Choosing Free-From Foods

Is it possible to have a well-rounded diet with a food allergy? Live to 100 explores ‘free-from’ foods..

In recent years, it seems to have become fashionable to consume a diet that eschews gluten or dairy products. While not everybody who follows this path actually has a food intolerance, this new trend has been hugely beneficial to those who do. The free-from food market has boomed with a great variety of alternative foods now on offer. No longer do consumers have to stick to basic rations to avoid the risk of eating hidden gluten or dairy—now there are whole shelves dedicated to free-from foods.

Use the following three methods for a well-rounded diet: exclude, replace and reinvent.


The first step to choosing free-from products is to find food that either naturally or coincidentally does not contain the ingredients that you are allergic to. Whether you are lactose intolerant or allergic to shellfish, there are products that don’t contain that specific allergen—fresh fruit and vegetables being a prime example. 

Be careful to check labels as there could be products that you’d be surprised to see contain allergens—for example, sausages may contain gluten as a binding agent.


Products that obviously contain allergens—such as bread for the gluten intolerant or milk for the lactose intolerant—can be replaced with alternatives. Head down to the ‘free-from’ section of your local supermarket to see what is available. Usually you’ll be able to find pasta, cakes, cereal and sauces. They may not taste exactly like their standard counterpart, but they’ll allow you to consume a normal and full diet without feeling restricted.

Thanks to recent diet trends that cut out dairy and gluten, there are  plenty of new and innovative products that those with intolerances can now eat. From ice cream to pesto, it’s now easier than ever to find replacements for foods that you may not have previously been able to eat.


Even with an allergy or intolerance, it is important to eat the right amount from each food group to maintain a healthy diet. Just like a vegetarian would seek alternative sources of protein, people with an intolerance must replace allergens with appropriate alternatives. Make sure that avoiding foods with allergens is not having a negative impact on your health or nutrient intake.

Gluten-containing foods make up a significant proportion of carbohydrate-heavy foods. Despite what fad dieters would have you believe, carbohydrates are a vital source of energy. Potatoes, quinoa and brown rice will give you a sufficient amount of carbohydrates.

Likewise, those with lactose intolerance may be missing out on a key source of calcium. Salmon, kale and orange juice are great alternatives that you can consume to reduce the risk of calcium deficiency.

Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen; you would be surprised by what you can do with unusual ingredients.

Salt and Sugar

Be careful—once an allergen is taken away from a food product, manufacturers tend to replace it with alternatives that will not only be tasty for the end consumer, but also economically viable. Salt and sugar are easy fixes to the flavour problem, but too much can be unhealthy. The recommended daily allowance for adults is six grams of salt and 30 grams of sugar. Be careful to check the salt and sugar content of the food you buy to make sure you are not consuming too much

See Also: Should Our Kids Be On A Gluten Free Diet? 

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get
• FREE Competitions
• FREE Digital Magazines
• HOME and FAMILY News
And much more…

You have Successfully Subscribed!