You're probably hearing a lot about "gluten-free" food these days. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, and is thus present in most cereals, pastas and breads. People with celiac disease (approximately 1 in 133 people in the U.S.) experience an autoimmune reaction that destroys the small intestines and compromises the digestive system, rendering it unable to absorb nutrients properly.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is more difficult to define in terms of what happens on a physical level. As many as 18 million Americans are (non-celiac) gluten-free, whether they really have non-celiac gluten sensitivity or simply believe they do—due to symptoms such as headache, bloating, gas and fatigue.
Check out the video above to learn more about gluten from sports dietitian Leslie Bonci. Find out how to tell if a gluten-free diet is right for you.
New research suggests that a group of carbohydrates called FODMAPs—high levels of which exist in wheat—may be the cause of gluten-induced symptoms rather than gluten itself. More research is needed to confirm that gluten is not the real culprit. Until that happens, gluten-free is a diet that many continue to follow. Although it is limited, the following gluten-free snack recipes are easy to make and portable for your on-the-go needs.
Grilled Avocado Hummus
Hummus—which is made of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, (garlic) and lemon juice—is super good for you. It's nutrient dense, and its healthy fat and protein content keeps you full and good to go for your afternoon workout. Plus, there are many variations you can make.
- 1 large avocado
- 1 cup chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup water
- Cut avocado in half and remove pit.
- Using a spoon, scoop whole avocado halves from skin.
- Heat your grill or pan (coat with olive oil or nonstick spray).
- Grill until avocado is charred, about 5-7 minutes.
- Combine avocado, chickpeas, tahini and garlic in a food processor.
- Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, paprika and water.
- Blend until smooth.
Although trail mix can be heavy on calories, it's great for boosting your energy while you're on the go. You can pick up a bag at any grocery store, sans pretzels or Chex mix—or simply make it yourself.
- 1 cup Marcona almonds
- 1 cup pistachios
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup dried cherries
- ¾ cup chocolate chips
Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container.
This tasty snack will satisfy your need for crunch, and with a little salt and olive oil, you'll soon be addicted. Just one cup of chickpeas packs plenty of vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc, while satisfying up to 50 percent of your daily fiber needs.
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (if canned, drain and rinse)
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.
- Blot chickpeas with paper towel to remove excess water.
- Toss with olive oil, spread out on baking sheet.
- Season with salt & pepper.
- Bake for 30 minutes, using a spatula to toss around the 15-minute mark.
- Allow to cool.
Kale has calcium, iron, vitamin A, C & K and loads of flavonoids, which alleviate inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 200 degrees. Here's a more zesty version:
- 2-3 medium bunches of kale
- 4 tablespoon tahini
- juice of 4 lemons
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- 2-4 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Wash kale and set aside to dry.
- Whisk the tahini, lemon juice, pepper, coconut aminos, and water in a bowl.
- Arrange kale in bite-size pieces. Place 1/3 of torn kale in large mixing bowl and add in 1/3 of the dressing. Squeeze and massage kale around in mixture. Place on a baking tray and repeat process.
- Cook at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes.
RELATED: The Lowdown on Kale Nutrition
Who says deviled eggs have to be strictly for special occasions or summer barbeques? Eggs are an excellent source of protein, great for a mid-day burst of energy.
- 6 eggs
- ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- ¾ teaspoon white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Boil the eggs (drop them into boiling water, and simmer for 8-10 minutes).
- After they cool, peel and cut eggs in half.
- Put yolks in a mixing bowl.
- Arrange egg whites cut side up on a serving plate and put aside.
- Mash and stir yolks with remaining ingredients.
- Spoon mixture into each egg white half.
RELATED: 5 Non-Boring Ways to Eat Eggs
Spicy Tomato Rice and Beans
- 1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
- 14-1/2-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium fresh jalapeno, cored and chopped
- 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili poweder
- ¼ cup chopped oregano
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Combine rice with 2 cups of cold water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered for another 5 minutes.
- Drain tomatoes, pour juices into a measuring cup, add water to juice so it equals 1 cup.
- Heat a 10-12-inch pan over medium heat. Pour in oil and sautee garlic and jalapeno until the garlic browns (about 1 minute). Add black beans, salt, cumin and chili powder. Stir.
- Add tomato juice and water. Bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans absorb most of the liquid (about 5 to 7 minutes).
- Add tomatoes, oregano, cilantro, and cooked rice. Cook for another 3 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
If you're feeling crafty and have an hour or so to spare, try the recipe below for Almond Butter Protein Bites.
- 12 Medjool dates
- 1 cup almond meal or flour
- 1 cup creamy almond butter
- ½ cup chia seeds
- ½ cup cocoa nibs
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ cup shredded coconut, chopped nuts (optional)
- Soak dates in warm water until soft. Remove pits.
- Put dates in a food processor with all other ingredients. Pulse until mixture turns to a dough-like consistency.
- Chill mixture in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Portion out the dough into bite-size portions, roll in your hands to form balls, then roll the dough in chopped nuts and/or coconut.
Check out more gluten-free recipes for athletes.
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