Gluten free? Help is here!

8 Jan

I know several of you have kids or you yourself has had to go gluten free recently.  Let me assure you, it is NOT hard!  You will be overwhelmed at first, but then will be a pro in no time!

Here are a few basic things to get you started:

  • Chex Cereals are your friend!  They are certified gluten free.  Well, all except Wheat Chex, but that is a bit obvious.  Check out your cereal aisle.  You may be surprised how many choices you have.  But go with ones that are labeled “Gluten Free.”
  • Udi’s bread is the best, if you are going to buy store bought bread
  • Pamela’s Bread Mix is my favorite of the bread mixes.  We use it in a bread machine and make loaves as often as needed. It only takes a few minutes to throw in the machine.  Daniella often makes it with very little assistance. Fair warning: it doesn’t rise much. It makes a very dense loaf of bread. So dense, I actually end up making a half sandwich for the kids.  I make it with an egg replacer so that it is vegan, as well.  It makes a mean base for Monkey Bread, which was perfect on Christmas morning!
  • Glutino pretzels are better than regular wheat pretzels!  We love the sticks because Reid thinks they are little light sabers.  They are extra yummy with white chocolate or dark chocolate drizzled on top.  I make those if we are going on a road trip or need a special snack to take somewhere.
  • Gluten free brownie mixes are SO good!  The Betty Crocker ones are great.  I like to doctor them a bit with chocolate chips and sometimes cinnamon.  I also like their cake mixes.  Take a look at the ingredients list!  It is awesome!  If I didn’t need to feed my family gluten free, I would still make these because I can pronounce everything on the list and it isn’t very long.  Now traditionally, I HATE boxed brownies.  But these don’t taste like chemicals….they taste goooood!  I also never used boxed cake mixes before going gf.  But lets be realistic.  Being gluten free is hard enough.  Making a good gluten free cake is NOT easy.  And I am a BAKER.  I use boxes for the kids’ birthdays, etc..
  • Speaking of birthday parties….make a batch of gluten free cupcakes and cookies.  Keep them in your freezer. When your kid is invited to a party, grab one and go.  This way they won’t feel weird not getting to eat cake.  If you forget, the icing off of cake is usually gluten free. So in a pinch, scrape some off the top of a piece.  On the same note, pizza toppings can be removed and rolled up to make a cheesy “roll” for your kid.  **NOTE: WE ARE NOT CELIACS.  I WOULD NOT DO THIS IF YOUR CHILD HAS CELIAC’S DISEASE BECAUSE OF CROSS-CONTAMINATION.**
  • Taste a bunch of different pastas.  I think the ones with corn probably taste most like the pasta you are accustomed to.  But I am allergic to corn.  So we do brown rice pasta.  I like Tinkyada brand.  Nobody knows the difference.  Until the next day.  Here is a warning: don’t serve leftover gluten free pasta!  Nahhhsty!
  • NutThins are great, most potato chips are okay, Beanitos are good, and some corn chips, as well.  Same thing with crunchy taco shells and soft corn tortillas.
  • READ ALL LABELS.  Here is a link to common ways that gluten is found in ingredients:
  • Find Chebe products and buy them.  Especially their frozen pizza crusts.  They are not “gluten free good,” they are just GOOD!  You will find them frozen and in the baking section.
  • When baking muffins, quick breads, and cookies, try using certified gluten free oat flour.  I think the taste is soft and doesn’t get in the way of what you are trying to make.  Make your chocolate chip cookie recipe you have always made with just this substitution.  Your kids will kiss you.
  • Gluten free frozen waffles and French toast sticks are a nice treat.
  • Lara Bars are a staple around here for an on-the-run breakfast.
  • Learn to snack on nuts and fruits.  Teach your kids they don’t need crackers.  It takes a while, but they eventually forget about them.
  • Check out places like Jason’s Deli, PF Changs, Olive Garden, BJ’s, Maggianos, Pei Wei, and many, many more that now have gluten free menus.  Call ahead, look at menus online, pack your own food, do whatever it takes.

Don’t fret!  You WILL get the hang of this very quickly.  It is scary at first, but you can do it!  Feel free to post any questions you may have.  Just trust me that this is a great day and age to need to eat this way.  There are options everywhere.  The good news is that you will sort of forcefully be eating healthier because all of those boxed, store bought, and even homemade treats are now forbidden.  Think of it as a blessing in disguise.  (does anyone REALLY like boxed or store bought baked goods???)

I truly believe that the way to happily accept what you can’t eat is to be thankful for what you CAN.

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2 Responses to “Gluten free? Help is here!”

  1. Wendy from Udi's January 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Thanks for recommending our bread! I wanted to see if you have tried any of our other products. We have bagels, muffins, cookies, and pizza crusts (to name a few).

    • brittluck January 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      I have tried a lot of your products (hot dog, hamburger bun, bread, and I am not sure what else)! The muffins look amazing. I haven’t ever seen your pizza crusts and don’t think I have ever heard that you had cookies! I would have been all over them if I had known!

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