Is it possible to eat a balanced and healthy diet which is gluten free?  The answer is yes!  We have designed the perfect gluten free diet plan for you. At Watch fit we take a particular pride in using experts in the field of nutrition and dietetics to design our food plans and suggest recipes.  This ensures that all our meal plans are balanced, healthy and varied.

Gluten is found in wheat and wheat derivatives such as spelt, barley and rye. It helps to give these grains their elasticity and texture (think of kneading dough!)  In wheat, gluten consists of 2 proteins called gliadin and glutenin.  It is the gliadin protein which tends to cause allergy and sensitivity issues.  Note that in rye, this specific protein is known as secalin while in barley it is known as hordein.  A gluten free diet plan means that you need to avoid these 3 cereals as well as any foods which contain them, such as sausages, cakes, biscuits, some sweets, certain chocolate, sauces such as mustard  and other processed foods.

You may be looking for a gluten free diet plan because you have been recently diagnosed with *Celiac disease, or you have a wheat allergy.  You might also be looking to try a gluten free diet because you think you may be sensitive to wheat.  Some people experience digestive issues such as bloating and discomfort after eating wheat.  This can be dosage dependant – for example you might be able to eat pasta and a piece of bread once or twice a week, but eating it at every meal can trigger symptoms.  The issue is that many of us are eating wheat at almost every meal.

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There are also some studies to suggest that going gluten free might be helpful for irritable bowel syndrome, particularly if this is linked to gluten sensitivity.  In which case, the best ‘test’ is to try going gluten free for a couple of weeks to see if this helps your symptoms.

Does going gluten free help you lose weight?!  This is a common question and the answer is that it depends on the foods you select to replace gluten.   If you replace gluten containing foods with vegetables, healthy fats and non gluten whole grain cereals, then you may lose weight.  If however you replace gluten with their industrial gluten free equivalents such as ‘gluten free bread’ and ‘gluten free cakes’ which are usually made from refined grains and loaded with sugar, then you might struggle with weight loss.

The grains you can eat on a gluten free diet include:

**Oats/Quinoa, Rice, Buckwheat, Teff, Amaranth and Millet

Note that you can still enjoy all the protein foods, dairy products and fruit and vegetables.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by having to go gluten free, it often helps to remind yourself of all the wonderful foods which you can still enjoy…!

This is a 7 day ‘Is couscous gluten free?’ gluten free menu plan? .  As for the answer to this question – if the couscous is made from wheat then it is not gluten free, however if it is made from a non gluten containing grain such as buckwheat than it is!  Our gluten free diet plan contains naturally gluten free foods which are easy to find and prepare.  It also contains a good mix of vegetable and animal protein and healthy fats in the form of omega 3 and omega 9.  We’ve also included at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits.  We’ve suggested limiting sugars to one dessert a week along with a couple of home made delicious gluten free cookies.  We recognise that your time might be limited so we’ve suggested menus when you can cook extra to enjoy as a salad the next day.

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday Friday  Saturday Sunday 
Breakfast 40g ^Berry Nutty NolaNatural YoghurtFree Fruit ^Energy Shake ^Bircher Muesli Energy Shake Bircher Muesli ^Cheeky ChiaPots Buckwheat pancakes with fruit compote and yoghurt
Lunch 2 egg omelettewith 20g parmesan cheese and 1 diced tomatoMixed Salad Quinoa salad with prawns Gaspacho soup (using left over rataouille blended with vegetable stock and fresh basil)Chicken and lentil salad (cook enough lentils for tomorrow) Grilled SalmonLentil and Vegetable Salad1 portion of fruit Feta, olive and avocado saladTropical fruit salad ^Spring Rolls ^Smoked mackeral pate with raw vegetablesRoasted vegetable and Millet pilafDessert of your choice
Supper ^Quinoa Salad with prawns (make enough for lunch)1 portion of fruit Ratatouille with roasted chickenSpinach Buckwheat noodles with stir fried  vegetables and either beef, pork or tofu Baked Sweet potato with hummusMixed salad Sushi Night(check that the soya sauce is gluten free) Chicken and vegetable Curry with 100g cooked brown riceYoghurt and cucumber raita Frittata with green beans
Snacks 1 ^Teff cookie with 10g almonds 1 piece of fruit with 10g almonds 2 rice cakes with 2 tsps nut butter and 1 portion of fruit 1 teff cookie with  3 brazil nuts 2 rice cakes with 2 tsps nut butter and raw vegetables 20g hard cheese with 10g raisins 1 piece of fruit

Recipes

Breakfast

Nutty Berry Nola

Place 300 ml of fruit juice  in a saucepan and boil until reduced by about half – roughly 150ml (you need it to be slightly syrupy). Let it cool slightly. In a large bowl place: 200g jumbo oats, 150g buckwheat flakes, 100g mixed nuts, 125g mixed seeds, 25g melted coconut oil and 1 tsp cinnamon. Pour over the juice and mix together so everything is coated with the juice. Place the mix on a flat baking sheet and bake at 170 degrees for 20-30 minutes until it is toasted (you will need to stir the mix every 10 minutes to ensure it is evenly toasted). At the end of the cooking time add in 125g dried fruit of your choice.

Bircher Muesli:

– 40g porridge oats
– 50 ml milk/plant milk
– 50 ml natural yoghurt
– 1 tsp seeds
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 grated apple
– Handful of berries

Soak the oats, milk, yoghurt, seeds and cinnamon overnight.  In the morning add the fresh fruit and additional milk as necessary.

Energy Shake

Per person:
– 1 handful of fresh or frozen berries
– 1/2 banana (can be fresh or frozen)
– 1 handful fresh spinach
– 150 ml milk (can be cow’s or plant milk)
– 1 tsp flaxseed oil/coconut oil
– 1 handful porridge oats
– 1 tsp peanut or almond butter
– Honey to sweeten to taste

Blend and go!   This smoothie includes a (good) fat in the form of omega 3 from the flaxseed oil as well as protein and fat from the nut butter.  Oats add soluble fibre to help keep you feeling full longer.  Feel free to experiment with different fruit combinations.

is couscous gluten free

Cheeky Chia Pots

Per person:
– 1 large tbsp chia seeds
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 10g dried fruit of your choice
– 125ml milk
– 1/2 tsp honey (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and leave in the fridge overnight.  The chia seeds absorb the milk and it takes on a delicious pudding texture.

Lunch 

Spring Rolls

Serves 2

For the pancakes:

– 6 rice pancakes
– 50g rice vermicelli
– 50g bean sprouts, rinsed under running water
– 1/2 courgette cut into fine lengths
– 1 carrots, cut into fine lengths
– 1 spring onion, chopped
– 1 bunch of fresh mint, chopped

Choice of:

50g shredded cooked chicken or 50g cooked prawns or 50g tofu, cut into finger batons.

For the dipping sauce:

– Juice of 1 lime
– 1tsp honey
– 3 soup spoons soya sauce (either sweet or salty)
– 1 soup spoon rice vinegar
– 1 soup spoon coconut water
– 1 tsp fish sauce
– 1 cm grated fresh ginger
– 1 pinch of wasabi powder

Prepare the pancakes:

Have a large bowl of tepid water at hand and a clean drying up cloth.  Dip each pancake in the water to soften and then lay flat on the drying up cloth.  (Note:  Do one pancake at a time or else you will have a sticky mess!)

Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour over boiling water to cover.  Let them to cook for 2-3 minutes and then drain by rinsing under running water.  Chop into smaller pieces with scissors and place in a bowl.  Place all the other vegetables in the bowl, add the protein option of your choice and mix together gently.

Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and pour into a small dish.

Fill the pancakes by placing the vegetable mix in the middle and rolling up to make a pancake shape.  You can either close the pancakes completely or keep one end open.

Place on a plate and serve with the sauce.

Smoked Mackerel Pate

Serves 2

– 1 fillet smoked mackerel (approximate weight 100g)
– 50g cream cheese (can be full fat or low fat according to your own taste)
– Zest of 1/2 lemon
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 1 handful of chopped fresh chives
– Salt and Pepper
– Raw vegetables

Blend all the ingredients for the pate together.  Season and spoon into 2 ramekins.  Serve with raw vegetables

 Supper: Frittata

Serves 4

This is a great brunch or supper dish.  Think of it as a quiche without the gluten containing pastry!  It’s a great way of using up leftover cooked vegetables and old bits of cheese.

– 8 eggs
– 50ml milk
– 100g cheese (can be any cheese, a strong cheese gives a better flavour)
– 300g mixed cooked vegetables (but avoid any vegetables which are too liquid)
– Chopped fresh parsley and chives
– Optional – smoked salmon/cooked ham
– Seasoning

Heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a baking tin (approximate size 25 x 25 cm).  Beat the eggs, milk and 75g of the cheese together.  Add the vegetables, any other ingredients  and  the chopped fresh herbs.  Season.  Pour into baking dish and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until set

Quinoa and Prawn Salad

For 2  people:

About 50 minutes cooking time

10 minutes preparation

– 100g quinoa
– 100g prawns
– 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
– 3 spring onions, chopped
– 1/2 cucumber, chopped
– 1 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
– 1 handful fresh mint
– 1 handful chopped coriander

Dressing

– 3 tbsp olive oil
– 1 crushed clove of garlic
– Juice and zest of 1 large lemon

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions and allow to cool.  Place in a bowl and add all the other ingredients.  In a separate bowl mix all the dressing ingredients together and season to taste.

Pour over the salad, mix everything gently together and keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

Baking

Teff and Cranberry Cookies

Recipe uses american cups or you can use a small teacup. 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tsp gluten free baking powder, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup peanut butter, 1.5 cups teff flour, 1 large handful dried cranberries, 1 large handful crushed flaked almonds. Mix all ingredients together. Shape into 12 balls and place on baking sheet. Press down with a fork to flatten making a criss cross pattern. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking sheet as these are very crumbly when they first come out the oven. If there are any leftover store in a biscuit tin in the fridge (again to stop them being too crumbly).

*Note the Celiac disease is caused by an autoimmune reaction to gluten which means that individuals have to follow a strictly gluten free diet.  Even small amounts of gluten will cause severe digestive issues, so food labels need to examined carefully as gluten can be found in many industrially produced foods.

**gluten appears in oats largely as a result of wheat seed spreading into oat fields or cross-contamination during the manufacturing process.  If you suffer from Celiac Disease you need to ensure your oats are gluten free.

Check out this Kick-Starter exercise plan for this diet!

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