13 Gluten-Free Foods Nutritionists Swear By
Need help navigating the gluten-free aisle? These tasty, nutritious snacks are both foodie- and nutritionist- approved.
Birch Benders Gluten-Free Pancake & Waffle Mix
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This gourmet pancake mix not only makes hot, tasty comfort food, but can also be used to bread fish, vegetables, and even make scones or muffins—no eggs, milk, or hassle needed. Nutritionists love Birch Benders for its blend of wheat-free flours, including their signature hazelnut meal, which makes the taste all the more dimensional and delicious. Birch Benders comes in nine varieties including Classic, Chocolate Chip, Six Grain Cinnamon, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Protein, Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread Spice, and Double Chocolate Peppermint. All are organic, trans fat-free, and non-GMO. Our kid testers give the pancakes two thumbs up. These are the 11 most common celiac disease symptoms.
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Perfect Bars, co-founded by a brother-and-sister team using their dad’s nut butter-based recipes, are one of the gluten-free community’s best new additions. The non-GMO, certified kosher bars are made with over 20 nutrient-dense organic whole food ingredients including kale, spinach, alfalfa, and celery, which means they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals. They’re also a great source of complex carbohydrates and whole food protein—up to 17 grams per bar! Most important: They’re crazy delicious. Of the 10 available flavors, Blueberry Cashew, Maple Almond, Carob Chip, and Coconut Peanut Butter are the ones to try.
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If you are looking for a satisfying and chewy gluten-free treat, Kind Bars are another top contender. All Kind Bars are gluten-free, non-GMO, and low-sodium, in 22 tasty flavors made only with ingredients we can pronounce—mainly fruit, nuts, and whole grains. A nutritionist favorite is Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, with its heart-healthy blend of almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, plus antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. You can also make homemade energy bars with these sugar-savvy recipes (just swap in gluten-free flours as needed).
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Gluten-free (and soy-free) Curate Bars are a brilliant combination of wholesome, nutrient-dense, surprisingly sophisticated ingredients such as Mission figs, balsamic vinegar, quinoa, chia seeds, lavender, pistachios, dark chocolate, almonds, and hazelnuts. They’re filled with protein (up to 6 grams per bar) and are a good source of plant-based fiber—12 percent of your daily value. They’re only lightly sweetened using all natural ingredients, plus there are no GMOs or artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. You can also find kid-friendly versions with apple, cinnamon, chocolate, banana, and oats.
Alive and Radiant Kale Krunch
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Alive and Radiant Kale Krunch is a great brand of kale chip in part because they have no sugar, according to Sarah Otazo, principal nutritional therapist with NutriFoundations. They’re made with, you guessed it, kale, a superfood that’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, and antioxidants. These particular kale chips, which happen to also be vegan, are crisped under low heat, so they’re technically a raw food. This is important because raw vegetables maintain their natural enzymes, making them even healthier than when you cook the fresh vegetable at high heat. Choose from seven flavors, including fan favorites Quite Cheezy, Ranch, Tarragon Dijon, and Sriracha Lime.
Bare Apple Snacks
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What’s better than eating an apple? Eating an apple that’s been dried to an awesome crunch and comes in an easy-to-open pouch. I highly recommend Bare Apple Snacks, especially for young children, because they have an entire apple in every bag, they’re only 50 calories, and they’re gluten- and fat-free with no added sugars. The apples, which come in Fuji & Reds, Granny Smith, and Cinnamon (and organic versions of all three), are sweet because they’re baked in a special oven that caramelizes their natural sugars. If you have any left from your snack, add them to dishes like salads, oatmeal, and other dishes that could use fruit or a crunchy topper. (Also check out the brand’s banana and coconut snacks.)
Mary’s Gone Crackers
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Nutritionist Melanie Silverman, MS, raves about these crunchy, flavorful snack crackers that are not only gluten-free, but also organic, non-GMO, whole grain, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan, and kosher. Mary’s Gone Crackers, which are made with whole grain brown rice, quinoa, and seeds such as pumpkin, poppy, and sunflower, are a staple in many gluten-free homes (and cars), and are even better topped with some peanut butter or hummus (try these unique homemade hummus recipes). They come in seven varieties, including Original, Herb, Caraway, Onion, Black Pepper, Super Seed, and Hot ‘n Spicy Jalapeño.
Pure Genius Brownies
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Sometimes you just want something sweet—and gluten-free and healthy as a bonus. This is where Pure Genius (now called Rule Breaker) comes in. Their brownies are made with 40 percent chickpeas, which means loads of fiber and protein, though you can’t taste the legume at all. The 100 percent plant-based, gluten-free confections are processed in an allergy-free facility without any coconut, dairy, tree nuts, nuts, or soy. The best part is that they are half the calories of typical brownies but just as delicious. The two fan favorites: Deep Chocolate Brownie, a fudgy hunk of heaven at 2.5 ounces and just 194 calories, and Chocolate Chunk Blondie, studded with giant chocolate chunks at just 185 calories.
Simple Mills Mixes
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So you wouldn’t eat flour straight-up, we get that. But Simple Mills mixes can help you be that baker who pleases all your guests, including yourself. Their mixes for chocolate chip cookies, pizza doughs, cakes, breads, and muffins are especially good, given that they’re not only gluten-free but also dairy-free, GMO-free, and easy to prepare. Here are some more ideas for gluten-free baked goods.
Go Raw Sprouted Bites
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Go Raw is a much-loved gluten-free brand because all their products are made in the company’s dedicated factory, so there’s no risk of cross contamination. Go Raw has over 50 raw, sprouted items—including granola, snack bars, and nuts and seeds—but nutritionists have special love for the Sprouted Bites, a hybrid cracker-bar-fruit snack in yummy flavors such as Chewy Apricot, Banana Bread, Pumpkin Seed, Raisin Crunch, and Sweet Spirulina. And because they’re all raw, they retain all the rich enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that nature gave them. All Go Raw products are free of dyes, additives, and fragrances. No GMOS to be found! Use these recipes to prepare raw foods at home.
FAWEN Drinkable Soup
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Remember the commercial jingle, “Soup is good food?” Well, it certainly is, especially if it’s FAWEN Drinkable Soups—they’re gluten-free, organic, vegan, and full of veggies, so they’re loaded with vitamins and fiber. Nutritionists appreciate that they have around 82 percent less sugar per serving than juices and smoothies, and the sugar they do have is from vegetables and coconut milk—there’s no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. We’re loving the Sweet Potato & Red Lentil with Cinnamon and the Broccoli & Cauliflower with Turmeric as post-workout snacks and 3 p.m. pick-me-ups. Plus, the Beet & Purple Cabbage with Cumin one will be a hit with your kids.
An apple a day
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Store-bought snacks are a treat, but don’t forget the whole foods you probably already have in your fridge that make amazing gluten-free snacks. Susan Weiner, a nutritionist with Endocrine Web and Diabetic Lifestyle, recommends toting your favorite apple. Slice up a red delicious, Granny Smith or Gala apple, and top it with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter or almond butter. If you’re allergic to nuts, give sunflower butter a try—but make sure to check the label for additives that may have gluten. If you need to travel with a cut-up apple, try the apple slices that are pre-packed, as long as you double-check the label to make sure it’s gluten-free (in other words, nothing else was added to the packaging.)
Hard boiled eggs
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Sometimes simple is best. Having a cache of hard boiled eggs in the fridge comes in handy for on-the-go, gluten-free snacks. They also pack a tremendous amount of energy-boosting protein, bite for bite. Plus, the nutrient-dense bites are easy to carry along thanks to their own protective shell.