Suffering with stomach aches, bloating, and other uncomfortable symptoms? You might be wondering just wheat is going on. Sure, wheat might be a staple food for the whole world, but whole-wheat can cause chaos for the digestive systems of those it doesn’t agree with.
The grain, which originated in Asia tens of thousands of years ago, is one of the eight most common allergies. Luckily it can be outgrown by children and, for those that can’t shake it, a wheat free diet can still be balanced and delicious. Whether you have a wheat intolerance or coeliac disease, it’s simple to live a delicious life with wheat free products.
What can you eat on a wheat free diet?
On a wheat free diet, it’s advised to avoid the following:
- Most baked goods
- Bread (unless it’s certified as wheat free)
- Breakfast cereals
- Instant hot drinks
- Pizzas (unless made with a wheat free base)
- Naans and poppadums
- Many condiments, dressings, gravies, sauces and spreads
- Rye bread and crackers
- Pancakes or waffles
It’s always important to the read the label of any food you’re consuming as ingredients can often be surprising. While it may be sad to bid adieu to many of your favourite foods, there are plenty of alternatives to keep your diet healthy and your tastebuds happy.
Wheat free alternatives include:
- Oats instead of traditional breakfast cereals
- Gluten free bread and flours
- Cakes made without wheat
- Pastas and pizzas found in the Free From section
- Gluten free beers and lagers
Again, make sure to check labels to ensure you’re eating wheat free foods that won’t cause discomfort.
What kind of bread is made without wheat?
If you’ve walked away from wheat, don’t worry, you can still tuck into your toast. Wheat free breads made from wheat free flours, such as buckwheat, potato, rice, quinoa and more, can be enjoyed. With the rise of ‘Free From’ aisles, supermarkets should be well stocked with options for you. Corn tortillas are also a great alternative, easy to find and less calorific than other wheat free breads.
Or, if you’re taking this opportunity to curb your carbs, why not try lettuce wraps or slices of sweet potatoes instead? Cauliflower also makes a great pizza base when combined with eggs and seasoning.
What is the best wheat free diet?
So you’re starting on a wheat free diet… We’ve put together a Wheat Free 7 Day Meal Plan below to help you stay motivated, interested, and nutritious in your wheat free diet plan.
The number one rule? Try and consume as much unprocessed, natural food as you can. Make sure to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, animal and plant-based proteins such as seafood, legumes and more, most dairy products, healthy fats and oils.
Frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables may contain traces of wheat, sometimes having flavourings and sauces added to them. Processed meats and vegetarian alternatives should also be checked before consumption.
For a treat, why not try wheat free pasta or wheat free snacks?
What can I eat without wheat?
Don’t waste time worrying about what to eat that’s wheat free. We’ve put together seven fun, healthy and colourful recipes to last you and family through the week, from after work quick bites to a feast for a weekend blowout.
Here’s your Wheat Free 7 Day Meal Plan:
Tuna, Feta & Olive Quinoa Salad – Serves 4
Quinoa is a protein-packed wheat free alternative, delicious in a salad, or used in place of rice or couscous. We have picked out an easy Tuna, Feta & Olive Quinoa Salad, which can be enjoyed as a main meal, or even just as a snack. Start your week the healthy way!
- 185g tinned tuna chunks, drained
- 200g quinoa
- 4 diced tomatoes, seeds out
- 1 diced small cucumber
- 1 sliced red onion
- 50g pitted black olives, sliced
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 150g crumbled feta cheese
- Fresh oregano to add flavour
- 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- Add the quinoa to a pan of lightly salted water, and cook through for 15 minutes until fluffy. Rinse under cold water, and then drain again. Add to a bowl and mix in the tuna, olives, tomatoes, cucumber and onion.
- To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil and vinegar together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir the dressing into the salad, and then crumble the feta cheese over the top. Garnish with oregano and serve.
Bacon & Spinach Risotto – Serves 4
Originally from Italy, risotto is an extremely versatile dish which suits a large number of different flavour combinations. Arborio rice, which is used for risotto, is naturally wheat free meaning that this dish is perfect for those with a wheat intolerance who are craving carbs! We’ve opted for a bacon and spinach risotto, which also suits those on a low FODMAP diet.
- 2 cups of Arborio rice
- 1 bag of spinach
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick
- A knob of ginger
- 1 green chilli
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 2 stock cubes
- 300g thick cut bacon
- ½ cup of red wine
- Handful of grated wheat free hard cheese (such as Cheddar, Edam or Parmesan)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, and finely chop the chilli, celery, ginger and carrot, frying for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the Arborio rice and stir into the oil, cooking for 1 minute. Then pour in the wine, stirring continuously until it has evaporated.
- Mix 4 cups of boiling water with the stock cubes and tomato puree, and add one cup to the rice at a time until it has been absorbed, again stirring continuously.
- Fry the bacon in a little bit of oil and, once cooked, cut into chunks – a few minutes before the rice is cooked add the bacon, spinach and cheese into the pan and stir.
- Once the spinach has wilted and the cheese has melted, your risotto should be ready. Season as you wish and serve up!
Chicken & Leek Pie – Serves 6 (so you will need 1 large pie dish!)
Perfect for colder months, pies are a staple dish in the homes of many. This chicken and leek pie is delicious and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes – easy as pie!
For the pastry
- 300g wheat free plain flour
- 150g butter
- 1 egg yolk (to glaze)
For the chicken & leek sauce
- 4 small cooked chicken breasts
- 2 finely chopped onions
- 2 leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced
- 50g butter
- 50g wheat free flour
- 600ml milk
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the leeks with 2 tsps. of water and cook for a few minutes until they are tender. Remove both the leeks and onions from the pan.
- Melt butter in the same pan and, once melted, stir in the flour. Once this has thickened, the milk can gradually be beaten in until the mixture is smooth.
- Remove the mixture from the pan, and place in a heatproof bowl. Add the onions and leeks into the sauce and season as you wish. Cover the sauce and leave to cool.
- To prepare the pastry, place the remaining 300g of flour and 150g of butter into a food processor, and blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 6 tsps. of water, and blend again until the mixture thickens up into a dough.
- Take the mixture out of the food processor, wrap in cling film, and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Set the oven to 220⁰c (200⁰c fan oven, gas mark 6). Cut the cooked chicken into strips and add to the sauce, then pour into the pie dish.
- Once the worktop has been dusted with wheat free or gluten free flour, the pastry can be rolled out large enough so that there is 1cm to hang over the pie dish. The 1cm strip should then be cut off and cut into smaller strips which can be pressed round the edge of the pie dish to support the pastry lid.
- The pastry lid should then be damped with water and pressed down on top of the mixture, crimping the edges to seal the dish.
- Glaze the pastry with the egg yolk, and bake in the oven for roughly 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Borlotti Bean Bake – Serves 4-6 (depending on how much you want to eat yourself!)
A pasta bake is a great dish, as they are usually quick and easy to make, taste great and won’t leave anyone going hungry. The beauty of a pasta bake is that they can be made with whatever you have available at home, but we recommend you try this extra tasty version.
- 200g wheat free pasta shapes
- 1 can borlotti beans, drained
- 40g pine nuts
- Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- Pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 350ml double cream
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 200g mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Rocket salad for accompaniment
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan oven, gas mark 7). Boil the pasta in a pan of boiling water for half the time stated, and drain well. Once done, return to the pan and drizzle in a little olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
- Place the borlotti beans, pine nuts, parsley, chilli flakes and lemon zest into a bowl and mix together. Pour the mixture over the pasta and mix together.
- Bring the cream to the boil in a pan and add the stock cube, making sure you whisk well so that the cube is completely dissolved.
- Add the pasta and bean mixture and stir together, then pour into an ovenproof dish, and top with the Mozzarella, before baking for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes and serve with rocket salad and red onion.
Lamb & Mint Stew – Serves 4
A hearty stew is great to keep you warm and can be eaten as a main meal, later on for supper, or even at work the next day. This stew is full of flavour, but is very easy to make, involving only 6 ingredients! Our Nutritional Therapist Manager, Sarah, loved this recipe so much she tried it at home.
- 400g diced lamb
- 1 sliced onion
- 500g cherry tomatoes
- 1 400g tin of drained butter beans
- Large bunch of fresh mint, chopped
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil
- Heat the oil in a frying pan on a high heat, and brown the lamb for 3-4 minutes. Add the onion, and cook until softened.
- Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle over some of the fresh mint.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, stir, and then simmer for 20 minutes. The tomatoes will soften, keep stirring to make a sauce.
- Stir in the butter beans and cook until they are warmed through, and add the rest of the mint leaves before serving up.
Sweet Potato Burgers- Serves 4
Wheat Free – Sweet Potato (resized)
Not only are sweet potatoes highly nutritious, they are also very versatile and can be used in a number of different ways, whether they are mashed, boiled, grilled, or roasted.
These sweet potato burgers are a delicious alternative and lack the wheat that is usually used as filler in many shop-bought burgers. The burgers can also be frozen, eaten ‘raw’ or cooked – if you are cooking from frozen, make sure that they are fully defrosted before doing so.
- 900g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 120 g microwavable long grain rice
- 1 tbsp. of olive oil
- 2 tbsp. of ground almonds
- 1 tsp. of chipotle chilli
- 4 tbsp. fat free Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 4 iceberg leaves
- Small handful of finely chopped coriander
- 4 wheat free bread rolls
- 1 bag of plain tortilla chips (check ingredients to make sure these are wheat free)
To make the burgers
- Preheat the oven to 200°c (180°c fan oven, gas mark 6)
- Drizzle the olive oil over the cubed sweet potato, and space the cubes apart on a lined baking tray, roasting them for roughly 30 minutes until they are soft and start to brown.
- Mash the sweet potatoes while they are still on the baking tray, and then add to a mixing bowl with the precooked rice, almonds, half a tsp of the chipotle chilli and coriander. Season as you wish, then craft the mixture into 4 burgers, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
To make the garnish
- Take the Greek yoghurt and mix with the remaining chipotle chilli paste.
- Arrange the lettuce, burgers, avocado, yoghurt dressing and the crushed tortilla chips in the bread rolls, which are now ready to serve.
Chicken Pot Roast – Serves 4
This recipe is a healthy alternative to a traditional roast, and contains foods packed with nutrients to keep the whole family healthy and happy. Perfect for a Sunday!
- 4 chicken breasts, skinless & boneless
- 600g butternut squash, peeled and seeded
- 2 courgettes
- 1 red onion
- 8 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 400g cannellini beans
- Fresh rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 200°c (180°c fan oven, gas mark 6). Chop the butternut squash and courgette into small chunks and spread out in a large roasting tin.
- Chop the onion finely and place this and the cloves of garlic, along with a couple of sprigs of rosemary into the roasting tin.
- Drizzle 2 tbsp. of oil over the vegetables and toss while seasoning with black pepper. Spread out and roast for 20 minutes.
- Using the olive oil, rub the top of the chicken breasts, then season and add a sprig of rosemary to each breast. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each one and tuck underneath the chicken.
- Place the prepared chicken breasts over the bed of vegetables and drizzle over the remaining olive oil.
- Roast for a further 20 minutes, then scatter in the cannellini beans, making sure they are mixed in with all of the vegetables. Give the roast another 5 minutes in the oven, making sure the chicken and beans are cooked through, and until the prosciutto is crispy.
7. Season as you wish before serving, and remove the rosemary sprigs, replacing them with a sprinkle of chopped rosemary.
Let us know what you think of these recipes in the comments below, or why not tag us in your creations on social media. You can find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using @yorktestlabs.
Suspect you might be intolerant to wheat? Bored of having symptoms without knowing why? Try yorktest’s Premium Food&DrinkScan programme today.