If you are not feeling as happy, healthy and as energetic as you would like — even on a gluten free diet — embrace this as the opportunity to embrace your New Year with a new gluten free lifestyle!
Sounds simplistic, I know, but no matter how long (or how not long!) you’ve been living gluten free, you can probably do better. Everyone gets in a rut sometimes; the new year is the perfect time to assess where you are in your gluten free lifestyle and how you can do better.
And by doing better, I mean eating for better nutrition AND enjoying a happier gluten free life without deprivation: your New Year new gluten free lifestyle shouldn’t just be a new year thing, it can and should be an ALL year thing!
Here are 22 easy ways you can change your habits to live healthier, feed your family better, add new foods into your diet, give to others and become more disciplined about the way you treat your body.
All this without feeling depressed or deprived about what you can’t do or eat.
It’s all about the CAN HAVEs and CAN DOs.
In yoga, they speak of having “sankalpa”, or a will, purpose, or determination.
It’s not about creating a resolution NOT to do something and it’s not a focus on deprivation; instead think of the New Year as an opportunity to set an intention to be more aware of gluten contamination, to make more food at home (it’s cheaper, safer and tastes better), and to not deprive yourself of something, but instead to find a way to make what you want gluten free so you can still enjoy it.
By way of example, don’t deprive yourself of great bread: make 2024 the year you finally enjoy amazing homemade gluten free bread anytime you want it! (One of these 22 ways shows you an easy way to make that happen!)
New Year — New Gluten-Free You. Here are 22 Ways to Do It:
♦Play with your food. Making food is being creative; treat the plate as your canvas, the ingredients as your paints. You and your family will have so much fun making gluten free cookies, stuffing gluten free ravioli, topping homemade gluten free pizzas, making art in your gluten free focaccia, drawing with gluten free pancake batter … and will enjoy the results far more than simply reheating a frozen dinner or eating a lackluster (and potentially risky) meal out.
♦Try a new fruit – starfruit, kiwi, mango, plantains, dragon fruit, clementines … you’d be surprised how delicious and nutritious many fruits you’ve never heard of can be!
Take dragonfruit, for example. You may have been put off by its strange look (it’s called dragonfruit for a reason!), but it tastes like a cross between a kiwi and a pear, only a bit sweeter. A one-cup serving contains 7 grams of fiber plus loads of vitamins and minerals like iron and magnesium. Toss dragonfruit into a smoothie, and your kids (or spouse!) will never know that prehistoric pink artichoke is inside, but you’ll know how nutritious it is!
♦Add fiber to your diet – whole gluten-free grains like certified gluten free, purity protocol oats and flaxseed meal can be added to existing recipes, sprinkled on cereal or yogurt, or can be the foundation of a meal. You can even grind oats into oat flour for gluten free recipes.
For those of us living gluten free for medical reasons, it’s important to only use “Purity Protocol” oats; let this year be the year you learn about why and how to find them. Learn more about choosing the safest oatmeal options for your family in this article.
Overnight oats are another easy way to get the benefits of added fiber and nutrition in your diet without a lot of work. Try using them in my super yummy gluten free overnight oats waffles recipe!
♦Add smoothies to your morning routine. We add tons of different fruits, vegan yogurt with probiotics, carrots, several handfuls of spinach, and sometimes even walnuts and certified gluten free purity protocol gluten free oats, and it makes a filling, nutritious and super tasty breakfast, mid-morning snack or late afternoon/after school treat.
No two smoothies need to be the same, nor do they need to be complicated. Use what’s in season and fresh, or what you have on hand or flash frozen. Make your daily smoothie something to look forward to!
My Blendtec Designer 650 S can handle any task like these HUGE smoothies, quick bread batters, margaritas!, icing, sauces, soups, and even making ice cream! See below for a discount code!*
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♦Keep grab & go protein shakes in the fridge for those times when you don’t have time for breakfast, need a pick-me-up or a post work-out recharge. Try new products until you find one you love. One of my favorite protein shakes is OWYN (Only What You Need).* It’s gluten-free, vegan and free of the top 8 food allergens, and is lower in sugar than many protein drinks, plus it offers fiber and Omega 3s with no chemicals or GMOs. The cold brew coffee flavor is incredibly smooth and totally unique.
♦Start every day with fresh squeezed lemon water. I’ve been doing this for over a year now and I love the way I feel all day long. Did you know that women need 11 1/2 cups of water a day and men need 15 1/2 cups of water a day, from both beverages and food? Starting the day off with a full glass of water is a great way to jump start your water goals. Adding the juice of even just 1/2 of one lemon, and you’ll already have over 1/6 your daily vitamin C intake! Oh and bonus: lemon juice helps to prevent kidney stones.
For juicing my daily lemons and for fresh squeezed OJ, grapefruit juice and even juice for cocktails, I adore this handmade recycled aluminum juicer from Verve Culture.* I have the large size which works for larger citrus or lemons and limes, but they also make a smaller model specially sized just for small citrus. It quietly extracts every drop of juice with a smooth downward pump, while the strainer catches seeds and pulp. It’s easy to clean and it looks gorgeous on the counter when not in use. Grab 10% off their website right now!
♦Pack a healthy snack instead of candy for a treat – easy to eat fresh fruit like clementines, grapes or bananas, a handful of nuts, trail mix, or yogurt can be just as sweet, but also offer loads of health benefits.
Homemade air-popped popcorn is another one of my favorite on-the-go snacks that is deceptively healthy and quite filling (also gluten free!). Without added excess toppings like movie theater butter and loads of salt, one serving of this snack contains 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, vitamins and minerals and only about 90 calories! Here’s the air popper I like to use at home.
As an aside, you can even use whole grain popped popcorn to make homemade gluten free popcorn bread!
Recipes like homemade gluten free Ravioli, gluten free Pad Thai and Veggie Burritos with homemade gluten free tortillas are a favorite any night you choose, make great leftovers and helps you clean out your fridge!
Check out some of my recipes to get you started, like my recipe for Vegetarian Meatloaf, Vegetarian Lasagna with homemade gluten free noodles and homemade Gluten Free Veggie Meatballs.
Use the search bar at the top of my site and look for “dinner” or “meals” or anything else specific you might want … like Gluten Free Spaghetti Pie, Gluten Free Vegetable Pot Pie, Gluten Free Spaetzle … there are so many yummy meal ideas waiting to be discovered!
♦Start a new weekly dinner tradition. Even if your family is too busy to sit down for a meal together every night, choose just one night each week where everyone can count on sitting down to the same meal and enjoying the food and fellowship of eating together.
Search through all the mains and side dish recipes on my site using the search bar here. One of our favorites is Homemade Gluten Free Pizza Night! But Gluten Free Calzone Night is giving pizza night a run for its money!
And for even MORE ideas, grab a copy of my Dinner-a-Day e-book, with 29 gluten free Dinner Recipes to keep you from dinner boredom!
♦Bake your own gluten free bread. If you’ve tried the gluten free breads available in the freezer section of your grocery store, you already know that gluten free folks are expected to settle for toast. Make 2024 the year you don’t settle! Everyone’s entitled to soft, fresh bread, and with the right ingredients, it’s easy to make a soft, fresh, gluten-free loaf!
Read my article on baking gluten free bread in a breadmaker if you have a bread machine or think you might be interested in getting one, peruse my 18 Tips for Gluten Free Bread Baking, and grab one of my award-winning, no fail gfJules gluten free bread mixes to make sandwich bread, artisan bread, Italian bread, bagels, hamburger/hot dog buns … or pizza crust mixes to make gluten free baguettes. You’ll be on your way to delicious, homemade gluten free bread in no time, and you’ll never look back!
And speaking of bread, did you know that gluten free cornbread is a one-bowl recipe that can be made with an easy mix in just a few minutes, with no fancy equipment and no skills needed? And that leftover homemade gluten free baguettes make great gluten free French Bread Pizza?
Or that you CAN make great gluten free AND yeast-free breads? The world of great gluten free bread is an expansive one, indeed. There’s something for everyone! Even GRAIN-FREE!
♦Eat a better breakfast! We’ve all been told it’s the most important meal of the day (and it is), so make it count with a hearty bowl of gluten-free oatmeal or grits, scrambled egg whites, yogurt and homemade gluten-free granola, healthy granola pancakes, overnight oats waffles … you get the idea! I even have a recipe for gluten free granola made without oats or nuts!
And for those days when you don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast, make a protein shake to go. It will fill you up, give you energy, and deter you from “cheating” at a drive through.
♦Give up dairy. See how you feel. Up to sixty percent of adults are lactose intolerant and most don’t realize that dairy is what is making them feel yucky. There are amazing dairy-free products available now: coconut, cashew, soy or almond ingredients make wonderful yogurts, ice creams, milks, shredded cheeses, cream cheeses, sour creams, butter … the choices are nearly endless!
♦Add nutritional yeast to your diet. This simple ingredient addition offers loads of B vitamins, fiber, protein and minerals. Add a tablespoon here and there on your popcorn, potato skins, quiche, omelettes, nachos – really anywhere you’d like to add a subtle cheesy taste with tons of added vitamins!
♦Resolve to never leave home without a healthy snack or protein bar, so when your energy levels dip or your stomach starts to growl, you aren’t tempted to “cheat” by eating gluten or unhealthy junk food. Gluten-free protein bars and gluten-free granola bars are a great thing to have with you at all times because they’re portable and won’t go bad if you don’t eat them right away.
Some of my personal favorites are KIND Snacks® and LUNA bars, but there are tons of other options for every palate. You can even make your own homemade gluten free granola bars! Here are some more on-the-go and at work ideas to keep you healthy and stave off the munchies!
♦Try a new gluten-free recipe at least once a week – you never know what new foods you might absolutely love, and you’ll never know how much pleasure you can derive by making it yourself … until you try! New recipes don’t always have to be for dessert — veggie sides liven up any meal.
Try Tamari Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato Casserole, Apple Butter Butternut Squash Casserole, Maple Pumpkin Cobbler, Southern Fried Okra, Baked Zucchini Fries … anything can be made gluten free! Check out this video showing some of the yummy foods you can make gluten-free, even if you don’t consider yourself an experienced baker.
♦Dinner doesn’t have to be hard or boring. And everyone should eat the same meal, regardless of whether they’re avoiding gluten, because it should be that good.
If you’re needing some DInspiration, grab a copy of my Dinner-a-Day e-book, with 29 gluten free Dinner Recipes!
♦Don’t deprive yourself of treats. Everybody deserves a cookie now and then, and if dessert is your thing, then by all means indulge! Moderation is the key to any healthy way of life, but hard-core deprivation is the fastest way to failure. Any recipe can be made gluten free, and by making it homemade, you’ll be avoiding all the nasty preservatives, questionable ingredients and potential contaminants, too.
If you’re worried about your baking abilities, don’t be! Mixes like my award-winning gfJules Gluten Free Original Cookie Mix, Muffin Mix, Sugar Cut-Out Cookie Mix, and Graham Cracker/Gingersnap Mix, and my brand NEW Best Gluten Free Cake Mix have you covered!
♦Look for recipe inspiration! Use the search bar on my blog and you’ll have access to over 500 delicious gluten free recipes for everything from gluten free doughnuts to soft pretzels, oatmeal cookies to rum cake, and of course lots of healthy dinner recipes for everything from veggie chili to fish tacos, too!
My blog has been voted #1 Gluten Free Blog 7 years in a row because it’s a wealth of information like this, so take advantage of the resources, articles, news, reviews and recipes at your fingertips!
♦Volunteer to make gluten-free communion wafers for your church.
♦Donate gluten-free foods to a shelter or soup kitchen near you – help a fellow gluten-free person have a good meal.
♦Share the love: invite a friend to your house for dinner and show them how delicious gluten free can be! Even with social distancing, outdoor picnics or delivering goodies to a friend’s doorstep can still be a great way to introduce others to better gluten free food and make their day!
What are some ways you resolve to live a better gluten free lifestyle this year? Are you setting an intention?
*Some products have been provided to me by brands free of charge; some links may be affiliate links or links to product sponsors. As always, all opinions are my own. See my disclosure policy for more information. Working with select brands I love allows me to keep bringing you free recipes, and I hope that in the process, you’ll learn about some of the safe gluten free products I choose for my family. Thanks so much for your support!