Glutton for gluten free Menu

Gluten has hit the spotlight as food enemy number one, launching gluten-free diets to the top spot of the always-precarious (and ever-changing) diet trend tower.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and any processed food that contains these grains. A gluten-free diet is necessary for someone that suffers from celiac disease, but even some folks without celiac disease may have gluten sensitivity.

Because gluten is a common ingredient in many foods, dining out while on a gluten-free diet can be a challenge. Noodles, a Naples hot spot for 21 years, has answered the call with a new, gluten-free menu.

Brothers and co-owners Matt and Seth Berman know making great food starts with fresh ingredients. At Noodles, all food is made-to-order, and chef Seth Berman uses separate cooking areas and utensils to avoid cross-contamination. The result is a truly gluten-free menu that’s safe for even those with celiac disease.

Mushrooms & Brie AppThe gluten free menu starts with the Mushrooms & Brie appetizer. Bite into it and the flavors melt in your mouth. With sundried tomatoes and walnuts adding tangy flavor and a subtle crunch, it’s absolutely delicious. Better yet, the walnuts add omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect your heart. If you’re watching your waistline, you should order this as a starter to share, since Brie is not light on calories. However, a small amount is fine even for calorie-counting dieters.

The Gorgonzola salad is one of several gluten-free salad options. The tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant that, according to a January 2002 report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. For calorie counters, tomatoes are a great, low-calorie option. Since they’re packed with fiber, you’ll feel full quickly, meaning you’ll (hopefully) consume fewer calories.

Salmon FlorentineThough the entire gluten free menu is amazing, the real standout entrée is the Salmon Florentine. Of course the protein and omega-3 fats found in the salmon are fantastic for any health-conscious diner, but the spinach packs some powerful nutrition as well. Spinach is a great source of vitamin K. We often think of calcium and vitamin D when discussing bone health, but vitamin K is an essential vitamin for bone strength and density too.

Gluten free pasta lovers have several options at Noodles. The Chicken “Noodles” Piccata resembles the traditional Italian dish with a Noodles flare. Served over gluten free pasta, this piccata has capers, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. Athletes often have slightly suppressed immune systems, especially during intense training times. Artichokes may help, since they contain antioxidants like vitamin C, quercetin and anthocyanins. Plus, artichokes have 5.4 grams of fiber per cup and just a mere 10 calories!

CioppinoThe Cioppino is a beautiful blend of seafood, fennel and tomatoes all served over gluten-free pasta. The seafood in this dish is a great source of protein, and is both low in fat and saturated fat. Seafood is rich in iron, vitamin A and B-vitamins. Some seafood, like shrimp and squid, are high in cholesterol, but can still be included in a low cholesterol diet, when eaten in moderation.