So I’ve been gluten-free for about 9 months now, and by no means do I consider myself an expert, but I will say that I’ve made a lot of discoveries over these 9 months. One of my biggest challenges starting out was what to eat for snacks. I have always tried to eat 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner), a mid-morning snack, and a mid-afternoon snack. Well, upon becoming GF, I thought my snacking days were over. The common assumption among gluten eaters is that the only GF options in the world are fruits and veggies. Blah. Now I’m big fan of both fruits and veggies, but the thought of no other options is terrifying. I’m here to say that snacking gluten-free is so so so easy. And you can do it without buying specialty products. My friend Barb is on the brink of being gluten-free, but has trouble saying no to the copious amounts of gluten-y snacks that show up at work. I understand. But there are plenty of GF alternatives that I use as distractions (yes, I still miss cake, but…)
Here are my 8 favorite GF snacks so far:
Chips & Salsa:
Chris and I eat boatloads of this stuff. I will admit that I wasn’t a huge salsa/Mexican food fan before going GF, so it’s been a process. I was a super picky eater as a child (yeaaaaah one of those). But now I love it! I bet my Mom thought she’d never see the day (NOTHING is too spicy for her). They’re a great option because tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas, which consist of basically ground up corn. Naturally gluten-free. Then salsa is basically tomatoes, veggies, and spices. No gluten there either. Best parts: cheap, sharable, easy to find, no special attention needed.
P.S. I love fire-roasted tomatoes. This is my favorite salsa right now.
I’ve mentioned before that when a product’s packaging says “Gluten Free” on the front, I get REALLY excited. Well, rice cakes are one of those products. Rice and corn are two of the main items used in lieu of wheat, rye, oats, or barley, so if I drawn to rice and corn products automatically. I liked rice cakes before I was GF, but I really love them now. This snack comes is SO many different flavors and varieties, so if you’re like me and get tired of things, rice cakes will keep your taste buds entertained. I like to share these at work with Shannon because she likes the apple cinnamon ones when I’m tired of them. Best parts: on sale a lot, so many choices, no-brainer label.
I’m a huge fan of fruity, gummy things. My brother and I get big bags of Swedish Fish for Christmas every year, and we pretty much eat both bags within a day. I also love sour fruity candies like Sour Patch kids (justthe red ones) and Sour Patch watermelons. Ok, this really isn’t about candy, but Chris and I recently discovered Cinnamon Bears. They’ve become one of our comfort foods for when we eat our feelings. Anyway, just like regular people, eating candy all the time is bad for me. So fruit snacks work just fine. If you don’t like fruit snacks, you’re lying. Welch’s fruit snacks are another product that has the “Gluten Free” right on the label. Love that. Chris and I found a box of 40 packs for $7.99, so we split them. They’re only 80 calories per pack, and all of the flavors are delicious. There’s the no preservatives part too, which is always a plus. Best parts: fruity/gummy fix, vitamin packed, about 20 cents a pack
Bananas & Peanut Butter:
I’ve always been a good fruit eater, and bananas are one of my favorites. While working at Camp Mikell for four summers during college, I discovered banana-peanut butter greatness after getting sick of the same ol’ breakfasts. Bananas are great in their own right. They are hand-held, fun to peel, good for you, and just plain good (I don’t know how people don’t like them). Peanut butter is another just plain good item that can be applied to numerous other things, like celery, apples, and my favorite, bananas! The combination of sweet and salty, and the mix of the two textures are absolutely irresistible. I usually put peanut butter straight on my banana as I’m eating it, take a bite, and then re-apply until the banana is gone. Best parts: keeps you full, great snacks separately, better together
Hummus was another thing that I really wasn’t a huge fan of before going gluten-free. Something about the spices in it, I don’t know really. Well that all changed when I discovered Sabra’s Spinach and Artichoke hummus. Spinach and artichokes are two of my absolute favorite things; so when combined in a dip, I’m always down to try it. For some reason, I loved this hummus, and its been a staple in my fridge ever since. It’s also pretty filling, so it could almost be a meal if you wanted it to be. I eat it with tortilla chips or carrot chips instead of the standard pita chips. It’s a great source of fiber and protein, so you’ll stay pretty full. It’s another good party snack, too. Best parts: GF on the label, looks pretty, long fridge life
My friend Stacey is a Trader Joe’s expert, and turned me on to these yummy little poppable snacks. She knows how I am with my chocolate, and sometimes makes a TJ’s run during lunch and picks some of these guys up for us. They’re great because I get my dark chocolate fix AND they’re semi good for you. The insides are made of acai, pomegranate, cranberry, and blueberry juices, and then they’re covered with dark chocolate. I was skeptical at first, because I’m not a huge fan of chocolate covered fruity things, but these really are amazing. I’d eat the whole bag if Stacey let me. Best parts: pretty packaging, satisfies the sweet tooth, makes you feel powerful?
Yogurt is another snack that is a normal person snack and it comes in so many varieties. I will say that I check the back labels before I decide on the variety I get, but most of the time they’re gluten-free. There is pretty much at least one brand of yogurt on sale each week, so that’s usually the one I go for. This week, Dannon’s Greek Yogurt, Oikos, with fruit on the bottom was on sale, and it might be my new favorite discovery! It is so good! It’s definitely the best Greek variety I’ve had (and I’ve tried a few), and it’s rivaling some of the regular stuff. It’s super creamy, just the right amount of sweet, and its chunky (the fruit), which I love. Both regular and Greek yogurts are loaded with protein, so you’ll stay full. Really any yogurt is a great snack. Best parts: good for you and your bowels, always on sale, active cultures for your lady bits
Ok fine, I love fruit:
Gluten-free or not, I really do love my fruit, but I’m going to focus on the best ones as far as I’m concerned: pears, grapes, and clementines. I picked these (and bananas, of course) because they’re easy to eat at work. They’re all naturally gluten-free and have their own health benefits between them. Like I said, I get tired of foods after a while (except for dark chocolate, duh), so I like to switch up my fruits. They really are good. Best parts: quick and easy, always at least one on sale, good for ya
I like the little bags because it really is just enough AND its just 100 calories. It’s got the sweet/salty thing going on, which I love. Again, there are lots of varieties, which is so great! Kettle corn may be my favorite. I also really like those big tubs (surely not 100 cals) you get during Christmas time that have cheddar, butter, and caramel corn. Those are the best. I also like that it’s not a cold snack like a lot of other options. Best parts: smells amazing, easy to transport, even easier to eat
See, it really isn’t that bad. Snacks don’t HAVE to be fruits and veggies. Yes, there are still days when nothing will replace/be as good as a piece of banana bread or brownie, but at the end of the day, my body thanks me. And it’s so worth it.