Four Gluten-free Substitutions

Four Gluten-free Substitutions

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Spare a thought for those with food intolerances whose mouths may be watering, but are unable to recreate a Bake-Off cake for themselves.

With homes across the nation currently gripped by the flour-based drama of the Great British Bake Off, spare a thought for those with food intolerances whose mouths may be watering, but are unable to recreate a perfect showstopper for themselves.

This week, sufferers UK-wide will rejoice, as Bake Off contestants are forced to put down the sugar and milk, and pick up the almond milk instead. That’s right, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are this week demanding free-from treats.

What is free-from food?

‘Free-from’ is a term used on food that is made with a specific intolerance in mind. It covers a wide range of food allergies, from eggs and dairy to wheat and nuts. A few years ago, those who suffered from intolerances and allergies were very limited in what they could eat, and often had to cut certain foods out of their diet.

Now however, the supermarkets have stepped up and started stocking wider ranges of free-from products on their shelves. Now those with intolerances can rejoice and once again eat bread!

Not everyone has easy access to these replacement foods, and some people simply don’t like the taste. With that in mind, here are five gluten-free food substitutions that are tried and tested by a long-suffering gluten intolerance sufferer: me!

Fried Chicken

Everybody loves a takeaway, and the meal of choice for many is southern-fried chicken. There are even problems for those with a gluten intolerance who choose a shop-bought chicken Kiev or chicken nuggets – as the coating on these can affect them. Instead, those who have problems with gluten can instead try replacing the breadcrumbs surrounding their chicken with crushed almonds, which mimic the crunchy outer texture. These can be baked rather than fried, meaning they are a much healthier alternative.


Pasta is a family favourite in homes all across the country. For many, it is a quick and easy enough to make when in a rush, yet can be improved upon when necessary for a special occasion. You may have heard people talking about spiralizers on every TV programme and in every magazine article going at the minute – but it isn’t without reason. Put a courgette through a spiralizer and you are left with thin strands that can be used in the same way as spaghetti!


A healthy breakfast is always the best way to start the day – and one of the quickest and most convenient ways to kick-start your food intake is with a bowl of cereal. However most popular cereals are full of gluten, making them a nightmare for those with an intolerance. Many people are also a fan of granola for breakfast, but this is also a big no-no as most contain gluten. Instead, a great substitution for this is chopped nuts and raisins mixed with yoghurt. You can even go one step further and use a non-dairy yoghurt like soya-yoghurt, making this a dairy and gluten-free breakfast to enjoy!


One thing that many people enjoy is going to the pub after work or at the weekend. For some, there’s nothing better than sitting in a beer garden on a sunny day, with a nice, cold pint in hand. For those with a gluten-intolerance, however, this may be a more difficult task than expected. Although there are gluten-free beers on sale, making it easy enough to buy and drink at home, they are not readily available in pubs. Spirits such as vodka, whisky and gin are gluten-free, however many would do not enjoy these drinks. The good news for those wishing for a cold pint at the pub can be relieved however, as most ciders, which are brewed from apples, are gluten-free.

People with food intolerances such as coeliac can even be affected by the smallest traces of gluten in their diet, with one study showing that just 1/5th of a slice of bread can cause nasty symptoms. With this in mind, it is important to practice good Food Hygiene when preparing food for those with intolerances.

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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