When people first hear my household has gone gluten free, they almost always say the same two things: 1. “I’m so sorry — that must be hard!” and 2. “At least you’ll lose weight!”
People who haven’t shopped for gluten-free food assume that the hardest thing about going gluten free will also be the best for your waistline — no more bread or pasta will mean less you on the scale. But in fact, there are lots of carbs available to those who keep gluten free. And just because an item is gluten free doesn’t mean that it will be healthy. For example, did you know that Cheetos, pork rinds, Almond Joy bars, Kool-Aid and crème brûlée are all naturally gluten free? Not exactly what you would call health food!
Many gluten-free recipes and products also have to swap out healthy ingredients for other, less healthy, options. The gluten in wheat flour helps create the wonderful structure we associate with hearty breads, moist cakes and chewy cookies. Many of the pre-baked gluten-free cakes and cookies use sugar for moisture and fat for texture; gluten-free breads are often significantly lower in fiber than their whole wheat counterparts. In fact, a gluten-free diet is often low in B vitamins, iron and fiber.
One of the hardest times of the day for healthy eating is the time between lunch and dinner: the dreaded “snack time.” When you need to eat gluten-free, even the healthy vending machine options are usually off limits. With that in mind, here are some gluten-free snack options that are good for your gluten-free diet and for your overall health. One is naturally gluten-free and the other has been gently tweaked to be gluten-free. But both are safe to snack on and, in moderation (always key for any food), will help you stay on a healthy course! After all, who needs vending machines when you have Gluten-free Curry Chex Mix and Teff-Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!