May is Celiac Awareness Month. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley.

A gluten-free diet is imperative to follow once diagnosed with Celiac Disease, however, it can also be incredibly confusing and hard to navigate. As a registered dietitian, I’ve noticed that often “gluten free” gets touted as the healthier option, when in reality it’s often nutrient void.

Many manufacturers are replacing wheat, rye, and/or barley with low nutrient, gluten-free foods like white rice flour, tapioca starch, and corn starch. Also, a gluten-free brownie, for example, has just as much fat and sugar as a regular brownie, but consumers often perceive it to be healthier because it is “free” of something. So, whether you have Celiac Disease or not, be careful not to assume that all gluten-free foods are healthy.

Throughout my practice as an RD, I’ve found that breakfast in general can be a tough meal for those with Celiac Disease, as many of the most popular breakfast foods, such as pancakes, toast, and cereal, are high in gluten. My general recommendation is to find foods that are naturally gluten-free versus foods that have been manipulated to be gluten free. Today, I’ll share some nutrient dense, gluten-free breakfast ideas. My goal with breakfast is to include a healthy fat, a fiber, and a protein source.

Cheesy Oats with Tomato and Avocado

Oats don’t have to be sweet! Just make sure you are using oats that are labeled as gluten-free. Although oats are naturally gluten-free, many are processed in facilities that also process wheat, rye, and barley.

Ingredients

  • 1 cups water
  •  ½ cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • 3 Tbsp cheddar cheese
  •  ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  •  ¼ cup grape tomatoes, halved
  •  1/3 avocado, pitted and sliced

Instructions

  1. Combine water and oats in a large, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or according to package instructions.
  2. Remove from microwave and, while still hot, stir in cheese, salt, and pepper.
  3. Top with tomatoes and avocado. Serve immediately.

Chia Seed Pudding

This dish is the perfect combo of fiber (chia seeds and berries), protein (milk), and healthy fat (chia seeds). Chia seeds are gluten-free, high in fiber, and high in heart- healthy omega-3s.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened dairy or soy milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sweetener of choice
  • Berries to top
  • Instructions
  • In a bowl or mason jar, mix all ingredients except berries.
  • Cover and let refrigerate overnight.
  • Stir and top with berries.

Instructions

  1. In a bowl or mason jar, mix all ingredients except berries.
  2. Cover and let refrigerate overnight.
  3. Stir and top with berries.

Muesli with Greek Yogurt

Muesli is a breakfast dish seen mainly in Europe which typically includes oats and other grains, fresh or dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. Like oatmeal, not all muesli is gluten-free (some is processed with gluten-containing grains) and not all muesli is low in sugar either! My personal favorite muesli is Seven Sundays because they don’t have added sugars like many granolas and pre-sweetened oatmeals do, and they’re loaded with healthy fats like almonds, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Instead of sugar, they are sweetened with things like dried fruits, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup no sugar added muesli (Like Seven Sundays)
  • 4-5 ounces unsweetened Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Combine and enjoy!

Sweet Potato with Almond Butter

We don’t typically think of sweet potatoes as a breakfast food, but there’s really no reason they can’t be! I love either baking them the night before and re-heating, or cooking them in the microwave the morning of. Sweet potatoes are naturally gluten-free and are a great source of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Ingredients

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 ½ Tbsp almond butter
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • Other toppings of choice (chia seeds, hemp seeds, cinnamon, cocoa powder)

Instructions

  1. Pierce the potato with a fork 4-5 times. Bake the sweet potato at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or microwave for 5-8 minutes on high.
  2. Cut down the middle and let cool slightly. Top with almond butter, Greek yogurt, and other toppings of choice.

Lauren Ott, RD is a registered dietitian and founder of The Dessert Dietitian Nutrition Counseling. Check out her websiteFacebook pageand Instagram @thedessertdietitian for nutrition tips and recipes!

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