Why I Made Our House Gluten- and Dairy-Free
Tricks for making the switch.
Switching my children and I over to a gluten- and dairy-free diet has definitely been an adjustment. Finding foods to replace what we were so used to eating was really easy in some areas and really hard in others. Here's how we make it work for breakfast, lunch and dinner—and most importantly, snacks!
I kept battling with myself back and forth—like, why am I doing this diet? I have always felt fine before when eating dairy and gluten, but I do believe that we have one life to live and I would like to live it feeling my best. Finding specific snacks and other treats I can have—and really like—definitely made the adjustment easier. I thought it would be helpful for anyone starting to eat this way to read about some of our favorite foods so they can have them stocked at home.
I have noticed a great positive change in behavior with my children when we stick to a gluten- and dairy-free diet. I don't think everyone needs to eat this way but we had muscle testing done, which showed we all have sensitivities to corn, gluten and dairy. Of course, we pick our battles and I do let the kids have popcorn at the movies and a churro at Disneyland, etc. But for birthday parties, which can sometimes be every weekend, I bring extra gluten- and dairy-free cupcakes for the kids and they are happy with that.
Breakfast is really easy for us. We swapped whole organic milk for fresh homemade almond milk, organic coconut milk or organic rice milk (we all have different preferences of course, LOL!). I always have my Avocado Pudding or Banana Spinach Shake every day. My kids will have waffles made from a mix without gluten or dairy, paired with scrambled eggs or cereal. We have finally found cereals that they get excited about (click here for my grocery list with all the brands I love).
For lunch, we usually have carrots and celery with hummus and a gluten-free rice tortilla with sliced turkey meat or turkey dogs—no bun. Penelope and I love salads, so we usually eat a big yummy one for lunch. If I'm trying to be really healthy, I have my Go-To Summer Salad or my Signature Salad—especially if I'm trying to get bikini-ready.
We stick to an easy formula for dinner and usually have rice or gluten-free pasta, steamed veggies and a protein like chicken, turkey or fish. I have a few key recipes the kids love, like Mac & Cheese with Turkey Bacon, Veggie Casserole and Moroccan Stew—all without dairy or gluten.
The hardest part for us has been the snacking. It's obviously best to snack on fresh fruits and veggies, but this is not realistic all the time. We still need to have a little fun and indulge a little every day. I recently discovered that tons of regular candy is gluten- and dairy-free. Same for many brightly colored drinks. But, what they do have in them—which is not good for our bodies or our brains—is food coloring and artificial dyes. I strongly believe in avoiding artificial dyes and food coloring for kids' diets. If you're mindful of avoiding these artificial flavors and dyes, it is possible to stock up on sweets that are a combo of all-natural, gluten-free and dairy-free. Mason and I went to the store and got a whole stash of sweets. They even do all-natural versions of candy that taste like Starburst and jelly beans.
My family travels a lot, which is one of the most difficult times to stick to this lifestyle—so that's usually when we make exceptions. When we were just in Italy, we all had pizza one night. But for the rest of the trip, I found that almost every restaurant had gluten-free pastas and gluten-free bread. We also had ice cream one evening, but almost every other night, we had lemon sorbet for dessert. For travel days, we always pack a bag of our favorite snacks so we're prepared.
I am constantly coming up with new and delicious recipes, which I always share with my subscribers. Stay tuned this fall for tons of ideas for how to eat gluten- and diary-free from now all the way through the holidays!
Photo Credit: Ivan Solis