For those who are gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive, the summary table may be helpful to you as a quick reference guide on what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, where possible.
Q. What foods can I eat on a gluten-free diet?
A. There is a vast world of safe food out there waiting to be discovered. Most of us who have a problem with gluten, developed it because we have been eating a great amount of it every day. If you find your diet loaded with hoagies, pizza, pasta, and doughnuts, it’s time to get out of the rut. Overhaul your diet with fruits, vegetables, safe grains, and legumes.
The comparison chart below shows examples of foods that can be safely eaten and those that must be strictly avoided. For more detailed information, discuss gluten-free choices with a health care specialist or dietitian skilled in this diet.
Foods Allowed/Not Allowed*Plain means no gluten ingredients are added to the food.
**Commercially prepared means the product is made by a company for the purpose of selling it.
Chart 1.3 Safe and Unsafe foods.2 Adapted from chart provided in “Celiac Disease.” National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
FOOD GROUP ALLOWED NOT ALLOWED Fruit All plain* fresh, frozen, or dried fruit; canned fruit in natural juice.
Pie fillings thickened with cornstarch, tapioca, or arrowroot.
Commercially prepared** canned or prepared fruits/ pie fillings thickened with flour. Vegetables All plain*, fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables.
GF sauced vegetables;
vegetables thickened with cornstarch tapioca or arrowroot
such as sweet & sour red beets.
Commercially prepared **creamed vegetables and vegetables in sauce thickened with flour.
Vegetables with regular bread crumbs or battered and fried;
salads with croutons or with dressing thickened using flour or oat gum.
Meat, fish, seafood, fowl Plain* fresh, canned, or frozen beef, pork, ham, lamb, rabbit, or other meat, seafood, fish, poultry, turkey, or other birds.
Bacon; hotdogs, cold cuts; scrapple and sausage made with safe fillers and binders.
Canned fish, poultry, seafood,
meat in brine or plain water.
GF breaded, battered or otherwise prepared.
Commercially prepared** meat, fish, seafood, and fowl or other bird, such as are breaded/ battered (fried), blended, or injected with solution (as in turkeys/chickens/hams).
Any of the following that use gluten-containing fillers: cold cuts, hotdogs, scrapple, meat loaf, sausage, meatballs, meat patties; canned meat, fish, poultry, or seafood using hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
Imitation crab, other meat using wheat gluten or seitan.
Eggs Fresh eggs boiled, poached, fried, or plain* scrambled. Commercially prepared** dried or frozen egg products using flour or wheat starch. Souffle, omelet or scrambled eggs thickened with flour or pancake batter. Milk and milk products Plain* fresh or evaporated milk including goat and sheep milk. Plain sour cream, light/heavy cream; plain yogurt. Malted milk, commercially prepared** chocolate and flavored milk.
Yogurt thickened with wheat starch, hydrolized protein added, or with granola added.
Cheese Plain* aged, chunk cheese, such as cheddar, Swiss, edam, Parmesan, Romano, and manchego; cottage cheese, cream cheese, and specially prepared GF spreads/ mixes. Cheese product thickened or stabilized with oat gum or wheat starch, such as spread/ sauce for nachos or macaroni. Some veined cheeses aged with moldy bread, such as bleu cheese, stilton, Roquefort, and gorgonzola. Pasta and Noodles Specially prepared GF pasta and noodles made with rice, corn, potato, or other safe flour.
Bean thread, rice, and wheat-free buckwheat noodles.
Regular pasta such as penne, spaghetti, lasagna, and macaroni.
Regular noodles using wheat flour.
Naturally GF starch dishes Plain* rice, wild rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, buckwheat or kasha, millet, and hominy or polenta. Commercially prepared** flavored or seasoned rice, wild rice, kasha, or other GF food using wheat starch/ flour, oat gum, or hydrolized or texturized wheat protein.
Frozen French fries and potato products dusted with flour at the plant and/or coated with seasoned flour at the restaurant. Potatoes stuffed with a flour thickened filling.
Breads and yeast raised buns, pizza, and doughnuts Specially prepared GF. Regular. Flatbreads and tortillas Specially prepared GF flatbreads. Plain* corn tortillas. Regular flatbreads/ flour tortillas.
Corn tortillas with flour or barley added.
Quickbreads Plain* corn muffins and corn bread. GF muffins, GF English muffins, GF scones, GF biscuits, GF breads like Irish soda bread, banana, apple, and date/nut bread. Regular quickbreads. Baked goods GF cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, pastries, tarts, croisants, and Danish. Regular baked goods. Doughnuts and fried dough Specially prepared GF doughnuts and fried bread dough. Regular doughnuts and fried bread dough. Pancakes, waffles, and crepes Plain* buckwheat pancakes.
GF pancakes, waffles, and crepes.
Buckwheat pancakes made with flour. Regular pancakes, waffles, and crepes. Cereals All plain* cereals made from safe foods, such as rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth, and are not coated with malt or malt flavoring. Regular cereal made from wheat, rye, barley, and oats such as wheat flakes, wheat puffs, shredded wheat, wheat germ, cream of wheat, and oatmeal.
Any cold cereals coated with malt syrup or malt flavoring to keep them crisp, including safe grains such as crispy rice or corn flakes.
Granolas, muesli, and kashi.
Soups Homemade broth and soup, and stew using safe ingredients and thickened with cornstarch. Most canned and dry mix soups and stews. Boullion and boullion cubes using hydrolyzed wheat protein. Legumes Plain* beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, and soybeans. Any made with unsafe ingredients such as baked beans thickened with flour or oat gum, coated or blended with breadcrumbs, or flavored with soy sauce or malt syrup/ flavoring. Snacks Plain* corn, potato, soy, and vegetable chips.
Specially made GF breadsticks, pretzels, and crackers.
Trail mix made with GF ingredients. Plain nuts and seeds.
Plain fruit bars.
Regular wheat, rye, barley, and oat-based crackers, crisps, and pretzels. Trail mix with wheat nuggets or oat granola. Seasoned roasted nuts. Seeds with unsafe flavoring. Beverages Plain*coffee, tea, cocoa, and fruit juices.
Wine made in USA, vodka distilled from grapes or potatoes, sake, vermouth, cognac, and tequilla.
Coca-cola, malted milk, commercially made drinks with unsafe grains such as Ovaltine, Postum, and Tang. Herbal teas flavored with barley malt; root beer; some flavored coffees. Some instant decaffeinated coffee.
Regular beer, ale, and porter.
Cold Desserts GF ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and sorbet.
Gelatin, junket, and custard.
Puddings, such as rice and tapioca, thickened with cornstarch or arrowroot.
Ice cream and sherbets made with gluten stabilizers, cookie dough, cookies, or other cereal additives. Ice cream cones. Pudding mixes and puddings thickened with flour, wheat starch, or oat gum. Sweeteners Crystalline fructose, honey, maltitol, sorbitol, rice syrup, pure maple syrup, and pure fruit spreads. Rice syrup with flour and some corn and pancake syrups using wheat, barley malt or oat gum. Condiments Apple cider vinegar, white vinegar distilled from corn, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar, and fruit vinegar like plum and raspberry.
Mayonnaise, mustard, catsup, sauces, pickles, and olives made with safe vinegar.
Tamari made from soy only. Soy sauce made from soy only.
Soy sauce and hoisin sauce made from soy and wheat.Malt vinegar and products made using it. Fats Butter and any oil other than wheat germ oil. Wheat germ oil. Non-dairy cream substitutes; some commercial salad dressings using wheat germ oil. Sweets GF candy and fruit bars. Commercially prepared** candies dusted with flour to keep from sticking, fillings thickened with flour, wafers and other cereal parts made from unsafe grains, and addition of oats or oat gum or malt flavoring/ syrup. Twizzler’s red licorice and Goetz’s Cow Tales are examples using wheat flour.
Some gum drops, and some chewing gum.
Deli or salad bar foods Plain* salads/ vegetables without croutons or breadcrumbs.
Caution: may be contaminated by use of utensils used for unsafe foods or by spillage onto them.
Regular tuna, egg, chicken, seafood, fish, and ham salad. Pasta salads. Breaded foods/ battered foods.
Nutritional bars Specially prepared GF. Regular bars. Thickeners Cornstarch, arrowroot, potato starch, and tapioca starch.
Zanthan gum, guar gum, caron bean gum, locust bean gum, gum Arabic, cellulose, and carrageenan.
Wheat starch/ flour, hydrolized wheat protein, oat gum. Flavorings Maltodextrin (in the USA it’s derived from corn, potato or rice), most spices and herbs. Barley malt, malt, malt extract, and malt syrup, oat syrup. Some spice blends. Dry curry powder.
Maltodextrin is usually derived from barley or wheat outside of USA.
Miscellaneous Active dry yeast, bicarbonate of soda, GF baking powder, cream of tartar. Specially prepared communion wafers Instant dry yeast. Some baking powders.
Standard communion wafers.