Making the decision to go gluten-free in our home two years ago was a daunting choice. Not only did our kids buck at the idea, but some of our favorite indulgences were gluten-filled. However, the drastic swings in our daughter’s behavior were evident when she had consumed more gluten than usual.
Learning what has gluten and what doesn’t took some time. So did reading all of the labels at the grocery store! We have fallen into a rhythm of what we eat and what we buy. Initially the sticker shock on some of the replacement foods was drastic, but we’ve learned over time that it doesn’t have to be in the “gluten-free” section of the grocery store to actually be gluten-free.
Through trial and error, we have found some real duds – foods that tasted like the cardboard in the box they came in. We have also been fortunate to find some gluten-free staples we couldn’t live without!
- Jules All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour -We love baked goods in our home, and honestly, mixing your own gluten-free flour can be a real pain in the butt. Unfortunately, finding a good all-purpose flour substitute is also a pain in the butt. Luckily for me, a friend with a Celiac son turned me on to Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour! I use this stuff in everything! Anytime I come across a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour, I use Jules. 95% of the time, no one can tell the difference. In fact, over the holidays we have served items only to hear guests say, “I thought you ate gluten-free?”
- Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta – Remember when I said we had some indulgences that were gluten-filled? Yeah…pasta fits that bill. Truthfully, there are many gluten-free pastas on the market. They’re all pretty much comparable, but Tinkyada is our favorite. They offer a wide variety of types and shapes, and I’ve become accustomed to the little bit extra it takes time-wise for brown rice pasta to cook. Taste and texture on Tinkyada is spot on – I don’t even miss “regular” noodles!
- Udi’s Gluten-Free Pizza Crust – Frozen pizza is a convenience food that has been greatly missed in our home. Sure, there are plenty of great gluten-free frozen pizzas available in the grocery stores, but they’re ridiculously expensive! Fortunately, Udi’s has a great frozen pizza crust available that doesn’t break the bank. My teenagers love to experiment with different pizza creations! Most recently my son developed a “chili cheese pizza”, which he has deemed his all-time best. My daughter, on the other hand is happy just to slather the crust with refried beans, Mexican seasoning and cheese. As far a quick pizza goes, these are the most cost effective option most like the “real thing”.
- Chex – Cereal is a frustrating topic. While there are many cereals available in the “gluten-free” section of the grocery store, I have a difficult time buying them. I have a hard time paying the extra money for something labelled gluten-free when the manufacturers are adding so much extra crap to cereals the should be gluten-free naturally. Chex is my hero when it comes the leaving things the way they are supposed to be! Their rice and corn based cereals don’t have any malt flavorings or wheat starch added, which make them safe! Plus they have 7 different flavors!
- Kikkoman Gluten-Free Soy Sauce – Soy is gluten-free, right? So it would only make sense that soy sauce would be gluten-free. Right? Wrong. The second ingredient in most soy sauces is wheat. Wheat! In my head, this makes zero sense. This makes eating out far more complicated than it needs to be, because almost every dish on a Chinese food menu has soy sauce, and they do not use the gluten-free variety. Fortunately we like to cook at home, and we’ve been able to use the gluten-free soy sauce as a substitute in our home recipes. Gluten-free soy sauce tastes way better than the other stuff, too!
- Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal – It’s what I eat for breakfast nearly every single day. I love it! There is often debate as to whether oats are truly gluten-free. The simple answer is, yes. Unfortunately, a good majority of oats in the US are cross contaminated with products containing gluten because of how they’re grown or processed. Glutenfreeda’s Instant Oatmeal cooks up in my microwave as quickly as the Quaker stuff I grew up with! I love it and I love the variety available, too!
- Genius by Glutino multigrain bread – Bread is by far the one thing I miss the most. As hard as they try, no one can quite duplicate the soft, sweet flavor of a fresh, gluten-filled bread. Glutino comes close, though. When it comes to buying gluten-free bread for the house, I find that most companies offer a shrunken, denser version of the “real-stuff”. This multigrain bread is the closest I have found in density and flavor to my favorite multigrain breads of old.
- Nut Thins – Seriously, the best cracker ever. Even if we didn’t worry about gluten in our home, we would be devouring these crackers. There are seven flavors, and I love them all. The Hint of Sea Salt are a perfect pairing cracker – great with hummus and dips. The only thing I would change about these crackers is the size of the box. I want more!
- Van’s Gluten-Free Waffles – As much as we love to cook around here, we are not morning people. You’ll notice that 3/10 of the items on this list are breakfast foods. Pre-7:00 a.m., convenience is king. Frozen waffles fit that bill, and the Van’s waffles toast up really nice and soft! Plus they have a good variety!
- Pamela’s Cake Mix – Remember when I said we are fans of scratch cooking in our home? Do you also remember me saying mixing your own gluten-free flours can be a real pain? Yeah… That’s where Pamela’s Cake Mix comes in. Pamela’s is super accessible – I can find it at a number of grocery stores and co-ops near me. It’s a really great solution for those times when a quick cake is needed.
Obviously, personal preference reigns king in all of our lives. Over the years, we have tried many products attempting to replace old favorites. While this is not a comprehensive list, it is a list of items that have been tried and true. In my opinion, homemade is always best – but these items always do the trick!
**All opinions expressed above are mine and mine alone. No compensation was received from any of the above mentioned brands, nor have any of the above brands contacted my prior to publishing date for endorsements or reviews. I just truly love these products!**