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FLOUR CHART: How Gluten Free Flours Compare for Carbs and Protein Content

Flour Comparison Chart for Carbs and Protein Content

The figures above are based on a serving size of 1/4 cup (4 Tb).   **You are welcome to borrow this chart and information for your site, please just link back here, thanks!

Are you running out of room for your gluten free flours?
Confused about which are healthiest?

This is an article that I have been intending to write for quite some time to help gluten free cooks and bakers make smart choices when it comes to navigating the wide world of flours! There is no question that there are more flours available now, commercially, than at any other time. People are not only interested in expanding home cooking and culinary adventures, but are savvier when it comes to nutrition and the benefits of food-based wellness. Many of us are learning how to cater to food intolerances in our home kitchens and taking responsibility for eating well. There are an almost overwhelming variety of flours, starches and meals which can be combined or used alone to bake, thicken and coat. You may think that flour is flour and that some are merely gluten free or grain free, but the truth runs deeper than that.

There is some confusion about flours versus starches. In some cases (such as with tapioca flour/starch) they are one and the same, perhaps because tapioca is virtually all starch to begin with. In general though, the difference between starches and flours seems to be that flours are made from dried and ground grains (or tubers or nuts) and have the protein and fiber intact, whereas the starches have the fiber and protein removed, leaving nearly pure carbohydrates. Starches are excellent for smoothly thickening sauces and gravies, and are often ingredients in gluten free baking mixtures. However, people who are aiming for a low-carb diet, either for weight loss or because they are diabetic (or want to avoid BECOMING diabetic) will find that starches and certain flours quickly topple the daily allowances and spike blood sugars.

Flours and meals are not created equally (since all foods are not created equally) and flours are merely ground up versions of the food as a whole. You will notice that the flours made from nuts and legumes are in the top of my chart, having the lowest net carbs and highest protein counts. Starches and rice flours which are often used in gluten free baking are at the bottom of my chart because they have such high carb counts and very little protein.

You can also see by the placement of traditional flours that even if you are not on a gluten free diet, wheat flours are far from the healthiest of choices! For instance, even whole wheat flour (which seems to be the darling of the grain industry), has more than SIX times the net carbs of almond flour. Pastry flour which is found in many commercial baked goods has NINE times as much. All those carbs convert to sugar, which spikes insulin… repeated insulin spikes lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to diabetes, visceral fat, inflammation and obesity.

While it is true that the healthiest alternative flours require different methods of preparation and even to some degree their very own recipes, it is well worth the effort to learn to bake with them. My personal favorite flours are almond flour, coconut flour, garbanzo bean flour, flax meal and occasionally buckwheat flour. I am open to learning more, always, and that list very well may expand in the near future!

ABOUT THIS CHART:  I have created the chart above to summarize some of the common (and uncommon) flours that are frequently used in gluten free baking, as well as to compare them to the old standards (in red, not gluten free.) This chart uses Bob’s Red Mill products nutritional information as a source because it was readily available online; however, this is not a specific endorsement of their products. I do use Bob’s Red Mill occasionally, but I also use Nuts.com as well other specialty brands and bulk products.  Other manufacturers may vary somewhat, but because the flours are derived from the same sources, the numbers should be similar, and the spot checking I did to compare to other brands showed the exact same results.  The ratings are my own opinion only, based on net carbs and protein.

Serving size in the chart above is ¼ cup (4TB).  Number values represent grams (other than calories.) Note that Net Carbs is equal to Total Carbs minus Fiber, which is why flax meal can have a net carb count of zero.  Low Net Carbs and high Proteins are the best choices when looking to keep blood sugar levels balanced; even though that may mean the flour is higher in calories, it also means that it is much more filling, and it doesn’t drive cravings. While this chart may be a good starting point, obviously these numbers don’t tell the whole story, and different flours have different nutritional benefits unique to their source, and I hope to highlight some of my favorites in upcoming articles. When choosing flours, personal taste is also a major factor, as the flavors can be quite different from the wheat flours we have been conditioned to eat.

I hope that this answers some questions that you may have had about why I, or other gluten free bloggers, choose the flours that we do, and helps you to make good choices in your own kitchen! Stay tuned for a super delicious PIZZA recipe featuring garbanzo bean flour very soon 🙂  This is a socca style done in a pan or on a griddle, and met with rave reviews from the guys…

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Gingered Walnut Chicken Salad {Gluten Free}

Ginger Walnut Salad with Strawberry

It’s been a busy day in the kitchen, getting some convenient foods ready for the weekend. We cooked a beautiful farm-raised chicken last night that my husband bought from a friend at work. What a treat to have fresh and unprocessed meat! We roasted it on the rotisserie and ate some of the dark meat for dinner; today I decided to make a chicken salad with the breast meat, and use the carcass, skin and scraps of the chicken to make stock; nothing gets wasted at my house! The stock is simmering on the stove with a little thyme and vidalia onion tossed in, and is reducing nicely.

I’m not quite sure what I will make from the stock, but I am thinking I will refrigerate it and probably come up with some sort of soup on Sunday. Already I took 2 cups out that I used to cook the brown rice that is one of the ingredients in the home made dog food that I am feeding my dog Suzie (golden retriever), nursing her past an illness. She seems to respond very well  to the concoction of ingredients that I put together for her, and I think that wet food, especially with some anti-inflammatory oils and ingredients added, is helpful to keep her hydrated and less itchy.

So back to the chicken salad… I had a lovely bowl of cubed chicken breast, and had to decide what to pair it with. I do enjoy a standard mayo-based chicken salad, but I was wanting something a little different, with a freshness, zing, and full of protein! I bought a nice bag of limes at the market yesterday, which ended up being my jumping off point, and I crafted the rest of the recipe around the lime and chicken. I decided to pair it with some frozen grated ginger, coconut oil, a little honey, thyme from my herb garden and some kefir for the dressing, along with walnuts (toasted with ginger and pepper), coconut flakes and celery. The walnuts add another layer of ginger flavor and spiciness, being toasted with ginger powder and fresh pepper. A little bit tropical, summery and fresh, delicious!

Gingered Walnut Chicken Salad

Fresh Lime, Thyme and Frozen Ginger

Dressing:

  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2Tb coconut oil
  • 2Tb grated ginger
  • 2Tb fresh thyme
  • 1C Kefir (probiotic smoothy similar to yogurt)

Salad:

  • 3 C cut up cooked chicken breast
  • 1 C toasted gingered walnuts (tip to follow)
  • 1/2 C flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 2 ribs celery, split and thinly sliced

Toast walnuts, set aside. Make the dressing: combine the lime juice and coconut oil in a medium bowl, and heat in the microwave for 10 seconds or so, to allow the oil and juice to whisk together easily. Whisk in the honey and thyme. Slowly add the Kefir, a little bit at a time, stirring after each addition. Set aside. Place the cubed chicken in a large bowl, and add walnuts, coconut, and celery, tossing well. Slowly add the dressing to the chicken mixture, stirring well after each addition, with the thought of allowing the chicken to slowly soak up the dressing. Serve over a bed of greens, in a cabbage wrapper, on cheese crackers, or topped with strawberries. Makes about 4 cups.

Tip: To make the walnuts, heat about a tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet, add the walnuts and gently toast. Mix together 1/2 tsp powdered ginger, 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper, a couple pinches of kosher salt, and 1 tsp turbinado sugar, and sprinkle over nuts, allowing them to toast 2 minutes longer, stirring frequently over medium-low heat, so they don’t burn. These are also great to snack on, so make a few more than you need 😉

 

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Burger Salad and Sweet Potato Fries

Burger Salad with Sweet Potato Fries is a great warm weather indulgence!

It’s been one of those weeks, where finding time to sit at the computer has been a challenge, and even more so because we’ve been having broadband issues, which I THINK (after 3 service calls) are finally cleared up! With Spring being here in full swing, it’s been a lot more tempting to work in the yard and garden than do housework, or even cook… so the meals this past week have been incredibly simple and focused mainly on veggies. I didn’t want to bore everyone with images of all the steamed baby broccoli, zucchini, bok choy and sliced oranges I’ve been eating, so I waited until I had something a little more interesting or useful to post. So here it is….

Burger Salad and Sweet Potato Fries

Being beautiful outside leads to grilling, and grilling can lead to burgers, MMMM! As someone who doesn’t eat gluten, when preparing something like a burger, you have two main choices: bake or buy gluten free buns, or skip the bun entirely and rely on other things to make dinner delicious. Since we are striving for lower-carb, I skipped the buns this time and opted for a “burger salad”, and indulged in sweet potato fries as a side instead.YUM!

Why Sweet Potatoes? Some people only think of sweet potatoes at the holidays, but they are truly a nutritional gold mine and can be incorporated more often. The glycemic load is 17 (lower is better), while a red potato is 26. Sweet potatoes are also known to be strongly anti-inflammatory, and choosing anti-inflammatory foods helps ease or prevent joint and muscle pain as well as ease digestive issues caused by internal inflammation. While it is definitely a carbohydrate, it is a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, B6, Vitamin A&C, and manganese.

The Fries: If you haven’t made sweet potato fries before, I can assure you, it’s very easy and tasty too. They are versatile as well. You can choose to cut them thick or thin, in rounds or sticks, and peeled or unpeeled. I choose unpeeled, medium thin sticks.You basically just bake them at 425 degrees for around 15 minutes, loosening them from the pan and turning them every 5 minutes or so. Be sure to coat them in olive oil, and I used garlic salt, onion powder, fresh ground pepper, and a dash of cinnamon to season these. Of course you can spice it up even more if you like, using cumin, cayenne or even chili powder, depending on your tastes. Super simple! If you want them ever crispier, you may choose to coat them with corn starch before baking, but I didn’t do that for carb reasons.

The Burger salad: Is essentially a burger laid on a bed of salad that is made up of things that usually top the burger. In this case, after grilling (or baking, or pan searing) the super lean burgers were topped with a little blue cheese, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and covered with a slice of Swiss which I melted under the broiler for a couple minutes. The “salad” was shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced avocados, and typical burger dressing of light mayo and mustard. The guys loved it and never even complained about not having a bun! This was a heavier meal than what we’ve been eating most of the week, but every once in awhile, a little indulgence is good.

 

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