eating gluten-free will more than likely require you to spend a little more time in the kitchen. And if you can't remember the last time you turned on the oven, this at first might seem daunting. After eating gluten-free for 17 years, I've learned a few time saving tricks and tips for eating gluten-free.
1. Relax. Don't try to re-invent the gluten-free version of every meal. Instead, rediscover the bounty of naturally gluten-free foods. Think baked chicken, grilled fish, eggs, rice, quinoa, potatoes, fresh vegetables, fruits and smoothies. It doesn't have to be complicated, and the combinations are endless. Get a handle on the basics before you overwhelm yourself with 20 different gluten-free flours, xanthan gum and 10 new gluten-free cookbooks.
2. Since gluten-free tortillas can be stiff and clumsy, try steaming one for a few seconds by resting it on a splatter guard balanced on top of a pot of boiling water. Perfect tortilla pliancy!
3. Swap out bread and tortillas altogether for romaine lettuce, endive, cabbage and collard green wraps. Your waistline might even thank you for this one!
4.Try sneaking in more vegetables by using steamed zucchini "noodles" simply made with a vegetable peeler or spaghetti squash, instead of buying gluten-free pasta. Watch: How to make zucchini noodles
5. For better digestion, soak gluten-free grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat overnight before cooking. Use them in a variety of sweet and savory things like hot cereal or side dishes.
6. To avoid boredom, flip through international cookbooks for dishes that just happen to be gluten-free. It will infuse your repertoire of recipes with a sense of adventure, and you'll learn about new foods at the same time. For example, Ethiopian injera bread is made from teff, while socca, made from chickpea flour, is a popular snack in France.
7. Invest in a crockpot. It will become your go-to appliance of choice on days you don't feel like cooking and plenty of crockpot recipes are gluten-free or easy to adapt to gluten-free.
8. When you cook, make the most of your time and double the recipe so you can a) stock up a freezer full of heat-and-serve meals, b) use your leftovers as no-brainer lunches, and c) reinvent leftovers like baked chicken or ground beef into tacos, soups or stews. Remember: Cook once, eat twice (at least).
9. For easy instant gluten-free bread crumbs, toast a gluten-free freezer waffle and then pulse in your food processor.
10. Once you graduate to baking gluten-free goodies, triple your favorite gluten-free flour mix recipe and store it in freezer bags so you don't have to make the mix every time you decide to bake. You can also do this for any of your favorite recipes. For example, next time you make your favorite gluten-free bread, measure out the ingredients into several freezer bags at the same time. Now you have grab-and-bake bread mixes!
Do you have a gluten-free food tip to share?
A respected authority on all things gluten-free, Kelly Courson has been educating her global audience about living with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity on her award-winning blog Celiac Chicks since 2003. Sign up for her latest and greatest gluten-free discoveries.