I have heard it said that most people eat the same 5-7 meals over and over and over again. Not only is this boring for you and likely everyone in your family but it is also very limiting in regards to achieving a healthy varied diet.
We are proud to state that Glutenfreeda.com includes the world’s largest collection of gluten-free recipes and as such, I must admit when I scroll through the categories of literally thousands of recipes, it can be a bit overwhelming even to me. With over 5,000 gluten-free recipes at your fingertips, it can still be difficult to break out of old habits and try new recipes and new foods.
Summer offers us an easy way out of our usual culinary routines with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. Just like one’s rotation of 5-7 meals, most people also have 3-4 vegetables that they serve year round. Frozen vegetables have enabled everyone to stay in their ‘same old food ‘rut regardless of the season and of course at the same time satisfying America’s love affair with convenience and anything that can be made fast.
Let’s say you’re with me so far and would like to expand your culinary horizons to incorporate new foods and new recipes into your diet. Where do you start?
Start by passing up frozen vegetables and fruits in the summer season. Instead, begin your grocery shopping experience in the produce department. Before making any selections, take a tour of the entire produce section. Find out what is seasonally available, locally. The best and freshest produce will always be locally grown. Global commerce has made many ‘fresh’ fruits and vegetables available all year long, however many of these imported foods have been stored in climate controlled environments for weeks and even months before they reach your grocery store. Check to see where a produce item is from before you buy. I’m not advocating a boycott on imported produce, but rather that if you can buy local, it will usually be a fresher product. However, if you absolutely must have strawberries in January, well then, you must.
Start with the fresh version of vegetables you already like. If you typically gravitate towards frozen corn or peas, purchase fresh corn on the cob and fresh peas in the pod. If you don’t like to eat corn on the cob, simply cut the kernels off the cob by standing the husked ear upright in a medium bowl and slicing downward, rotating the cob until all the kernels have been cut off. Make a commitment to try at least two new vegetables each time you shop. For the more adventurous, try to select items that you have either never cooked before or have never even eaten before. You many discover new family favorites and with them, new vitamins and nutrients. As an example, almost everyone is familiar with russet, red, new and Yukon potatoes. If you’re looking for potatoes, check out the entire potato selection and you may find different varieties that you have never tried like beautiful small purple potatoes or French fingerlings. If you select a new and unfamiliar vegetable and are not sure how to prepare it, with over 5,000 gluten-free recipes in our archives, we are pretty confident that you will find a recipe that includes that particular vegetable or fruit.
Now let’s tackle it from the other end; start with the recipe. Your best chance of success when trying new recipes is to select a recipe with ingredients that you and your family already enjoy. First, choose an entrée type food item like pork chops, chicken; etc. Next, go to the corresponding category in our recipe index. Browse the listings and select a recipe that incorporates seasonings and ingredients that you already like. All our recipes are rated by level of difficulty; Easy, Medium or Involved, so you know ahead of time the degree of ease or difficulty for any recipe that you choose. Many of our recipes are also rated by other subscribers so you can get an unsolicited opinion. If you do this exercise just once a week, you will discover many new culinary treasures that you can add to your family's diet.
Improving your cooking and your gluten-free diet is not difficult. There is no need to make dramatic changes in your daily routine, but by taking small steps towards a healthier, fresher and more varied diet you can engage your family in the meals you prepare and improve your overall health.
-Yvonne Gifford, Chef