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Holiday Eating: Will being gluten-free help me lose weight?

While making the move to eat gluten-free is often dictated by a medical doctor, sometimes people go gluten-free as a weight loss option. However, the weight loss side of gluten-free eating is actually a myth. While some may see weight loss as inflammation comes down, not everyone will. Gluten-free living is not meant to be a weight loss plan, and everyone, including people who are gluten-free, risk gaining a few extra pounds during the holidays. That said, there are still ways to work on healthy eating during the holidays. Here are some tips for healthy gluten-free holiday eating to help you make the most of the holidays.

Healthy Gluten-Free Holiday Eating

When making choices in hopes of getting healthy it’s important to look at your health needs and not at potential restrictions. There are many options you can enjoy while living a gluten-free lifestyle. Even better, you won’t have to miss out on some of the sweets and treats you’ve come to love. Sometimes it’s about a simple swap. We have some tips to help you make the most of your holiday eating in a healthy way.

Bring safe items to potlucks and family meals

The holidays are a time when many like to show off their culinary skills. Sweet treats and savory meals become the popular option. Many of these items are heavy on gluten, sugar, or other ingredients that aren’t the most healthy. One way to avoid some of these items is to bring your own options. Here is a simple gluten-free stuffing you can bring to your next family meal.


Gluten-Free Stuffing:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ener-G Bread Crumbs
  • 3 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 ½ tsp granulated onion
  • ¾ tsp lemon peel, grated
  • 3 tbsp parsley, grated
  • 2 ¼ tsp poultry seasoning
  • 4 c hot water


Instructions

  1. Blend Ener-G Bread Crumbs and all other ingredients together.
  2. Add 4 cups of hot water. 
  3. Mix well.
  4. Bake, in the turkey, or alone in an 8” x 8” x 2” pan for 50 to 60 minutes at 350°F. 

Find sweets you can enjoy 

While many items will be off limits because of gluten or high sugar contents, there are still sweets you can enjoy this holiday season. Many recipes can even be modified to be gluten-free without sacrificing the flavors you have come to love! One of the biggest healthy eating tips when it comes to the sweets table, is to practice portion control. Try a few things while keeping in mind that smaller portions will still let you enjoy the flavor without the health implications of eating too much. Here is a simple gluten-free dessert you can make this holiday season.

Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies

Adapted from Gluten Free Palate

Ingredients

  • 1 c vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ c powdered sugar
  • 2 ¼ c gluten-free flour
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • ½ c powdered sugar for rolling cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to Bake at 375°F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and vanilla until smooth.
  4. In a separate bow, combine the ½ cup powdered sugar and gluten-free flour.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.
  6. Work the flour into the butter mixture and add in the pecans.
  7. Work the dough until it sticks together and the butter is well incorporated.
  8. Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a 1-inch ball.
  9. Place them 2” apart on the baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 16-18 minutes (You will want them set but not brown.)
  11. Cool cookies for 5 minutes and then roll in powdered sugar.
  12. Store in an airtight container.

Don’t overdo it

One of the biggest ways people make unhealthy eating choices during the holidays is by overdoing it. Instead of having one or two of something, they will eat countless amounts. Instead, you will want to eat a smaller portion so that you can still enjoy the holiday without worrying about health implications. While gluten-free items can be better for you if you have food allergies, they can still be filled with carbs and sugars. A little bit of portion control can make a world of difference.

Be careful about your drinks

Drinks can be a huge source of hidden sugars and even gluten. When picking drinks to enjoy over the holidays, be careful about which ones you drink. While it may be delicious to drink multiple lattes or enjoy hot chocolate on a cold day, you want to be careful with some of these. Not all drinks are created equal. Instead, opt for drinks you know are gluten-free and be sure to add some time drinking water into your holiday meal.

Switch out ingredients

When cooking for the holidays, a lot of the recipes include gluten rich items. Making a simple switch to some of the ingredients in your favorite recipes can make a world of difference. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods because of gluten-free living. Instead, substitute some of your ingredients for healthier options. Here are a few substitutions to consider when preparing holiday meals.

  • Switch out your flours - There are many gluten-free flour options out there. Most will even have a 1:1 ratio for switching out in a recipe. When a recipe calls for flour, reach for an item like tapioca flour or potato starch flour. Another good flour to use would be rice flour.
  • Use gluten-free bread crumbs - Many recipes will ask you to use bread crumbs in them. Obviously, the gluten in bread crumbs can be harmful to your health. Switch out traditional bread crumbs for a gluten-free bread crumb option.
  • Take advantage of premade gluten-free options - There are many premade gluten-free options on the market. Using a premade gluten-free pound cake and then adding to it can be a simple way to make a dessert you can feel safe enjoying. Other options might include premade brownies that can be decorated or stuffing that can be prepared the way you most enjoy it. 

Eating healthy while gluten-free during the holidays doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a few simple changes you can enjoy a deliciously healthy holiday season.