Category Archives: Gluten Free Cooking

Finding Great Gluten Free Snacks

Food on the go is a necessary part of life and having healthy gluten free snacks on hand is a good way to ensure you avoid gluten foods. Gluten free snacks can be simple or elaborate gluten free appetizers depending on the level of preparation that you’re interested in. The key to finding gluten free snacks is to remember that most food IS gluten free. Fruits and vegetables make wonderful healthy snacks and there are lots of gluten free products to choose from as well. Our guide will help you think of lots of gluten free snack options for your family.

Gluten Free Snacks for Kids
Since most food is gluten free, finding gluten free snacks for kids doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few ideas of snacks that are naturally gluten free:

  • Sliced apple with cheese or peanut butter
  • Vegetable sticks
  • Fruit salad with coconut
  • Gluten free oatmeal with cinnamon and brown sugar
  • Popcorn
  • Corn chips and salsa

Easy Gluten Free Snacks
Some of the easiest snacks are simply whole foods like a banana or a bunch of grapes. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. There are other wonderful snack options that require just a touch more work. Here is a list of gluten free snacks that will be easy to prepare:

  • Gluten free muffins, made from a gluten free mix
  • Cinnamon toast, made from gluten free bread
  • Chocolate pieces and fresh strawberries
  • Tortilla chips with bean dip
  • Hard boiled egg with salt and pepper
  • Trail mix: cashews, chocolate pieces, raisins, sunflower seeds, pecans and almonds

The best way to have gluten free snacks on hand is to do a bit of preparation in advance. Put together some snacks in big batches. Snacks like trail mix and hard boiled eggs are simple to prepare in weekly batches. When you purchase a bag of corn chips, divide up the bag into smaller ziplock bags in portion sizes so they’re easy to grab and go. For special treats, consider having a small stock of gluten free candy.

If you find that you’re frequently in the car when hunger strikes, keep a car snack pack with  snacks that don’t require refrigeration like gluten free crackers and dried fruit. Just remember to replenish your supply if you deplete it when you’re out and about.

Expand your Horizons
When you do your regular grocery shopping, keep your eye out for gluten free products you can incorporate into your regular snack routine. Variety can make life interesting so why not try a few new snacks each month (or more often)?

Finding Delicious Wheat Free Bread

If you’re looking for wheat free bread, you’re looking at the right time. Never before has there been so much selection when it comes to wheat and gluten free breads. With the increase in the number of people who are sensitive to wheat or are gluten intolerant, more and more bakeries are offering delicious alternatives to wheat bread. In this article we’ll share with you a few pointers on what to look for in a wheat free bread and a list of brands to try.

Wheat Free or Gluten Free?
If you buy a wheat free bread, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s gluten free. On the other hand, if you buy gluten free bread, it will certainly be wheat free. Labeling makes all the difference, so if you’re following a gluten free diet, you’ll need to choose a bread that is gluten free not just free of wheat. If you’re OK with gluten and are following a wheat free diet, then you may have little bit wider selection.

Wheat Free Bread Brands
As you look for wheat free bread, you’ll start to discover that certain brands are better than others. You may also notice that a company that makes wheat free bread also offers wheat free or gluten free varieties of other products as well. The best way to determine which brand you prefer is to try as many as you can. Note that some breads make great sandwiches while others you may prefer as toast. Here are a few brands to get you started:

  • Food for Life – Offers a selection of wheat free and gluten free breads. From gluten free english muffins to several varieties of wheat and gluten free breads you’re sure to find something you’ll like. They’ve even got gluten free tortillas!
  • Enjoy Life Foods – Enjoy life makes gluten free (and therefore wheat free) foods including two varieties of bagels. Their products are noteworthy because not only do they not include gluten ingredients, they also are free of the other 7 ingredients that tend to cause allergic reactions – dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish.
  • Udi’s – Breads, bagels, pizza crust, muffins and more. Udi’s is available in many grocery stores across the nation.

Shopping for Wheat Free Bread
There are three main places to find wheat and gluten free bread. Many grocery stores are now stocking a selection, sometimes in their natural foods sections. A dedicated natural foods or health food store may also be a good choice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, then online shopping to the rescue. You can find nearly any brand (and at good prices) online. You may also want to try making your own with a gluten free bread machine.

The Coeliac Society – A Great Resource

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease, finding all the resources you can is important to learning about your condition. The coeliac society is one of the organizations that you should become familiar with as they are a tremendous source of information and support. In this article we’ll give you a quick overview of this great organization along with some contact information and tips for getting involved.

What is the Coeliac Society?
Coeliac Society is a UK based charity dedicated to helping people who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). They provide a great service in the UK offering support, research and campaigning. Anyone who has been diagnosed by their physician with coeliac disease or DH can join the charity. They currently have over 50,000 members and hundreds more join each month.

The coeliac society is a great resource for individuals in the UK (and also out of it) when it comes to finding information on gluten free foods, gluten free recipes and following a gluten free diet. In addition to all of the support they provide their members, they’re also very active in raising money for much needed research. One of the great benefits of being a member is the monthly updates they send out on the research and advancements that are being made in treating coeliac disease.

Types of Coeliac Society Support
For £20 per year, you can join the coeliac society if you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease or DH. You can also join if you are the parent or guardian of someone who has been diagnosed. There are significant benefits of becoming a member of the coeliac society. Some of those benefits include:

  • Food and Drink Directory – Their gluten free products list is amazing. Over 10,000 products are listed and the directory is updated each month. It’s available online.
  • Food and Drink Hotline – This live help hotline can provide information on the ingredients of foods and drinks.
  • Dietician Hotline – Speak to a dietitian about your condition. You can also ask submit questions via an internet form.
  • Crossed Grain Magazine – Their 3x yearly magazine provides information and inspirational stories.
  • eXG – A monthly online newsletter that gives the food and drink directory updates along with news and medical advancements.

Coeliac Society Contact Information
High Wycombe office
3rd Floor
Apollo Centre
Desborough Road
High Wycombe
HP11 2QW

Switchboard: 01494 437278
Fax: 01494 474349
Helpline: 0845 305 2060

Being diagnosed with coeliac disease or DH is a life changing experience. By joining groups like the Coeliac Society you can draw on a huge wealth of knowledge. Having knowledgeable people to call or email can make a world of difference as you’re trying to learn all you can about this serious condition. You’re not in it alone and the Coeliac Society can help.

Avoiding Foods with Gluten – A Quick Reference Guide

Learning any new skill takes determination and time to master. This definitely holds true of learning to identify foods with gluten containing ingredients. However, if you suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, becoming an expert in short order can mean the difference between comfortable happy living and serious health issues. In this guide we’ll give you some easy to follow guidelines and a list of foods with gluten in them so you can have a head start.

Types Foods with Gluten in Them
It’s important to note that the vast majority of raw foods do not contain gluten all. Gluten comes from wheat, barley and rye. Oats are generally lumped in with these grains, not because they contain gluten (they don’t!) but because they are almost always processed alongside gluten containing grains. Outside of these grains, everything else is gluten free. That said, there are a significant number of products that have wheat, rye or barley as an ingredient – and they can be tricky to spot.

Here is an introductory foods with gluten list:

  • Gluten containing grains: wheat, rye, barley and oats (unless specifically labeled gluten free oats)
  • Breads and bread products containing gluten containing grains: Bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, scones, muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc,
  • Hidden ingredients: Malt, malt flavoring, partially hydrogenated protein, fillers, flavorings, starch (could be corn but can also be wheat),
  • Soy sauce

If you’re ever in doubt about whether an ingredient contains gluten, contact the manufacturer. Most will be happy to answer questions about any ingredients. You can also try an internet search for the particular product – many times others have already inquired and have posted the answer online. While this is not a comprehensive list of foods with gluten it’s a good start. As you find other gluten foods, add to this list. More importantly, begin your own gluten free products list that you enjoy that can serve as a shopping list.

Gluten Free Alternatives
While it may seem that there are a ton of foods with gluten, the bright side is that there is also a huge variety of gluten free substitutes. From gluten free cakes and cookies to gluten and wheat free bread to gluten free pizza dough, you can find a gluten free version of almost everything. Check with your local grocery store and your local health food store.

Depending on where you live there may also be a gluten free bakery in your area which can be a tremendous benefit. There’s nothing better than a freshly baked gluten free cake that you didn’t have to make yourself. Combine that with a hot cup of coffee and great atmosphere and you’ve got a winning combination.

Foods with gluten can be difficult to avoid but with some advance planning it can be done. The trick is to stay organized, create a list of gluten free foods, keep a positive outlook and you’ll quickly see the benefits of eating gluten free.

How to Create Your Own Gluten Free Recipe

One of the fun parts of cooking is gaining enough experience to create your own recipes. It can be even more rewarding to create your own gluten free recipe because you know that it will be a great healthy alternative.  Here are a few ways to get started creating a successful gluten free recipe.

Get Inspired
The first step is to get some experience with existing gluten free recipes. One great source is a gluten free recipe book. Gluten free recipe books are tested and will produce great results. They can also be a great source of general information about gluten free cooking and baking.

Recipe Journal
Recipe journals can be a great source for gluten free recipe ideas. Each time you make a recipe from a book or from an online gluten free recipe, make a note of how it turned out in a cooking journal. Add any notes about how you would improve it next time. For example, maybe you found an amazing gluten free cheesecake recipe, but the crust was not gluten free. Write that down in your journal – you now have an idea for your first gluten free recipe: the perfect gluten free cheesecake crust.

Organize Your Pantry
In order to be successful at creating your own recipes, you need a well stocked pantry. Be sure to have on hand gluten free flours, gluten free baking soda and powder, gluten free pastas and any other staples that you enjoy cooking and baking with. That way, when the inspiration hits you’re already prepared and don’t need to make a special trip to the store.

Experiment and Take Notes!
Once you’ve found the type of recipe you’d first like to create, it’s time to head to the kitchen. Plan on trying several variations of your target recipe to find the perfect version. As you make each version, write down your ingredients and preparation notes. Then, once you’ve had a chance to try each one, rate them!

Fun with the Family
Sometimes it can be more fun to cook with others. Ask your family what special meal or dessert they’d love to have – then invent the recipe together! Maybe they’d like a gluten free version of chicken and dumplings. What a fun way to spend a Saturday – in the kitchen, covered in rice flour, learning how to create gluten free dumplings. You could even prepare a gluten free appetizer as well. Cooking with your kids and spouse can be a bonding experience. It will be even more so when you sit down to eat a meal that you created yourself – down to the gluten free recipe.

While creating your own gluten free recipe is time consuming, it is extremely rewarding. If you do enough of your own cooking and baking you may even be able to create enough recipes to create a gluten free cook book.