by HALLEIGH MILLESON
When I was a junior in high school, I had a food sensitivity test done as I was having stomach issues. Surprisingly, when the results came back, I had a high sensitivity to gluten. I had always eaten gluten, but the time came for me to learn how to eat a gluten-free diet. Originally, I began researching online about eating gluten-free and found some gluten-free cookbooks to read. Over the past several years, I have found it easy to eat gluten-free as there are so many wonderful options now. I can confidently say that by eliminating gluten from my diet, I have experienced less stomach pain and headaches. Now, I am happy to share some foods that are naturally gluten-free, some of my favorite brands of gluten-free food items, and some helpful tips for eating out at restaurants. This article is intended for people who are sensitive to gluten rather than allergic to gluten.
Identifying Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
The good news for anyone who is eating gluten-free is that many foods are naturally gluten-free! Many whole foods like fruits, greens, and vegetables do not contain any gluten. Bananas, apples, watermelon, strawberries, and grapes are some of my favorite fruits to eat. Potatoes, broccoli, green beans, cucumber, and cauliflower are some of my favorite vegetables to eat. Protein is another food category that is naturally gluten-free. I will usually eat chicken, beef, salmon, and eggs. As I have gotten older, I have come to enjoy salads as they are gluten-free as long as you order the salad without croutons.
Additional naturally gluten-free foods that I enjoy are yogurt, rice, beans, almonds, potato chips, and popcorn. When it comes to grains, you have to intentionally choose brands that make gluten-free variations. The grain food category includes food like bread, pasta, cereal, and crackers. While it may seem frustrating to find alternatives to these grain foods, there are plenty of delicious options available at the grocery store which I talk about below.
Amazing Gluten-Free Brands
As there is an abundance of gluten-free brands available at the grocery store, I have listed some of my favorite brands in hopes of simplifying the gluten-free grocery shopping experience for you. For bread, my favorite brands are Canyon Bakehouse frozen bread, O’Doughs frozen bagels, and Trader Joe’s gluten free whole grain bread. For cereal, my favorite brands are any variation of both Cheerios and Chex. For granola, my favorite brands are One Degree Organic Foods and Purely Elizabeth. For pasta, my favorite brands are Barilla and Jovial.
For crackers, my favorite brands are Simple Mills and Blue Diamond Almond. For crunchy cookies, the Simple Mills cookies made with almond flour are the absolute best. Oreo has also come out with gluten-free options now that are delicious as well. For pretzels, my favorite brands are Quinn and Snyder’s. For gluten-free baking mixes, I highly recommend King Arthur’s gluten-free brownie mix, muffin mix, and cookie mix. I always suggest reading the product packaging to ensure that the product is indeed gluten-free. If the product is gluten-free, there will be a “GF” labeled somewhere on the packaging.
Tips for Eating at Restaurants
For gluten sensitivities, it is not too difficult to eat out. If you are sensitive to gluten, then I suggest first asking the restaurant staff if they have a gluten-free menu. Oftentimes, restaurants will have gluten-free menus that people are not aware of. In other instances, some restaurants will have dishes on their menu labeled with a “GF” beside them to indicate that the dish is gluten-free.
Also, do not be afraid to ask about gluten-free options! I have learned to ask the restaurant staff if they have gluten free bread. Most places offer gluten-free bread now which is nice. Specifically, Jersey Mike’s and Chick-fil-a offer gluten-free bread options. When in doubt, look for those naturally gluten-free options on the menu. If I cannot find an entire dish that is gluten-free, I will typically order a salad with fries or various gluten-free side dishes.
My wish is that these tips would be helpful to you and encourage you in your gluten-free eating journey!