Gluten Free Must Haves

Allergies, Food, GF, Nutrition

Because I know how overwhelming making a major diet change can be, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite gluten free products. I will admit, I felt completed restricted when I began the switch to gluten free options. Strangely, I felt limited to JUNK foods! I found foods that were labeled gluten free and marketed as such. This led me to a small little corner of an aisle in HEB with about five things to choose from.

Before we dive into the list of Gluten Free must haves, it’s important to understand labels and the distinctions between gluten free and other things you might see on a food label. I personally gravitate towards Gluten Free options not because of a gluten intolerance, but because of a wheat allergy.

Gluten is naturally occurring and can be found in a variety of foods including: wheat, barley, rye, bulgur, and oats. It’s important to note that the oats themselves do not produce gluten but there is often cross contamination during processing. If you are GF for a gluten intolerance, be sure to get certified Gluten Free Oats, should you choose to enjoy them.

Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

GF All Purpose Flour is a safe place to start when making the switch. Other flours can take a learning curve to figure out what exactly they’ll work for and how you personally like to eat them. The great thing about GF All Purpose is that it can be swapped 1-for-1 for any recipe you’d use regular flour in. (Note that you’ll want to verify this on the package when you are purchasing as some GF flours leave out xantham gum, which is an important binder for some recipes.

A few GF all purpose flours that I have tried and loved are as follows.

  • King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure flour – this is a finer flour, great for baking
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour – this flour has a friendly price point and is great for cooking as well as baking depending on your project!

Almond Flour

Almond flour is something you’ll DEFINITELY start to run into when you venture into GF baking and cooking. Many times, it is paired in varying amounts with other types of flour to achieve the taste and texture desired. If you’re looking for an easy place to start with Almond Flour, I suggest Kelsey from Little Bits Of Real Food’s Cheeseless Chicken Parm, or if you’re looking for something sweet and simple, Rachael’s Good Eats’ Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookie. In fact, I believe these were two of my first successful almond flour recipes that I tried! (I won’t lie, there are some DOOZIES out there!)

I’ve been very happy with HEB Store Brand, and for those of you not in the great state of Texas, Bob’s Red Mill and Nature’s Eats are both affordable and good quality Almond Flours as well.

Coconut Flour

Similarly to Almond Flour, Coconut Flour is Often mixed with varying amounts of other flours to achieve the taste and texture desired. Coconut flour is a good thickener. Because of it’s role as a thickener, it is important to mention that it will suck up ALL of the liquid. This makes it unideal for baked goods on its own, but fantastic when mixed with other types of flour.

Potatoes, Rice, Oats

This one may seem obvious, but when I went Gluten Free, I went HUNGRY because I hadn’t adjusted my diet to be balanced. I just started avoiding wheat and all the other things. It was tough, wheat is in a lot of things and this girl sometimes requires a healthy amount of carbs to feel satisfied (and avoid eating 300 servings of chocolate later!)

Potatoes can be an excellent healthy carb in moderation. We like to keep some type of white/gold/red potato as well as Sweet Potatoes and occasionally Japanese Sweet Potatoes as a special treat – they’re hard to find in our area unless we drive an hour to Whole Foods!

Although rice itself is gluten free, if you’re avoiding due to gluten intolerance, be sure to get a brand that is certified Gluten Free. I like Lundberg Farms. They are Gluten Free, Non-GMO, and carry just about any type of rice you could possibly want! We swear there is a taste difference as well, it’s just better.

Oats are another simple pantry staple that are so useful for a hearty bowl of oatmeal or to use when baking…or not baking – don’t discount those No Bake Cookies you felt so adult when you made by yourself in middle school! As previously mentioned, if you’re avoiding gluten be sure to get Gluten Free Oats!

Bob’s Red Mill GF Products

I know, I know, I’ve mentioned Bob’s Red Mill a lot in this post. It’s not sponsored, they just have so many great Gluten Free Options. A few that I highly recommend trying out – especially if you’re new to GF and just learning to make all of those carby wheaty things you’re probably craving, are:

  • Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake Mix: I can typically find a great deal on this in bulk on Amazon. It’s great because it’s so easy to customize for whatever type of pancake you’re craving. I also recently modified the recipe to create THE BEST gluten free waffles I’ve had.
  • Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza Dough Mix: I’ve really only ever used this to make pizza, but it makes a delicious, massive, satisfying pizza big enough to share with friends.
  • As previously mentioned, their almond flour, all purpose Gluten Free, and Gluten Free Oats are high quality and affordable as well!

Simple Mills Chocolate Chip Cookies (NOT the soft baked – the crunchy.

Though I wouldn’t call these a pantry staple, they are SUPER good and healthy-ish. Just be sure to get your serving out of the box and then tuck that sucker far far away and out of reach because you WILL eat the whole box.

Simple Mills Soft Baked Peanut Butter Cookies

I just recently tried the Soft Baked Peanut Butter Cookies. I won’t lie, I bought the soft baked Chocolate Chip several months ago and was super disappointed. They were delicious but I really had my heart set on the Crunchy Simple Mills Chocolate Chip cookies. There’s just something about them. I digress. The Soft Baked Peanut Butter Cookies are phenomenal on their own but would also be decadent when paired with a chocolate mousse or pudding.

Simple Mills Crackers

I love a good box of Simple Mills Crackers. They’re a simple snack or side to add to a packed lunch. They are awesome alone and even better when paired with Hummus or Kitehill Cream Cheese. My personal favorites are Sun-Dried Roasted Tomato and Rosemary and Sea Salt.

As I began to work on this post, I realized I have a lot of feelings on this topic. What can I say? I love food and I’m allergic to so much of it! If you’re just getting started with a GF diet and don’t know where to start, send me a message with questions! I will do my best to help you out!

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