The Key to Going Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free for Good

“I’ve stopped eating bread,” my mother-in-law reported as one of her New Year’s Resolutions.

“Why?” I asked, a bit perplexed as I was watching her eat a plate of linguine.

She stared blankly at me for a few seconds, and then said, “Because it’s unhealthy.”

Some quick back history on how this conversation came to be …

Late last year it was recommended by our doctor that my husband trial a strict gluten-free diet. His results have been promising thus far, so upon hearing this, his mother decided to promptly cut out bread, yes just bread, from both her and my father-in-law’s diets. Not pasta, not crackers, not the coating on her beloved tempura shrimp, and if you think for a minute that she was going to read an ingredient statement … well, now that would just be ridiculous.

Some of you might be saying, “Cutting out bread is a good start, don’t knock her for it!” But, I’ve seen this scenario play out with her before (countless times!) and with so many other people. A month from now I can almost guarantee that she still won’t know what gluten is and she’ll be back to eating her turkey sandwiches with enriched bread.

The biggest problem is that she doesn’t educate herself on why she is making a change or HOW to make that change. Her lack of knowledge practically guarantees defeat.

Understanding what you are doing and why is necessary for any real change. From there, the key to lasting results is planning. With food, that means in some way, shape, or form making sure you have food on hand and ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, AND healthy treats. You MUST be prepared for every possible moment of hunger.

Since lunch and dinner are the most overwhelming food events in our house, I created a Menu Board to keep both my husband and I aware of what’s on deck …

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Menu Plan Board

I’m flexible; sometimes we follow the board to a “T,” and sometimes we sway from it (when another “in diet” idea comes along). Nonetheless, always having options planned ensures that we stay on track.

Here are a few Simple and Healthy Dairy-Free AND Gluten-Free Recipes and Ideas that make my Menu Board often:

Turkey Sloppy Joses Over Polenta

And some tasty Breakfast Ideas for additional planning:



What are some of your favorite everyday GF/DF meal and snack ideas? Please feel free to link up in the comments to favorite recipes!

Alisa Fleming is the founder of the largest dairy-free website, Go Dairy Free, and author of the best-selling special diet book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living.

Follow Alisa on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

20 Responses to The Key to Going Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free for Good

  • Joanie H says:

    Great post ~ in addition to the post on your own blog! And, I love your menu board! Did you create it or purchase it somewhere? Would love the instructions or where to purchase. Thanks for sharing.


    Alisa Reply:

    @Joanie H, Thanks Joanie!

    We made it. It is just a piece of particle board, and I bought some chalkboard paper on amazon (can’t remember the name, the peel and stick stuff!). My husband looped the wire for me so we could hang it by the kitchen.


  • MaryB says:

    My favorite after-work-flop-on-the-couch treat is two brown rice cakes smeared with almond butter. It’s cruchy and creamy; the carb and protien punch gives me the boost to finsh out the day with household duties!


    Alisa Reply:

    @MaryB, That is my favorite snack too Mary! I always add a generous sprinkling of cinnamon, too.


  • Cara says:

    Love the menu board!


  • You are so creative! I love the menu board and you’re so right about the importance of being prepared for every possible moment of hunger! That is so key and your menu board makes being prepared much easier. Great post!


  • Your Dutch Baby looks so good! I have been obsessed with them lately! Love your boards! xoxo


  • I love apple slices dipped into lots of peanut butter. This dutch baby looks delicious. I think it’s going to make it onto the breakfast table later this week.


  • Maggie Savage says:

    I agree, it’s all about planning for me! Every aspect of my life works better when it’s planned :) Thanks for sharing these great recipes too! That blueberry dutch baby is totally calling my name!


  • That menu board turned out awesome!! I still have not made mine yet, but I have all the materials to work on it for this weekend! I love all of your menu ideas, but I have to admit that I, like the others, think that the Dutch baby looks awesome!


  • Jeanette says:

    Love the menu board idea, and your GF/DF recipe ideas too. This Lentil Chili is one of our recent favorites:


    Alisa Reply:

    @Jeanette, That looks amazing Jeanette, and I love that it uses so many pantry ingredients. Thanks for sharing!


  • AndreAnna says:

    I am OBSESSED with rice cakes. My husband makes fun of me and says, “If your biggest dietary vice is rice cakes, I think you’re doing okay.” HA!

    I love the menu board idea! And thanks for the dutch baby idea – it is my lunch today!

    One of my favorite go-to snacks is either almond butter or cream cheese on celery!


    Alisa Reply:

    @AndreAnna, Your husband is a wise, wise man :)


  • Tess Masters says:

    LOL! I laughed so hard when I read the beginning of your post!
    Thanks for all of these delicious ideas.
    I am so thrilled to be a part of TBP with you.
    You ROCK!


  • Healthy never looked so good and I LOVE that menu board!!!!!


  • mealpod says:

    I absolutely agree that knowledge and planning are the key to learning to eat healthier. I have had more than a few friends that ask me so many questions about dieting and nutrition. It becomes apparent that the people who learn on their own and the people that truly succeed.

    The menu board is fabulous! If only I could talk the rest of my family into eating what I eat.


  • love the menu board idea! and great thoughts on “going for good”…sometimes it seems like there are so many obstacles in the way but in reality it can be pretty simple! :)


  • Darlene says:

    Your menu board is a great idea! And the Dutch Babies with Blueberries looks delicious.


  • ktraiford says:

    I am your mother-in-law. I have talked about & tried so many times. I’ve tried educating myself by reading & talking with others. It’s overwhelming. I cannot seem to “take it slow ” without just defaulting back to what I know and what is familiar (but not necessarily) easy. I suffer with depression which adds to the feelings and lack of energy. Most of the recipes I find are so completely different sounding, not just in ingredients that most don’t even sound remotely appealingly to me. To aquifer the ingredients for most is too cost prohibitive. I know, I know “it’s an investment in your health.” And “you can’t afford not to.” But when you have a family to feed and are barely making your budget as it is, well it’s just not that cut and dry. Add to that a busy schedule and a dislike of cooking it is virtually impossible.

    But I do keep trying.

    So please don’t mock or look down on those of us who truly do want to change but find it so difficult that it seems impossible. I don’t want to offend you & wish you could hear my voice so you could believe me. I am, on the other hand offended and hurt by the glib & condescending tone of many comments I read.

    In that context, I am excited to have just downloaded your free healthy lunches ebook. Your recipes are really appetizing and “normal ” enough to give me hope yet again. Thank you.

    And btw I’ve had a similar menu board & planned menus for a number of years. It is laborious but for the most part helpful. I don’t actually follow my board for lunches & snacks though.

    Once again, thanks for the renewed hope!


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