Easy Gluten-Free Meals for Athletes

If you have gastrointestinal issues, a gluten-free diet could provide relief. Try these low-gluten meals to get started.

Training hard and eating well are keys to performing your best, but sometimes other issues can affect how you feel. In my work as a registered dietitian, I recently spoke with a client about some gastrointestinal issues he was having after long runs. He wondered if going gluten-free would improve his performance. I asked him if he was diagnosed with celiac disease (he was not), or if it were possible that he might have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

RELATED: Powerful Smoothies From The New York Giants

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a new diagnosis that has been identified by gastroenterologists as a condition that affects approximately 18 million people. Symptoms include foggy mind, extreme fatigue, gastrointestinal issues (sour stomach, bloating, or cramping), joint pain and headaches. However, if you experience those symptoms, they do not necessarily mean you have NCGS. In fact, there is no medical bio marker that confirms you have the condition. We can only narrow it down by ruling out other conditions, such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, colitis or other inflammatory conditions.

I suggested my client try a sample gluten-free menu to see if it resolved his issues. He felt better from a gastrointestinal perspective and wasn't as tired after finishing his runs. If you think you may have gluten sensitivity, consider the menu below. It reduces gluten and may alleviate your symptoms.

RELATED: Powerful Recipes For Vegetarian Athletes

Sample Meal Plan

Breakfast

  • Two eggs
  • 2 rice cakes
  • Banana with peanut butter

Mid-Morning Snack

  • Fruit smoothie with 8 ounces of non-fat Greek yogurt and 1 cup strawberries

Lunch

  • Turkey breast sandwich with two slices of gluten-free whole-grain bread and slice of goat cheese
  • Handful corn tortilla chips
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ½ cup hummus and carrots

Dinner

  • 6-ounces of grilled salmon
  • Baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 8 ounces of low-fat milk

Evening Snack

  • Handful of trail mix made with nuts and dried fruit
  • 8 ounces of fruit juice

More Options

Breakfast

  • Fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt
  • Rice cakes with banana & peanut butter
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Fruit salad
  • Rice or Corn Chex
  • Milk and berries

Lunch

  • Tuna salad with baked corn chips
  • 100% corn tortilla with melted cheese and pinto beans
  • Crunchmaster multigrain crackers and hummus.

Dinner

  • Baked chicken
  • Potato and beets
  • Omelet with corn and tomatoes
  • Baked potato stuffed with cottage cheese and salsa
  • Mexican beans and rice
  • Shish kabob, rice and salad with oil & vinegar
  • Frittata (potato, onion and egg "pancake")

RELATED: Non-Boring Ways To Make Chicken

Snacks

  • Apple and cheese
  • Fruit and yogurt
  • Baked potato chips
  • Rice crackers
  • Trail mix (nuts and dried fruit)
  • Popcorn
  • Corn nuts
  • Raisins
  • Fruit juice


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: DIET | BREAKFAST | CHEESE | FRUIT | LUNCH | JUICE | GREEK YOGURT | YOGURT | CHIPS | PEANUT BUTTER | DINNER | HUMMUS | CELIAC DISEASE | GLUTEN