Most of us have struggled with that age-old question – ‘what’s for dinner?’ This simple question can be even more complicated if you are living a gluten-free lifestyle. Meal plans can be a huge help if you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle, because the learning curve can be pretty steep. A meal plan can help you stick to ‘safe’ foods while you learn more about what ingredients and types of foods to avoid. It can also help you keep variety in your diet.
However, if you have been eating gluten-free for a while, a meal plan can help you include new and different recipes in your repertoire. Most of us get stuck in a rut with our meals, unless we receive some inspiration. Meal plans are also great options for busy working families, since you can plan ahead and shop for all of your ingredients at once.
Gluten-Free Meal Plans
So, here are the top 5 gluten-free meal plans that will help you stick to a GF diet. Each of these has a slightly different approach, so take a look at all of them, and then decide which meal plan is best for you.
1. Celiac Disease Foundation 7 Day Gluten-Free Meal Plan
This meal plan was created by a committee member of the Celiac Disease Foundation, Alicia Calvo, a registered dietician. The meal plan was specifically designed to help those who have been recently diagnosed with Celiac disease, and are having difficulties moving to a gluten-free diet. This meal plan includes breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, as well as two snacks. The emphasis is on easy preparation with familiar ingredients that will appeal to a wide range of palates, to suit everyone in the family. The plan is provided in a simple chart format that clearly identifies the options available each day.
This meal plan requires that you have access to basic gluten-free items like GF cereal, bagels, and crackers. Look for the words gluten-free’ on the box or bag to ensure that you have purchased items that are appropriate for your diet. Once you have a few GF items stocked up, the meals on this plan are easy to fix with standard grocery store ingredients. Examples include a black bean turkey chili, smoothies, grilled fish, steak and baked potatoes, and a stir-fry. Recipes are included for each entree. This meal plan is a great way to kick off your gluten-free life!
2. Eating Well – 7 Day Gluten-Free Meal Plan
Eating Well’s GF meal plan is great if you are eating gluten-free while trying to reduce or maintain your weight. This meal plan includes balanced and nutritious gluten-free meals that are available in five different calorie levels, from 1,200 calories to 2,000 calories per day. The site is very simple to use, and you can quickly change between the different calorie levels each day, or each week.
This meal plan menu relies heavily on fresh fruit, vegetables ,and meats, along with brown rice and tortillas. This is an excellent meal plan to use if you do not have ready access to specialty GF foods or baked goods. And the site is very simple to use, so you can switch between the different calorie levels to match your activity level for the day. The site also provides links to gluten-free foods, additional dinner recipes, and a GF diet plan.
3. $5 Dinners – Gluten Free Meal Plan and Shopping List
$5 Dollar Dinners offers an excellent gluten-free meal plan for those who are on a budget (and honestly, who isn’t?) This meal plan is also family friendly, and goes for an entire month, instead of just one week. The handy shopping list makes grocery shopping a breeze, and conveniently breaks down all ingredients by Produce, Meats, Dairy, Freezer and Aisles sections.
In addition, this plan recommends that breakfasts and lunches are very similar. Having the same choices for breakfast and lunch can make your life less stressful, keep you on budget, and also help keep your weight under control. This meal plan does provide a wide variety of dinner options, though, to keep things interesting! Some examples include Asian-inspired pulled pork lettuce wraps, fiesta-style chicken, and a grilled ratatouille.
4. Amy’s Kitchen – Gluten-Free Meal Plan
This meal plan is the perfect choice for those who need the convenience of prepared or frozen foods on hand. Amy’s products are also vegetarian. Amy’s Kitchen worked with a registered dietician to come up a two-week plan that involves eating Amy’s frozen meals two or three times per day, supplemented with lots of fruit and vegetables. Examples of Amy’s vegetarian GF products include cheese enchiladas, veggie burgers, tomato bisque soup, and rice crust pizzas.
Here is a link to download the 24-page booklet outlining Amy’s Gluten-Free Diet Plan.
This booklet gives clear information about what Amy’s frozen products to purchase for each day’s meal, along with suggestions for fresh fruit and vegetable sides. It also include a section for notes on each page, and a daily checklist that allows you to track your water consumption, exercise, and vitamins taken. This meal plan would be a great way to kick-off a new year of health and vitality!
5. American Diabetes Association – Gluten-Free Meal Plan
Some people struggle with multiple dietary issues, such as diabetics that have Celiac disease. And, for anyone who is looking to reduce the amount of sugar in their diet, this meal plan will be a great choice. The American Diabetes Association provides a sample gluten-free meal plan with the amount of calories, carbohydrates, and nutrition information for each meal. It also gives tips for modifying this plan, and ideas for simple substitutions to keep you on track. All ADA meal plans have been reviewed by medical personnel and are balanced, low calorie, moderate carbohydrate, limited trans-fat, and low cholesterol, and low sodium. They also sell a gluten-free recipe book that offers dozens of recipes and tips for healthy living.
Hopefully this list will help you select a meal plan that meets your needs and helps you stay on track with a gluten-free diet, while enjoying a wide variety of tasty foods. Do you have another gluten-free meal plans that you like? If so let us know below in the comments!