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How to Eat Whole Grains on a Gluten-Restricted Diet

Let's all celebrate Whole Grain Month this September and put our gluten-free concerns aside. People with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergies CAN enjoy whole grains, too! The list below outlines those that contain gluten and those without (The Whole Grains Council).

Whole Grain Chart

*Oats are naturally gluten-free but often become contaminated with gluten during the processing, shipping and storing phases. Check the label, look for the gluten-free seal and check with your physician to make sure the oats are acceptable for you.

**It should be noted that gluten is not unhealthy and only people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease need to adopt a gluten-free diet.

Grain Anatomy

So, what is a "whole grain"?

For a food or flour to be called whole grain, 100% of the original kernel-bran, endosperm and germ-must be present. The picture on the right shows what the inside of a grain seed looks like. When a whole grain is refined, it is stripped of its bran and germ; leaving the starchy endosperm. Because many nutrients are lost during this modification process, several vitamins and minerals are added back in, which is known as nutritionally enriching. The fact remains that refined grains are still nutritionally inferior to whole grains.

What's so great about whole grains?

When you eat a whole grain- bran, endosperm and germ -you gain all of the nutritional benefits including: protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, copper, selenium, and several B vitamins.

When added to a healthy diet, whole grains can help lower your risk for certain chronic diseases. It is recommended that you eat at least 3 servings of whole grains per day.

Searching for whole grains in grocery store aisles?? Look for this stamp. It's a shortcut to finding products that offer at least a half serving of whole grains. A welcome tool for those busy shoppers!

Whole Grain Stamp

Take action!

Starting this month, challenge yourself and try cooking with a whole grain or whole grain flour that is new to you. You will find that they keep you fuller longer and will inspire the creative cook in you!

Here is a recipe to get you started: Gluten Free Zucchini Bread


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the following dry ingredients together well:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp of each ginger and nutmeg

Then mix in the following wet ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ¼ cup coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded young zucchini (dry with paper towels)

Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before baking. Grease a loaf pan or use parchment paper so bread won't stick. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick can be inserted and removed clean.

For extra texture: add ½ cup cranberries or chopped walnuts and enjoy!


Read more about Bulgur Wheat: A Quick-Cooking and Delicious Whole Grain and learn how to make tabbouleh at home.

Need some inspiration on making colorful grain salads? Check out this post, Build Your Own Grain Salad, with a printable mix-and-match chart and recipe ideas.