I'm currently recovering from breast cancer and going through chemotherapy. So I totally understood when a dear friend of mine, who is also in recovery from a serious illness, asked me for ideas on how to stay gluten-free. She is single, still works full-time, and doesn't want to do a lot of cooking. I'm sure there are a lot of people who fall into that category! So I've put together my "survival guide" for gluten-free. (I'm also dairy free so I may not have included some additional choices you can have if you don't have to avoid dairy, too.)


The first thing most people think of is pasta. I prefer Corn Pasta (Central Market brand, available at HEB.) It does not reheat well so only cook enough for this meal. Takes a little longer than traditional pasta, so read the package directions.

Spaghetti sauce - there are a lot of them that are now gluten-free. Check the labels EVERY time you buy because they do change their ingredients. Most jars are too big for one serving, so only heat up what you want. Second night put the sauce over a chicken breast and bake it. Third night you can have spaghetti again, adding in some crumbled meat. I like to use Jimmy Dean's turkey crumbles (they're a little spicy, in the packaged meat isle).

Pizza - There are frozen pizzas that are gluten-free. Check Sprouts Natural Grocery. If you'd rather order in Papa Murphy's can fix any of their pizzas with the gluten-free crust. It only comes in medium, so invite a friend over or plan on left-overs.


Snyder's GF pretzels - a must-have! Available at HEB.

K-Too's (Oreo taste alikes) - available at HEB or Sprouts.

Chex mix - make it from scratch with the traditional recipe, leaving out the wheat chex. Everything else is okay! Make up a big batch, then store in zip lock bags for convenience.

Pamela's Whenever Bars - love these! This is a four-pack variety, each box with 6 bars, packaged individually. They're good and convenient. Available from Amazon. Check Amazon Prime Now - can be delivered in an hour!

Pamela's Chocolate Chips cookies. Delicious! Available from Amazon. Check Amazon Prime Now.

Skinny Pop - all flavors.

Werther's Caramel popcorn. Not particularly healthy, but sure tastes good!

Fresh Produce

Sweet potato noodles - fresh aisle at HEB. Makes good side dish or you can use it with the spaghetti sauce.

Zucchini noodles - fresh aisle at HEB.

Cole slaw - just buy the plain shredded cabbage in the fresh aisle. Add vinegar & oil plus sliced grapes or any other fruit. Can be saved overnight. Otherwise just make up part of the package at a time.

Fresh cut fruit in the fresh aisle at HEB. I use the watermelon, mango, apples in my smoothies. Yes, it's more expensive but beats cutting it up yourself when you don't feel good!

Individual salads - HEB has individual salads that last about 2 weeks. If they come with croutons they'll be packaged separately so they're easy to remove for gluten-free. Stock up and take one for lunch each day.

 Other Items

Jars of pineapple chunks and mandarin oranges. I use these in my smoothies and for cole slaw or fruit salad. Save for weeks in the frig.

V8 juice - high sodium and potassium (for recovery) but low calories.

Pea Protein - I put a scoop of this into my smoothies to add the protein. Available from Sprouts or Amazon. I use both chocolate and plain (no not together).

Silk Almond Milk with Caramel - only available at Walmart. Cannot order online. But if you love rich, caramel taste, it's worth the trip! On the aisle with lunch-box sized Almond milks. 70 calories and delicious!

Fast Food

While not the healthiest, sometimes you just want a burger and fries. Just order the burger without a bun. I can't have the lettuce or cheese either, so I generally ask for plain and dry. I take it home and eat with a knife and fork, along with those delicious fries!

Same applies for Chick Fil-A - order the grilled chicken.

There are a lot of choices you can order at take-out's like Chili's, Applebees, Macaroni Grill, PF Chang's, Cheesecake Factory. Most have a gluten-free menu or you can ask if a particular dish is gluten-free or can be made that way.

Final Advice

That should get you started on eating healthier and more regularly. This is not the time to try to save money by making everything from scratch. Spoil yourself and buy ready-make and delivered items. Most grocery stores now have a delivery service - use it! Many have coupons for first orders so look for those.  

Amazon Prime Now is a great service if it's available in your area. You set the delivery times for these services so you can be sure you'll be home.

Use the delivery services from restaurants if you don't feel like going to pick it up. 

Now get started on your grocery list and start eating better today! Your recovery depends on it!



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