Sometimes you just can't make it into the kitchen to cook. Dr. Gourmet has reviewed over 800 common convenience foods, ingredients, and restaurant selections so that you know what's worth eating - and what's not. View the Index of all Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Just Tell Me What to Eat!

Just Tell Me What to Eat!

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP has counseled thousands of his patients on healthy, sustainable weight loss. Now he's compiled his best tips and recipes into a six-week plan for you to learn how to eat great food that just happens to be great for you - and if losing weight is your goal, you can do that, too.

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  • When to eat it
  • What to eat at a restaurant
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Pasta and Pizza from Amy's

For folks who are gluten sensitive, pasta and pizza are an issue. The only real noodle choice is rice pasta and while those made with rice flour can be good they just don't have the same texture as "real" pasta. One of my favorite pastas is made with a high gluten hard wheat flour that gives the pasta a great texture. The very definition of al dente (to the bite) rises out of cooking pasta correctly. Because the proteins in rice flour don't have the same elasticity as gluten, it's difficult to get that texture.

Mac and CheeseAs difficult as this, is Amy's tries their hand at a Mac & Cheese made with rice pasta and the results are pretty good. There's not much to the dish other than macaroni and cheese (not sure what else one would expect). The thing is that the texture is pretty good. Probably better than any boxed mac and cheese like Kraft. There's no real "bite" to the little elbow macaroni but they're not gummy as are a lot of rice pastas.

The sauce is good and not too, too salty at only 590 mg sodium (that's not bad for Amy's products). A nice cheesy flavor. The dish comes in at 400 calories. As with many gluten free meals this is somewhat more calorie dense. An equivalent regular mac and cheese might be only 320 calories. There's a lot of saturated fat that contributes to those calories at 10 grams. If you've got a craving for a quick mac and cheese, this one's OK but not the healthiest choice.

The same issue arises with pizzas. It's a little easier to make a pizza dough with rice and other non-wheat flours that when making pasta. The folks at Glutino pull this off pretty well with their pizzas (not great but OK).

Rice pizzaAmy's is not so skilled. They really need to go back to the drawing board with this Non-Dairy Cheese Pizza with Rice Crust. It's plain awful (not awfully plain - that would be a good thing). There's nothing redeeming about this pizza. Bad, crumbly crust that resembles cornbread, awful sauce and a pittance of cheese. Go with the Glutino products. There not great but they're good.

So, for the standby pasta and pizza there are some choices for folks eating gluten free. Go with the Amy's mac and cheese and the Glutino pizzas.