Howdy everyone, I hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Today I’m excited to share with you my favorite gluten-free products! Of all the emails I receive about Celiac Disease and gluten-free living, the most popular question is – WHAT DO YOU EAT?
Honestly, I’m just going to come out and say a lot of packaged gluten-free products are crap. Just like low-fat and sugar-free products are “low” and “free” of fat and sugar, they’re also usually “high” and “laden” with yuck ingredients. Same goes with gluten-free products. Just because they’re gluten-free doesn’t mean they’re healthy. If there’s any silver lining to getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease it’s that I’ve been forced to eat more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, eggs, and fish than I ever have in my life.
That said, I’m not cooking 100% from scratch meals for myself every single day, so there are packaged gluten-free products I rely on for snacking and convenient eating. These aren’t the only foods I eat, of course, but they’re great to have on hand. I’m breaking them down into my favorite gluten-free snacks, pantry staples, and meat. That’s right, a whole category just for meat – whee!
At the time of this posting all these products are gluten-free. That said, always be sure to double check labels on the products you pick up. Manufacturers and ingredients change all the time, so be sure to do your due diligence before tearing open any package!
- Health-Ade: I tried kombucha for the first time in California for Eat, Sea, Retreat and let me tell you I am HOOKED. Slightly fizzy and filled with probiotics that help with digestion and mental clarity, it is a Celiac Disease sufferer’s dream come true. The brand I tried while in Cali was Health-Ade, which comes in all kinds of delicious flavors like Carrot, Pomegranate, and Beet. I’ve been loving kombucha for an afternoon pick me up instead of something with caffeine.
- Skinny Pop: I started picking up the individual-sized bags of Skinny Pop at Costco a couple months ago and can barely keep them stocked at home. Ben, Lincoln, and I all adore this popcorn which is gluten and preservative free.
- Boom Chicka Pop: BCP is another GF popcorn we love that comes in really delicious flavors like Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn and Sweet & Spicy. It’s a fun treat!
- Trader Joe’s Apple + Fruit Bars: Oh Apple + Fruit Bars, how do I love thee, let me count the ways?! Well first of all, and most importantly, they taste like fruit rollups. I’d say ‘nuf said, but they also get you a couple servings of fruit, plus Lincoln loves them too. They’ve bought me more than a few minutes while out running errands, that’s for sure!
- Justin’s Almond Butter Packs: For when you need a snack with staying power! Justin’s nut butters come in several yummy flavors and are really great for traveling. Just tear off a corner and squeeze right into your pie hole. That’s what I do anyway.
- Jilz Crackerz: Another Eat, Sea, Retreat find! I loved these grain-free crackers so much that I ordered 4 boxes when I got home then went to my local Whole Foods and begged them to start stocking them. These are the best grain-free crackers I’ve ever had.
- The Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges: These cheese wedges are perfect for when you want an indulgent-tasting snack that’s actually really light. I love pairing the creamy wedges with carrot sticks and apple slices best.
- Nick’s Sticks: Beef jerky, baby! Nick is an Iowa farmer who produces some of the best meat around, including these beef jerky sticks which are certified gluten-free. I love them not only because they’re delicious and satisfying, but because I’m supporting a local farmer when I eat them.
- Q’ia Bars: Say it with me – another Eat, Sea Retreat treat! Nature’s Path Organic gave us a whole bunch of these bars to try out and I really loved them. Sometimes large nuts in bars upset my stomach but these seed-based bars work perfect for me.
GLUTEN-FREE PANTRY STAPLES
- Barilla Gluten-Free Pasta: Barilla GF pasta is one of the first I tried after getting my Celiac Disease diagnosis and I almost wept with relief because it has the exact taste and texture as regular pasta.
- DeLallo Gluten-Free Pasta: DeLallo sent me some of their GF pastas to try awhile ago and they too are AWESOME! I can’t find it locally but if you can I’d definitely pick up a bag.
- Costco Chicken Stock: If you’ve got a Costco membership, be sure to keep their Kirkland brand GF chicken stock on hand which is not only gluten-free but really rich tasting too.
- Progresso Chicken Broth: If you don’t have a Costco membership, I recommend Progresso gluten-free chicken and beef broth. GF beef broth can actually be difficult to find!
- Domata Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend: I don’t bake a whole lot but the few times I have in the past year and a half I’ve used Domata brand GF flour and it’s worked out great. This is the flour I used to make homemade gluten-free egg noodles with.
- Lundberg Gluten-Free Rices: I’ve mentioned that I’m not eating a ton of rice these days but when I was it was always Lundberg brand rice. BONUS: you can use it to make your own gluten-free rice flour! All you do is add the rice to a high-powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix then blend. I stopped buying packaged rice flours because it’s just so easy to make them at home.
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats: Oats are kind of messing with me these days too but if you’re ok with them then I recommend GF rolled oats by Bob’s Red Mill. I use them to make my Lemon Blackberry Breakfast Cookies and Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies with great success.
- Quinoa: Quinoa’s always great to have on hand to serve in place of pasta or rice. Bonus that it’s high in protein, too.
- San-J Gluten-Free Tamari: Ben and I eat a ton of Asian-inspired meals so I don’t know where I’d be without my gluten-free Tamari, which is a type of soy sauce made without wheat. I use it weekly.
- Gluten-Free Bisquick Mix: Sometimes a girl just needs a pancake, knowwhatImean? It’s not often but when I need some serious comfort food, I’ll whip up a batch of pancakes using this mix.
- Jone’s Dairy Farm All Natural Sausage Links: These links are buttery. So good! I actually have a recipe featuring them coming up on Wednesday, so stay tuned! I like to have a couple links with eggs in the morning for a filling breakfast.
- Applegate The Great Organic Beef Hot Dog: We started buying these hot dogs for Lincoln but I’ve been known to sneak one or two on occasion. They’re just really good and convenient.
- La Quercia Prosciutto: I’ve never eaten more meat in my life than I have over the past year and a half. Good or bad it gives me an excuse to indulge in my favorite La Quercia prosciutto whenever I want. LOVE this stuff, which is also made locally.
- Applegate Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets: I started buying these chicken nuggets when we thought Lincoln might be having issues with gluten (he ended up not – HALLELUJAH!) but I keep buying them because they’re so dang good! I always add 2 or 3 extra onto the baking sheet when making them for him so I can have some too. :)
- Applegate Sunday Bacon: A good quality, consistent bacon with lots of meat. I always have a pack in the fridge.
- Applegate Roasted Turkey Breast: Ordering meat from the deli counter is risky because it’s sliced on a shared slicer – I have no idea what else has been on it, so I stick with the packaged stuff. Many packaged deli meat is slimy and ick, but I really like Applegate’s roasted turkey rolled around sliced avocado and a pickle. Hello, 60 second lunch!
What are your favorite gluten-free products?
Lori Ann 12.18.2017
This could be a regional thing, but I’m in California and sadly the Costco Kirkland Chicken broth is no longer gluten free. Costco changed manufacturers and they will no longer verify it. Might be worth a check in your local area.
Thank you for providing a categorized list of your “tried and true” gluten free food. Most of what I’ve tried has had such an offensive taste, it wasn’t edible. I’ve wasted hundreds of dollars on food that had been thrown in the trash after one bite. However, I’ve discovered a few gluten free foods that were surprisingly quite good I want to share with you. Blake’s Shephard’s Pie and Blake’s Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie ( also offer a standard variety so make sure the box is labeled gluten free) are my “standby meals”. I maintain a reserve quantity in my freezer as back-up meals to have on hand when I try new food entrees, the majority of which end up in the trash. It’s been a costly elimination process! I also like the Cedarlane Roasted Chile Relleno. The very best cookies I’ve tasted are Tate’s Bake Shop Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. Tate’s makes three other varieties of gluten free cookies, Double Chocolate Chip, Chipless Wonders, and Ginger Zinger, and two types of gluten free brownies, chocolate and blonde. I haven’t tasted any of their baked goods other than the chocolate chip cookies, but they are amazing and no one would ever guess they are gluten free. Ginny Bakes cookies, Oatmeal Coconut and Butter Crisp Love, taste good but they are somewhat hard. Dare Breton Gluten Free Herb and Garlic Crackers are my favorite crackers. I’ve only tried that variety of Dare crackers though. Dare makes one or two other gluten free varieties of Breton crackers but they were not available at the places I shop. Snyders Gluten Free Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Sticks are also tasty. I’ve made the Pillsbury Banana Bread, and although it didn’t appear or smell like my homemade banana bread while baking, it tasted much better than I expected. The QuestBar Lemon Cream Protein Bar tasted horrible. I’ve tried GF frozen pizza but the crust was awful. I scraped off the toppings and ate them, but I tossed the crust. The Mom Made Cheesy Mac was disappointing. The picture on the box looked similar to the Kraft Mac and Cheese with peas added, and although I made my own macaroni and cheese from scratch in the past, nothing could have prepared me for the Mom Made Meals Cheesy Mac. I now know not to judge a gluten free product by its cover (box)! Lol After I warmed it, it looked like a cheesy blob and tasted worse than it looked. The macaroni was almost non-existent. I’ve never heard of Macaroni and Cheese made primarily with squash and sweet potatoes. Again, one more gluten free food item bit the dust. If one wants to cure their dog of begging for scraps at the dinner table, most gluten free food should do the trick. My daughter’s dog, typically persistent when eyeing table food at meal time, turned her nose up and walked away! As if it isn’t difficult enough to find gluten free food, it is impossible to substitute ingredients previously used in our favorite recipes like breadcrumbs, turkey stuffing and biscuits and gravy. I can only hope that the researchers are close to developing enzymes or some miracle remedy so Celiacs and gluten sensitive individuals can eat again and enjoy what they eat!
Janet Fazio 02.17.2016
I just discovered that Barilla is making GF pasta. What a huge improvement over other brands. Have you tried Cup-4-Cup flour? Just wondering how that stacks up against Domata. I’ve tried so many, just to end up tossing them.
Yes! And since I wrote this post I’ve been using Delallo GF brown rice pasta – best dried pasta I’ve had GF or not – so, so good! I haven’t tried C4C, as I don’t bake, but I’ve heard it’s awesome!
Bare Apple Chips. Thanks for all the great ideas! I find being GF while traveling is hard but I will be packing some of your favorite snacks for mY next trip.
As a fellow Iowa girl, I wanted to mention a local product: Breads By Anna. They offer everything from pancake mix to banana bread. It’s not your typical packaged GF brand (the ones full of rice flour and sugar), the only sugar used is honey powder and the flour base is a mixture of beans, buckwheat and amaranth. Her products are super close to all the ones we miss when diagnosed celiac. We are huge fans!
Ooo, sounds awesome! Thank you for the recommendation, Julia!