Amy Leger of Shares Her Favorite Tips on Eating and Cooking Gluten Free

savvy-celiacEvery Tuesday and Wednesday during the month of May, we’ll be hosting a gluten-free guest blogger from around the web in honor of Celiac Awareness Month. Kicking things off today is Amy Leger, Family Editor for Gluten-Free Living and owner of This is part one in a two-part series in which Leger will share her favorite tips that learned from years of interviewing gluten-free experts. Part one is about cooking and eating gluten free; check back later in the month for part two, which is all about gluten-free kids and families.


When my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease 15 years ago (this month) I was in shock. I wasn’t a great cook and I most certainly didn’t pay a lot of attention to ingredients in the food that we bought. Plus, in 2000, there was little information available for folks with celiac disease, and the people who love and care for them.

Any educated hints and tips I could get were always highly welcomed.

While I am the Family Editor for Gluten-Free Living, I also I write for my website And during the last several years I have had the pleasure of interviewing a lot of people who have a lot of great advice. Here is part one of some tips from the experts I thought you might find helpful as well!


Fueling your inner gluten-free athlete

Peter Bronski is a gluten-free blogger at, an author and endurance athlete. When I chatted with him about his book The Gluten-Free Edge, I asked Bronski what two gluten-free foods he thinks an active person should add to their diet to make it healthier. Here’s what he had to say:

“Incorporating sweet potatoes into the diet for an athlete is a great option. They have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes and they are an excellent source of carbohydrates for athletes who want the carb-load. Secondly, any high-protein sources [from] wherever you choose to get your protein, whether it’s red meat [such as ] bison or nonmeat sources of protein; the iron is really an important component for athletic performance.”


And what should gluten-free athletes eliminate? “Anything that is made of highly-refined gluten-free starches and has a lot of empty calories in it,” Bronski said.


Feeding kids healthy food

Amie Valpone is gluten free and is the founder of The Healthy Apple. We talked in early 2014 about eating healthy while maintaining a gluten-free diet. Specifically, I wondered about recommendations to help our gluten-free children eat healthier when we are on the go.

“I tell parents to keep it simple,” Valpone said. “Buy three new root vegetables a week, cut them up into fries, so they look like McDonald’s fries. Toss them into your oven with cinnamon and sea salt, sweeten them with maple syrup, or put on chili powder, pepper and maybe balsamic vinegar. Have those in your fridge all week for your kids to enjoy, maybe with guacamole, salsa or hummus. This way when they come home from school they won’t reach for something out of a box.”



Saving money on gluten-free food

Ten Dollar Dinners host Melissa d’Arabian has a daughter with a gluten sensitivity. While she is very busy working on her Food Network program, she makes time to cook food for her family and save a bundle at the grocery store. I interviewed her after she wrote her book Supermarket Healthy last year and asked if it was even possible for gluten-free folks to save money when they shop.

Start your shopping in the produce aisle because if you stick to in-season produce it’s almost impossible to break the bank. We’re so trained to think that more money equals something that’s better, the produce aisle is the exact opposite. When there is an overstock at the factory, which is Mother Nature in the produce aisle, prices go down; so low prices equal the best food. Stick with food that’s naturally gluten free and you absolutely can stick to a budget while you’re being gluten free.”


Creating moisture in gluten-free dough

Cookbook authors and gluten-free eaters Jessie and Jillian Legasse spoke at the 2014 Gluten-Free Living Conference and offered some other great tips about adding moisture to your recipe.They say to let your gluten-free dough rest at least 30 minutes to as long as overnight because gluten-free flour doesn’t absorb moisture as quickly as regular flour.



With these quick tips, you’ll be able to eat healthier and make better and less expensive gluten-free food.

Amy Leger is the family editor for Gluten-Free Living and has her own website She lives at home in Minneapolis with her husband and two children, one of whom has celiac disease.

Note: The views, opinions and positions expressed by our Celiac Awareness Month guest posters are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Gluten-Free Living or its staff.


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