Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Celiac disease diet: How do I get enough grains?

I have celiac disease, and I find it difficult to get enough grains in my diet. Do you have any suggestions?

Updated: 08-09-2012

Answer

Because people with celiac disease must avoid gluten — a protein found in foods containing wheat, barley and rye — it can be a challenge to get enough grains.

Grains are an important part of a healthy diet. They are a good source of healthy carbohydrates, various vitamins and minerals, and fiber, and they are naturally low in fat. When possible, choose foods made with enriched flours for added vitamins and minerals. Whole grains are even better for you. These include brown or wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, pure buckwheat, flax, whole corn, millet, gluten-free oats, sorghum and teff.

Many large grocery stores and specialty food stores carry ready-to-eat gluten-free grain products. The labels on such products will state that the product is "gluten-free." Consider the suggestions in the chart below for adding gluten-free grains to your diet.

Gluten-free grains and grain products*Serving size
Breads
  • Breads, English muffins and bagels ready-made from rice, potato, bean, soy, corn, sorghum, teff or other flours
  • Frozen, gluten-free waffles
  • Gluten-free pizza crust made from a mix or frozen ready-made
  • Homemade breads, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins or quick breads made from gluten-free flours
  • Corn tortillas
1 slice or piece
Cereals
  • Cooked cereal made from corn (hominy, grits), rice, pure buckwheat, amaranth or quinoa
  • Gluten-free puffed rice
  • Gluten-free cornflakes, rice flakes, amaranth flakes or other dry cereals
1/2 to 1 cup
Snacks
  • Crackers or crispbreads made from rice or corn
  • Popcorn
  • Rice cakes
  • Pretzels made from gluten-free flours
  • Corn chips
1 oz. (check label)
Other
  • Brown, wild or white rice
  • Pasta made from rice, corn, amaranth, quinoa or pure buckwheat
  • Kasha made with pure buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Flax
  • Millet
1/2 to 1 cup

*Products vary by manufacturer, so be sure that the brand you purchase is gluten-free. Shopping guides that list gluten-free products are available. Check with a registered dietitian or celiac disease support group.

Oats may not be harmful for most people with celiac disease. However, oat products are frequently contaminated with wheat, so it's best to avoid oats. If your doctor or dietitian suggests trying oats, be sure to look for oats from a reputable gluten-free supplier.

Most gluten-free grain products aren't supplemented with vitamins, so it's a good idea to take a vitamin supplement.

Grain products that are not gluten-free include any type of wheat (including farina, graham flour, semolina and durum), barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, kasha, matzo meal, spelt, triticale, couscous, emmer and einkorn.