What is a Gluten-Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet is an eating plan that eliminates gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Some seniors follow a gluten-free diet because they have celiac disease, where gluten triggers white blood cells to attack the small intestine's lining.
A person can be on a gluten-free diet and still eat gluten-free grains, including quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, sorghum, tapioca, millet, amaranth oats.
Consume gluten-free foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, beans, legumes, and nuts in their unprocessed form.
Did you know eggs, unprocessed meats, fish and poultry, and low-fat products are also gluten-free? Some products typically have wheat in them, such as bread and cookies, made with other grains to be gluten-free.
Over the last decade or so, the idea of going “gluten-free” has become very popular, especially since recognizing individual sensitivities and allergies to certain foods.
One of these foods is gluten, a protein known as prolamins (primarily glutenin and gliadin). These proteins are in many cereal grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Every grain has a different amount of gluten and other proteins.
Surprisingly, you'll find it in most bread, cereals, pasta, and many processed foods.
Some people have a hard time digesting gluten, especially those with celiac disease, which is a medical condition when you get sick from eating gluten. Celiac disease is a hereditary, autoimmune intestinal disorder that's triggered by eating gluten. Your gut mistakes the protein as a foreign intruder; this causes inflammation and damage to your intestines.
- Fresh n' Lean – Delicious chef-prepared meals, ready to eat in 3 minutes. Made from scratch using organic and sustainable ingredients. Always gluten-free, dairy-free, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, Non-GMO. Packaging is recyclable and compostable
- Martha & Marley Spoon – Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon sends the recipes of your choice and the fresh, pre-portioned ingredients you need to cook them directly to your door, so you can enjoy something new and delicious any night of the week.
- Freshly – Freshly meticulously crafts healthy, whole ingredients into fresh, flavorful meals. Then they send them directly to their customers in environmentally friendly boxes.
- BistroMD – BistroMD’s mission is to create and deliver the most natural, fresh food, designed and cooked to the specific nutritional and caloric levels that promote healthy weight loss. We pride ourselves on the ability to deliver delicious food without additives, preservative and fillers for taste.
- Silver Cuisine – Gourmet-inspired meals in a wide variety. Individually prepared by chefs in small batches. Made with fresh, natural ingredients. Nutritionally-designed, balanced recipes. No trans-fat, MSG or artificial sweeteners. USDA approved. Customized menus for medical conditions, lifestyles and tastes. Specialty diets including diabetic friendly, heart healthy, gluten free & more
- Purple Carrot – Pruple Carrot Mixes and matches meals to create custom meal kits, breakfast lunch and snacks
- Trifecta – Trifecta sources, manufacturers, and distributes fully cooked meals.
- MagicKitchen – Chef prepared meals,
seniormeals priced starts at $10.00 per serving
- Once A Month Meals – Meal plans & recipes delivered every month to your day.
- Miracle Noodle – Healthy Low Carb, Pasta, Rice and Ready to Eat Meals. weight loss, diabetes, fitness, low carb diets, gluten free diets, high fiber supplementation, noodle addicts, Zero calorie, high fiber.
- Cook Smarts – Done-for-you meal plans & grocery lists.
This autoimmune disease affects only 1% of the population worldwide. The “threat” of gluten causes your body to overreact and attack the gluten; the attack also damages surrounding areas like your gut wall, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies, severe digestive issues and anemia, and other harmful diseases.
It is tough to diagnose celiac because the symptoms are common to many other medical conditions.
Symptoms of celiac disease include:
- Rashes and other skin problems
- Weight Loss
- Bloating and gas
- Diarrhea and constipation
People who have this condition should avoid gluten; celiac is diagnosed with a series of blood tests, genetic tests, and removing the gluten from the diet to see if they improve. You could also have an endoscopy or a biopsy of tissue inside your intestines to check for inflammation.
Suppose you've been diagnosed with celiac disease. In that case, you should consider meeting with a dietician specializing in gluten-free diets to ensure that you closely follow the diet and make it a lifestyle.
Besides celiac disease, some people have severe allergies to gluten, while some 18 million Americans report having some gluten sensitivity.
This study in 2015 found that 86% of patients who thought they were sensitive to gluten were not. Maybe attribute this to the placebo effect.
Seniors who want to avoid gluten will need to read all labels to see if the product has gluten. The Celiac Disease Foundation reports that food like candies, potato chips, lunch meats, French fries, soups, salad dressing, marinades processed foods, even communion wafers, and herbal and nutritional supplements could contain gluten.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity do not test positive for celiac disease or a wheat allergy; this affects only 0.5-13% of the population.
The symptoms are similar: stomach pain, bloating, changing bowel movements, tiredness, eczema, or rash.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is a controversial subject; some experts believe this sensitivity exists, and some think it's in the patient's head.
A group of doctors performed a study on 35 people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The participants were given both gluten-free flour and wheat-based flour separately without identifying them. They discovered that only two-thirds could not tell the difference between gluten-free flour and wheat-based flour. Nearly half had worse symptoms after eating gluten-free flour.
Also, these symptoms could be other irritants like FODMAPS – short-chain carbohydrates that cause digestive problems.
Some evidence like this shows that gluten sensitivity exists.
Foods to Avoid
Altogether avoiding gluten is going to be complicated. Here is a shortlist that you can look out for, but remember first.
- Wheat-based foods like wheat bran, wheat flour, spelt, durum, Kamut, and semolina.
- Brewer's yeast
These are some foods that could have ingredients that have gluten added to them.
- Bread – all wheat-based bread
- Pasta – all wheat-based pasta
- Cereals – Unless labeled gluten-free
- Baked goods – Cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, bread crumbs, and pastries.
- Snack foods – Candy, muesli bars, crackers, pre-packaged convenience foods, roasted nuts, flavored chips, popcorn, and pretzels.
- Sauces – soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, marinades, salad dressings
- Beverages – Beer, flavored alcoholic beverages
- Other foods – Couscous, broth (unless labeled gluten-free)
Main Sources of Gluten
The easiest way to avoid gluten is to remember: to always check the labels and ingredients.
Oats are naturally gluten-free, but they are often contaminated with gluten and processed in the same factory as other wheat-based foods.
The meal delivery services reviewed in this article have been selected based on the following criteria.
- Gluten-free certification: Meals are certified gluten-free or produced in a gluten-free facility.
- Menu variety: Weekly menus offer a diverse assortment of dishes with a variety of ingredients.
- Ingredient quality: Services use high-quality, unprocessed ingredients that are often organic or sustainably sourced.
- Availability: Shipping is available nationwide.
- Price: Companies provide a good value for the price.
How Can I Begin a Gluten-Free Diet?
Eliminating gluten might be difficult, but there are resources and options available to help. There are a wide variety of gluten-free products for aging adults delivered to your door.
Start by researching and learning more about gluten-free foods, getting proper nutrients, food shopping, gluten-free cooking, dining, and setting up a gluten-free kitchen. They have appetizers, soups, entrees, and desserts; you can find many gluten-free recipes online and in cookbooks.
The tricky part of the gluten-free diet is that it's hidden in foods that you wouldn't expect to have gluten in it. You have to pay extra attention to the food labels and menu to determine processed ingredients.
Besides bread and pasta with wheat, barley, or rye as the main ingredient, many processed foods add wheat or wheat gluten as thickening agents or flavors. Foods with wheat, barley, or rye have to have the grain's name on the label. Look for foods that are specifically labeled “Gluten-free.”
If you don't know what to buy, talk to your doctor or a dietician.
Foods Seniors Should Eat
Don't worry; there are plenty of foods that are gluten-free that you can eat, including:
- Meats and fish – all meats and fish, except battered or coated meats.
- Eggs – All types of eggs are naturally gluten-free.
- Dairy: Plain dairy products, like plain milk, plain yogurt, and cheeses, keep in mind that flavored dairy items may contain added ingredients that contain gluten. You will need to read the labels.
- Fruits and Vegetables – All fruits and vegetables are naturally free of gluten.
- Grains – Quinoa, rice, buckwheat, tapioca, sorghum, corn, millet, amaranth, arrowroot, teff, and oats (if labeled gluten-free)
- Starches and flours – Potatoes, potato flour, corn, corn flour, chickpea flour, soy flour, almond meal/flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour.
- Nuts and seeds – All needs and seeds
- Spreads and oils – All vegetables, oils, and butters.
- Herbs and spices – All herbs and spices
- Beverages – Most beverages, except for beer (unless labeled as gluten-free)
What are some Health Benefits of a Gluten Diet?
A gluten-free diet has many benefits, especially for someone with celiac disease. Here are some main advantages of a gluten-free diet.
May Aging Adults Relieve Digestive Symptoms with a Gluten-free Diet?
Some aging adults try a gluten-free diet to treat digestive problems. These can include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas or fatigue, and many other symptoms.
In another study to discover the effects of a gluten-free diet on gastrointestinal symptoms, they followed 215 people on a gluten-free diet for six months. The diet helped reduce stomach pain, frequency of diarrhea, nausea, and other symptoms significantly.
Can Seniors Reduce Chronic Inflammation Caused by Celiac Disease?
Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body treat and heal the infection. Sometimes this inflammation can get out of hand and last for weeks, months, or years. This process is known as chronic inflammation and could lead to lots of health problems.
A gluten-free diet can help reduce chronic inflammation in aging adults with celiac disease.
Several studies have shown that a gluten-free diet can reduce markers of inflammation like antibody levels. It can also help treat gut damage caused by gluten-related inflammation in seniors with celiac disease.
Can Seniors Boost Their Energy with the Gluten-free Diet?
In a study with 1031 people with celiac disease, 66% of them complained of fatigue. After following a gluten-free diet, only 22% of participants still experienced fatigue.
Can Seniors Help You Lose Weight with Gluten-free Diet?
It wouldn't be unusual to lose weight when you start following a gluten-free diet. These results are typical because they eliminate junk food in your diet and replace it with real food, like fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.
The more complicated part is avoiding the processed “gluten-free” products like cakes, pastries, and snacks; these are empty calories, but they add up!
Why is Gluten Bad for Some Seniors?
Most seniors can eat gluten without having any issues. However, a small population has gluten intolerance or celiac disease and cannot tolerate it. Some people who have wheat allergies or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should also avoid gluten. Besides an allergy, there are two main reasons why someone would want to avoid gluten.
Is a Gluten-Free Diet Healthy for Seniors?
Only 5% of the population follows a gluten-free diet by their own choice with no medical diagnosis.
Comparing the Gluten-Free diet with the traditional American or Western diet may be healthier, but it's not always the case. It may be better to include more gluten-free foods like fruit, vegetables, beans, raw nuts and seeds, eggs, lean non-processed meats, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products, healthier alternatives to the SAD diet.
The problem is that a gluten-free diet can be low in fiber, leading to nutritional deficiencies of minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins like vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin D.
Gluten-free diets depend on rice and rice-based products, which could increase exposure to arsenic. Gluten-free meals usually have more hydrogenated and saturated fats. They could contain foods with a higher glycemic index. Keep in mind that if you eradicate gluten from your diet, you'll eliminate the whole grains you need that contain crucial nutrients.
Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Kits for Seniors
Gluten-free meal delivery kits for seniors include gluten-free recipes and all fresh pre-portioned ingredients needed to prepare the meals. The recipes have detailed and step-by-step instructions, some with visual cues that help make meal prep easy as possible.
How Much Do Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Kits for Seniors Cost?
The cost of the gluten-free meal delivery kits varies depending on the ingredients, meal types, number of meals, dietary restrictions, and other factors. Organic ingredients or compostable packaging may also increase the price of the meal kits.
Meals can range from $5 to $14 per serving. In general, the more meals you purchase, the lower the price per meal. Some plans include free shipping; other companies charge a reasonable fee.
What's Considered Certified Gluten-Free?
Meal kits and prepared meal delivery services have started to create menus that follow the Gluten-free diet. These services can help seniors learn about what foods they can eat and retrain their eating habits.
Meal delivery services are perfect choices for aging adults who prefer not to cook or have trouble going grocery shopping and sourcing everything needed for healthy daily meals.
If you have celiac disease, you should look for a “certified gluten-free” provider, meaning the facilities do not come in contact with any products that may contain gluten.
How to Choose the Best Gluten-Free Meal Delivery for Seniors?
There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting a meal delivery service, especially if you plan to follow the gluten-free diet plan.
In doing your due diligence, check the menu for meal variety to see if any meals sound acceptable to you. Some meal delivery services offer vegetarian, keto, paleo, and low carb diets, which may be vital have other dietary restrictions.
If you prefer organic foods, you'll want to check online to see what quality ingredients the service provides.
Also, keep in mind the preparation required to make the meals; some meal kits you can make in 20-40 mins; the prepared meals are ready to heat and eat.
The costs would be another main factor, in addition to the price of the meals, you should consider other costs like shipping and add-ons.
Compare the Most Popular Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Services for Seniors
1.) Martha & Marley Spoon – Every week you can choose from 29 weekly recipes. Just pick the meal kit plan that you like, select your meals. Marley Spoon will send pre-portioned ingredients with 6-step recipes. They send your meals in an insulated box, so it stays cold.
The two-person box is six meals priced at $6.82 per serving and $8.99 Shipping, which comes to $90.87 weekly. Feel free to skip any week anytime; you manage the account online and the delivery schedule.
Seared Steak & Lemony Herb Salsa with Roasted Potatoes & Carrots
The seared steak meal kit has all the ingredients, including a 10 oz sirloin steak, garlic, cilantro, parsley, beef broth, one bag of carrots, and two potatoes. You'll have to spend 30-40 minutes preparing this easy to make a low calorie, dairy-free meal with step-by-step instructions. The nutritional facts are 630 calories, 30g of fat, 40g of carbs.
2.) Freshly – The Gluten-Free meals from Freshly are prepared with high-quality proteins and healthy fats, choosing low glycemic carbohydrates instead of over-processed ingredients, sugars, and artificial sweeteners.
On the menu: All meals are ready-made, free of refined sugars and between 300 and 650 calories each, and certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Freshly offers subscription plans with 4,6,10, or 12 meals per week, and you can choose which meals you like from their rotating menu. They feature over 35 gluten-free options every week. They price the meals around $8.49 to $11.49 for every meal, depending on the plan you choose.
Wholesome Chicken Sauté Bowl Pad Kee Mao Sauce
320 Calories, Dairy-Free, High Protein, Gluten-Free
Seared chicken thigh with red bell peppers, creamy pinto beans, broccoli, fire-roasted mushroom spicy pad kee mao sauce, and green chickpeas. 29g carbs, 12g total fat, 23g protein.
3.) MagicKitchen – A dietician designs Their Gluten-free meals in line with the criteria on the celiac.com list to be healthy and free of gluten in the ingredients, but they are not certified gluten-free.
The items on the a la carte menu come sold in pairs; you can purchase meals individually.
A gluten-free Meal bundle for two adults is $167.99.
- Beef Bourguignon, Magic Mashed Potatoes
- Salmon Caponata, Fresh Cut Corn Medley
- Chicken Ana Luisa (RC), Polenta with Spinach & Roasted Peppers
- Smoked Boneless Pork Loin, Vegetable stew
- Desserts – Panna Cotta – Double serving.
Right now, they are offering 10% off your first purchase.
4.) Silver Cuisine – All meals are tested to the FDA gluten for standard (20 ppm or less) and do not contain wheat, rye, or barley. They have chefs and dietitians create their meals with fresh, natural ingredients.
Silver Cuisine has over 90 gourmet home-delivered meals nutritionally designed for people over 50 years old and conveniently available for supporting caregivers. We handle the planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and delivery. With a wide selection of over 150 meals and snacks starting at just $5.95. These portioned controlled meals are ready to heat and eat when delivered to your door!
Bacon and Potato Egg Scramble
Delicious uncured bacon, roasted red-skinned potatoes, and scrambled eggs with brown sugar-sweetened cinnamon apples on the side. Cheddar cheese with green onion. Contains egg and milk.
Two hundred fifty calories per serving, 9g of fat, 380mg sodium, 24g of carbs, 19g of protein.
5.) BistroMD – Choose from 150 meals weekly. The meals BistroMD offers are gluten-free, contain no aspartame, are never freeze-dried, not shelf stable, have no trans fats, and hold to the FDA standard – no wheat, rye, or barley. BistroMD has a complete no-commitment auto-delivery program that includes seven breakfasts, seven lunches, six dinners for a special promo price of 25% off + free shipping with $142.46 for your first week. You can decide to go with a 5-day program instead. Membership includes custom plan creation and unlimited coaching from a dietician.
You get pre-portioned, fully prepared meals designed by a bariatric specialist to promote weight loss that you can heat and eat.
Chicken Marsala has 290 calories, 630 mg of sodium, 5g of fiber, 30g of protein, and 10g of fat.
7.) Fresh n' Lean – Fresh n' Lean offers new menus weekly of fresh and organic meals ready to heat and eat. The meals have no Gluten, added sugars, processed ingredients, artificial flavors, GMOs, dairy, or animal products. Meals start at $9.33 per meal depending on the plan, which provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, or you can choose extra meals or snacks a la carte. Fresh N' Lean is currently offering a promotion with $20 off and free delivery on your first order with free shipping.
Sample Meal: Chicken Thigh with Curried Spinach with 420 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 34 carbs.
8.) Purple Carrot – Purple Carrot offers all plant-based and vegan meal kits with fresh ingredients and step-by-step instructions, snacks like oat chocolate mint bars made with raw cacao, and prepared meals. You can get lunch and breakfast kits. The dinner meals are $12.99 per serving. Even though Purple Carrot is not certified gluten-free, its founder is a former pharmaceutical executive who also developed Crohn's disease. You can try the service with a $25 discount on your first box
Sample Meal Kit
Plantain Black Bean Bowls with Apple Fennel Slaw & Lime Crema. The meal features vegan mayo, cilantro, brown rice, black beans, fruit, Gluten-Free, soy-free, nut-free, high protein. It takes 40 minutes to prepare this meal with 720 calories, 18g of fat, 120g of carbohydrates, and 22g of protein.
9.) Once A Month Meals – They design meal plans so that you can plan and cook and freeze, then thaw them in the fridge. Their membership includes a grocery shopping list that calculates the amount of each ingredient needed for the meal, organizes the products and produce by category, lists items in ounces since that's how they appear at the store, separates the ingredients needed immediately, and for serving and eating. You can upload your list straight to Instacart for easy pickup and delivery!
You can sign-up for a free mini-meal plan with three recipes and a shopping list, recipe cards, labels, and more.
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pork Paprikash – Dump and Go Dinner
This meal is a gluten-free version of Pork Paprikash with spices, crimini mushroom, bell pepper, garlic clove, onion, spaghetti. This meal kit makes four servings of 1 cup of pork and 1 cup of spaghetti, 592 calories, 17g of fat, 92mg of sodium, 68g of carbs, and 45g of protein.
10.) Trifecta Nutrition – You can choose a meal plan; the meals have no gluten, soy, dairy, and GMOs, with no sugar, high protein, or nutrient-dense. Trifecta Nutrition uses organic produce, free-range chicken, grass-fed bison, grass-fed beef, wild-caught seafood, wild-caught fish that you can choose from, along with your choice of carbs, veggies, snacks. You custom choose your meals; their chefs cook your dishes from scratch and send me the meals throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, with free shipping. With two meals a day for seven days, 14 meals cost $14.99 each for $209.86/week
Turkey Patty, Brown Rice, Mixed Vegetables Meal
11.) Miracle Noodle – All of the products are non-GMO, vegan, and grain-free. They provide food for people with diet restrictions like diabetes, celiac, and general weight loss goals. Miracle Noodle makes it easy to adhere to strict guidelines managing sodium, calories, gluten, and fats.
They offer noodles, pasta, rice, soup, ready to eat, buns and cakes, spreads, sauces, flour, and cooking condiments.
Organic Shirataki Spaghetti, with only five calories per serving and one net carb. There is no bloating, with no energy crash, combined with a low-sugar sauce and fresh low-starch veggies to complete a healthy meal. They only take a few minutes to cook versus 15 minutes for traditional noodles.
The sampler has all the best-sellers included. You can duplicate your favorite recipes with these noodles and pasta.
It's easy to make dishes like Capellini Pomodoro, Angel hair, Asian stir fry, and Spinach pesto.
Try these low-carb, low-calorie alternatives. Comes with Angel hair, Spinach Angel Air, Ziti, Rice, Organic Fettuccine, Japanese Curry, Thai Tom Yum, Ready to Eat Pad Thai, Ready to Eat Green Curry.
The noodles will pick up the flavor of the sauces you use with an “al dente” or tender but somewhat firm texture.
12.) CookSmarts – Do you still enjoy cooking but struggle coming up with recipe ideas? CookSmarts provides complete meal plans; all meals have a gluten-free option, with step-by-step guides and infographics. They offer a free trial so that you can test out the meal plan features. This meal plan membership is different from meal kits; you get to control the ingredients entirely. You don't get meals shipped to your home. You or your caregiver prepares them for you.
Chipotle Guacamole Burger with Smoky Paprika Sweet Potato Fries
Comes with creamy avocado guacamole on a spicy chipotle burger patty served with a side of crispy sweet potato fries. You can choose a gluten-free bun.
Gluten-free meal delivery services make it simple and easy to enjoy healthy gluten-free meals at home.
Before choosing a service, consider the factors of cost, ingredient quality, menu variety, and preparation time; also consider if the meals are certified gluten-free or produced in a gluten-free facility.
Many factors concerning the gluten-free diet could make it unattractive for seniors, including the expensive cost. Many studies show gluten-free products can cost 2-3 times more than similar non-gluten-free products. Since some processed foods, medications, and supplements contain gluten, attempting to void protein isn't solely about staying away from pasta and bread. Facts also show that a gluten-free diet doesn't mean improving your overall health or losing weight.
Just because something is gluten-free doesn't mean it's healthy; desserts, for example, can be gluten-free but has sugar listed as the first ingredient, it's easy to eat unhealthy foods that are gluten-free.
Try not to fill your diet with packaged foods; instead, go for fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating salads and steamed veggies would help you maintain a naturally gluten-free diet.
Q. What does Gluten-free mean?
Gluten is a protein found in individual grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Seniors with gluten sensitivity may be mildly affected by gluten, but if you've been diagnosed with celiac disease or other medical conditions associated with gluten, you must avoid it altogether. A gluten-free diet is when you prevent gluten in certain foods.
Q. What Is a Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Service for Seniors?
A gluten-free meal delivery service is tailored for seniors with gluten sensitivity and allergies and delivers meals free of gluten.
Q. How Much Does a Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Service For Seniors Cost?
Prices vary. Prices vary by company and by the number of servings ordered. At every place, prices start at $4.99 per serving. Sunbasket and Eatology average about $11 per serving, with other companies ranging in between these prices.
Senior Affair does not provide medical advice, so before signing up for any of our gluten-free meal delivery recommendations, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional to make sure it's a service that fits your dietary wants or requirements.