I’ve mentioned a few times over the past couple of years that I belong to a wonderful Mom’s group called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers.) It’s an international organization with local chapters that meet once a month and connect you to other Mamas in your area who, you know, relate to your inability to find time to shower more than three times a week.
This year I’ve had a chance to get involved by talking to the women about cooking healthy meals and snacks for their families and even took a group on an aisle by aisle tour of the grocery store so I could point out the exact foods and brands I’ve tried and continue to purchase. Not because I’m a nutritionist or know best (hardly!) but as a food blogger and person with Celiac Disease, plus a son with a dairy allergy, I’ve tried a heck of a lot of products out there and, I don’t know about you, but I’m always more comfortable spending money on a new to me product when a friend has vouched for it.
Since I can’t take all of you with me to the grocery store, and I constantly get asked “have you tried xyz…?” (which I LOVE!!) I thought I’d take you on a virtual grocery shopping trip and share the products I buy all the time and feel confident recommending to you! Before we get started, a couple of notes:
- You can find all these products at the regular grocery store.
- These products are all gluten-free though I’d recommend them to anyone, GF or not.
- This post is not sponsored but I’m getting brand specific because I want it to be different than my general “well-stocked kitchen” post.
- I don’t always have ALL these products in the house – I focus on the perimeter of the grocery store when shopping, and fresh produce for snacking, especially – but we also value convenience and like these products.
- I linked to some products on Amazon if I found good deals for them (Plentils variety pack, I’m looking at you.)
Allllrighty! If you need a few new ideas beyond the weekly staples of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and cheese, grab a cart, wipe the handle down real good (?) and let’s get shopping!
- BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella Snacking Cheese – these miniature fresh mozzarella pearls come portioned in 1oz packages so it’s easy to grab two or three for a quick snack.
- Blue Diamond Nut Thins (FYI these crackers have milk in them) – super, super crunchy and good for everything from dipping into hummus to making mini pepperoni and cheese “sandwiches” with.
- Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers – another great crunchy cracker option that look a little more “fancy” so they’re good for including on cheese plates/entertaining.
- Lundberg Family Farms Brown Rice Cakes – these are awesome if you’re not really starving but are still craving a little somethin’ somethin’. Fabulous when topped with hummus or The Laughing Cow cheese wedges.
- The Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges – there’s a reason I’ve been working with these guys for years – their cheese wedges are so versatile and delicious! I like to dip into them with vegetables and crackers, or stuff into dates. My favorite flavors are Creamy Spicy Pepper Jack and Creamy Asiago.
- Popchips – so many flavors, so little time, so much less guilt then stuffing your face with fried potato chips.
- Plentils – if you’re sensitive to corn, these chips are wonderful because they’re made with lentils. It a dilemma every time I buy a bag/re-order on Amazon prime though because I know they’ll be gone in just a few days. We all adore them.
- BoomChickaPuffs – if you like(d) Cheetos Puffs, you’ll flip for these “healthier” puffs. Totally addicting.
- Sabra Hummus – the one, the only. We always have at least two tubs of this healthy and satisfying dip in the fridge. My favorite flavors are Olive Tapenade and Roasted Red Pepper.
- On the Border Tortilla Chips – these tortilla chips are super crunchy and SALTY. Love that!
- Beanitos – these are a great alternative to traditional tortilla chips if you have a corn sensitivity.
- La Victoria Salsa Verde – a recent obsession! A lot of salsa verdes I’ve tried have been too cumin-heavy, but this one is just right. Since I can only find it in thick and chunky I usually zip it through my food processor then pour it back into the jar.
- Melina’s Salsa – restaurant quality salsa at home. This salsa is made in Omaha so I believe it’s only available in the Midwest, but man oh man, if you can find some, stock up! FYI – even the mild is pretty spicy.
- Gedney Baby Dill Pickles – gluten-free pickles are hard to find but these baby dills are cheap and the first thing I go to when I’m craving a salty snack. We always have an enormous jar in the fridge.
- That’s It Bars – these bars are great because they’re made from just fruit. THAT’S IT (hence the name!) Easy to toss into your purse or bag for a healthy snack on the go.
- Kind Bars – another great on the go bar option, plus they pack some protein since they’re made with whole nuts. Just be mindful of the amount of sugar in the variety you choose.
- Larabars – Lincoln is obsessed with Larabars and I love the clean, minimal ingredient list. I personally find most of the flavors to be too sweet but if you have a sweet tooth, these are an awesome healthier option for satisfying it.
- Annie’s Snickerdoodle Bunnies – ok so a friend actually bought these for Lincoln when she knew we were coming over for a play date (they’re dairy and gluten-free,) but I loved them so much that they keep finding their way into my grocery cart. Ridiculously good.
- Skinny Pop – the snack I love to hate! Love the ingredient list and taste, hate the fact that I always attempt to eat my weight in popcorn whenever I dig in. Love, love, love.
- Nick Sticks – these grass-fed beef sticks are made by a local farmer and they are to die. Like, I hide them from Ben when I buy them because I don’t want to share. Great for car trips!
- Applegate Naturals Uncured Genoa Salami – for better or worse I grew up eating salty meats like salami and bologna (bologna, lettuce and mustard sandwiches were a staple in my lunchbox!) so being able to satisfy my love for those flavors without nitrites is a total win. Lincoln loves this salami too though I try and limit his portions to three slices a couple times a week because it’s high in sodium.
- Applegate Naturals Uncured Pork Pepperoni – again, no preservatives besides salt and celery powder, and a fabulous flavor. These are the pepperoni I love to sandwich between the Blue Diamond Nut Thins with a little bit of cheese and we also use these mini pepperonis for pizza night every week.
- Johnsonville Original Brats – these GF brats don’t have an ingredient list that I’m 100% on board with (they contain some funky stuff including MSG and “natural flavors”) but this Midwestern girl will make an exception every once in awhile when it comes to her summertime brats since I can’t eat the homemade ones behind the meat counter. That said, I am going to try and stuff my homemade brat mixture, which tastes just like Johnsonville’s brats, into casings this summer to see how it goes!
- Applegate Naturals Reduced-Sodium Sunday Bacon – to say that I’m obsessed with this bacon is an understatement. Tons of meat in each slice and still tastes really salty despite being lower in sodium.
- DaBecca Oven Roasted Turkey Breast – finding gluten-free pre-sliced deli meat that doesn’t contain caramel coloring, MSG, and/or natural flavors can be tough, and when you do find it, sometimes the slices can be kind of slimy. This DeBacca turkey breast has a great ingredient list and is really “dry” for packaged turkey.
- La Quercia Prosciutto (and really ANYTHING made by La Quercia) – I am so dang proud of this local brand whose products are so unbelievable that they are world-renowned. We’ve always got a package of Prosciutto Americano in the fridge.
- Lundberg Family Farms Rice – a high quality rice that always cooks evenly. We’re never without packages of California White Jasmine and Wild Blend in the pantry.
- Bove’s Marinara Sauce – since we have spaghetti and pizza nights once a week, we’re always stocked up on this dairy and gluten-free marinara sauce which we use for both occasions. It tastes just like homemade.
- Delallo Gluten-Free Pasta – the creme de la creme of gluten-free pasta! I love the fact that their brown rice pasta’s ingredient list reads: brown rice, and I really love the fact that you’d have no idea whatsover while eating it that it’s gluten-free.
- Earth Balance Peanut Butter – this no stir peanut butter has added flaxseed for a little health boost. Lincoln and I both love it (Ben has a, if it isn’t Skippy, it isn’t coming near me! mentality.)
- Justin’s Almond Butter Packets – finding gluten-free food at the airport is a total nightmare so I always carry a few of these packets with me while traveling to squeeze onto bananas or straight to the ol’ pie hole. I keep a couple in my purse in case Lincoln gets hungry while we’re out and about too.
- A Taste of Thai Straight Cut Rice Noodles – wonderful and inexpensive noodles that we use all the time for my Mongolian Beef and Asian Noodle Bowls.
- Lindsay Sliced Olives – a somewhat random addition to the list, but gluten-free and really tasty!
- Krusteaz Gluten-Free Honey Cornbread Mix – Ben is obsessed with this cornbread. We make it to pair with my Signature Chili.
- Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast Seasoning (aka Nooch) – the best on freshly popped popcorn!
- Natural Delights Pitted Medjool Dates – super high quality dates that are great for snacking on, blending into no bake Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites, or wrapping with bacon then baking. FYI, I usually find these by the bananas in the grocery store for whatever reason.
- Ocean Spray Dried Cranberries – dried fruit and nuts can be really hard to find gluten-free – that don’t cost an arm and a leg, I might add – so this is a great, inexpensive option for dried cranberries.
- Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips – awesome ingredient list and free from a TON of allergens. I’m so thankful I found these chocolate chips, and really this allergy-friendly brand as a whole.
- King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix – if you are gluten-free and craving big, fat, fluffy pancakes – this is your mix!!!
- Busch’s Vegetarian Baked Beans – a summertime grill-out staple that’s just sweet enough. We use these in Judy’s Baked Beans and just decrease the amount of brown sugar the recipe calls for.
- Chex Rice Cereal – we’re not a huge cereal family, but use Rice Chex as gluten-free bread crumbs. Just pulverize in a food processor and you’re ready to rock.
- San-J Gluten-Free Reduced-Sodium Tamari – an indistinguishable gluten-free alternative to soy sauce.
- Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos – if you are sensitive to soy, Coconut Aminos is a good alternative to soy sauce or tamari. Just know that it’s a little sweet-tasting but definitely doesn’t taste like coconut.
- Alessi Balsamic Vinegar – no caramel coloring!!
- Mezzetta Capers – constantly tossing these into pan sauces.
- Mezzetta Chicago-Style Giardiniera – lots of crunchy, tangy vegetables and delicious when added to lettuce and pasta salads. It’s what really makes my Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches, too.
- Sky Valley Chili Pepper Sauce – perfect for appetizers, Asian dishes, and homemade crab rangoons.
- Lee Kum Kee Sriracha Chili Sauce – another great staple sauce I use a lot in Asian recipes.
- Hellmann’s Olive Oil Mayo – for quick lunches I like to squeeze this mayo onto turkey slices then wrap around a baby dill pickle. Boom.
- KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce – just a good, all-purpose BBQ sauce to have on hand. Nice balance of sweet and spicy.
- Annie’s Organic Ketchup – honestly nothing beats Heinz in the flavor department but I buy this brand, which has a cleaner ingredient list, for Lincoln and me. Warning: this ketchup is a tad sweet and Ben won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole, though ketchup is his second favorite food (wish I was kidding) so he’s quite picky.
- Mission Yellow Corn Tortillas – a good gluten-free tortilla for enchiladas. I don’t love the ingredient list but finding a gluten-free corn tortilla (that wasn’t made in a facility that also handles wheat,) gives me a headache and these are really easy to find.
- Califia Farms Unsweetened Unflavored Almond Milk – a good all-purpose almond milk that Lincoln drinks and we use for recipes calling for cow’s milk. We also love Hy-Vee’s Unsweetened Original if you live in the Midwest.
- Ore Ida Frozen Shredded Hash Browns – a weekend staple at our house!
- Sweet Potato Fries (or tots) – Lincoln loves these fries and I love that I can sneak a few off the baking sheet with no fear.
- Udi’s Frozen Pizza Crust – a Friday night staple.
- Freschetta Gluten-Free Frozen Pizza – man, sometimes you just need a friggin’ frozen pizza, know what I mean? We keep the basement freezer stocked with a few of these at all times.
- Jones Dairy Farm Frozen Sausage Links – I buy these sausages in bulk at Costco. They microwave in no time without getting rubbery, plus the ingredient list is great. Most importantly there is no gristle – huzzah!
- Canyon Bakehouse Mountain White Gluten-Free Bread – the closest to the real thing I’ve found in gluten-free bread land. Soft and squishy.
- Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-Free Bagels – I almost wept when I tried these a few months ago. Nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.
- MyBread Gluten-Free Flatbread – perfect for making into individual pizzas, using as fresh pitas, or tearing into breadcrumbs for meatballs.
- Golden Platter All Natural Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets – like I said last week, before I was a Mom I swore my kids would never eat chicken nuggets. Now we keep a bag of these in the freezer at all times!
- Nature’s Path Chia Plus Waffles – an easy option for quick breakfasts that are low in sugar and have a decent ingredient list.
- Vita Coco Coconut Water – hydrating and not water.
- Perrier Sparkling Water (all flavors) – gotta have those bubbles!
- Ice Mountain Sparkling Water (all flavors) – a cheaper sparkling water that’s just as satisfying.
- Decoy Sauvignon Blanc – oh yes I’m going there! Just my favorite store-bought wine that I wanted to share. :)
Let me know if there’s a product or brand you’re interested in that you don’t see above and I’ll let you know if I have a recommendation. Like I said, I really love this topic – if there was a way to make grocery shopping with your friends a job, I’d be writing the business plan for it!