Gluten-free diets are typically recommended to those suffering from celiac disease. This digestive disease damages the small intestine and interferes with how your body absorbs the nutrients in food and can lead to bloating, stomach pain and diarrhea, as well as fatigue. You may also need to avoid gluten if you have gluten sensitivity unrelated to celiac disease. This sensitivity causes digestive discomfort but does not damage the small intestine. When following a gluten-free diet, you have to avoid many common foods that contain gluten such as bread, pasta, cereals, crackers and cookies. A 1,500-calorie diet is most suitable for a sedentary or moderately active woman looking to lose weight.
What You Can Eat
Rather than thinking about the foods you can't eat when going gluten-free, try to look instead at all the healthy foods that are still available to you. You can still eat meat, fish, vegetables and fruits, beans, nuts, rice and potatoes, among other foods. Every meal you eat should have a serving of protein, a portion of whole-grain carbohydrates and a couple servings of fruits and vegetables.
Splitting It Up
Aim to distribute your 1,500-calorie allowance fairly evenly throughout the day. You could either do this by having roughly 500 calories at breakfast, lunch and dinner or by making your meals a little lighter and including small snacks as well. For example, reduce the calorie content of each meal to 400 and have two 150-calorie snacks.
A Sample Plan
A typical 1,500-calorie gluten-free diet could start with a breakfast of two large scrambled eggs with one slice of gluten-free bread, plus a smoothie made from raspberries, strawberries and mango. Lunch could be a can of tuna with 1 cup of brown basmati rice, broccoli, bell peppers and salsa. For your evening meal, have 1/2 cup of baked sweet potato with a salmon fillet, kale and asparagus. Two small snacks -- one featuring 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese with blackberries and another with a small serving of walnuts -- brings your calorie count to around the 1,500 mark.
Many foods that you might not expect can contain gluten and should therefore be avoided. Prepared soups, processed meats and lunch meats, salad dressings and some candies can all contain gluten, so it's vital you read food labels carefully. Always check with your doctor before making changes to your diet and have regular checkups to ensure you're in good health. Moving forward, you may find that you need to adjust your calorie intake depending on your goals. If your intention is to lose weight, but the scales aren't moving, for instance, you'll need to lower your intake slightly. Or, if your weight's dropping but that isn't your intention, you'll need to eat a bit more.