If you throw a stone in a Whole Foods, odds are you’re going to hit some kind of gluten-free product (IDK why you would do that, but stay with me…). Point is, the GF revolution is here to stay.
Yet, apart from those processed gluten-free cookies and chickpea pastas, you can actually find a decent amount of delicious, healthy foods that are naturally gluten-free.
One thing: If you have a condition like Celiac disease, you should still look for a certified gluten-free label before tossing a processed food into your cart. “If oats, which are gluten free, are processed in a facility sharing equipment with wheat, a reaction will occur,” explains Kelly Jones R.D.
With that in mind, keep these naturally gluten-free foods on your radar for your next grocery run:
“Chickpeas are a great food to include in a gluten-free diet due to their versatility,” says Jones. You can use chickpeas as a flour replacement for baking, (think: flatbreads and pizza crust), she says.
Per 1/2 cup serving: 110 calories, 2 g fat (0 g sat fat), 27 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 130 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 6 g protein
“Often when going gluten-free, people consume excess gluten-free packaged foods rather than choosing healthy starches like potatoes, which pack twice as much potassium as a banana, and also contain starches that are slowly digested and good for gut health,” says Jones.
Per 1 medium potato: 160 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 37 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 15 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 4 g protein
“Many gluten-free processed foods may use flours low in fiber and protein, which corn is actually a good source of,” says Jones. So go with corn flour instead. “Use corn tortillas or eat corn on the cob to fill the starch portion of your plate in a nutritious way,” she says.
Per 1 ear of corn: 120 calories, 2 g fat (0 g sat fat), 17 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 30 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein
“Pistachios are not only a gluten-free option, but also one of the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie snack nuts. To keep a salad gluten-free while still providing that crunch, try using pistachios as the crouton, or as a breading on baked chicken or fish,” says Elizabeth Shaw, R.D.N. Plus, as pistachios provide a good source of protein and fiber, they’ll help keep you fuller longer.
Per serving of snack pack (1.5 oz.): 120 calories, 10g fat (1.5 g sat), 6 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 120 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein
While not all cheeses (like blue and spreadable varieties) are GF, Shaw says that cheddar cheese is naturally gluten-free.
“It’s a good thing too, because not only is cheddar cheese a great way to get your calcium and protein in your diet, it’s also relatively low in carbohydrates as well, making it a great choice for those on a low-carb eating plan,” she says. And, it can even help prevent cavities.
Per 1-ounce serving: 115 calories, 9.5g fat (5 g sat), <1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 180 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 7 g protein
Just like white potatoes, sweet potatoes are also on the list of naturally gluten-free foods. “Not only do sweet potatoes provide a complex form of carbohydrates for GF individuals, and really, everyone, to enjoy, they pack vitamin A, fiber, and a decent amount of potassium,” says Shaw.
Per 1 medium sweet potato: 100 calories, 0.2g fat (0 g sat), 24 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 41 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 2 g protein
“Cauliflower serves as a good grain substitute and is lower in carbohydrates than potatoes for an excellent cauliflower mash treat, and tastes great both in tiny raw pieces, or cooked,” says Mariana Daniela Torchia, R.D. “It is great for weight loss and maintenance, has no gluten, and contains vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium,” she adds.
Per 1 cup chopped: 27 calories, 0.3g fat (0.1g sat), 5g carbs, 2g sugar, 32mg sodium, 2.1g fiber, 2.1g protein
“As they digest slower than high-carb foods, walnuts provide fiber and healthy fatty acids from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) a plant source from omega-3, [all of] which are cardio protective, and good for the brain and skin,” Torchia says. Just make sure your bag doesn’t say “uses facility or equipment which contains grains,” to avoid cross-contamination, she says.
Per 1.5-ounce serving: 270 calories, 27 g fat (2.4g sat), 5.6 g carbs, <1g sugar, 1 mg sodium, 2.8g fiber, 6.5g protein
“Quinoa is a popular ‘ancient grain’ that is packed with fiber, which helps keep you full, but is often lacking in gluten-free diets. It’s also a source of ‘complete protein,’ meaning that it has all of the essential amino acids your body needs,” says dietitian Sarah Morland.
Per 1/2 cup serving: 117 calories, 3.8 g fat (0.5 g sat), 21 g carbs, 0.85 g sugars, 7 mg sodium, 2.7 g fiber, 4.3 g protein
Peanuts are usually associated with ballgames and school lunches. But a study from JAMA Internal Medicine found that control groups who ate more peanuts than their counterparts were likely to live longer and experience fewer heart problems. (And they’re naturally GF.) *Proceeds to eat peanut butter with a spoon.*
Per 1-ounce serving: 161 cal, 14 g fat (2 g sat), 5 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 5 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 7 g protein
A recent study from the Journal of Nutrition found that eating a cup of yogurt before a meal can help strengthen the intestinal lining—which can reduce inflammation.
Per 8-ounce serving: 154 cal, 4 g fat (12 g sat), 17 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 172 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 13 g protein
Dates have found new life as a trendy natural sweetener, especially when it comes to making energy balls and other vegan snacks. But the dried fruit is also naturally gluten-free, making it a great snack or dessert if you’re avoiding gluten.
Per date: 66 cal, 0 g fat (12 g sat), 18 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein
Like Jones said, oats are technically gluten-free, although since they’re processed, you should always buy products that specifically say they’re gluten-free on the label. And they’re a great source of fiber and protein in your diet.
Per 1-cup serving: 166 cal, 4 g fat (1 g sat), 28 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 9 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 6 g protein
A general food rule: The more color produce has, the higher it is in antioxidants. This couldn’t ring more true for beets, which are so pigmented they leave a stain on your lips (maybe it’s Maybelline?). They’re also packed in nitrates, which can help you workout harder for longer.
Per 1-cup serving: 58 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 13 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 106 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 2 g protein
A review from the British Journal of Pharmacology shows that dark chocolate contains flavonoids that slow neurological decline and improve blood flow and mood. (Plus, it tastes really good, so…) Just be sure to buy a bar with that certified gluten-free label, since many varieties are made in facilities that also may process wheat.
Per 1-ounce serving: 170 cal, 12 g fat (7 g sat), 13 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 6 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein
Zoodles put zucchini back on the map, and I’m so glad they did. They’re low-carb and low-cal, and come packed with vitamin C, B vitamins, and minerals like potassium and iron.
Per medium zucchini: 33 cal, 1 g fat (0 g sat), 6 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 16 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
That sleepy feeling you get after Thanksgiving dinner isn’t necessarily your food baby weighing you down, but turkey’s high tryptophan content, according to the International Journal of Tryptophan Research. The amino acid basically tells your brain that it’s time for bed—but unlike other sleep aids, you won’t feel groggy in the morning. For maximum health benefits, opt for skinless white meat, according to the review.
Per 4-oz serving: 167 cal, 2 g fat (1 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 112 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 34 g protein
For a salad or smoothie boost, look no further than a sprinkle of the small-yet-mighty flaxseed. A review from the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that eating more omega-3 fatty acids (like in flaxseeds) could help lessen your risk of colorectal cancer, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Per 1-Tbsp serving: 55 cal, 4 g fat (12 g sat), 3 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 3 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein
Beans, beans, they’re good for the heart, and it turns out they also lower your risk of developing diabetes, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Beans, like kidney beans, are also an amazing plant-based protein source (and damn, look at that fiber).
Per ½-cup serving: 310 cal, 1 g fat (0 g sat), 56 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 11 mg sodium, 14 g fiber, 21 g protein
According to a small recent study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, incorporating moderate amounts of lean, unprocessed red meat into a Mediterranean-style diet can help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease in overweight or moderately obese adults. More study is needed, but it’s still a promising sign that red meat isn’t always the enemy if you want to eat healthy (and gluten-free).
Per 4-oz serving:220 cal, 8 g fat (3 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 74 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 37 g protein
Lentils are a phenomenal source of plant-based iron, which can help ward off anemia. Plus, a cup has as much protein as a protein bar!
Per 1-cup serving: 230 cal, 1 g fat (0 g sat), 40 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 4 mg sodium, 16 g fiber, 18 g protein.
Almonds are basically the perfect snack: they’re low-carb, packed with protein and fiber, and they’re naturally gluten-free. What’s not to love?
Per 1/4-cup serving: 207 cal, 18 g fat (1 g sat), 8 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 8 g protein.
The fall fruit is anything but basic. A serving has almost twice the RDA of vitamin A (great for your eyes), lots of essential fatty acids, which regulate cholesterol levels, and carotenoids that help protect the skin against premature aging from UV rays (though they’re no replacement for SPF!).
Per 1-cup serving: 30 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 8 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 1 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 1 g protein.
Butternut squash is the cream of the crop when it comes to gourds. It’s high in fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamin A—and makes a really good base for vegan mac and “cheese.”
Per 1-cup serving: 82 cal, 0g fat (0 g sat), 22 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 8 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 2 g protein
Mushrooms not only make basically ever sauce and stir-fry way better, they’re also high in immune-boosting vitamin D—making them clutch for surviving cold and flu season.
Per 1 cup serving: 15 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 2 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 4 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
Whether wild-caught and smoked on a bagel, or seared over a bed of sticky (and certified GF!) rice, salmon is having a moment. But let’s not forget about continuing to center our everyday meals around it. The average person doesn’t get nearly enough bone-building and mood-boosting vitamin D, and luckily, oily fish like salmon are an incredibly high source.
Per 4-ounce serving: 148 cal, 5 g fat (1 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 88 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 25 g protein.
While most breakfast options are heavy on the bread and flour, eggs are blissfully gluten-free. But if you’re still only eating egg whites, don’t. You’re missing out on vitamin D, folate, and vitamin A while only saving on some calories.
Per large egg: 72 cal, 5 g fat (2 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 148 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 6 g protein
Kale is more than just a hipster salad staple. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods, offering lots of magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K per serving. And its hardy leaves can stand up to dressing without wilting for longer than regular greens can.
Per 1 cup serving: 7 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 11 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
This Antoni-approved staple doesn’t only belong on GF toast—use it to dip corn chips and add a hefty dose of heart-healthy fats to salads.
Per ½ avocado: 114 cal, 10 g fat (3 g sat), 6 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 126 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 1 g protein.
What’s not to like about chicken? It’s high in protein and iron, low in calories and fat if you go for breast meat, and has lots of nutrients that make it so much more than “just” white meat.
Per chicken breast: 277 cal, 11 g fat (3 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 126 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 42 g protein
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