Celiac Disease Diet: Foods to Avoid, What to Eat & Meal Plan

Updated in May 2023

The celiac disease diet should be completely free of gluten, which is why it is essential to avoiding eating foods with wheat, rye, barley, malt, spelt and triticale. 

When following a celiac disease diet, it is important to avoid eating foods that may be contaminated with glutent, like oats, soy sauce and sausages. You should carefully assess food packaging to determine whether it explicitly states "contains gluten" or "gluten-free." 

People with celiac disease should follow a gluten-free diet, as these foods can damage the intestines and worsen symptoms like diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. 

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Food to avoid

Food that should be eliminated completely from a celiac disease diet include: 

  • Flour, wheat germ, wheat bran 
  • Barley
  • Rye 
  • Triticale
  • Malt
  • Spelt
  • Semola
  • Khorasan
  • Doughs and sweets made with flour: bread, cookies, cake, croutons, crackers, biscuits, pizza, pasta and lasagna 
  • Alcohol drinks: beer, whiskey, vodka, gin and ginger ale 
  • Other drinks: ovaltine, drinks with malt, coffee mixed with barley, chocolate mixes 
  • Cereal made with flour, porridges 

These foods should be completely eliminated from the diet, as they can cause or worsen symptoms of celiac disease. Learn more about symptoms of a gluten intolerance and how they can present. 

Food contaminated with gluten

Some foods may not contain gluten in their composition, however they can enter in contact with gluten when being manufactured or produced, leading to contamination. These foods should also be avoided by patients with celiac disease, as they can worsen symptoms. 

Some foods that may be contaminated with gluten include oats, processed cheeses, instant soups, ready-made meat balls, frozen French fries, soy sauce, salad dressings, seasoning powder and cubes, ketchup, mustard, juice mixes, vegetarian hamburgers, sausages and nut mixes. 

Some of these foods may be carefully packaged and not contain any gluten, however. Therefore, it is important to carefully read food packaging to determine the risk for gluten contamination. 

What to eat

When adhering to a celiac disease diet, you should incorporate the following foods to your daily routine: 

  • Fruit in general, like bananas, apples, papaya, pears, oranges, watermelon and guava 
  • Vegetables and leafy greens, like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, okra, and eggplant 
  • Legumes, like beans, chickpeas, soybeans and lentils 
  • Gluten-free grains, like rice, quinoa, corn, amaranth and buckwheat 
  • Fats and seeds, like olive oil, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds 
  • Protein, like chicken, fish, eggs, tofu and beef 
  • Nuts, like Brazilian nuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts
  • Dairy, like milk, cheese, yogurt and butter
  • Tubercles, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and mandioca

It is possible to access several diverse, celiac-appropriate foods at the supermarket or at natural health stores. Most recently, there are breads and pastas that are gluten-free and safe for consumption. Check out a list of other gluten-free foods that you can incorporate into your diet. 

Celiac diet meal plan

The following table outlines a 3-day meal plan for a celiac disease diet: 

Meal

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Breakfast

120 g of natural yogurt, unsweetened + 1 teaspoon of honey + 1 kiwi 

1 crepioca made with tapioca, eggs and white cheese + 1 cup of black coffee 

200 ml of milk or plant-based alternative + 1 scrambled egg 

Morning snack

1 pear + 2 brazilian nuts 

1 slice of watermelon + 4 walnuts 

1 persimmon + 1 handful of almonds 

Lunch

1 grilled fish fillet + 3 tablespoons of whole grain rice + 2 tablespoon of beans + 1 side plate of salad with lettuce, tomato, onions, watercress, and cucumber, seasoned with 1 tablespoon of olive oil + 1 slice of watermelon 

1 grilled chicken breast + 2 tablespoons of sweet potato mash + 3 tablespoons of red bean salad + 3 tablespoons of boiled broccoli and carrots, seasoned with 1 tablespoon of olive oil + 1 orange 

1 medium eggplant, baked and stuffed with tofu, homemade tomato sauce and herbs + 2 tablespoons of corn couscous + 2 tablespoons of pumpkin mash + 1 guava 

Afternoon snack

1 cup of smoothie made with 200 ml of milk (or alternative), 2 tablespoons of diced avocado and 1 teaspoon of honey 

120 g of natural yogurt, unsweetened + 1 teaspoon of honey + 1 teaspoon of sunflower seeds 

1 banana sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon + 1 tablespoon of peanut butter 

Dinner

1 serving of soup made with cabbage, kale, carrot, and beef 

1 sideplate made with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, spinach, red onion and pulled chicken breast, seasoned with 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, vinegar and 1 teaspoon of olive oil 

1 serving of grilled beef + 3 tablespoons of chickpea salad + 3 tablespoons of boiled green beans, carrots and squash, seasoned with 1 tablespoon of olive oil 

Patients with celiac disease should consult a registered dietitian so that a meal plan that meets each person’s individual needs is developed. The dietitian may identify a need for further supplementation with vitamins and minerals, as celiac disease is often associated with poor nutrient absorption. 

Considerations at home

In addition to avoid food with gluten, it is also important to take certain considerations to prevent contamination. You should avoid using the same utensils and equipment (like pots, cutlery, blender and toasters) to prepare foods with and without gluten.

It is also advised to avoid storing foods with and without gluten in the same places. You should take time to thoroughly wipe down spaces that are used to prepare gluten-free foods. 

Considerations out of the home

People with celiac disease should have extra caution when eating outside of the home. It is important to inform restaurant staff of your celiac disease and to ask about the ingredients used to prepare meals. 

You can look for restaurants that are totally gluten-free, as many restaurant kitchens will use the same space and equipment to prepare foods with or without gluten.

When eating a friend’s house, you should avoid using the same plates, cutlery and cups that are used to serve foods with gluten. Ideally, you should wash these pieces with a new sponge.