Making the Most of Convenience Foods
There is not always enough time in the day to make all of the delicious, nutritious food for your family that you would like. Even on the gluten-free/casein-free diet, there are still many convenience foods that you can use to supplement your child's diet. Choosing healthy entrees, ready-to-go snacks and occasional treats can make it that much easier to stick to the diet when your life gets challenging.
There has been a veritable explosion in the availability of gluten-free foods.
Today, you can get a wide range of gluten-free foods at even mainstream grocery stores. Specialty stores and natural foods stores have an even wider variety. There are also many websites that offer gluten-free foods for purchase. It is important to ensure that not only are convenience foods gluten-free, but also casein-free.
In that category, though, there are many foods available to choose. There are gluten- and casein-free pizzas, crackers, frozen entrees, cookies, puddings, and snacks. Look for foods that are labeled “gluten-free,” and double-check the ingredients list.
To ensure that foods are casein-free, look at the ingredients list and also look for the “vegan” label on foods. Foods labeled “dairy-free” are not always completely dairy-free and might actually contain casein. Also, “lactose free” indicates an absence of the sugar found in cows' milk, but not the protein (casein).
Why should I look for foods labeled “vegan” if my family eats meat?
Vegan foods are foods that are prepared without any animal ingredients. Although that means that they don't contain meat or eggs, it also means that they are free of all dairy ingredients. To be consistent with the gluten-and casein-free diet, vegan foods also need to be gluten-free.
Frozen and Prepared Foods
Not only are specialty foods available to help supplement your menu planning, but frozen and prepared foods can make mealtime easier. For example, keeping frozen fruits on hand can make it easy to whip up a smoothie at any time. Most salsas, many jarred pasta sauces, and a wide range of soups are gluten-free and casein-free. Keeping a well-supplied pantry can ease mealtime pressure on overly stressful days.