4 Holiday Foods with Incredible Health Benefits that Help Us Lose Weight on Our Gluten Free Diet

Contrary to popular belief, many individuals with Celiac disease are not severely underweight. In fact, research indicates nearly one-third of all diagnosed Celiac patients struggle with being overweight.

There is no “magic bullet” when it comes to weight loss, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope on our gluten free diet, even during the holiday season when so many temptations surround us.

In fact, I believe each one of us can safely set the following goals for the holidays in terms of nutrition and weight:

1. Eat everything we want.

2. Maintain our balanced nutrient intake.

3. Not gain a single ounce (and maybe even lose a pound or two!).

Too much to ask? Not at all; I know we can reach those goals together, effortlessly.

One reason the weight loss information I share with you is so effective is because I focus on specific nutrients we need to lose unwanted FAT.

There’s a big difference between losing excess fat the way nutrition science endorses and using quick and questionable tactics that only result in losing water weight, or worse, the loss of fat-burning lean muscle .

In fact, in most cases, once our nutrient intake is in check, excess weight effortlessly melts away.

To help get (or keep) us on the path to superior health and meet those weight management goals we share, I have 4 naturally gluten free foods with incredible health benefits we can enjoy guilt-free this holiday season.

If you need to lose weight, these foods will definitely help. They will also help you maintain your already-established healthy weight as you enjoy the edible delights of the season.

If you do not need to lose weight, you will still benefit from these foods. These 4 foods contain incredible health benefits that will help keep our bodies functioning in top form.

 4 Holiday Foods with Incredible Health Benefits

1. Pumpkin Pie

If we’re going to have dessert (and I think we should!), let’s make it pumpkin pie.

While pie crust is nearly devoid of nutrition, pumpkin is a terrific super food in terms of general nutrition. Pumpkin also supports weight loss.

That’s because its orange flesh is extremely low in calories and contains vitamins A, C, E and B-complex vitamins for overall health.

Because of its naturally high water content and fiber, pumpkin keeps us full and satisfied, making it an excellent food to eat when we want to drop pounds and boost nutrient intake.

Tips for maximizing the benefit:

  • Make your pumpkin pie from scratch to control ingredients (like extra sugar or additives) in the filling.
  • Use pumpkin purée instead of pre-made pumpkin pie filling to reduce unnecessary sugar and additives.
  • Reduce the sugar in your pumpkin pie recipe by half (you won’t notice!) to cut calories and allow pumpkin’s naturally sweet flavor to shine.

2. Dark Chocolate

If this doesn’t brighten our holiday, nothing will! 😉

Research shows chocolate with 70% or greater cocoa solids contains antioxidant compounds called flavonols. In addition to protecting our cells from damage, flavonols also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Findings also reveal the decadent dark treat reduces “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and improves “good” (HDL) cholesterol.

And some of my favorite new research indicates melting dark chocolate does not destroy its health benefits.

That means using dark chocolate as a coating for our holiday Sunbutter Bites (an allergen-free form of Peanut Butter Balls or Buckeyes, pictured right up top) adds a little nutrition boost to a sweet treat on our  holiday dessert tray!

In terms of weight loss, dark chocolate slows digestion to keep us feeling full longer. It also revs up our metabolism for a more effective calorie burn!

Tips for maximizing the benefit:

  • Choose chocolate with the highest percentage of cocoa solids.
  • Select brands that are gluten free. Look for these high-quality brands of gluten free dark chocolate: Endangered Species, Scharffen Berger and Vosges Haut. (There are others, too!)
  • Be aware of other potential allergens (from cross-contamination on shared equipment) when selecting chocolate. Always read labels carefully.

3. Sweet Potatoes

That bright orange color of the sweet potato is a telltale sign these tasty tubers are bursting with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant (also found in pumpkin).

Carotenoids (like beta-carotene) help stabilize blood sugar. That translates to more energy, increased mental clarity and an efficient metabolism that burns fat.

The benefits don’t end there. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins like A, C and B6, as well as minerals like manganese (helps our bodies regulate blood sugar, use other key nutrients more efficiently and promotes optimal thyroid function) and potassium (important for cellular function, healthy organs and boosts metabolism).

Tips for maximizing the benefits:

  • Before you mash them up and cover them with marshmallows, consider roasting your sweet potatoes this year. You’ll love the natural sweetness of the caramelized exterior and it’s so simple to do!
  • Use my simple recipe for Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes and eat up the healthy goodness with zero guilt!

4. Cranberries

If you’re devouring November’s “Food Solutions” newsletter, you know the good and the bad about this in-season berry. (You also have an awesome Gluten Free Cranberry Crumb Cake recipe, too!)

Since I’ve covered cranberries in-depth in “Food Solutions”, I’ll keep it brief here.

Cranberries are filled with disease-fighting antioxidants for total body health and nutrition. These little red berries are also full of fiber, which helps keep us feeling full longer.

Tips for maximizing the benefits:

  • Avoid recipes calling for excessive sugar to counter the naturally tart taste of cranberries.
  • Use fresh whole berries in muffins, salads and even in gluten free grain dishes like rice and quinoa.

Be sure to sign up for my FREE eLetter, the “Daily Gluten Free Fix”, to keep up to date on my “Smart Nutrition Backed by Science” for gluten free living at its best!


About Gigi

Gigi is Founder and CEO of Gluten Free Gigi, LLC. Gigi's focus is making gluten free living easy and accessible for those who need it for medical reasons. She holds a master's degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Mississippi with a focus in chronic inflammatory pain and natural products research. Through Gigi's public appearances, her informative website (, published articles, and webinars shares her real-life experiences and extensive knowledge of gluten free living and special diets nutrition. Gigi has been gluten free for medical reasons for five years.

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