Being diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can be sobering news to someone with a penchant for pasta and bread. But despite some restrictions, you can still be a foodie and whip up a deliciously balanced diet.

Discover wholesome and satisfying gluten-free grains.

Some of the most nutrient-dense, flavorful, and versatile grains happen to be gluten-free, says Carol Fenster, PhD, author of nine gluten-free cookbooks including 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes (Wiley, 2008). Fast-cooking quinoa, for example, has a wonderful nutty flavor, plus ample protein, fiber, and magnesium. Fenster, who was diagnosed with gluten intolerance 22 years ago, uses quinoa in place of bulgur to make the popular Middle Eastern dish tabbouleh.

Millet, amaranth, buckwheat, sorghum, and brown rice can also form the basis of a wide range of meals. According to a 2009 study from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in New York, celiacs who eat gluten-free grains and products made from these alternative flours have improved intakes of several nutrients including calcium, protein, and iron. These grains are now widely available in natural food stores.