There are many reasons people turn to a gluten-free diet to improve their health! I remember a few years ago when the nurse from my doctor’s office called to tell me my mysterious skin rash tested positive for dermatitis herpetiformis, the skin manifestation of celiac disease, the first thing I thought after was now what do I eat for dinner?! Making the commitment to change your diet to improve your health is definitely worth it. After years of health struggles and fertility problems, I know this first hand. The reason I am 33-weeks pregnant and feeling better is because I changed my diet. But I also know that the day-to-day logistics of eating a healthy, gluten-free diet can be overwhelming, especially at first.

I have been wanting to put together meal plans with recipes from my blog for awhile now. Having a meal plan can be so helpful if you are transitioning to a gluten-free diet. It is also nice if you’re just looking for some new recipe ideas and dinner inspiration. Even though I love to cook, I still have weeks where I sit down to meal plan and feel stumped!

These meal plans all use real, whole-food ingredients in familiar naturally gluten-free dishes. These are dishes I would eat regardless of having to eat gluten-free.

Over the years, I’ve talked to a lot of people who are switching their diets to gluten-free. One thing I notice is that when making the transition, it is tempting to go to the store and fill your shelves with gluten-free cereal, bread, muffins, pasta and packaged foods to simply replace what you used to eat. I did the same thing when I started eating gluten-free. I didn’t know what else to do! Not only is this expensive, but eating processed, gluten-free products won’t help you make steps towards better health. Surprisingly gluten-free doesn’t automatically equal healthy. I don’t eat a perfect diet (though I do eat 100% gluten-free), but I try to eat 80% of my meals from fresh, anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is what has been sustainable for me. I tried a grain-free/paleo diet for quiet awhile and it wasn’t sustainable for me. I actually find I feel much better eating legumes and moderate amounts of whole grains. Everyone is different! I also really try to eat enough servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

I’ve created 3 Meal Plans based on different allergy needs. One is just gluten-free, the next is gluten-free/dairy-free, and the last is gluten/dairy/nut/egg-free. All are family-friendly, whole-food based meal plans. I’ve labeled each one #1 because I plan on making these meal plans a regular thing on my blog. I hope they are helpful!

Gluten-Free, Whole-Food Weekly Meal Plan #1 

(Click for PDF)

MealPlan1-GF

 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Whole Food Weekly Meal Plan #1 

(Click for PDF)

MealPlan2-GFDF

 

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Whole Food Weekly Meal Plan #1

(Click for PDF)

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IMG_6643I don’t use the term “the best” lightly when it comes to cookies! I’ve made these cookies about 6 times and they are my husband and I’s all-time favorite gluten-free cookie. We are both biased as chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have always been both of our favorites, but these cookies are truly remarkable! Truth be told I’m usually the one who suggests making some kind of treat at night, but my husband has been the one to request these cookies the past 2 weekends. Last time I baked up half the dough and froze the other half, because we really can’t be trusted with these cookies in the house!

They are chewy, crispy on the edges, and have just the right texture. I love adding coconut flakes to these cookies, but you can skip them if you’re not a coconut-lover. The base of this recipe is also great for switching these cookies up with raisins, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chopped milk chocolate, etc. You can use whatever mix-in’s you like! I personally don’t think the classic oatmeal, coconut, and chocolate combination can be beat.

I’ve learned a few things over the years about baking gluten-free cookies. While these almond-flour based cookies don’t need any binders, I’ve found gluten-free grain-based cookie recipes really benefit from a little xanthan gum. Xanthan gum isn’t something I use everyday. In all my bread and muffin recipes, I prefer to use more whole-food ingredients as binders like psyllium husk, flax, and chia seeds. When it comes to cookies though, they turn out so much better using xanthan gum. I’ve also found that as far as starches go, tapioca starch lends itself to the best cookies.

IMG_6656Ahhh that first bite of warm, slightly crisp cookie with melted chocolate! There are few things in life better than right-out-of-the-oven, perfect, chocolate chip cookies!

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