Top 10 Gluten-Free Brands Worth a Try

  • I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008. There’s been a lot of trial and error over the past six years to figure out what is edible, what tastes like cardboard, and what is delicious. Fortunately, a wide variety of gluten-free options are on the market today, thanks to an increase in celiac disease awareness and the popularity of going gluten-free. You no longer  have to say goodbye to some of your favorite foods. 

     

    Here’s a list of gluten-free brands I highly recommend.

     

    Pasta


    Photo: Clay Mclachlan

     

    There are several types of gluten-free pastas out there: quinoa, rice, corn, and so forth. Corn pasta is a whole lot of carbs and little nutritional value. Quinoa pasta is a great way to sneak protein in your meal. But my favorite option is jovial™ brown rice pasta. It’s healthier than the corn and white rice pastas and, in my opinion,  tastes the best. I like that it’s all natural. The ingredients list comprises only  two things: organic brown rice flour and water. It also comes in environmentally friendly packaging. While it may not have as much protein as quinoa pasta, a 2oz. serving size still provides  5g of protein. I often buy the capellini or penne rigate, but jovial™ offers a wide variety of pasta types, such as spaghetti, fusilli and lasagna.

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    Bread


    For people on a gluten-free diet, bread is the hardest thing to find.  Gluten acts as a binding ingredient. Without it, bread often crumbles and loses its fluffy texture.  I’ve tried many gluten-free breads that are as hard as sandpaper (and taste like it too), or that disintegrate the second I pick it up. I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy crumbs.

     

    I discovered a bread that actually tastes like bread and can withstand the touch of a butter knife: Udi’s Gluten Free™. Based in  Colorado, Udi’s is one of the more popular gluten-free brands, so it’s no surprise it made my list. My go-to loaf is Udi’s Omega Flax & Fiber. This bread contains flax and chia seeds, which are filled with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. It holds up well in the toaster and on the stove (grilled cheese!) without losing its form.  I also think Udi’s has the best bagels, particularly  whole grain bagels.

     

    Pancakes


    Photo courtesy of Pamela's

     

    Who doesn’t love a stack of fluffy, soft flapjacks? When I’m craving some pancakes, I use Pamela’s® Baking & Pancake Mix. The key to its yummy taste is the combination of rice flours and buttermilk. Pamela created her eponymous company in 1988 after growing up in her family-run health food store.  

     

    Honorable mention: For brand-name loyalists, Bisquick® Gluten Free Pancake & Baking Mix tastes just like the real thing.

     

    Pretzels


    I kind of gave up on pretzels when I became gluten-free. I never ate them much before, so I figured I wouldn’t miss them. But as I realized my snack selection was limited, I began to broaden my horizons. That’s when I spotted Snyder’s of Hanover® Gluten-Free Pretzels on the grocery shelf. Snyder’s was my favorite pretzel brand growing up, so I was ecstatic when I saw its  gluten-free alternative. To my delight, they taste pretty much like the originals—crunchy texture and all.

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    Snack bars


    Photo courtesy of Raw Revolution

     

    It’s so annoying that most snack/granola bars have gluten! I’m looking at you CLIF, Nature Valley™, and Kashi®. All I want is a quick fix when I’m on-the-go. Sometimes I want to mix it up from fruit and nuts.  Thank goodness for Raw Revolution bars. Raw Revolution was started by a registered nurse and natural food chef in 2004. I forgo the sweeter flavors, like Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate, for the healthier Spirulina Dream. I am seriously obsessed with this bar. Sadly, it’s often sold out at stores due to popularity. Spirulina is a nutrient-dense algae. The bar’s nutritional benefits are rounded out with almonds, cashews, dates, flax and sunflower seeds. I especially like that it contains agave nectar instead of corn syrup or sugar as a sweetener.

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    Honorable mention: KIND bars. However, these taste much sweeter and are expensive for such a small amount.

     

    Cereal

     


    Photo courtesy of Barbara's


    Most celiac patients probably cry over bread and pizza. For me, giving up almost every major cereal was a dagger to the heart. This was my favorite type of food. Let me repeat: MY FAVORITE. The reality of never again eating Lucky Charms®, Crispix®, Apple Jacks®, Honey Nut Cheerios® (the list goes on but I’ll stop for the sake of this article) was unfathomable. I cheated with cereal for several years. But my two-faced habits caught up with me eventually. Six years later, I remember those cereals with sad fondness.

     

    My relationship with cereal will never be the same, but I have found some good substitutes. Barbara’s Puffins® Multigrain is one of the best. It’s crunchy, not too sweet, and comes in a big box.

     

    Honorable mention: Nature’s Path Organic Sunrise® Crunchy Maple. Pure deliciousness.

     

    Crackers


    Photo courtesy of TH Foods, Inc.

     

    As you may know, there are a lot of rice crackers out there. But not all of them are good. They’re often too brittle or bland. I prefer Crunchmaster’s Multi-Grain Crackers in Sea Salt. They’re tasty and just the right size. Plus, these crackers have three seeds for a powerful fiber punch: flax, quinoa, and sesame.

     

    Pizza


    Many pizza joints now carry gluten-free dough. But if you want something quick, Amy’s Gluten-Free, Non-Dairy Spinach Pizza doesn’t take long to cook in the oven. If you have other food allergies, this is for you. It’s free of lactose, dairy and tree nuts. Bonus: The pizza is big enough to last for two meals.

     

    You should also check out Amy’s soups. Not all of them are gluten-free, though, so look at the ingredients carefully.

     

    Granola


    Gluten-free granola can be extremely hard to find.  If all oats bother you, I suggest Bakery on Main’s Extreme Fruit & Nut granola mix. This brand uses corn meal in place of oats. It also has a bunch of nuts for protein including Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, walnuts and pecans. It’s non-GMO, Kosher and dairy-free. You can eat it like cereal, but I snack on it raw.

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    Flours


    If you like to bake, Bob’s Red Mill offers  one of the largest varieties of gluten-free flours. Bob’s has been a staple in my home for years. Eighty-one-year-old Bob Moore began making flours from mills more than 30 years ago and is still a part of the Oregon-based company. His flours range from Almond to Fava Bean to Green Pea, with tons of premixed options for cake, brownies, biscuits and more.

Published On: April 16, 2014