back to top

27 Helpful Tips For Starting A Gluten-Free Diet

If you're mourning the loss of sandwiches, bagels, and pasta, this is for you.

Posted on

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

1. Start by cleaning out your pantry and fridge. You can't eat gluten if there is no gluten in the house to eat!


Temptation is easier to fight when it requires a trip to the grocery store to succumb to. Give your gluten-filled foods to a non–gluten sensitive friend, who will be there to support you in this trying time.

2. Focus on the foods you CAN eat and get the tools you need to try cool new recipes. Bacon guacamole anyone?,

Yeah, losing fluffy bagels sucks. But there are plenty of foods out there gluten will not take away from you because they are naturally gluten-free! Avocados are only the beginning.

Promising review: "I am in avocado heaven. I was skeptical when I bought this, especially about the pit remover (center of the utensil). The center has metal pieces, and you just thump the utensil over the pit, give a little turn and voilà! It is done. The cutter, though plastic, is really good at cutting open the avocado. The slicer is great for larger Haas avocados, not as good at the smaller ones. For my larger Haas, I just did a second pass." –Kindle Customer

Get the avocado slicer from Amazon for $9.99.

Learn how to make bacon guacamole from Around My Family Table here.


3. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of your favorite foods you shall never eat again, but remember – these foods are now your enemies.


Yes, regular pasta is tasty and easy. So is eating half of your friend's sandwich. But if you are gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease, you knoooow it's gonna make you feel like trash. Remember it's not worth it, and think of these foods as your sworn enemies that you can and will defeat. Next time someone offers you gluten, glare at the food while thinking "pure evil trash," and say no thanks!

4. Invest in an air fryer because guess what, French fries are naturally gluten-free., Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Promising review: "My brother purchased this particular air-fryer, so I went with his recommendation; plus this is a larger capacity than most – especially for the price. I was skeptical, but my husband loved the idea of French fries that were better for you. I have to say, I am impressed with what I have made so far in the air-fryer, which is chicken breasts, fish fillets, French fries, roasted potatoes wedges, sweet potato fries (a favorite!), onion rings, and Brussels sprouts. This comes with a really nice cookbook, which is a huge help with recipes and general guidelines. Easy clean-up also! No regrets in this purchase at all." –Mugsy

Get it from Amazon for $79.26+ (available in six colors).

5. Explore gluten-free substitutes for your former favs – miss breaded chicken? There's GF breadcrumbs and flour for that.

Promising review: "Having tried every GF flour on the market to convert all of my recipes, this is the ONE! Great texture, taste, and end product. It's now my go-to flour." –Chantal Aeschbach

Get them from Amazon: GF flour for $25.86 (4.5 lb bag), and GF breadcrumbs for $7.96.

Learn how to make GF breaded parmesan chicken from My Gluten-Free Kitchen here.

6. Believe me when I tell you there are supreme gluten-free foods out there, that taste waaaaaay better than gluten trash – like these chocolate almond butter tarts.

I first tried a dark chocolate mint Hail Merry tart when I just started my GF diet, and was desperate for something chocolate, rich, and decadent. I was instantly hooked, and wanted to try every flavor. The crust is made of pure almond flour, which has an amazing texture you just can't get from ~normal flour~. Even my non–gluten free friends agree, these tarts are one of the tastiest desserts of all time.

Get them from Jet: six-pack of mini tarts for $8.09 and dark-chocolate mint tart for $6.09.


7. Come to terms with the fact that you will be doing a lot of cooking.


Going gluten-free is all about getting access to all the yum foods you can still enjoy. Unfortunately, depending on where you live in the world, these GF foods may not be readily accessible. So what do you do, day after day when the only GF option at work or school is some sad pile of lettuce? Cook my friends, cook.

8. Seek help from GF or paleo cookbooks. Ready or Not! is a paleo cookbook tailored to whatever cooking level you're up for.

Paleo cookbooks are great for those who are gluten- and dairy-sensitive; because the paleo diet emphasizes healthy oils, lean meats, nuts and seeds, and avoids starches and dairy.

Promising review: "I saw the darling cover on this book and flipped through it, and it looked like a graphic novel cookbook. My kids ask me for cooking lessons all the time. I love to get them books that have photos of not just the finished product, but also the steps involved, and this does that, but with some comic interjections. Perfect! I thought it would be a fun, easy book. Then I tried a few recipes and was really impressed. I’d underestimated it because of the whimsical feel. Fantastic book, recommend!" –Jennifer Guerrero

Get it from Amazon for $10.69+ (Kindle, hardcover).

9. But before you get too far in your chef adventures, understand what gluten is, and watch out for places where it likes to hide.


Gluten is an elastic protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It's basically the glue that holds many of the carbs in our world together. So avoiding foods containing wheat, barely, and rye seems simple enough; but you also should watch out for other foods that may contain gluten (due to binding agents and other hidden evils). Here are some of them: soy sauce, imitation crab, soups/broths, seasoning packets, self-basting poultry, lunch meats, salad dressings, hard candies, and cornflakes and rice krispies.

Find more tips like this from the experts at BuzzFeed here.

10. Get your hands on tasty, naturally gluten-free snacks such as popcorn. Keep a stash of pre-made Skinny Pop or make your own with an air popper.,

Promising review: "This thing works REALLY well. We just fired it up for the first time, and I am very happy that I took a gamble on this one. There was one un-popped kernel left. Seriously. Just one. The kernels didn't blow everywhere. I didn't have to dodge anything flying out of the bowl, though I did use a big bowl. I love it." –Mags

Get them from Amazon: hot air popper for $29.96 or 36-pack of ready-to-eat Skinny Pop for $29.75


11. Familiarize yourself with grains and seeds that don't have gluten in them, like quinoa.

Some other grains include: rice, corn, most oats, amaranth, and buckwheat.

Quinoa is my personal fav because it packs eight grams of protein per cup! Learn more about quinoa from the experts at BuzzFeed here.

Make this quinoa bowl featuring steak, green beans, and eggplants from Big Girls Small Kitchen here.

12. Do even more research on those substitutes and GF grains, and stock up on your personal favs, such as buckwheat.

Here's a little list to get you started:

Pasta → rice or millet noodles

Wheat bran → gluten-free oat bran

Semolina → polenta

Bread → gluten-free bread

Bulgur → rice

Couscous → quinoa

Granola → GF granola

Cereal → corn flakes, buckwheat

Promising review: "I've been buying these buckwheat groats for years now, and eating them for breakfast regularly. I'm such a fan. I love that they come in a four-pack because I go through them so quickly. I've tried other brands of groats, and this has always been the best in terms of freshness and taste. It's also a great price for a four-pack. If you like this grain, this is really the best buy and best product for you." –Michael Rennie

Get a four-pack from Amazon for $21.99.

Find more GF alternatives like this from Runtastic here.

13. Make a healthier, GF ~spin~ on pasta with a vegetable spiralizer.

I made zucchini pasta the other night with this kit, and smothered it in my homemade spicy peanut sauce – delish. Kit comes with five blades, three recipe eBooks, and suction cups for the counter. It's dishwasher-safe.

Promising review: "There are a couple of things to be aware of. Soft vegetables, zucchini, etc., work fine in smaller sizes, but small hard vegetables, carrots, etc., maybe 1.25" diameter, don't work very well. So for carrots I buy larger than I normally would. For zucchini, yellow summer squash, etc., small or large both work. Even oversize vegetables and fruit work fine. Vegetables used as spaghetti substitute don't taste exactly like pasta; instead the flavor comes from the sauce and the vegetable, but somehow a zucchini made into spaghetti strands doesn't taste like zucchini, it tastes much better. That might be because it's so thin, it only has to cook for about two minutes max. Add some good sauce and grated parmesan and you've got a dish that's delicious in its own right – it doesn't need to mimic pasta, although with sauce it comes close. The spiralizer is bigger than I expected, approximately 14"x8.5"x6". The way the blades are changed is ingenious and means you don't actually handle the blades directly. I'm really glad I bought this and HIGHLY recommend it!" –Christopher E

Get it from Amazon for $29.99.

14. Alright, so you're doing all this cooking and healthy shit, but you really miss cookies, decadent brownies, and loaves of fresh bread. I feel you. Try this GF cookbook to ease those cravings.

Promising review: "This isn't 'dairy or sugar free' or a paleo diet-friendly book. ATK never claims it to be. This is a book for people who are gluten-free, but want maximum flavor and 'gluten-like foods.' I discovered I am gluten-sensitive about six months ago and wanted some REAL TASTING baked goods. I bake often for friends and families. The thought of never baking again was depressing. I borrowed several GF cookbooks from the library to test run some recipes before purchasing ATK's How Can It Be Gluten Free. So far, my whole family loved the baked goods from this book." –the kings

Get it from Amazon for $15.99+ (Kindle, paperback).


15. Then throw all those GF bread recipes in a bread maker for yummy fresh bread with minimal effort.

Promising review: "Very happy with the Oster, it does what it's supposed to do without a problem, even for us few who can't eat gluten. This is the healthiest gluten-free recipe I know: no grains except rice, and no 'gums' to bind the dough. A dead simple recipe, great result, with minimum effort!

Ingredients (makes a 1.5 lbs. loaf):

- 1 egg

- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- 1 cup warm water (or more, as needed)

- 1 tspoon brown sugar

- 1 tspoon salt

- 1 tspoon baking soda

- 2 cups rice flour (white or brown)

- 1/2 cup tapioca flour

- 1/2 cup potato starch (not flour)

- 3 tspoons gluten-free active dry yeast

- 2 tspoons psyllium husk (optional, used for binding)

- 1 tspoon nutritional yeast (optional)


1. Replace the kneading blade in the breadmaker's baking pan.

2. Add the liquid ingredients in the baking pan.

3. In a separate bowl, mix well the dry ingredients (except the yeast), and then add them on top of the liquid ingredients.

4. Make a small hole with your finger in the middle of the flour, and add the yeast(s).

5. Set the pan inside the bread maker, close the lid, and select from the menu the default program #1, and: 1.5 lb loaf, and medium crust. Press to Start the process. The bread will be ready in 3.5 hours. Use a cooling rack.


1. The psyllium husk is used as a substitute to various gums (like xanthan gum, which is known to create health problems). Psyllium husk adds fiber to the bread.

2. The nutritional yeast will add B1 vitamin to the bread, a vitamin that most gluten-free dieters easily get deficient on (wheat flours come enriched with B1).

3. Eating the bread cold, will help you get more 'resistant starch' (that comes primarily from the potato starch). That type of starch isn't digestible (so it doesn't make you gain weight), and it's food only for the good gut bacteria. That starch is only 'resistant' when it's cold." –Eugenia L

Get it from Amazon for $59.99.

16. Be sure to eat plenty of healthy fats and oils, so you can feel satisfied without having to eat tons of starch. Salmon and avocado salad will accomplish this.

17. Treat yourself to a two-pack of doughnut pans so you can hop aboard the gluten-free bagel and doughnut train 🚂.

Promising review: "I use these for gluten-free bagels and they are great! The non-stick coating really releases the bagels easily. I'm looking forward to trying gluten-free donuts next." –Sue B.

Get them from Amazon for $13.50.


19. Meet your new best friend, Bob and Bob's gluten-free pancake mix.

Bob's Red Mill has a whole ~batch~ of gluten-free baking mixes, flours, and grains. Look for Bob in your local grocery store, or save a few bucks by buying online.

Promising review: "I took the suggestions of a previous reviewer and doubled the eggs and oil. I also added a splash of vanilla and some fresh blueberries. Delicious! I recently purchased an electric griddle that makes this an easy, quick clean-up task. Alright, this review has actually made me start craving them again. Off to the kitchen." –Caroline

Get them from Amazon: GF pancake mix for $3.11 and electric griddle for $38.19.

21. Get a Nutribullet in your life ASAP to make filling breakfast smoothies and your own GF flour.,

Set includes power base, one tall cup, two short cups, one flat blade, one emulsifying blade, two resealable lids, pocket nutritionist, and manual with recipes.

Promising review: "I have had the Nutribullet for a year now, it is by far my favorite item in the kitchen. I agree with other reviews, if you use it right you won't experience any problems. Not only do I use my Nutribullet to make smoothies but I make almond flour, oat flour, coconut flour, I mill flax-seed, make date paste, and use it to make my favorite homemade healthy chocolate. I love the Nutribullet recipes that are included in the book. I will be buying a Nutribullet for my daughter to add to her kitchen!" –Amazon Customer

Get the fruit smoothie recipe from This Healthy Table here and a Nutribullet from Amazon for $69.99.


23. Speaking of corn, meet your other best friend, the tortilla press.,

Homemade corn tortillas are so worth it, and you can experiment with other tortilla bases, as well. If you've never tasted a plantain tortilla before, now's the time.

Get the homemade tortilla kit from Uncommon Goods for $48 (kit comes with tortilla press, warming towel, and hot sauce).

Learn how to make three-ingredient plantain tortillas from The Minimalist Baker here. Don't forget the food processor!

24. Welcome Bob and pizza back into your arms again with a gluten-free pizza crust mix.

Thanks Bob.

Promising review: "Bob's Red Mill GF Pizza Crust mix is my go-to for perfect homemade GF pizza every time. Very easy to throw together. With my homemade sauce, quality mozzarella, and favorite toppings, it's almost like 'the real thing.' I always trust Bob's, and would recommend you try if you haven't already." –Benny's Girl

Get it from Amazon for $3.21.

25. Stick to it. Stick to it. Stick to it! The cravings will pass.


One day, you won't have to work so hard to maintain a GF life, and all this stuff will be like second nature. You'll hardly think about our enemy gluten, and saying no to food won't be painful once you know everything you can say yes to!

26. Become a slow cooker master of curry and rice, a naturally gluten-free dish that'll fill you right up.


27. And of course, where would we all be were it not for the existence of flourless (and thereby GF!) chocolate cake? Make yourself one right now.

This rich beaut might make you cry tears of joy. Learn how to make it from Gluten Free On A Shoestring here.

The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.