Don't let following a gluten-free diet stop you from losing weight. Hit the gym more often and cut back on your portions. Eat more gluten-free whole foods instead of snacking on those calorie-packed baked goods. You'll need to muster up some motivation and use your self-control. Once you get the hang of measuring portions and reading labels, losing weight eating gluten-free foods is easy.
Learn which foods contain gluten. It's the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Many processed foods contain these grains or food additives derived from them. Be sure to read labels carefully to check for gluten and, when in doubt, only buy packaged foods which are labeled gluten-free. Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and nuts, are gluten-free.
Write a weekly meal plan for yourself using gluten-free foods. Stick to whole foods for most of the day. They're low in calories and high in nutrients. Processed, packaged snacks are high in calories and won't fill you up, so limit yourself to about one serving a day.
Measure portion sizes before putting food on your plate. It will take a few extra seconds, but you'll know how many calories you're eating.
Eat more fruits and vegetables which are naturally gluten-free, low in calories and high in fiber. They'll keep you feeling full even when you're cutting calories.
Choose gluten-free whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa. They're rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to stay healthy and are high in fiber.
Select lean proteins, such as boneless, skinless chicken breast. Animal proteins are naturally gluten-free, just be careful not to add a gluten-containing marinade, sauce or dip.
Go vegetarian sometimes so you don't get bored with the same old foods. Make tasty chili, burritos, soups or Indian dishes with beans, which are high-fiber, low-fat sources of gluten-free protein. If you're into Asian food, try a stir-fry with tofu, vegetables and rice.
Use low-fat or fat-free dairy products to cut calories. Dairy products are gluten-free, unless they have added ingredients, so check the label before you assume it's safe. If you and lactose don't get along, try non-dairy milks, such as rice, soy or almond, which are all low in calories.
Snack on nuts for a healthy option with much-needed protein, but check the label first to be sure they're gluten-free.
Limit your intake of high-calorie, processed gluten-free snacks, such as cakes, cookies, brownies and chips. When gluten is omitted, extra fat and sugar are often added. These extra ingredients stack up the calories and throw your weight loss plans off track.
Season your meals with herbs and spices. They're flavorful and gluten-free.
- MayoClinic.com: Gluten Free Diet: What's Allowed, What's Not
- Celiac.com: Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)
- The New Healthy Eating & Weight Management Guide; Dorene D. Robinson
- Food Values of Portions Commonly Used; Jean A. T. Pennington and Judith Spungen Douglass
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Weight: It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle
- When you're starting to lose weight, set realistic goals for yourself. If you regularly meet your goals, you'll be encouraged to stick with your new routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends losing no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week.
- If you always lose control and overeat that one special snack, just don't buy it. You can't eat it if it's not there.
- To lose fat and have a lean body, do regular strength-building exercise, eat enough protein and burn more calories than you eat. To prevent a loss of muscle and target fat loss, eat at least 0.45 grams of protein per pound of your body weight per day.
Erica Kannall is a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has worked in clinical nutrition, community health, fitness, health coaching, counseling and food service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in clinical dietetics and nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.