How to make a meal plan

that avoids trigger foods for autistic children.

Learning Objectives:

    1. Students will be able to list consequences of eating inappropriate foods.
    2. Students will be able to list alternate ingredients for trigger foods.
    3. Students will be able to  construct an appropriate meal plan including recipes.
    4. Students will apply knowledge by preparing a recipe from their plan.

Foods that contain Gluten

  • wheat starch
  • wheat bran
  • wheat germ
  • couscous
  • cracked wheat
  • durum
  • einkorn
  • emmer
  • farina
  • faro
  • fu (common in Asian foods)
  • gliadin
  • graham flour
  • kamut
  • matzo
  • semolina
  • spelt

Other foods to watch carefully include but are not limited to:

  • barley
  • bulgur
  • oats (oats themselves don't contain gluten, but are often processed in plants that produce gluten-containing grains and may be contaminated)
  • rye
  • seitan
  • triticale and Mir (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • veggie burgers (if not specified gluten-free)

gluten free alternatives

  • Almond meal flour
  • Amaranth
  • Brown, white and wild rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Coconut flour
  • Corn
  • Cornstarch
  • Guar gum
  • Millet
  • Pea flour
  • Potato flour
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Soy flour
  • Teff
  • Oats (Take special care in picking the brand. Some do actually contain gluten.)

Consequences of eating trigger foods

Trigger foods like gluten are thought to cause behavior problems in kids with autism.   Gluten is one of the major foods being researched at this time. For your meal plan  create an expectable breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. Read the article linked below for more information about the research and information about autism.  




  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 1/4 cups vanilla almond milk
  • 1 large ripe, organic banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon local honey    
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 large organic egg
  • coconut oil or butter for cooking


Place all ingredients, except egg and coconut oil in the base of a blender and blend until smooth. Add egg and pulse a few times until egg is fully incorporated.

Heat a griddle or large sauté pan over medium heat and melt a teaspoon or two of coconut oil. When hot, pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side) and serve hot with maple syrup.

*If batter becomes too thick to pour easily, add a tablespoon or two of almond milk to thin.



  • 1 Cup Cooked Red Quinoa
  • 3 Oz Nitrate Free Turkey Kielbasa Chunks
  • Slices of Raw Gruyere Cheese
  • 1 Cup Basil, Ripped into Smaller Pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Onion, Diced (optional)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Diced (optional)Directions: Sauté the onions in a little coconut oil until light brown. Add garlic for the last 2 minutes. Place warm quinoa, onions, garlic, and kielbasa in a bowl, then top with cheese and basil.




  • 2 Cups 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Large Sprig of Rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar  
  • Directions: Place the juice, salt, and rosemary in a small ceramic non-stick pot. Bring to just above a simmer. Let it reduce down to about half a cup. Add the apple cider vinegar for the last 10 minutes of reducing. Serve drizzled on top of roasted chicken

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes:


  • 5 Medium Red Potatoes (chopped with skin on)
  • 1 12 Oz Bag Cauliflower
  • 1 Small Onion, Roughly Chopped
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Roughly Chopped
  • About 1/2 Cup of Organic Broth (use your favorite kind)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Almond Milk (if needed)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • Dash of Nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Sweet Potato (optional)  
  • Directions: Start by sautéing your onions in a large pot (use the coconut oil spray…it won’t make the potatoes taste like coconut). When they start to turn brown add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add about a half cup of chicken broth to the pot. Add all the other ingredients, except almond milk. Let it simmer or boil until veggies are soft. Make sure you keep adding enough broth to steam the veggies as they cook. I like to leave the lid off here, so that the flavors of the broth become concentrated. Remove from heat and mash with your immersion blender. If the cauliflower mashed potatoes are too dry add the almond milk, one tablespoon at a time.



  • 1 Cup Walnuts
  • 1 Cups Pecans
  • 1.5-2 Cups Dates
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup  63% Cocoa Dairy Free Chocolate Chips
  • Raw Honey (Optional, to taste)
  • Directions: Put all the ingredients in a food processor, except for the chocolate bars and raw honey. Process until very smooth. Taste it to see if it’s sweet enough. If not, add a tablespoon or so of raw honey.Add the chocolate bars and process a few more seconds, allowing the chocolate to remain chunky. Press into an 8×8 baking dish. It may be greasy from the nuts at this point, so you can dab it with napkins if that bugs you. Freeze for about 20 minutes.

Now its your turn...

Choose a recipe and replace the ingredients that contain gluten. Comment your recipe and a picture along with the changes you will make below. Look at everyones recipes and vote below for your favorite. Remember the one that gets the most votes will be prepared in class.  

After you have read the material on this page and the page linked take this sort quiz to assess your knowledge about gluten and meal planning. This will be half of you're grade the other half is submitting a recipe

Works Cited:

"Gluten Free/Casein Free Diets for Autism." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

"Banana-Oat Blender Pancakes." Mountain Mama Cooks. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

"Red Quinoa Kielbasa Bowl." Great Food and Lifestyle. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

"Pomegranate Poultry Drizzle." Great Food and Lifestyle. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

"Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes." Great Food and Lifestyle. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

"Paleo Midnight Fudge and." Great Food and Lifestyle. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

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