When Bunky was first diagnosed I was lucky to have a good friend take me GF food shopping to point out her recommendations. Of course everyone’s tastes differ, but when you’re dealing with budget-breaking GF prices, it helps to have suggestions. So here is what my family likes right now. If we’re missing any of your favorites let me know by posting a comment below!
*Always check ingredients before buying ANYTHING to make sure it’s still gluten free*
Mac and Cheese … Annie’s Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese. Bunky used to only eat the creamy kind, pretty much two years straight, but now she actually prefers the white cheddar shells (powder cheese). Lesson is, you gotta mix it up every now and then.
Bagels and Bread and Pizza Crusts … We will always be grateful for Udi’s (except for the occasional gaping holes in the loaves, sigh).
Pasta brands … Schar rocks! Mrs. Leepers, Tinkyada, Bionaturae, + Jovial also great. Check out my pasta post for more helpful info.
Cookies … We do occasionally enjoy Schar’s chocolate wafer cookies, and I used to mention Enjoy Life soft cookies and Glutino chocolate sandwich cookies, but honestly, whenever I buy that stuff it goes stale in our pantry because it’s NEVER as good as homemade. And this is a sweet tooth family, so you know if we’re ignoring cookies, it’s bad.
Pretzels … Glutino WAS our go-to pretzel option until they changed the formula; we boycotted for a while but now we eat them again (um, it’s called lack of options, people) though we all agree the original was better. Right now we prefer the sticks to the twists. Go figure. Chocolate and yogurt covered are AWESOME.
Chicken nuggets/fingers … Belle and Evans (uncooked) and Applegate Farms are good, but of course you can always make your own.
Lunch meats … Since cross contamination can be an issue at deli counters, we shell out for Applegate Farms pre-sliced turkey and cheese, munster is a big fave around here.
Bars … Bunky practically lived on EnviroKidz chocolate Crispy bars in the early days, it’s possible the stock dipped once she stopped eating three (or more!) a day. Glutino makes a fruit filled grain bar, but it never went over well with my kid, though I liked them okay.
Pancake Mix … I used to love Pamela’s Pancake and Waffle Mix. The flecks of brown (almond flour) make it look healthy, ha! Also great is King Arthur’s mix, but I almost always make my own these days. Check out my Pinterest board, Hot Cakes for great GF recipes!
Cereal … Chocolate and Cinnamon Chex used to be big winners around here. Nowadays the kids (and by kids, I mean Bunky and my husband) enjoy Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles. Leapin Lemurs (EnviroKidz) and Puffins Honey Rice (Barbaras) – the other flavors of Puffins are not GF.
Crackers … We tolerate all the flavors of Glutino circle crackers, though they go stale faster than you can eat them, so use a zip lock unless you want to throw your money away, literally. *When I say tolerate, I mean they’re decent with some cheese or hummus on top, but to be perfectly honest, not awesome enough to simply snack on. Sigh.
Cheddar Goldfish or Bunnies … This is THE missing link in GF kids’ food, hello can someone please fill the void? If fish and bunnies are off limits, how about cats, or puppies, or birds? Pandas? Llamas? Until then, I hear Schar Cheese Bites are quite tasty. Update: Pepperidge Farms now makes Goldfish Puffs which are gluten free. They are tasty, but after the initial excitement wore off, my daughter hasn’t touched them.
GF All Purpose Flour … I love Better Batter, which is a fantastic gluten-like replacement. I’ve used Bob’s too, for quick breads and muffins, but it can have a bean-y aftertaste when using it for more delicate items. Lately I’ve been making my own using Gluten Free Girl’s 60/40 ratio. Sixty % whole grains (I use millet and sorghum) and forty % starches (I use potato and sweet rice). Check out my two posts here and here for a more in-depth look at GF flour.
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We’ve been GF since January so we’re still new to this adventure. I found the most amazing pasta- Pasta Mia by BiaGlut. You can get it from glutenfreemall.com or amazon (I prefer glutenfreemall.com) and it comes from Italy. It cooks the way pasta should, tastes like pasta should and even reheats perfectly. Nothing compares to it from what I have tried. It’s a bummer that it’s not in stores but I stock up and order in bulk.
Hi Kirsten, welcome to the GF world! I’m rather new too, just over a year. But it’s kind of like dog years, you know? A little time can feel like a lot longer. Thanks so much for the pasta rec! I’ve never seen it in stores, but I’ll definitely take a look online. Italy is pasta central, and apparently they are great with celiac, so it would make sense that they would put out quality products. Speaking of Italy and pasta, I also recently tried Jovial brown rice pasta and it’s really good. Thanks so much for the comment and let me know if you discover any other great stuff!
Even as and adult, I have had trouble living without Goldfish crackers or Cheez-its. I finally found a cracker that is even better: Wellaby’s Cheese Ups. I could eat the whole package in one sitting! Thank you for sharing your family’s gluten free journey. My adult daughter and I are gluten free for an autoimmune disease and it has been a challenge for us, too. I have to say, it has been a lot of fun trying new flours and recipes.
Hi Rebecca, I just did a search for Wellaby’s Cheese Ups and they look very promising. I love all that real cheese! I will definitely keep an eye out online and in stores. Recently I just tried Schar’s cheese bites and thought they were tasty, but my picky 4-year-old was not into it. Personally, I wonder if she has actually lost her taste for the Goldfish/Cheese-it style crackers after a year without.
I hope going GF has helped both you and your daughter with your autoimmune disease. The GF diet definitely IS challenging, especially at first, but fun too. I find that in the face of medical adversity, if you don’t keep your sense of humor, you’re in trouble. Well, that’s probably true about life in general. Hope you keep reading and commenting!
I am STILL on a seemingly never ending quest for good gluten-free pizza. I’ve not had it at restaurants, nor do I have the motivation to make something that to me, was a food of delicious convenience. I’ve tried almost every single store brand though – from the crusts where you add your own toppings, to the pre-made pizzas. One I used to love was Glutino’s spinach and feta, but they recently reformulated … it’s thinner, tastes worse, and has almost 100 extra calories!
What you said makes sense to me – that pizza should be a convenience, and on GF it’s just not 😦 We made a decent yeast free crust for a while, and then we had another kid and I was like, um, no thanks! Then we used Udi’s pre-made crust, but it’s not really pizza, you know? But my daughter likes it, which is key. What a bummer about Glutino’s! Have you noticed they also changed their pretzel formula?! And it’s not good! My kid noticed and was really disappointed. Us too.
Thanks for stopping by and for all your comments! I have been hanging around your blog and really enjoying it.
Dana, A couple of things…I’m not sure where I can just send you a message, so disregard that this is attached to a post (you don’t have to approve it right?). I saw how nice your pictures where for the chocolate coconut truffles and I wanted to let you know that a fellow blogger introduced me to picmonkey.com You can upload your photos and make them even more beautiful. Obviously I haven’t done it yet, but I’m planning to. My fellow blogger is http://www.stephaniesprenger.com Mommy for Real…it’s a cute blog, check it out I think you would like it.
I really need to just post my email somewhere! For future reference, it’s email@example.com
Thanks so much for the link to picmonkey and Stephanie’s blog! I really enjoyed reading her posts, very cute and funny.
Your website is great, thank you for sharing. I found it while looking for a cranberry muffin recipe, which I’m going to try shortly. I wanted to add a couple opinions…
– I think Snyder’s GF pretzels are the best. I find the Glutino brand upsets my stomach and I don’t like the texture.
– I hated the Schar cheese crackers, and I agree it’s a missing item in the GF packaged food world!
– I like Udi’s frozen pizza the best, but I usually make my own with the recipe in the Artisinal Gluten Free Cooking cookbook (definitely recommended!). The whole book is based on a flour blend which I find to be the best. I make a giant batch every couple of months. My husband likes the GF pizza crust better than any other gluten-filled version. You have to bake it on a pizza stone to really get the crunch, but as a pizza lover I think it’s worth it. Definitely not a glorious convenience food anymore though.
If I have to do a mix for anything, I always pick King Arthur Flour, but it’s so pricey that I usually make my own. I’ve been gluten-free for 3 years, and grew up with a mom with Celiac (things have certainly changed in the GF world in 25 years!). Best of luck to you and your daughter as you navigate life gluten-free.
Hi Emily, thanks so much for stopping by and the very kind words! Let me know if you end up making the cranberry orange muffins. Those are a big favorite around here 🙂
We also like Snyder’s pretzels! They just don’t sell them near us, so we end up with the Glutinos. Good to know you like the Artisinal GF Cookbook, I would love to check it out. We really need a fool proof pizza dough recipe around here, though Udi’s is a big fave with the kids.
Wow, your mom probably had quite a challenging time… I mean, now it can be tricky at times, but I know things were SO much harder 25 years ago. I mean, finding GF bread must have been close to impossible 😦 But it sounds like she made it through, and you probably have a great base of knowledge about how to eat GF.
Good luck to you too and thanks again for your comment!