If you need to switch to a gluten-free diet, follow our tips to make it as easy as possible.

By Rachael Ray Every Day
November 01, 2005
waffle mix

1. Press the restart button on your diet.

Going gluten-free is an easy transition if you're open to a fresh start -- one that means you'll be healthier and happier. My gluten-free philosophy is that I can make anything gluten-free and it's going to look and taste like the original -- or better. No compromises! So, go ahead and feel the difference your diet can make.

2. Ease into your new routine.

Make the switch seamless by eating naturally gluten-free foods first. Fast-cooking proteins, vegetables, fruits, rice, polenta and mashed potatoes are a good foundation. Then, test out some gluten-free store-bought baking mixes until you're ready to make your own.

3. Make or buy a gluten-free flour blend you believe in.

If you're going to be baking, you'll want the convenience of having a gluten-free flour blend on hand. You can always use that as your base for pancake mix. It may have taken me two months to develop the flour blend and pancake mix in Cooking for Isaiah, but I use them every day!

4. Look in your pantry for surprise ingredient swaps.

There was a box of rice cereal sitting in my cabinet and one day I thought about how cereal absorbs milk, so why not finely crush some and use it like breadcrumbs in meatloaf or as a crunchy topping for casseroles? I also had corn tortillas in my fridge, which I turned into crumbs in my food processor and used to thicken soups.

5. Don't let guilt get in the way of your busy weeknight dinner back-up plan.

We all have those evenings when you get supper started late. So, stock your kitchen with pre-prepared gluten-free foods and you'll never go hungry again. One look in my freezer and you'll see bags of vegetables and tater tots, bacon and some of our fave pre-prepared frozen foods, like gluten-free chicken tenders, gluten-free rice macaroni and cheese and gluten-free frozen burritos.

6. Think outside the breadbox.

My waffle iron has become my sandwich bread machine. It makes six slices at a time and I can make the waffle bread plain or flavor it up with anything from cinnamon and raisins to sun-dried tomatoes and basil.