Gluten is a protein and is found in foods made from wheat, barley and rye. It is what makes food such as pasta and bread elastic and chewy in texture.

A very small proportion of people are truly allergic to gluten but many do suffer from intolerances due to eating gluten. A severe and sudden reaction to gluten can be symptoms of an autoimmune disorder called Celiac Disease.  Intolerance reactions we can experience that are unpleasant include bloating, tiredness, lack of energy and irritable bowel.

Speak to a medical professional or dietician if you suspect that someone in your family has a gluten allergy or if you need advice on treating intolerance symptoms.

If you have identified that some or all of your family could benefit from no or less gluten in their diets you will probably, like me, feel overwhelmed by the constant production of gluten free meals. You like the idea of preparing meals from scratch but you don’t have enough time to do this every day. To save time you end up cooking the same meal over and over and often lack inspiration. You really want your family to eat healthy food and hope that they appreciate your efforts.


Cook in Bulk to Save Time

A great way to have a quick supply of healthy gluten free meals is to cook too much food for one meal and freeze the rest. Freeze the leftovers in single portions and defrost a portion or two for a quick pre made meal or for a lunchbox.

12365113_sA meal I like to cook is what I call my revamped cottage pie. I use kumara instead of potatoes. Both are gluten free but kumara has more fibre and vitamin A. White potatoes have more iron but the red meat in this meal already includes plenty. Fibre keeps you regular and vitamin A aids growth and development, maintains the immune system and promotes good vision. I also like to use red capsicums instead of carrots. Red capsicums provide a large amount of vitamin C which when combined with red meat assists in the absorption of iron. When you think of vitamin C you think of oranges but red capsicums actually rate higher. Half a cup of cooked red capsicum provides 116mg of vitamin C, which goes a long way towards supporting your family’s nutritional needs. Beef and Lamb New Zealand provide a great traditional cottage pie recipe. Simply replace the carrots with red capsicums and the potatoes with kumara. This recipe uses red wine, which you may not want to include. This could be replaced with a dash of red wine vinegar for flavour and the vegetable stock could be increased to provide more liquid. When using premade sauces or stock always read the labels first to check whether the product includes gluten.


Easily Cater for Everyone

Zucchini is a great pasta substitute. You can combine it with your favorite sauce just like you do with pasta. Using zucchini instead of pasta increases your family’s vegetable intake. You can serve it along with pasta to accommodate all diets. Family members can eat one or the other or add it into normal or gluten free pasta.

Making zucchini spaghetti is easy. The key to a quick and simple process is to use a Julienne peeler. You can buy one from Living and Giving or Briscoes and nom nom paleo provide clear instructions on how to make the spaghetti.


Your Family’s Lifestyle

Having a happy and healthy family is so important. A nourishing diet is one foundation that supports us throughout our busy lives. Finding the time to provide a nutritional balance for your whole family can be hard. Getting everyone involved in meal planning and preparation is a great way to share the load. It will also make your kids feel empowered and educate them on healthy eating. They will appreciate the thought and effort you put into family meals as they have experienced it firsthand.


What are your time saving tips for making gluten free meals?

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Michelle Kemp is the Author of Two Weeks to Sleep: A Sensible Guide for First Time Parents and soon to be released Little Book of Routines: A Practical Guide for Mums and Dads. Michelle is married to James and a proud Mum to their son Max. The three of them love spending time together and experiencing new adventures as a family, whether that's just hanging out at the local park or travelling to new and exciting places. Michelle is passionate about helping families build key foundations in their lives. These foundations are quality sleep, a nutrient rich diet and plenty of movement. Michelle believes that these foundations go a long way towards supporting a full and happy family life.

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