How To Cook Gluten Free For Your Family Without The Stress

How To Cook Gluten Free For Your Family Without The Stress

Dealing with dietary restrictions is never easy, but when you have an entire family to feed on a daily basis, working around food allergies can be a big challenge. Cooking multiple meals for everyone is an option but not feasible when you already have a hectic schedule. Instead, have the whole family make the switch. It will save you time, and you’ll all be supporting the family member who’s dealing with an allergy or intolerance. These are the steps you can take to learn how to cook gluten free (and without hassle) for the whole family.

Learning to become a label reader makes cooking gluten free easier.

Find Alternatives

Following a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean you have to completely change everything about the way you feed your family. The simplest step is to keep the recipes and dishes you already make and substitute alternative ingredients. This way you’ll learn how to cook gluten free and everyone can still enjoy the foods they love.

With two kids, macaroni and cheese is a staple in my house, but regular pasta isn’t gluten free. A simple swap for a gluten-free pasta can still make this quick, kid-friendly meal a go-to dish.

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • 2 cups gluten-free pasta, cooked
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese

Rinse the pasta, and add it to a pot with the skim milk and salt. Turn the heat on to medium, and stir until it starts to bubble. Turn to low heat, and let simmer while stirring for about 12 minutes or until pasta becomes tender. Add the shredded cheese and cream cheese, and stir until smooth. Let the mixture sit for two minutes before serving.

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The easiest way to avoid gluten is by sticking with whole, unprocessed foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Making your own pizza is a clever way to add veggies to a meal that kids will actually want to eat. For a gluten-free pizza, you’ll need to make your own crust. Cauliflower makes a great gluten-free substitute, and it packs in vegetables. It’s a win-win. The ingredients you need are:

  • 2 to 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper

Chop the cauliflower in a food processor until it’s a fine crumble. Heat the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl for four minutes. Pour it onto a clean kitchen towel to cool. Wring the cauliflower inside the towel to squeeze out the moisture. Add all the ingredients, including the cauliflower, to a bowl, and mix together. Pour the mixture into a rectangular baking pan lined with parchment paper, and spread out evenly. Spray the top lightly with an oil sprayer. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Take it out, and add sauce and your favorite pizza toppings. Bake again for five to six minutes, or until the cheese is melted and toppings are done.

You don't have to give up your favorites to go gluten free.

Involve Everyone

Even if it’s just one member of your family that needs to go gluten free, it makes the change a lot easier if everyone is onboard. Pick easy, gluten-free recipes that everyone in your family can help make; that way, everyone has fun while you all learn how to cook gluten free.

Try this simple gluten-free bread recipe to get started. Bread is always a fun baking project with kids, and you can still make the sandwiches they love with this version. Here’s what you need:

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast (check labels—not all are gluten free)
  • 1½ cups millet flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Mix the water and yeast in a bowl, and let it sit for a few minutes. In a large bowl, add flour, tapioca starch, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder and blend with an electric mixer. Add the yeast and water, eggs, and oil. Continue to mix until smooth.

Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray, and spread your dough into the pan. Spray a piece of plastic wrap, and then cover the pan with it. Let it sit for about an hour to rise. Remove the plastic, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 45 minutes. Take the bread out, and after a minute, remove it from the pan. Let cool completely before slicing.

What are some of your favorite family-friendly, gluten-free recipes? Share your dishes with us on Twitter.

Image sources: Flickr | Sher Warkentin

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Making dietary changes can seem like a big challenge when you're cooking for a whole family, but it doesn't have to be hard with some tweaks to your routine. Getting the whole family involved in the process and schooling yourself on ingredients and simple swaps can make it easy to learn how to cook gluten free.