So, you’ve gone gluten-free. Your energy levels have improved, your stomach issues have subsided and you’re feeling better than ever. But, sadly, those pesky cravings for Italian restaurant bread sticks and gooey chocolate chip cookies just won’t go away. Don’t worry–you’re not alone!
While it’s great that eliminating gluten makes you feel better, the truth is, you’re probably going to miss some foods that are now considered off limits. It’s inevitable that cravings will hit at some point, so make an effort to prepare for them now! You may not be able to chow down on Chinese take-out noddles or binge on a buttered-up slice of bakery bread, but you can indulge in some of your former favorites with a little creativity.
Here are seven smart food swaps to try:
1. If you’re craving pancakes, try protein pancakes
Gluten-free pancakes are easy to make–simply swap out white flour for protein powder when whipping up your next batch for breakfast. Not only will the protein pack in extra nutrition, you’ll have an endless variety of flavors to choose from with the many types of protein powders available today. Also look for gluten-free pancake mixes or recipes online!
2. If you’re craving mac and cheese, try risotto
For those times when all you want is cheese and carbs, make a rich, creamy rice risotto and you’ll be instantly satisfied, while also getting to play chef. If you’re not up for the challenge and just want something fast, there are stove top-simmer risotto mixes, like this one, that can be ready in about 20 minutes.
3. If you’re craving pizza, try tortilla pizza
Got to have a slice? Skip the thick crust and instead top a corn tortilla with tomato sauce, cheese and whatever toppings you’d like, pop it in the oven until melted and enjoy a quick, easy, gluten-free “pizza.” You’ll also find ready-made, gluten-free crusts, such as these rice-based shells, that can be topped with your all your favorites and quickly baked.
4. If you’re craving pasta or lasagna, try veggie noodles
Zoodles — spiralized from zucchini — are the perfect pasta substitute. Use a tool to make thin or thick ribbons, saute them in olive oil and top with your favorite sauce. Lasagna can be made with eggplant, too! This cheesy layered veggie lasgana has everything you want, sans gluten. Between all the layers of cheese and tomato sauce, trust us, you won’t miss the pasta.
5. If you’re craving pretzels, try gluten-free pretzels
If you have yet to delve into a bag of gluten-free pretzels, be prepared—they’re even more addictive than their gluten-filled counterparts. They’re actually more crisp and buttery tasting, and who doesn’t want that?
6. If you’re craving chocolate chip cookies, try chocolate chip energy balls
Packed full with protein and fiber, energy balls are a better-for-you gluten-free alternative to chocolate chip cookies. Just be sure to use certified gluten-free oats in your recipe.
7. If you’re craving bread, buy (or make) a gluten-free loaf
With gluten-free awareness growing every day, there are plenty of places to find delicious gluten-free bread. Whether it’s in the freezer section of your grocery store or in the streets of Saturday’s farmer’s market, it shouldn’t be hard to find something to satisfy your cravings. Or, you can make a loaf yourself with a bread mix or gluten-free bread recipe like this.