our dietitian’s must-have, coeliac-friendly grocery items

From muesli to baked beans, here are our dietitian’s must-have gluten free grocery items. 

There’s no denying it: gluten free diets are pretty restrictive. Not only are the obvious foods off the menu (think: white fluffy bread, pasta and pizza), gluten is widespread throughout the food supply and can be found in a lot of unsuspecting places.

Condiments and pre-made sauces… confectionery and chocolate… even sausages and burger patties!

Instead of focusing on all the foods you can’t eat on a gluten free diet, however, as a dietitian and fellow coeliac I’d much prefer you focus on all of the delicious, nutritious foods you can still eat – because the reality is, there are a lot of them! To give you a little insight, here are my top ten kitchen staples that *always* have a place on my gluten free shopping list.

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1. Fruit and veg

Surprise, surprise… the dietitian’s first grocery staple is fruit and veg. Yes, they’re incredibly good for you, but all plain fruit and veggies are also naturally gluten free. Regardless of whether or not your diet is gluten free, however, your diet should *always* have a foundation of fresh fruit and veggies, so I always make sure my fruit bowl and veggie crisper are stocked to the brim at the start of every week.

2. Good gluten free bread

I know this can be very hard to find, but there are some good choices out there – you just have to do a bit of digging. I opt for either a wholemeal or soy and linseed variety because these options tend to be higher in gut-loving fibre, which can be hard to find on a gluten free diet.

3. Yoghurt

High protein yoghurt is in my brekkie bowl almost every day of the week. Most yoghurts are gluten free, but some flavoured varieties aren’t – so I keep it simple by buying a plain variety and adding fresh fruit for a hint of sweetness.

4. Nuts and seeds

You might be surprised to learn that regular bread and breakfast cereals often come fortified with energising iron, but most gluten free products do not. So, I supplement my breakfast with pepitas or macadamias for a little boost of plant-based iron.

5. Microwave rice cups and pouches

A staple grain in a gluten free diet, rice is a great way to add energy-giving carbohydrates to any meal. To save time, I buy microwave cups to add to fried rice and stir fries. I look for brands that contain brown and/or basmati rice, as these are more nutritious and satisfying than white, short grain rice varieties.

6. Eggs

Versatile, protein-packed eggs are a high-return kitchen staple. I use them regularly for omelettes at breakfast time, on sandwiches for lunch, hard-boiled for snacks and even in dinners like frittata or fried rice.

7. Gluten free muesli

There’s a lot of controversy around rolled oats, so let me set the record straight: rolled oats are not gluten free. They contain a different type of gluten to wheat, rye and barley – and some people with coeliac disease can tolerate it when it comes from a contaminant-free oat.

To know if you can tolerate it, you must do a test under the supervision of your gastroenterologist that involves a pre- and post- biopsy of your bowel. Enough of the science chat – that simply means regular muesli is off the menu. Instead, a low-sugar gluten free muesli made with ingredients like quinoa, buckwheat and various nuts and seeds is always on my shopping list.

8. Tinned tuna

Perfect for toasted sandwiches and stir fries, tinned tuna is an economical way to incorporate nutritious seafood into a gluten free diet. I buy plain varieties in oil and drain off the excess liquid.

9. Baked beans

A wonderful source of plant-based protein, there are always a couple of tins of baked beans in my pantry for last-minute lunches or emergency dinners. Contrary to popular opinion, baked beans can be incredibly good for you – they’re chock-full of gut-loving fibre and long-lasting energy, and even count as veggies. I buy reduced salt varieties in tomato sauce.

10. Corn crispbreads

Many whole grains contain gluten, which is a shame given how good for you whole grains are. You might be surprised to learn, however, that corn is classified as a whole grain, so I like to include plain corn crispbreads in my diet. I use them either as a base for lunch topped with hummus, tuna and veggies, or as a snack with sweet potato and cashew dip.

And there you have it – my ten must-have, coeliac-friendly grocery staples. As always, be sure to check the label on any product you buy to ensure it is definitely gluten free.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.