Gluten Free Snacks: How to Choose

June 18, 2013

Living gluten free not only means finding the right foods to eat at meal times, but snacks as well. Here are some of SupermarketGuru's favorites

Living gluten free not only means finding the right foods to eat at meal times, but snacks as well. Many typical snack food and their ingredients, from seasonings and sauces to soups, teas, soymilk, salad dressings, crackers, chips, and cold cuts, are loaded with gluten, or processed in the same facilities. And looking for specifically marked gluten free snacks doesn’t always mean healthy. In fact some gluten free snacks and foods are loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats as well as the equivalent of white flour (therefore lacking in whole grains) and overall nutritionally poor.

SupermarketGuru wanted to point out some favorite snacks that just happen to be gluten free as well.

Fresh fruit is so easy to buy and to have around the house. Just peel a banana and enjoy! Munch an apple or sink your teeth into a juicy pear or peach. There's always something from the fruit world in season whether it's stone fruit or berries in the summer or apples and oranges year round. Frozen berries and other fruits taste great defrosted and mixed in with a scoop of ricotta cheese, cottage cheese or plain yogurt. When in season, papayas, mangoes, melons, and kiwis are wonderful snacks. Make sure to shop for what’s in season, it’s more delicious, nutritious and your body will thank you.

Try low-fat cottage cheese sprinkled with your favorite seasonings like chili pepper, pepper, or Italian spices, or serve with a circle of pineapple, chopped pears or apples, or a small handful of green or red grapes. Other good dairy choices are 4 ounces of plain yogurt, one to two ounces of cheddar cheese with apples or whole grain crackers or a thick slice of mozzarella with a slice of fresh tomato either with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar and olive or with a few leaves of fresh basil.

Use your blender! Use it for blending leftover veggies or use fresh ones with water or add a little vegetable or chicken stock, blend, heat and serve as a pureed soup or hot drink.

Cut up stalks of celery, buy some baby peeled carrots, slice some colorful bell peppers (red, yellow, green or purple). Lightly blanched cauliflower or broccoli florets are also delicious for snacking. All are delicious on their own; no dips necessary, but guacamole is a great filling and healthy choice.

Small quantities of raisins or currants, nuts (pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts) or a home-made trail mix of raisins and nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds are delicious and filling.

Peanut, almond, sunflower and other nut butters aren’t just for sandwiches. Slather sliced apples with it, or fill celery stalks with it, or add it to delicious gluten free whole grain crackers. Nut butters are excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins.

As a reminder, gluten is a type of protein found in all types of wheat including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro; as well as barley, rye and, triticale. Oats are naturally gluten-free but because they are generally processed in wheat facilities, they can be cross-contaminated. Always read labels and look for certified gluten free products, before assuming any foods are gluten free.