If you’re used to consuming a diet that contains gluten, then you might be concerned about how you could possibly be full without it. A huge portion of your caloric intake is likely in the form of gluten-rich foods like bread, pasta, cereals, crackers, buns, tortilla wraps, etc. These foods are very filling, but hard to digest, which is why they make you feel full for so long.
Swapping out these gluten-heavy foods for gluten-free alternatives doesn’t mean you have to starve. Once you know what types of gluten-free foods will keep you full, then your body and digestive system will thank you!
Here are some tips to not go hungry on a gluten-free diet.
The key to staying full on any diet
Regardless of if you’re eating a vegan diet, keto diet or gluten-free diet, there is one key component that will make you feel full longer: fiber. Fiber is found in plant foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. It is a type of carb that the body cannot break down and is important for healthy digestion. High-fiber foods are often low in calories, but take a longer time to digest, meaning that you will stay fuller for longer.
Some of the highest fiber, gluten-free foods include beans, corn, leafy greens, sweet potato and brown rice.
Familiarize yourself with naturally gluten-free foods
Going gluten-free doesn’t mean that you can never enjoy food again. Similar to adopting any dietary change, it just takes some getting used to. Taking the time to do some research will help you realize that going gluten-free is not as limiting as you might think. There are tons of foods that are naturally gluten-free which will fill your belly and taste delicious too!
Let’s look at some of the different categories of gluten-free foods so that you can easily build full meals without having to give up your favorite dishes.
Some grains contain gluten. Wheat is the biggest offender with varieties like spelt, semolina, durum and farro all containing gluten. Wheat is used to make many commonly consumed foods and sauces, many of which make up a huge portion of daily meals. But there are many grains that are naturally gluten-free that have tons of fiber to keep you full.
Here are some delicious gluten-free whole grains that you can use as the base for your favorite dishes:
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
Many of these grains are packed with nutrients, such as quinoa, which is both a complete protein source and contains tons of antioxidants. You can use some of these grains as the base for salads, risottos, stir-fries, stews, soups or in place of pasta.
2. Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are naturally gluten-free and super filling. You can use them as the base for many recipes, add them as a side dish, or incorporate them into salads, stews, soups, etc. Beans and legumes have lots of fiber, which makes them so filling, plus are high in protein.
Some beans and legumes you can start incorporating into your gluten-free diet include:
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
- Peanuts (yes, they are technically a legume)
3. Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are all naturally gluten-free as well. Similar to beans and legumes, the higher in fiber, the more filling the food. While choosing to eat a salad with lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes may leave you hungry for more, a creamy potato salad, with gluten-free vegan bacon bits will keep you full for hours. Vegetables that will fill you up the most include:
- Brussel sprouts
- Green, leafy vegetables like kale, swiss chard, spinach, collard greens and beet greens
- Root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, turnips, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, white potatoes and celery root
Fruits are a great option to have as a snack when you feel that hunger starting to creep up on you. By choosing fruits that have high-fiber, you keep yourself full between meals without consuming a ton of calories. The best foods to curb your hunger include:
- Berries (especially raspberries)
Not only will these fruits keep you full, but they also contain tons of valuable vitamins and nutrients like vitamin C, potassium and folate.
4. Gluten-free alternatives to your favorite glutinous foods
Giving up gluten doesn’t mean giving up your favorite glutinous foods. A few years ago you could only find gluten-free breads or pasta at specialty shops. But now, as more people have gluten-intolerance, gluten-free options are available just about everywhere.
Most things made using wheat flour can be made using gluten-free flour made from rice, almond, buckwheat, chickpea, potato or tapioca. You can find bread, burger buns, bagels, pizza dough, pasta, tortilla wraps, noodles, pastries and more made with gluten-free flour.
There are also products that come in both gluten and gluten-free versions, so just make sure you check the label. If you want to have tacos, make sure you choose 100% corn tortillas. Or for nachos, tortilla chips that are 100% corn.
Another example is condiments like soy sauce, which often contain gluten. But tamari is gluten-free and tastes exactly the same.
These gluten-free alternatives are just as filling as the traditional versions and make it easy for you to seamlessly transition into a gluten-free diet.
Staying full on a gluten-free diet
Going gluten-free doesn’t mean limiting yourself to salads and veggies, but you can include them alongside some of the other alternatives discussed in this article. With a few small tweaks, you can keep your body happy and full on a gluten-free diet.