Whether you are going gluten-free because you truly have intolerance to wheat and all its derivatives (celiac disease) or just trying to reduce your wheat consumption, try not to fall into the trap of thinking your only snacking options are all those “gluten-free” highly processed snacks typically found in the inner aisles of most grocery stores (i.e.; the aisles we most want to avoid).
There are so many whole foods options that are naturally gluten-free and fuel your body the proper way. While fruit and vegetables may be the most obvious choices that can get boring especially if your senses are used to snacking on processed snacks. Ease your taste buds into some of these tasty, whole-foods snacks where you’ll never miss a chip or slice of wheat bread again.
Here are my top suggestions:
1. Bean Dips: Yes, eat your veggies but pair them with bean dips which are full of fiber, complex carbs, as well as an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Most grocers now offer high quality bean dips like hummus, black bean, and even edamame. Or you can make your own. Try The Whole Meal’s Homemade Hummus or check out Eating Well’s slideshow of healthy bean dips. If you must give in to your need for chips or crackers try tortilla chips or one of my newly discovered gluten-free chips, Trader Joe’s Roasted Plaintain Chips.
2. Fruit Smoothies: You probably have most of the ingredients for a fiber-, antioxidant-, and vitamin-rich sweet drink that fills you up and fuels you right. Keep it all fruit based or add in a green (spinach or kale) to up the nutritional benefits. If you want to limit the sugar use coconut, almond, or cow’s milk as your base rather than a fruit juice. There are so many websites and cookbooks on smoothie recipes but this smoothie primer from Rodale’s Organic Life has some great basic but delicious recipes to start you off right.
3. Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit: Best known as trail mixes when paired together but darn good on their own; you choose how you want to eat them. These three whole foods are the basis for so many raw snacks. One of my favorite’s is The Whole Meal’s Chocolate Cranberry Truffles, which are perfect for a pre- or post-workout, an afternoon pick-me-up or dessert. As far as trail mixes go both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods offer some really good ones. Or check out this cool twist on a trail mix in muffin form, On-The-Go Breakfast Oatmeal Trail Mix Cupcakes, from one of my favorite food sites, Chocolate Covered Kate (note that many that suffer from celiac may not be able to tolerate oats).
4. Yogurt Parfaits: These dairy-based snacks are a great source of calcium and protein from the yogurt, fiber from the granola and fruit and, of course, lots of antioxidants in the fruit. It’s super filling and easy to whip together. My girls’ favorite version is layering some plain Greek yogurt on the bottom of a glass cup, followed by a scoop of Bare Naked’s Triple Berry Fit Granola, and topped with a handful of frozen blueberries. They then drizzle a little raw honey on top.
5. Pre-made Snacks: Ok ok, I will concede that we live in this modern world and sometimes we need a processed food to fill in the gaps; i.e. our kids needing a snack in the car on the way to an after school activity, you needing a snack on the go, surprise guests to the house and need something to put out to nibble, so Heavy.com has put together a list of some gluten-free snacks found in those middle aisles. I have to admit I have had every one of these items in my house (except #10) and they nailed it.
The whole foods gluten free options are only as limited as your imagination. Stock your pantry and fridge right and healthy wheat-free snacking is only a door away.