Jena DeMoss: Dietitian’s guide to gluten-free

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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You may have heard of gluten-free diets, but do you know if you need to follow them or what a gluten-free diet entails? As Hy-Vee registered dietitians, we help our clients navigate their dietary choices to follow a plan that meets their needs. May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to learn the ins and outs of a gluten-free diet by answering your burning questions! Let’s get started with the basics of gluten-free and Celiac disease.

Gluten isn’t as scary as it may seem – it is simply a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and a wheat-rye hybrid called triticale. It helps provide elasticity and structure to many of our favorite baked goods but can also be found in many products on store shelves. Those with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, need to follow a strict gluten-free diet to avoid negative side effects, and damage caused to the villi in the small intestine that occurs when they consume gluten. We remind our clients that there is no evidence eating a gluten-free diet will improve overall health or prevent disease unless they are diagnosed with Celiac disease. In other words, if you don’t have Celiac disease, a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, you do not need to follow a gluten-free diet.

If you need to follow a gluten-free diet, it’s important to note key nutrients that may be lacking in your diet once gluten-containing foods are eliminated, and this is where working one-on-one with a Hy-Vee registered dietitian can make this dietary transition a breeze.

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First up – focus on fiber. Fiber plays a crucial role in our digestive health, blood sugar, cholesterol management, appetite regulation and more! Americans often consume fiber through whole grains, so individuals on a gluten-free diet need to prioritize fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds as sources of fiber in their menu plan.

Next are B vitamins, which play an essential role in energy production and metabolism and help make DNA, and genetic material. B vitamins are traditionally fortified in or found in grains, so adding other B vitamins to your diet is essential, such as from vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, fish, eggs, meat and other dairy products. Iron is another key mineral your body needs for growth and development. You can find gluten-free sources of iron in lean meat, seafood, lentils, kidney beans, peas, spinach and nuts.

One of the biggest questions when a client transitions to a gluten-free diet is “What will I do without bread?” The answer is – you can enjoy delicious gluten-free bread products with help from my favorite – Canyon Bakehouse. Their products are certified gluten-free and dairy, soy, and sesame-free – perfect for those with multiple allergens.

We recommend starting your day off with a breakfast sandwich using Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Bagels, piling on the protein with eggs and adding fiber from your favorite veggies for an on-the-go meal idea. Or, as we head into grilling season, check out Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free 100% Whole Grain Burger Buns – perfect for this Harissa Turkey Burger recipe!

Harissa Turkey

Burgers with

Canyon Bakehouse Burger Buns

Serves 4

All you need

• 1 Hy-Vee large egg

• 1 package (16 oz.) 93% lean fresh ground turkey

• ½ cup Hy-Vee Short cuts chopped red onions

• 1 tbsp lemon zest

• 1 tbsp bottled minced garlic

• 1 tbsp refrigerated ginger paste

• 1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce

• 3 tbsp salt-free za’atar seasoning, divided

• 4 tbsp salt-free harissa seasoning, divided

• 1/8 tsp kosher salt

• 1 package (19 oz) frozen gluten-free sweet potato fries

• ¾ cup Hy-Vee plain Greek yogurt

• 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives, plus additional for garnish

• 1 tbsp lemon juice

• ½ package (11.75 oz) Hy-Vee Short Cuts tricolor bell pepper strips for serving

• 2 tbsp Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

• 1/2 head butter lettuce, separated into leaves, for serving

• ½ medium cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, for serving

• 4 tomatoes, sliced, for serving

• Alfalfa sprouts, for serving

• 1 package Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free 100% Whole Grain Burger Buns

All you do

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine egg, turkey, red onions, lemon zest, garlic, ginger paste, soy sauce, 1 ½ tsp za’atar seasoning, 1 tsp harissa seasoning and salt in a large bowl; do not overmix—form mixture into 4 patties, about 1 ½ inch thick; set aside.

2. Bake frozen fries according to the package directions. For yogurt sauce, whisk together yogurt, 1 tbsp chives, lemon juice and 1 tsp harissa seasoning in a small bowl; set aside.

Generously spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray. Heat over medium heat. Add bell peppers, remaining 1 ½ tsp za’atar seasoning and 1 tsp harissa seasoning. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until peppers are tender and begin to brown, stirring frequently. Remove peppers from skillet; set aside.

3. Heat olive oil in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add turkey patties; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until patties reach 165 degrees F, turning halfway through.

4. To assemble, spread the yogurt mixture on the top half of each Canyon Bakehouse Burger Bun. On the bottom bun, lay lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, tomato slices and bell peppers. Finish with a turkey burger and alfafa sprouts. Garnish with chives, if desired. Serve fries with the remaining yogurt mixture.

Recipe adapted from: