Balanced Gluten Free Diet

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to eat healthy while sticking to my gluten free lifestyle. Here are some of my favorite strategies to maintain balance.

Know Your Grain Swaps

The largest source of gluten in most diets is wheat. Whether you’re used to starting your day with eggs and toast or you’re a pasta lover, it’s easy to adopt gluten-free swaps for your favorite foods. My first tip to maintain balance is to not change too much at once by knowing some healthy gluten free grain swaps.

You’re already changing your overall diet, so instead of cutting out your favorite pasta recipes, try simply swapping wheat-based pasta for a gluten free option. Pick a box up at the grocery store and try a favorite dish like Baked Pasta Eggplant Parmesan Casserole for dinner. You’ll be surprised by how similar the gluten free noodles are to your wheat pasta.

In addition, try swaps for other wheat-based products like bread, bagels, wraps and baked goods. You can enjoy all of the dishes you loved before going gluten free with a few swaps.

Pack Snacks for A Balanced Gluten Free Diet

If you’re worried about having access to gluten-free options when you’re out, try making your own! When the food comes from your own kitchen, you can be assured that’s it’s wholesome, tasty and 100% gluten free.

For example, I always have a stash of healthy homemade snacks like my Banana Nut No-Bake Snack Bars on hand. They’re easy to pack on the go and have a good balance of protein, fiber and fat to keep me full so I don’t give in to unhealthy cravings.

Allergy Friendly Trail Mix Granola Bars with oats, fried fruit, seeds, and chocolate chips

Bring Your Own Gluten Free Food

Likewise, if you’re eating out at a restaurant or going to a friend or family member’s home for a meal, planning ahead is a great idea. You want to risk having nothing to eat or being stuck with just salad while everyone else fills up on pasta or tacos. Instead, pack your own balanced gluten free meal. This way, you also don’t feel like you’re putting pressure on the host to make something special for you.

Some of my favorite meals to bring for gatherings are easy to transport dishes like Italian Noodle Casserole or Turkey Chili with White Beans.

Tip: Bring extra, because people are going to want to try your tasty meal!

Embrace Variety for a Balanced Diet

One of the hallmarks of a well balanced diet is having plenty of variety. And on a gluten free diet, there’s plenty of variety to be had. From fresh fruits and vegetables to whole grains and protein sources, lean into the wide world of non-gluten foods. Read more about all of the Gluten Free Food You Can Eat!

I keep my pantry and fridge stocked with gluten free staples like:

  • Eggs
  • Beans, including chickpeas, black beans and lentils
  • Fresh and frozen veggies like lettuce, peppers, onions, broccoli and more
  • Fresh fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lean meat, including poultry and fish
  • Low-fat dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese
  • Gluten free whole grains like quinoa, rice and oats
beef burrito bowl

Your Freezer is Your Friend

One way that everyone can maintain a balanced diet, whether you eat gluten or not, is to prepare meals ahead of time. Many healthy gluten free meals can be prepared ahead of time, frozen, and reheated for mealtime. When you have a freezer full of wholesome, homemade meals, you won’t be tempted to order take-out.

Some of my go-to freezer meals include:

Know Your Gluten Free Food Labels

When shopping, it’s important to know how to read a nutrition label. While most labels now state if they contain wheat, I recommend reading the specific ingredients in the food. In particular, look for gluten-containing ingredients like barley, kamut, and rye. Soy is another common gluten-containing ingredient. See my post Gluten-Free Label Reading for more details

If you’re buying processed gluten free foods, you’ll also want to check the nutrition facts. Gluten free doesn’t always mean healthy, so avoid too many snacks that are loaded with sugar, refined oils and other processed ingredients.