Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, but it isn't safe for everyone. People with a gluten intolerance or sensitivity can't eat foods that contain gluten, but that can be a fairly difficult thing to accomplish. Many foods, including ones you'd never think of, contain gluten. Having a list of foods and drinks that you know are gluten-free will help you create an eating plan that's safe for you.
Grains are one of the most difficult foods when it comes to eating gluten-free. Any grain that contains wheat, rye or barley is off limits. Instead, grain products made with amaranth, buckwheat and cornmeal, as well as anything made with rice, corn, soy, potato and bean flour, are safe. Couscous, quinoa and brown rice are allowed on a gluten-free diet, too. Read ingredient labels on flavored grains though. Many seasoned rice mixes, gravies and broths contain things like wheat starch, which adds gluten to the food.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, so any variety is safe if you can't have gluten. That's the rule for fresh fruits and vegetables, though. It's better to check the ingredient labels on frozen, canned and other forms of produce. Certain additives, such as modified food starch, aren't gluten-free. For example, some frozen vegetables are coated with breading that contains wheat or wheat ingredients. Most food packages will state whether the product is gluten-free, which can help you choose the safest foods.
Meat and Dairy
Fresh meat and dairy foods are naturally gluten-free, as well. Lean meat, such as pork, beef, poultry and fish, don't contain gluten as long as they're cooked without added ingredients, such as breading or certain seasonings such as monosodium glutamate. The same goes for most dairy foods. Cheese and yogurt don't contain gluten as long as you eat them without adding anything to them. Ice cream, however, can contain malt and other additives that aren't gluten-free.
Water, milk, plain iced tea and ground coffee are all gluten-free drinks you can safely add to your diet. Instant tea and coffee are usually off-limits because they can contain additives that aren't gluten-free. The same goes for soda. Clear sodas are almost always gluten-free, but colored sodas, such as cola, often contain caramel coloring, which isn't gluten-free. Brandy, whiskey, wine and vodka are free of gluten, as well. Skip malted milk, herbal teas and beer, however, because they're not gluten-free.
- MayoClinic.com: Gluten-Free Diet: What's Allowed, What's Not
- National Digestive Disorders Information Clearinghouse: Celiac Disease
- The Living Gluten-Free Answer Book; Suzanne Bowland
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.