Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the intestine is damaged by gluten (the protein found in many foods such as wheat, rye and more), which makes finding foods that are both edible and delicious tricky. These celiac-friendly foods tend to be naturally gluten free (and delicious and nutritious!).
Not only is this delicious dip (made from a combo of mashed avocado and lime) gluten-free and yummy, it’s also versatile, says Sue Newell, education consultant with the Canadian Celiac Association. “It’s got a smooth texture that’s also rich and it can be eaten with all sorts of things,” she says. To dress up this healthy dip (avocado is rich with healthy monounsaturated fats), mix in additional ingredients such as chopped cilantro, tomato, or onion.
“Alternative grains like millet or quinoa are popular, partly because people quickly get tired of rice and start looking for other things,” says Sewell. Millet is a favorite dish of Andrea Mulder-Slater, whose mother has celiac disease and who also eats gluten-free. “We like it boiled with a pinch of salt, a touch of butter, and some caraway seeds, and it’s also terrific if baked in the oven with cheese,” she says. This nutty-tasting, fiber- and protein-rich grain is also an adaptable staple that can be served as a supper side dish, as part of breakfast, or mixed into a sweet or savory salad.
3. Peanut butter
This spreadable topping can be incorporated into a celiac-friendly diet a number of ways—worked into a dip for veggies, swirled into some cream of rice cereal, baked into gluten-free muffins, and more.
This bone-building dairy product that’s packed with calcium is a celiac fan favorite and can be enjoyed a number of ways. (Think: string cheese, topping baked potatoes with it, eating a bowl of cottage cheese with fruit for breakfast or smearing celery sticks with an herbed cream cheese.) Mulder-Slater uses cheese to replace another snack food. “We make cheese chips a lot by baking Swiss cheese on parchment paper in the oven until crispy,” she says. “They’re great for dipping into homemade hummus made with mashed chickpeas, olive oil, cumin and salt, or a black bean dip made with mashed black beans, yogurt, salt, cumin and olive oil.”
This low-calorie, gluten-free snack is popular among just about everyone. Toppings such as butter and salt can make it that much more tasty. Try sprinkling it with cheese to make cheesy popcorn, or try gluten-free popcorn seasonings.
While you can purchase gluten-free ice pops, making your own can be a fun activity. It might involve something as simple as putting a stick into a container of gluten-free plain yogurt after you’ve mixed in some antioxidant-rich chopped fruit and freezing it. Or experiment by mixing up some of your favorite gluten-free ingredients and freezing them in a popsicle mold (sold at most grocery stores).
7. Spaghetti squash
This gourd, which is packed with fiber and vitamin A, earned itself a spot on our list for versatility. While you could eat it as you would a regular squash (baked in the oven with butter and salt, or with some tomatoes and feta cheese), it also works as an alternative to spaghetti. Bake spaghetti squash until it’s soft enough that you can rake through the insides of it with a fork and pull out the strings of “pasta” and then top it with your favorite spaghetti sauce and a few shaves of fresh Parmesan.