GFCF Diet: Hints & Tips


Going gluten-free and casein-free was the hardest thing I have ever done. But after a month, it became second nature. The bottom line is my child eats much healthier than before and we have less stimmy behaviors, better night’s sleep, better “poops”, good behaviors, a ready-to-learn attitude, and wonderful eye contact. Did I mention the use of speech too?

Here I offer my hints on baking equipment, recipes, and good lessons learned to help you start on this well-worth-it journey.

Before We Start: A Quick Note On Contamination

Research indicates that we must be extremely strict with the diet. It is important not to contaminate our baking products. Celiac organizations (which also advocate a gluten-free diet) feel that families should use separate baking pans that have never been used with gluten-containing foods. I believe that it is crucial that you use a separate toaster or toaster oven (that is not used with regular breads) and a separate waffle iron that is not used with regular waffles. We also elected to use separate baking pans. However, other families have chosen not to take these extra precautions and it is entirely your preference to take the precautions or not. (Our family also does not cook with regular flour. We purchase any wheat products that we use.)

Also, it is important not to use products like peanut butter or jam with gluten-containing bread and gluten-free bread, simultaneously. For example, you don’t want to dip a knife in the jam, spread jam on a piece of white bread, and then dip the knife back into the jam, which is also used for wheat bread.  My family writes our child’s name on top of products like this and then, we use only the labeled products with gluten-free products. I would suggest keeping two bottles of jam; one for your GFCF child and one for other family members.

Also, foods that are purchased can be contaminated during the manufacturing process. Some companies will say their product is gluten-free/casein-free, but they cannot always guarantee it if the ingredients are run on the same lines as other foods containing gluten or milk.

There are some people that feel the risk is much higher for contamination if products containing gluten and promised gluten-free products are produced in the same facility. Flours usually go airborne and can land everywhere. Milk products usually are not as likely to be airborne. Some people feel that contamination is less likely to occur with milk products produced in the same facility.

Another problem is purchasing products from bins. This is not recommended, because of the contamination that can and does occur. I’ve been in the room when employees added more products to the bins and flour went flying everywhere. Also, frequently scoops are used in multiple products and can easily become contaminated.

Don’t let your hard work get sabotaged by contamination!  Just a little bit will hurt all your hard efforts!

Meal Planning - What does a GFCF Day look Like?

Now that you have to eliminate EVERYTHING your child usually eats–what does a GFCF day really look like? Here are some meal ideas for getting started.

Commercial Breakfast Cereals

  • Barbara's Brown Rice Crisps (like Rice Krispies (do not use Rice Krispies they contain barley malt)
  • EnviroKids Gorilla Munch (ike Kix)
  • Barbara's Cornflakes
  • Barbara’s Frosted Cornflakes
  • Arrowhead Mills Sweetened Rice Flakes
  • New Morning Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • EnviroKids Amazon Flakes
  • Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flakes
  • Arrowhead Mills Corn flakes (one family likes them better than Barbara’s.  They are not as soggy.)
  • Arrowhead Mills Rice and Shine (hot rice cereal similar to Cream of Wheat)
  • Van’s Toaster Waffles (HFS) (Use a separate toaster or toaster oven that is not used for regular wheat toast)
  • Trader Joe's Gluten/Wheat free Toaster Waffles
  • Many more suggestions are located at


  • gluten-free waffles (see recipes or buy Trader Joe's or Van's GFCF variations)
  • cooked white or brown rice served with milk substitute with sweetener (honey, sugar, glycerine, etc.)
  • gluten-free pancakes
  • gluten-free/casein-free cold cereal (Gorilla Munch, Health Valley Rice Chex cereal are some good options)
  • gluten-free muffins (Lots of recipes in Bette Hagman’s books.  Also in Special Diets for Special Kids, by Lisa Lewis, pgs. 127 and 128.)
  • rice bread toast
  • corn grits
  • gluten-free French Toast accompanied with gluten-free proteins--scrambled eggs made w/milk sub or water
  • Diestel Sliced Turkey (They have small packages in the deli.) Or Boars Head Coldcuts – they are GFCF and yummy.
  • Fruits
  • milk substitutes
  • juices
  • Many more suggestions


  • Grandma’s sandwiches—Grandma spreads coconut butter on both sides of rice bread and toasts them in a cast iron pan.  She also melts a little coconut butter in the pan and heats up Diestal Sliced Turkey lunchmeat or Diestal’s ham.  (These are available from HFS)
  • Almond butter on waffles, rice cake or bread  (you can also use Cashew butter)
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on rice bread (or use the recipes in this document!)
  • Leftovers (cool tuperware containers are available at the Container Store)
  • Accompany meals with fruits and vegetables
  • Ian's Chicken Nuggets (reminder they have both gluten and GFCF variations – please be sure to read the labels!)
  • Fruit Leather from Trader Joe's
  • Many more suggestions


  • One mother I heard speak about the diet said that they cook very simple meals with meat, vegetables, rice or potatoes, fruits, etc. I think this is excellent advice.
  • Crockpot roast with potatoes, carrots
  • Pot Roast
  • Spanish Rice
  • Stir Fry (Use LaChoy Wheat-free Soy Sauce)
  • Homemade Soups
  • Stew
  • Bean Tostados (no cheese / corn tortillas)
  • Enchiladas (no cheese / corn tortillas)
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Tacos with corn tortillas (no cheese)
  • Taco Salad (no cheese / corn tortillas)
  • Sloppy Joes with rice rolls, crumpets or bread
  • Homemade French fries from Special Diets for Special Kids.
  • Hamburger patty
  • Japanese Fried Rice
  • Ginger Pork
  • Homemade Pizza (great GFCF crust from Bob's Red Mill, Whole Foods brand and Kinnikinnick)
  • Tamale Casserole from Bette Hagman’s Gluten-free Gourmet (without cheese)
  • Spaghetti sauce with corn, rice or lentil pasta
  • Chili
  • Chicken Enchilada Casserole
  • Pork Chops
  • Oven baked chicken
  • Broccoli beef
  • Meatloaf or Meat Puffs
  • Ham, beans and rice casserole
  • Barbecue (use lemon and ghee [clarified butter] with salt/pepper as a basting sauce)
  • Chicken Stew
  • Yorkshire Chicken Nuggets YES they Are GFCF, egg free and in the shape of a dinosaur - way yummy to boot!!
  • Ian's Chicken Nuggets (Note - there are 2 varieties and make sure you select the GFCF variation!)
  • Steaks
  • Hamburger gravy on rice
  • Minestrone Soup
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Almond Chicken
  • Roast breast
  • Cascadian Farms French Fries (HFS)
  • Note: All of the above meals are adapted for gfcf. Many more suggestions for dinner.

Commercial Snacks and Desserts

  • Corn Chips
  • Popcorn—plain or with an acceptable butter substitute
  • Potato chips--Ruffles (see for other brand names)
  • Pretzels (EnerG Wylde)
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Imagine Puddings
  • Frookie Wheat & Gluten-free Choc Chip Cookies (Note: These are prepared on the same line that uses milk in some products. They clean the line between batches but some contamination could occur.)
  • Frookie Double Choc Chip Cookies
  • Frookie Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Health Valley Rice Bran Crackers
  • Dreyer’s Whole Fruit Sorbet (has lots of sugar)
  • Stretch Island Fruit Leather (HFS)
  • Lundberg rice cakes and chips
  • Skinny’s potato sticks
  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips
  • Terra Stix (like those short crunchy potato sticks in a can, but better)
  • Robert's American Gourmet Potato Flyers
  • Robert's American Gourmet Veggie Booty (like cheetos in texture)
  • Robert's American Gourmet Fruity Booty
  • Pistachios
  • EnerG Pretzels - only the Wylde Pretzels are soy free
  • Just Fruits and Just Veggies - freeze dried everything
  • Cool Fruits Fruit Bars (fruit leather)
  • Grabber EnerG Bars - Apple Apricot, Blueberry Apricot
  • Skittles (not good for kids that need to be DYE free / coloring free)
  • Kinnikinnick Montana Choc Chip Cookies
  • Gerber Fruit Snacks (like Gummies)
  • Gorilla Munch Cereal
  • Rice and Corn Crunch 'Ems.
  • Caution: Do not use Pringles or most flavored potato chips—check labels.
  • Many more suggestions are located at

Homemade Snacks and Desserts

  • Waffles
  • Rice bread toast
  • Muffins
  • Chocolate cake cupcakes or cake
  • Fresh fruits or vegetables
  • Many more desserts


We don’t always recommend candy everyday, but for special occasions, here are a few to choose from:

  • Bottlecaps
  • Skittles
  • Starburst
  • Gobstoppers
  • Mix ups
  • Pixy Stix
  • Shock Tarts
  • Tart 'N Tiny
  • Fun Dip (Lik-M-Aid)
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Nerds
  • Runts
  • Tangy Taffy
  • Gummi Savers
  • Jolly Rancher Suckers
  • Haribo Gold-Bear Minis
  • Dum Dum Pops

Note: a lot of sugar and dyes in the diet will make kids be more hyper and a little wacky. Save candy for special occasions and be prepared to live with your child that day!

Call Sorbee at 1-800-654-3997. They make lollipops that ingredients. Are sorbitol, citric acid,colored with tumeric, annato and red cabbage juice.


Here are a handful of the GFCF approved products you can buy there:


  • Alf’s Natural Brown Rice Cereal
  • Sue Bee Honey
  • Nabisco Rice Cereal
  • C&H brown sugar
  • Dole raisins
  • Westsoy Plus plain soy milk
  • Eggs
  • Oscar Mayer bacon
  • Dole pineapple-orange frozen juice concentrate


  • Baked Tostitos
  • Peter Pan Crunchy OR creamy peanut butter
  • Organic peanut butter or cashew / almond butter choices
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh fruit
  • Quaker Apple-Cinnamon Rice Cakes
  • Juicy Juice
  • Eggs for hard-boiled
  • carrots/celery for sticks
  • Lay’s original potato chips


  • Ground beef, pork chops, pork ribs, whole chickens, chicken
  • drumsticks, other meat, salad shrimp, smoked sausage
  • Progresso canned lentil soup
  • Salad greens
  • Riceland brown rice
  • Riceland enriched white rice
  • Potatoes, fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables
  • Libby’s canned pumpkin


  • Bertolli or Progresso olive oil
  • Crisco all-vegetable shortening
  • Salt, pepper, other acceptable seasonings
  • Any unpopped popcorn
  • French’s hearty brown mustard
  • Gerber’s pear juice, lg bottle