7 Gluten-Free Foods to Stock Up on Now!

by Stephanie Ferrari, MS, RDN on May 23, 2018 in Food, Lifestyle, Wellness,

May is National Celiac Awareness Month, a great time to spread awareness about gluten-free eating.

What is Celiac Disease?

An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease. And I’m not just talking about those who are choosing to avoid gluten because of dietary preferences. Celiac disease is actually a genetic autoimmune disease, and if left untreated, can have serious health consequences.

How Are Symptoms Triggered?

Symptoms of celiac disease are triggered by consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with the disease consume gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the villi of the small intestine. This hinders the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, which can lead to nutrient depletion.

What’s the Impact?

Celiac disease puts people at risk for all kinds of nasty stuff: anxiety, additional autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, intestinal damage and even certain cancers. The scary part? It’s estimated that 83% of the people with celiac disease in the U.S. are not diagnosed yet or are misdiagnosed.

How Hard Is It To Avoid Gluten?

For those few who are properly diagnosed, like my niece Jackie, the only thing they must do is avoid gluten. Easy, peasy right? Unfortunately, it’s much more complicated than that.

Gluten is hidden in many products – cross contamination is a huge culprit and even beauty products like lip gloss can trigger a response. Many restaurants can’t guarantee a gluten-free experience, and with so many people choosing to avoid gluten for reasons other than celiac disease, the growing trend is making cross contamination an even bigger concern because many companies are trying to offer “gluten-free” foods but are not trained in food safety.

If you’re living with celiac disease or you know someone who must avoid gluten, these are my 7 top recommendations for gluten free products:

Tolerant Foods: Naturally gluten-free pastas including Chickpea, Black Bean, Green and Red Lentil varieties that are packed with 14-22 grams of protein per serving. Tolerant Simply Legumes also sneaks in a full serving of vegetables and provides 46-62% of your daily fiber. Even without a food intolerance or allergy, Tolerant is a great replacement for everyday pasta because of its nutritional value and composition.

 

GFB Gluten Free Bites: These little gluten-free bites do not disappoint with their amazing flavor and list of simple, non-GMO ingredients. If that isn’t enough, they’re also vegan, and packed with protein. All the GFB products are made in their certified gluten-free facility where they ensure all their products.

  

Gerbs Super Five Seed Granola: This is one of our favorite gluten-free granola mixes! It contains roasted oats, sunflower kernels, pumpkin kernels, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp kernels and honey, which all add to its awesome flavor and nutrition profile. You can put this granola on top of your favorite yogurt, add it into muffins, or we love it all on its own! The entire Gerbs product line is free of the top 12 allergens in the United States.

 

Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour: Bob’s Red Mill has a separate gluten-free facility that eliminates the fear of cross contamination which is one of the reasons I love this baking flour. Take the guesswork out of gluten-free baking by simply swapping regular flour for this product and don’t worry about needing to add anything additional.

 

KA-ME Rice Crackers: A traditional Japanese snack, KA-ME is Certified Gluten-Free and non-GMO verified, has no added sugar, and contains no artificial flavors or colors. They are made from ground jasmine rice rather than rice flour. A variety of flavors are available such Sesame, Wasabi and Korean Barbecue.

 

Saffron Road’s Crunchy Chickpeas: A naturally gluten-free snack containing six grams of protein in just a 1/4 cup serving. The crunchy chickpea is a great alternative to other ready-to-eat snacks that can be high in sodium and fat while offering little nutritional value.

 

Swerve: This natural sweetener measures cup-for-cup and tastes like sugar but without the calories. Swerve is made from erythritol combined with prebiotic fibers and has no effect on blood sugar. We included Swerve because when baking with gluten free flour, recipes often call for more sugar. I recommend swapping the sugar for Swerve in all gluten-free baked goods.

Stephanie Ferrari, MS, RDN is a Boston-based registered dietitian and the co-founder of FRESH Communications. When she’s not working, you’ll find her knee-deep in toys and leading sing-alongs with her husband and daughters.