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Get the Gluten Out

Gluten free. It’s everywhere. Even foods that would never have had gluten in them are proclaiming themselves “gluten-free.” But for the folks who have a real gluten issue, this new “fad” doesn’t help their cause. However, all the new products in the stores have. Gluten is generally found in products containing wheat, barley and rye. And it’s something I’ve been dealing with in my household for a time now.

What I have found is that some GF products are delicious. And some are hideous. Many are more caloric than their gluten counterparts. So for those eliminating gluten as a diet tool, read your labels carefully.

However, for those battling celiac disease or another intolerance, going GF is not easy. In fact, there are hidden glutens in things you’d never imagine. Would you ever think Twizzlers licorice sticks have gluten? Well, they do. Sausage can have gluten as a filler, likewise gravies and sauces. So, when creating a gluten-free dish, it’s imperative you read all labels. There are many GF ingredients (even soy sauce) but you have to go on a hunt.

When I make my kid-friendly GF macaroni and cheese, I’m trying to do several things. First, make it so they will eat it. So that typically means I don’t allow the top to “brown” in the oven or I’ll have to hear the chorus of “ewws.” And I don’t like the fact that a typical serving of mac and cheese is upward of 1,000 calories. My version is a fraction of that, about 250 calories per serving.

We know childhood obesity rates are through the roof. Nearly 20 percent of kids are obese. And 70 percent of kids who are obese as adolescents become obese in adulthood. It’s not just about looks. Obesity can mean heart problems, diabetes and other health challenges. That’s why it’s so important to read the labels on GF food to make sure we’re not adding fat, salt and calories to our GF ingredients to try and make them palatable. Here’s my recipe. Hope you and the kids in your life enjoy!

Click to view recipe.

Chris Xaver, Ph.D., is a local TV and radio personality with three children and five grandchildren. Her healthy lifestyle show, The Sweet Life, is airing on public television stations nationwide.

Photo above: Brack Heightchew  photo


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