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Made to Eat: Inspiration for Easy Gluten-free, Dairy-free Meals

Made to Glow Eat! Get it? ;) I’m starting a new series to show you that creating healthy meals does not have to be complicated or take a lot of time. You don’t have to use recipes or tons of ingredients. I’m a huge proponent of experimenting with seasonal produce and finding fun combos that you enjoy!

Have you ever told someone you’re gluten-free and/or dairy-free and gotten a blank look, like ‘well, what do you eat then?’ Or maybe you’re thinking this yourself! Well, do not worry. You don’t have to feel deprived at all. Not only can you enjoy foods that are naturally free of gluten and dairy like vegetables, greens, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, poultry (and dairy, if you can eat it), but now there are so many substitutions for your old favorites. Every once in awhile, I’ll get in a rut and kind of forget that there really are endless choices of foods and that eating healthy can be SO simple. I find that when I see other people making yummy looking eats, I get inspired too!

It just takes a little planning and prepping at the beginning of the week to set yourself up for success. If I prep my food at the beginning of each week – buy, wash, cut, and store – I can throw these meals together in 5-10 minutes (15-20 tops, if I happen to be using the stove or oven). Yes, it takes time to prep, but a little bit of time spent on a Sunday means a TON of time (and money that would be spent on takeout) saved throughout the week! It means that my husband and I can have a healthy meal at any time, regardless of whether we’re working late, running low on time, and so forth.

With each Made to Eat post, I’ll show you a few pictures and descriptions of quick meals or snacks that I recently threw together as well as tips to save you time in the kitchen. My hope is that these posts will:

1. Show you that eating gluten-free and dairy-free is easy and that you don’t have to be the next Top Chef to create nutritious, tasty meals.
and
2. Inspire you to create your own easy, quick meals using your favorite ingredients that you have on hand.

Remember: this is not about comparison (do what is right for you and don’t compare yourself to anyone else) or to show you what you ‘should be doing’ — it’s about inspiring and motivating you to find our what works for you

BREAKFAST:

Made to Eat: Inspiration for Easy Gluten-free, Dairy-free Meals - Tips, tricks, and meal ideas for quick healthy meals at anytime.

From Top Left: 1. Banana pancakes with blueberries, flax seed, chocolate ‘frosting’ 2. Green Smoothie 3. Sweet potato pancakes with flax seed, blueberries, cinnamon 4. Peanut butter pancakes with raspberries, pomegranate seeds, chocolate ‘frosting’, chocolate granola 5. Green berry smoothie 6. Coconut flour pancakes with chocolate ‘frosting’, strawberries, cacao nibs 7. Sweet potato pancakes with blueberries, peaches, vanilla ‘frosting’ 8. Tropical Green Smoothie 9. Peanut butter pancakes with raspberries, flax, cinnamon, pecans

My favorite breakfasts right now are gluten-free, dairy-free pancakes topped with fruit and nut butter or dairy-free yogurt. Lately, I’ve been topping them with my Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl or Chocolate Frosting, ground flax seed, and frozen berries. To make it easy in the mornings, make a huge batch of your breakfast of choice (pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, egg muffins, etc) at one time and then freeze them in individual portions. I wrap my pancakes in parchment paper and put them all in a large plastic bag in the freezer. Each morning, I simply grab a portion out of the freezer, heat, and top! I also love smoothies, so I make a big batch at night and then store them in individual glass jars in the fridge. They’re a great grab-and-go breakfast.

LUNCH:

Made to Eat: Inspiration for Easy Gluten-free, Dairy-free Meals - Tips, tricks, and meal ideas for quick healthy meals at anytime.

From Top Left: 1. Mung bean noodles tossed with a large salad 2. Soft boiled eggs, lentils, avocado, veggies, and greens 3. Black bean noodles, greens + veggies 4. Black Beans noodles, artichokes, greens, peas, olives, raw sauerkraut 5. White beans, greens, raw sauerkraut, fruit, plantain chips, hummus 6. Roasted acorn squash, sweet potato rounds, greens, lima beans, veggies 7. Brown rice wrap with greens, raw sauerkraut, veggies 8. Lentil salad with arugula, dried cherries, nuts 9. Tofu eggplant curry with cilantro and basil

Although I tend to top all my meals with greens of some sort (herbs are my fave!), don’t be fooled – these are more than solely salads! Good lunch ideas include filling wraps, sandwiches, or salads that are stuffed to the brim with tasty goodies. I keep my fridge stocked with brown rice wraps, gluten-free bread, bagged greens (although I’d rather buy fresh greens from the market, bagged, pre-washed greens simply work better in my current lifestyle – do what works best for you), cut-up veggies and fruits (washed and prepped at the beginning of the week – this is pretty necessary for easy, quick meals), and a few choices of proteins (lentils, eggs, and roasted chicken are my current favorites). Recently, I’ve been using black beans noodles and mung bean noodles as a salad add-on and loving it. They blend in well as they have a neutral taste and provide tons of protein (25 grams/serving) and fiber (12 grams/serving).

If I’ve already done my food prep for the week, I can throw together (or pack the night before) a healthy gluten-free, dairy-free lunch in 5 minutes. Just figure out your staples and then have some fun add-ons to make you look forward to your meals. For example, I use a base of gluten-free bread, wrap, or greens and top them with vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and proteins. I keep a several different dressings and sauces, fresh herbs, and spices in the fridge to spice things up quickly. Add a piece of fruit, some crackers and hummus, and you’re good to go!

DINNER:

Made to Eat: Inspiration for Easy Gluten-free, Dairy-free Meals - Tips, tricks, and meal ideas for quick healthy meals at anytime.

From Top Left: 1. Black bean soup (individual portion thawed from freezer) with side of fruit 2. Mung bean noodles, basil, peas, tomato sauce 3. Black bean noodles with salsa, avocado, cilantro 4. Black bean noodles with artichoke, olive oil, peas, basil, greens 5. Yellow dahl, acorn squash, arugula, pomegranate seeds 6. Veggie lover’s cauliflower crust pizza 7. Big salad with assorted veggies, plantain chips, peach 8. Zucchini noodles with veggies 9. Big salad with assorted veggies + lima beans, plantain chips, hummus

My recent dinners are similar to lunches in that I have my staples and work from there. Fresh fruits and vegetables as well as crackers or dips make for the perfect easy sides. Take advantage of your freezer, so if you cook one night, make enough for leftovers during the week and freeze individual portions for later in the season (like here).

SNACKS and DESSERTS:

Made to Eat: Inspiration for Easy Gluten-free, Dairy-free Meals - Tips, tricks, and meal ideas for quick healthy meals at anytime.

From Top Left: 1. Chocolate ‘frosting’ with sunflower seeds, cinnamon, peach, papaya 2. Coconut Raspberry Delight – coconut butter, raspberries, walnuts 3. Chocolate Pumpkin Parfait with flax seed 4. Goat yogurt with green figs, papaya, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds 5. Goat yogurt with raspberries, nut butter, cacao nibs, cinnamon 6. Fresh fruit like green figs 7. Sweet potato brownie, coconut butter, frozen blueberries 8. Chocolate Pumpkin Parfait with chocolate granola 9. Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl, raspberries, pomegranate seeds

Recently, I’ve been using goat yogurt or coconut butter as a base and then topping with fruit, nuts, and seeds. I add a little cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder if I’m wanting something chocolate or add vanilla stevia if I want something sweet. Plan and prep ingredients for a few snacks during the week and you’ll be good to go!

Please leave a comment with what your staples are, what you like to prep, or what your go-to meals are each week!

This post has been linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten-free Wednesdays, Tasty Traditions, Simple Lives Thursdays, and Wellness Wednesdays, Waste Not Want Not WednesdayWhole Food FridaysWellness Weekend, Real Food FridaysFoodie Friday, Gluten-free FridaysPin Junkie’s BlogiversaryWeekend Re-treat.

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Comments

  1. All the photos make me hungry, they look so good. I like your idea of prepping everything on Sunday…in theory…though I’m sure I could never be so organised!

    • Hi, Phoebe – thanks for stopping by! I know, at first it may seem like prepping takes a lot of organization and time. However, once you get in the hang of it, it’s nothing! It saves so much time and money during the week that it’s really worth it. I know you can do it!

  2. I always struggle with this! When I prep I do so much better!

    How long do your smoothies keep in the glass jars? Do you have to shake them or anything before you drink them? I am excited to try this!

    • I find that the smoothies stay good for about 2 days in jars in the fridge and all you have to do is shake them up when you’re ready to drink them! Thank you for your comment.

  3. Love all your pictures! It all looks so good! I plan my meals ahead of time and do most of my meal prepping weekly. I find that it makes it so much easier to get a healthy dinner on the table each night – especially on the days I work!
    Sue @ Busy Moms Connect recently posted…Oven Baked TacosMy Profile

  4. Wow, Alex! These all look sooooo good! My only question is, where do I start? A staple that always seems to help make good meals happen: a tray full of roasted veggies, whether a rainbow array or a single variety. I just can’t get enough of roasted cauliflower, for instance… It’s so easy to toss washed, cut-up veggies with olive oil, sea salt, papper, and herbs / spices, if you wish, and throwing them in to roast. I confess to using parchment paper to line my baking pan to make clean up a snap. My idea of fast food!

    • Thanks so much, Jo! I LOVE your idea of fast food! Roasted veggies sound delicious and are a wonderful staple to have around for quick meals! I love to throw them on greens then add seeds, lemon/vinegar, beans/lentils, and a healthy fat to make a nice meal. Or you could throw them in stir fries, wraps (coconut flour), or combine with black bean/mung bean noodles, like you’ve done before! What’s your favorite way to use them once you’ve roasted them? And, I do the same with parchment paper – why not! ;)

  5. All of these just look so yummy!
    What exactly are black bean noodles? Do you make them yourself?
    Keri Kight recently posted…How to Start Putting Your Needs First: 5 Questions to Ask YourselfMy Profile

    • Hi Keri, Thanks so much! The black bean noodles are by a brand called Explore Asia. They are made of black beans and water and are great! They’re versatile so I throw them in lots of different types of dishes. You can get them on Amazon or at health food stores.

  6. I am so with you and not making meal time complicated. I do not normally prep my food but I know that it would work out so much better if I did. Actually I am going to work on that, I was once doing it a lot better but have completely fell away from it. My husband and I eat totally different so I try to make keep it simple. Boy everything looks so good and I am gonna make it my business to make that pizza. I want to try those noddles…been looking for a good noodle have tried a number of them but never the bean ones. Thanks for the great info
    Margaret recently posted…How To Make Crispy Crushed EggplantMy Profile

  7. You are a great inspiration! Everything looks so good and it sounds easy. I will start to make your dishes from now and on.
    Eva recently posted…3 tips om hur du ökar trafiken till din FacebooksidaMy Profile

  8. There’s lots of lovely meal suggestions in there. I don’t prep our veggies there’s just 2 of us and we’re home for all meals. But we shop weekly and everything has it’s own containers in the fridge easy to see and plan meals.
    Lorelle recently posted…Colour Violet – allow your dreams to come trueMy Profile

    • Thank you, Lorelle. It absolutely makes a huge difference to have an organized fridge with easily visible containers – you’re totally right. Glad to hear it works so well for you!

  9. My husband and daughter are both gluten-dairy free, and & find myself stuck in the mindset that they can’t eat anything…but, boy, you’ve proven me wrong! I’ll have to try some of these! Any that you recommend over others??

    • Thanks so much, Samantha! Yep, I know what you mean – sometimes I get stuck too, but it just takes a little inspiration to get your creative meal-planning juices flowing :) I love to pick a few staples (like a few carbs & proteins – ie roasted chicken, beans, brown rice wraps, or gluten-free bread), a few core veggies/fruits/greens (like bagged greens + your favorite veggies), a few sauces (your favorite dressings, condiments, and sauces) and have them easily accessible in the fridge and ready to eat. Then you can combine and create easy meals at any time. Go with whatever your family’s preferences are — I’m not sure what your family’s favorites are, but for instance, if you like wraps/sandwiches for lunch, keep wraps/bread handy and then pick a few toppings (ie chicken, turkey, lettuce, spinach, avocado, tomato, roasted veggies, hummus, nut butters, mustards, dressings, etc – whatever you like) to have prepped in the fridge, and voila you have a quick lunch or dinner (also easily portable) that is ready to eat in just a few minutes! If I had to recommend one, I’d recommend the cauliflower crust pizza (the recipe is in a previous post – it is more time consuming, but you can make multiple crusts at once to save time) as it’s a fun way to switch things up and you can easily customize toppings. I’ll keep posting ideas of meals, prepping, etc and please let me know your favorites, what you like to do with your family, and so forth. We all learn from each other! Thank you for stopping by!

  10. Those lunches look so delicious and they are exactly my type of lunch! Pinned this for inspiration, thanks so much for sharing. Since I need to add more leafy greens to my diet, these are going to be perfect!
    Delia @ Blog Formatting recently posted…What exactly are you buying?My Profile

  11. Awesome pics! I’m so excited that you shared your tips with us also. Putting the pancakes between parchment paper is really smart!

    I also prep my food for the week on Sunday . . . often cooking double to freeze for another week.
    Lisa Mallis recently posted…A.W.E. Inspired – ChangeMy Profile

    • Lisa – sounds like you have it down! Cooking double and freezing is so helpful. Glad to hear prepping works so well for you. Keep it up! Thanks for your comment.

  12. visiting again from Blog Formatting and not disappointed. Your pics are mouth watering as usual. And even though I’m not likely going to go gluten free I sure would try a few of your recommendations. I like the fact that you encourage more substantial items, like wraps (and more) in addition to salads. If a person were going to maintain a gluten free diet I believe there would need to be variety and you sure do provide that. Bravo!
    Out One Ear – Linda Atwell recently posted…Lindsey and Nick Give Marriage AdviceMy Profile

    • Thank you, Linda! Yes, a gluten-free diet should and absolutely does include a lot of variety of healthy, tasty foods! Anyone can eat these foods, whether they’re gluten-free or not, so I do hope you try them and am glad to hear that you feel inspired. It’s all about finding foods that you like, using them as your staples, and experimenting with fun combinations of vibrant, fresh, easy-to-make meals. It’s one of my missions to spread that message so I really appreciate your note.

  13. What a great post with so many tips and ideas! ;)
    Your meals look amazing and I love the collages! Yummy ;)

    Thanks so much for visiting Pure Ella ~ it brought me to you and I’m loving your blog ;)
    xo ella
    Pure Ella recently posted…Best ever Meaty-but Meatless Spaghetti SauceMy Profile

  14. Thanks for sharing with us on foodie friday your meal ideas. I especially like the lunch salads.
    Diane Balch recently posted…Apple Filled Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting #Foodie FridayMy Profile

  15. Soft boiled eggs on ANYTHING … TASTES amazing :)
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Lana Del Rey Misses Summertime SaladsMy Profile

  16. Darnit!!! I thought I was eating really healthy until I saw all your stuff!!! ;)

    • Haha, I’m sure you are! I am not always healthy, I just try my best. Hoping these are seen as inspiration and not to make anyone feel bad about anything. Thanks so much for visiting and please come back! :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] 21, 2013 by Alexandra · Leave a Comment This post is part of a new series, Made to Eat, about creating healthy meals that are quick and easy. You don’t have to use complicated recipes […]

  2. […] Made to Eat – Favorite Tip: Sometimes at the end of an exhausting week, takeout or delivery is the only way to go. To make it healthier, ask for sauces or dressings on the side and request extra veggies. Also, make sure to ask if you need your order gluten-free or dairy-free as most places will easily accommodate. When you get your food home, only put 1/2 on your plate and have a side salad or add other healthy goodies to it (veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, etc that are easily accessible and ready to eat) if you’re still hungry. This way you save the rest for lunch or dinner the next day. Get creative with what you have and you can save money, reduce waste, & have healthy delicious leftovers in minutes. You may have seen this picture on Instagram last week… […]

  3. […] post is part of Made to Eat, a series about creating healthy meals that are quick and easy. You don’t have to use complicated […]

  4. […] post is part of Made to Eat, a series about creating healthy meals that are quick and easy. You don’t have to use complicated […]

  5. […] are all portable, simple, and quick — you’ll find these in my lunch bag! For more ideas, check out this post, and please share your small meals/snacks, too, as I’m always looking for […]

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