The gluten free food pyramid
Note the food pyramid
What foods can I eat and just how much? With the help of the gluten free food pyramid, it’s easy to check whether you have enough healthy food on your plate. With its 6 different levels (1 – frequent consumption, 6 – minimum consumption) it illustrates how a healthy and balanced gluten free diet should be composed of: lots of fruit and vegetables, cereals, animal products in moderation, limited fats and sugars.
Level 1 - liquids
The basis of the gluten free pyramid is liquid. Liquids provide the body with fluid (water), essential minerals (such as calcium), and quench your thirst. Our bodies needs water to help
- flush out waste
- transport oxygen and nutrients
- regulate body temperature
Recommended daily amounts are 1.5 to 2 litres of liquid, preferably natural water, mineral water and unsweetened herbal or fruit teas. Drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee or green or black tea should be enjoyed in moderation.
Good to know: Drink regularly throughout the day, and not only at mealtimes. A large jug of fruit or herbal tea, prepared and chilled in the morning, is an ideal summer thirst quencher. Add some herbs or small pieces of fruit or vegetables to a jug of water for a refreshing drink.
Level 2 - vegetables and fruits
Fruits and vegetables contain important vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals. The "Five-a-day" rule is divided into 2 portions of fruit and 3 portions of vegetables, best fresh, seasonal and varied. One serving equals about 120 g and can be replaced once a day with 200 ml of fruit or vegetable juice.
Tip: Vegetables not only taste good as a side dish, but also in soups, stews, salad and, of course, raw. Give new vegetables or fruit a try. Who knows, it might become your new favourite ingredient.
Level 3 - Whole grains, cereals, potatoes and legumes
Gluten free rolls and breads, (unsweetened) cereal, cereals, gluten free pasta, rice, potatoes, polenta, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet or legumes are part of every meal. One serving is approx -
- 80-100 g of gluten free bread
- 80 g of gluten free noodles or other cereals
- 200 g of potatoes
- or 60-100 g pulses (dry weight).
Cereal products and legumes contain vitamins, minerals and fibre and many carbohydrates in the form of starch and are thus important energy sources for muscles, the brain and other organs.
Good to know: Legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas, and white beans) are also rich in valuable proteins. Sweet pastries, granola bars and other sweet gluten free snacks, on the other hand, are among the treats at Level 6.
Level 4 - Dairy products, meat, fish, eggs and tofu
Animal foods such as dairy products, meat, fish and eggs, and tofu contain plenty of protein, are important for muscle growth and the immune system. They also provide valuable nutrients such as
- Calcium (milk and milk products)
- Iron (meat and fish)
- Vitamin B12 (all animal protein suppliers)
- and omega-3 fatty acids (fish).
A portion of meat, fish, eggs or tofu and two to three servings of milk or milk products are recommended alternately per day. One serving equals about two eggs or about 120 g of meat, fish or tofu. For dairy products, one serving equals 125 g of quark / natural yoghurt or 30-50 g of cheese.
Note: lean beef, poultry or veal (maximum two to three servings per week) are the healthiest option. Regularly replace meat with eggs, tofu, legumes and dairy products, and fish from sustainable fisheries (WWF).
Level 5 - Oil, fats and nuts
Fats and oils are the most energetic source of nutrients. They should be used sparingly but should not be missed out from the menu. This group contains the following -
- Vegetable oils
- Creme fraiche Cheese
- Coconut milk
- Seeds and cores
- but also, oleaginous fruits such as olives and avocados.
They provide important essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). Nuts, seeds and kernels are also rich in fibre, proteins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Two to three tablespoons (20-30 g) of vegetable oil and one serving (20-30 g) of unsalted nuts or seeds are recommended daily. In addition, you can use butter, margarine, cream etc. sparingly (about 1 tblsp or 10 g).
Level 6 - Sugar, Salt and Alcohol
Sweet and savoury snacks as well as sugary and alcoholic drinks contain a lot of calories in the form of sugar, fat or alcohol. You should only resort to these foods in moderation. The following examples give a better idea of how to estimate a portion: about a row of chocolate, 20 g of nut nougat spread, a scoop of ice cream, a small handful (20-30 g) salty nibbles, a glass (2-3 dl) sweet drink or a glass of alcoholic beverage (e.g. 2-3 dl beer, 1 dl wine).
Note: Sweets, snacks and alcoholic drinks are there to enjoy, every now and then. If you have cravings, dried fruit or nuts can be a tasty alternative.