Has your child been diagnosed with a gluten allergy? Or are you just trying to live a more healthful life and are trying to make gluten free a larger part of your diet? No matter the reason for your gluten free lifestyle you can still make kids happy and keep the work needed to do to a minimum. Unfortunately many people falsely believe that in order to eat gluten free you have to completely scrap traditional eating and snacking and spend hours in the kitchen making hard to prepare specialty items instead. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, which is a good thing for those who have to daily plan for a diet that doesn’t include gluten.
One of the best places to start when looking for great snack foods that are gluten free is the produce department. Yep that’s right fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten free and there are a lot of options to choose from. Take your pick from your standard apples and oranges to your more exotic guavas and mangos. Not only are fruits and vegetables naturally gluten free but also some of the best snacking options for your health as well as your budget. Fruits and veggies are easily portable take minimum prep time and offer one of the widest ranges of gluten free options.
Consider these veggie and fruit pairings.
- Carrot sticks and peanut butter
- Peaches and cottage cheese
- Apple slices with honey
- Strawberries and Dark Chocolate
- Frozen red grapes like popsicles
If your children are looking for something a bit more like party food there are some other great options for gluten free fare. Such as popcorn! Popcorn is also naturally gluten free as are most of the toppings that compliment it. Do make sure you check the label of any toppings or pre-popped popcorn with toppings to make sure that all the ingredients are in fact gluten free.
Here are some great popcorn options.
- Carmel popcorn (34 caramel popcorn recipes here)
- White Cheddar
- Kettle Popcorn
Another great snack for on the go that can be purchased is nuts. Nuts are naturally gluten free but you do have to be careful of cross contamination so just make sure you check the labels to make sure that the nuts you and your little ones are consuming are not processed on lines where they might come in contact with other gluten containing products.
- Planters plain and salted peanuts show they are processed to be gluten free
- Blue Diamond natural almonds are also a safe gluten free alternative
Consider adding them to some dark chocolate chips and gluten free dried fruit to make your own trail mix.
Also a close cousin to the nut is the seed! Your kids will love making your own roasted and toasted seeds. Think pumpkin carving around Halloween or crunching on home roasted sunflower seeds when watching your favorite baseball team.
- Toasted pumpkin seeds
- Roasted sunflower seeds
With all these naturally gluten free options snacking gluten free can be a breeze but there are still times that kids and adults as well may feel like they are missing out on some of the more standard snacks that seem to be available to others not avoiding gluten. Brownies, cookies and cake all seem to be off limits to those that need to keep to a gluten free diet. However, as eating and cooking gluten free has become more widely practice there are many more options available to those looking to make some tasty snacking treats that were once traditionally made with flour and other gluten containing ingredients.
You can still share those June Cleaver moments with your little ones making such delicious snacks as chew chocolate chip cookies, dark chocolate brownies and delicious apple crisps. In fact there are many baking recipes for items just like these and more that can be found on the internet and in countless gluten free cookbooks. Check out the delicious dessert recipes found here that feature 50 all-natural gluten free and low-glycemic recipes to start flexing your gluten free baking muscles.
Here is a short list of the many baking options available for gluten free snacking:
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Flour free Chocolate Cake
- Crispy Apple Crisps
- Dark Chocolate Brownies
- Banana Cake With Blueberries
- Chocolate Lava Cake
- Coconut Cake
If you love to bake and make those homemade snacks you might consider investing in some gluten free baking products. Because there is not one flour that can do all the same things that wheat based flour can do you will probably want to do your research on what flour substitute will work best for you. There are a number of really great gluten free flour mixtures on the market today and they all work well for different things. Some are better for making small baking items such as cookies or scones and others work better for things such as pie crusts and wafers. Once you decided which one works best for your baking needs you’ll be rolling out the gluten free snacks from your kitchen faster than your little snackers can keep up.
If you are not sure about baking your own gluten free snacks but you still want your kids to be able to enjoy the occasional cookie or slice of cake you may just want to check at your local health food stores for some great prepackaged options. Many health food stores carry such brands as Annie’s, Blue Almond, Glutino, Kini-Toos, Organic Mary Crackers and Kind. These brands offer some very affordable and kid friendly gluten free snack options.
- Annie’s Vanilla Bunny Cookies
- Blue Almond Nut Thin Crackers
- Glutino Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Kini-Toos Chocolate Sandwich Creme
- Organic Mary Crackers
- Kind Bars
Another great resource for the gluten free parent is surprisingly enough the cereal aisle at your local grocery store. Chex cereal is a great easy to carry snack and it comes in six gluten free flavors, including classic Rice, Apple cinnamon, and Chocolate. With Chex mix being one of the ultimate party and gathering snack there are many gluten free Chex mix variations available to try from sweat to savory you are sure to find a Chex cereal to snack on that will fit your craving. Rice Krispy’s is also offering a gluten free alternative which allows you to make the classic rice crispy treat as a gluten free treat. These can then be wrapped up for lunches and after school snacks.
Rice cakes can also be found in the cereal aisle and many rice cakes are also gluten free. As with any other pre-packaged food make sure you check the label to make sure there are not added ingredients that could contain gluten. Rice cakes can be topped with a number of gluten free toppings such as apple and peanut butter, as well as even melted dark chocolate for a sweet treat.
- Chex Mix
- Rice Crispy Treats
- Rice Cakes with toppings
The most important thing to remember when searching for gluten free snacks for your kids is their own personal tastes. With all the options that are now available you will be sure to find more than a few that they will enjoy and you will enjoy serving as well.