The Best Gluten-Free Tips, Hacks & Advice

Our gluten-free community on Facebook is an incredible resource when it comes to sharing first-person experiences and expertise around gluten-free living. So when we asked our fans to share their best gluten-free tips, hacks, and advice, we knew they’d deliver—but we had no idea how much! Whether you’re a recent convert to the gluten-free lifestyle or an old pro, we’re sure you’ll find their gluten-free tips useful—and maybe even get inspired to try something new.

Read Every Label, Every Time

“Learn to read your own labels and don’t ask others if something is gluten-free. It’s your health at risk, take it in your own hands.” —Lisa Schuck

“Read every label—learn the list of words that mean ‘gluten,’ like modified food starch. Stick with it if it’s a medical decision—it was for me and I’ve been gluten-free for 35 years. Wasn’t as easy then as it is now!” —Judy Mccaghren

“The number one piece of advice I give is to read all labels and know as many terms and names as possible for hidden gluten. It can sneak in on you. For example, I’ve seen labels claiming to be gluten-free that have MSG in them. Also with celiac, sometimes items such as blue cheese can be an offender. But once you get into the swing, you’ll find many substitutes and different processes that you get used to. A simple example is to use corn starch in place of flour to thicken gravy—it’s actually much better. Being gluten-free is really not as horrible or difficult as it seems. Once the logic kicks in and you get in the groove of it, you’ll do fine.” —Julie Stanley

“Avoid family members and friends who insist that ‘just a little’ won’t hurt. Read labels! I’ve found gluten in jars of spice mix and shredded cheese. Stay on top of your health. If you like to eat out a lot, you’ll find restaurants that are more prone to cross-contaminate your food—it took me several tries to find a Chinese restaurant that worked for me. Most of all, reach out for support. There are plenty of gluten-free tips, hacks, advice and sounding boards out in the cyberverse to make the transition much less daunting.” —Vera Welenteychik

“Read every label, despite what you think gluten couldn’t possibly be in.” —Gina Martin Pollock

“Read every label, every time. Companies change recipes and ingredients without letting you know. Made from scratch is safer.” —H. Hammond George

“At first, you’ll find it difficult. You must read labels. You may have to throw some foods out. Make your own cookies when you can’t find them in the store (although there are good box mixes for cakes and cookies now). It gets easier—it does!—and after a while, it’s just part of you.” —Cheri Gilbert

“Listen to you doctor and your gut, literally. People turn into nutrition experts and try to tell you that you don’t need to eat that way. Do what works for you. And read every label! That one time you don’t could mean that your head is in the toilet the next day—true story. It’s happened to me a few times now.” —Sandy Lawrence

“Make your home a gluten-free sanctuary. Read ingredients labels, no matter what is printed on front.” —David E. Canter

Naturally Gluten-Free Is Your Safe Place

“While gluten-free products have become more plentiful and better quality over the past decade, do yourself a favor and rely on naturally gluten-free recipes as your go-to and use gluten-free substitutes occasionally. Saves money and hassles! Potato, rice, and corn-based side dishes and meals are easy to make naturally gluten-free.” —Christine Moore Rodriguez

“Eat foods from natural, unprocessed sources as much as possible. Find gluten-free options of foods you can’t live without.”—Susan Cusner

“Think basics, as in the outside aisles of the grocery store. Blend foods together and add spices to give variation.” —Tracy Powell

“Start by choosing naturally gluten-free foods and build recipes and snacks that way. There are so many ‘gluten-free’ products out there, but you’ll go nuts looking for a ‘taste alike’ among the different brands. Plus, a lot of things that are forcefully gluten-free aren’t even that good!” —Amy Baginski

“In restaurants, try and choose things that should be naturally gluten-free, and then ask your server to confirm there aren’t any surprises. Some restaurants mark things that are gluten-free on their menu and some don’t. Some restaurants mark things that could be made gluten-free, but you have to ask.” —Susan Gorham

Try Gluten-Free Recipes, Apps & More

“Start loving potatoes and rice! Pinterest is a great resource. Mexican, Lebanese, and Greek foods are often easy to make gluten-free, so look up those types of recipes. Always bring a snack to a party or potluck that you can eat.” —Andrea Blake Acosta

“Accept and adapt. Learn how to cook; make your favorite foods gluten-free. Pinterest has great selection of tips and recipes.” —Haneej Jo

“Do your research, plan, and pre-prepare meals and snacks. Cook’s Illustrated has excellent gluten-free cookbooks.” —H. Thomas J. Hill

“The first year is the hardest. Get a gluten-free scanner app for your phone!” —Samantha Shankle

“I go to Chocolate Covered Katie for all of my dessert recipes. I have a zoodle maker and use that instead of pasta most of the time. The easiest lasagna I have ever made was with zucchini—thin slices lengthwise and just pop it in the oven. Trader Joe’s has a pretty good gluten-free flour mix, and their gluten-free multi grain bread is amazing.” —Melissa Jenkins

“Join a support group. My biggest mistake was trying to learn on my own. That was 20 years ago, before many of the gluten-free foods were easy to get. Had I joined a group right away, I would’ve suffered a lot less.” —Phil Greenberg

“Host holidays so you control the menu, and use the Find Me GF app when you road trip.” —Rebecca Steele

Start Simple

“Focus on what you can eat and not on what you can’t.” —Ben Sanders

“Keep it simple, at least at first. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. It does get easier.” —Jennie Hayes Millar

“Find gluten-free substitutes for a few favorite foods so you have a safe gluten-free comfort food when being gluten-free gets hard and you’re tempted to cheat.” —Kathie Gallo

Snacks on Snacks on Snacks

“Always have your own gluten-free snacks when you’re out in the world!” —Sanae Robinson Guerin

“Be patient and bring snacks.” —Dawn Michelle

It’s OK to Feel All the Feelings

“Everyone has at least one emotional breakdown regarding food in the beginning. It’s OK. It gets easier and better. I grabbed a frozen pizza one night, got home, and realized I grabbed one with gluten accidentally. I had to ask my roommate to get rid of it, went to my car, and called my mom and had a complete meltdown. I will never forget that night.” —Sharon Callaway

“I remember the first time I went grocery shopping after my diagnosis. I was crying for all the things I couldn’t have anymore, and for being so confused and frustrated trying to read the labels and figure out what was safe. I got help from a registered dietitian who also has celiac, and it was a life saver. Two visits with her and I felt like I knew what to do and how to do it!” —Mary Mote

“Keep it simple. Read every label. Carry safe snacks with you everywhere you go. Deep clean your kitchen. And be patient with yourself. You’ll have many tantrums of things you can’t eat, so take it one meal at a time and be kind to yourself. You’ll get there.” —Jeanette Nickels

“Watch out for spices—not all of them are gluten-free. Good luck, have a good cry. Love what you can eat.” —Tami Fuller

“It really is not as bad as you think it is! Just be patient with yourself, and be patient with how the world treats those of us with allergy issues. Read labels, cook fresh, try to avoid additives. Advocate for yourself, always! —Megan Carter

“Breathe—it’s not as bad as you think. For a lot of things, you just have to switch brands. Buy the product guide and always read the labels!” —Staci Young

“It’s OK to cry the first time you go shopping. You will figure out what is normal for you and will be OK. Also, not everyone loses weight when they go gluten-free.” —Samantha Lamb

“It’s hard in the beginning and you’ll feel like you can’t have anything you want, but there are amazing gluten-free recipes and products out there—and you can do this!” —RM Boyle