Q: Can you give us some examples of 3 to 5 gluten-free meals a day that would cover all the food groups that our bodies need.

A: Based on government guidelines there are 6 food groups–grains, vegetables, fruits, milk (and milk alternatives), meat and beans, and oils. The number of servings recommended from each of these food groups is based on the number of calories you should be consuming for your age, gender, and activity level. To find out your specific needs go to www.mypyramid.gov.

In general, you want to focus your meals around whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Protein sources should include beans, fish, poultry, and lean meats. Three cups of low-fat milk or the equivalent, such as calcium-fortified orange juice and calcium-fortified soy milk should be consumed daily.

Examples of quick and nutritious gluten-free meals include the following:

Gluten-free oatmeal topped with fresh or frozen berries and a little brown sugar; served with a glass of 1% milk.

Gluten-free whole-grain frozen (or homemade) waffles topped with cashew butter and sliced banana; served with a glass of calcium-fortified soy milk.

Chopped salad made with lettuce, tomato, avocado, chickpeas, and low-fat cheese topped with balsamic vinaigrette dressing; served with brown rice crackers and seltzer water.

Quinoa tossed with chopped raw vegetables, such as bell peppers, sliced chicken breast, and gluten-free flavored vinegar; served with calcium-fortified orange juice mixed with seltzer water.

Grilled salmon served over brown rice pilaf with steamed zucchini; served with sliced fruit topped with nonfat or lowfat yogurt for dessert.

Gluten-free whole grain (or enriched) noodles topped with homemade red sauce (in a  medium size pan over medium heat saute chopped onion and pine nuts in a little olive oil. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and whatever chopped vegetables you like–bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, etc. Add some chopped olives or capers for zip. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for approximately 45 minutes.) Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

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