(BPT) - Whether you have been gluten free for years or are just starting out, it’s a lifestyle rife with challenges. From cardboard-tasting foods to limited choices at social gatherings, a gluten-free lifestyle can make you feel left out and stuck with unappetizing options.
“A gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t have to be a life sentence of boring, bland food,” says Laura Fuentes, of MOMables.com and author of “The Best Grain-Free Family Meals on the Planet” and “The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet.” “By following a few simple suggestions, you can enjoy your meals both at home and at parties, without worry.”
With just a few simple tips, you can add a feeling of “gluten freedom” to your gluten-free lifestyle.
* Make simple ingredient swaps. Changing out a few gluten-heavy ingredients can turn retired recipes into updated favorites. Substitute flour tortillas for Boston bib lettuce leaves or swap in grated steamed cauliflower instead of couscous.
* Find gluten-free meals everyone will enjoy. “After switching to a gluten-free diet, many families find it challenging to find convenient foods that everyone likes — especially social and celebratory foods like pizza,” says Fuentes, a mother of one child with a gluten intolerance and two without. “Rather than making different pizzas for different diets, I serve everyone Freschetta Gluten Free pizza. It’s a delicious, thin-crust alternative that my family loves.”
* Incorporate snack prep into your weekly routine. Choose colorful, nutritious foods such as dipped apples, fruit skewers, popcorn and veggies with dip. Store snacks in clear containers and keep them at the front of your fridge or cupboard. Easy access makes gluten-free snacking a breeze and encourages you to eat healthier, since you have to think twice before reaching for chips or sweets.
* Experiment with new flavors and dishes. “Pizza night is a great time to expand your palate. Top gluten free pizza crust with adventurous choices like pesto and chicken or mushrooms and caramelized onions,” said Fuentes. “Or, rather than searching for new gluten-free recipes, seek out recipes with naturally gluten-free ingredients like fish, vegetables and rice.”
* Add texture with tasty alternatives. Fried and baked chicken are still possible by exchanging breadcrumbs for ground rice cereal. Instead of skipping the crunch of croutons on your salad, add lightly toasted almonds, pecans or walnuts. And try plantain chips in place of crackers — they’re delicious and just as crunchy.
Incorporate these ideas into your everyday eating habits and your gluten-free lifestyle will be rich with flavors and textures, while still ensuring your food is safe and delicious.
To learn more about Freschetta Gluten Free Pizza and to find a store near you, visit http://www.freschetta.com/where-to-buy.htm.
(BPT) - The good news? Americans think they are eating well; in fact, 60 percent say they eat a very healthy diet. The not-so-good news? Perception and reality may not be aligned.
Only 6 percent of Americans report eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, reveals recent research from supplement maker MegaFood. The discrepancy leaves a huge nutritional gap to fill.
The survey results highlight another knowledge gap between Americans and healthy eating — you can eat plenty of healthy foods, and still not get the recommended daily allowances of key nutrients.
For example, 52 percent of survey respondents say they think they get enough vitamin B6 in their diets. B6 is found in foods like bananas and avocados, plays an important role in producing fuel and energy, and is critical for optimal function of the brain, nervous and immune systems. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say 30 million Americans are deficient in vitamin B6.
Multiple studies have shown many Americans don’t get the recommended amounts of needed nutrients every day, yet two-thirds believe they can get all the required nutrients by eating a healthy diet, according to the MegaFood survey. As a result, the belief they don’t need a multivitamin is the top reason two in five people don’t take one.
“My experience consistently shows me that a large number of Americans live high-carb, high-sugar, caffeine-overloaded, stressed-out, no-exercise lives,” says Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, herbal medicine and dietary supplementation, and author of National Geographic’s "Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More."
“We may have good intentions when it comes to eating well, but the truth is that many of us fall short of an ideal diet — and even when we do our best to eat well, it is extremely difficult to get all the nutrients we need on a regular basis with diet alone.”
What you can do
It is possible to take steps to improve nutrition. Dr. Low Dog offers these tips:
* Know the nutrients you should be getting and the recommended daily amount for each. The National Institutes of Health provide online tables for recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals, based on age and gender.
* Do your best to eat a balanced diet; it delivers health benefits beyond vitamin sufficiency. Be sure to get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
* Supplement your good eating habits with a quality multivitamin. Eighty-one percent of consumers realize that not all multivitamins are the same. MegaFood makes a line of multivitamins formulated to support the health of men and women during various phases of life. They’re made from real food from real family farmers. The line is gluten-, soy-, GMO- and dairy-free, and tested to be free of pesticides and herbicides.
* In an effort to help bridge the nutritional gap, MegaFood has launched its MegaPledge campaign.
Pledge to close your nutritional gap by taking a multivitamin and MegaFood will donate a bottle of multis to someone in need. Pledgers will receive a $5 coupon and be entered to win great prizes, including a year’s worth of multivitamins and an amazing wellness getaway. Additionally, MegaFood is teaming up with Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit organization that empowers underserved consumers to make healthier food choices by increasing affordable access to fresh, local food. With every pledge, MegaFood will donate two servings of fruits and veggies to someone in need. Take the pledge at megafood.com/pledge.
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