If you follow a ketogenic or paleo diet, you have probably already eliminated grains. Others, who do not follow a specific “diet”, choose to cut just the wheat due to sensitivities, digestion issues or allergies, and some choose to avoid any and all grains to help reduce carb cravings and get on track to healthy eating. You see, all those grains make up the tempting snacks and treats that contribute to high blood sugar and can lead to weight gain.
Whatever your reason for considering a grain-free way of life, know that there are healthy alternatives for most of your favorite snacks. Take these steps to gently ease yourself into new habits:
1. Know your alternatives. Stock your pantry with alternative flours, like chickpea, almond and coconut. My go-to swap for rice is cauliflower “rice”. Simply pulse cauliflower in your food processor until fine, resembling little bits of rice. Alternatively, you can use a cheese grater. Gently steam the cauliflower, or warm in a fry pan with coconut oil, until soft. Use as an alternative to rice in stir-fry, wraps, or even as pasta.
2. Read all labels. Grains, particularly wheat and gluten, can hide in places like prepared sauces, gravies thickened with flour, binders, food coloring, beer, crackers, soups, some supplements and even in cosmetics. Keep yourself informed by knowing the alternative names for the ingredients you choose to avoid.
3. Meal prep. During the first few days of any new lifestyle or eating habits, it is important to be prepared, both with food and symptoms. By staying one step ahead with prepared meals, you can avoid the transition that some can find challenging. Include healthy fats and protein in your meals to help with satiety and blood sugar regulation. Take a meal-prep day and freeze smoothie packs, grain-free bliss balls, veggie sticks and fruit, overnight hemp heart puddings and mason jar salads.
Easing in to any new lifestyle and eating habits takes patience. Stay steps ahead by being prepared, get some healthy, grain-free meal plans on hand, and give yourself permission to re-assess what is and what is not working for your body and mind. It is all about feeling your best and only you know what that looks like.