If you are gluten-free, you used to have to be a master chef, baker, and dessert maker. You had to make everything you ate from scratch, find things that just so happened to be gluten-free, or form a really strong friendship with a talented cook who could help you out once in a while.
Everyone is thankful that it’s no longer as hard as it used to be. People who cannot have gluten have been begging for easier meal and dessert solutions for years, and food manufacturers heard the call loud and clear.
Now, you’ll find gluten-free options in almost every aisle. Items that were always gluten-free have had their labels amended to make them easier to identify at a glance. All of this making gluten-free shopping is easier than ever.
The only place you might get tripped up is in the dessert aisle. Most desserts and baked goods contain some type of gluten. Traditional flour is everywhere, even in places where you might not expect.
Keep your eyes peeled for gluten-free alternatives to your favorite desserts. New options pop up every day!
Why Go Gluten-Free?
People with celiac disease have to go gluten-free. Celiac disease is a condition affecting about 1% of the global population with extremely serious side effects. This autoimmune disorder causes the digestive tract to attack itself when gluten is present, mistakenly believing that gluten is an unwanted invader. Eating gluten, or even eating foods that have come into contact with gluten (cross-contamination), when you have Celiac disease is dangerous.
Some people without Celiac disease choose to go gluten-free to combat symptoms of gluten sensitivity. People with gluten sensitivity can eat gluten without severely imperiling their health. They’ll experience uncomfortable bloating and gas that will pass after a few hours. It manifests in a manner similar to lactose intolerance. People impacted with digestive troubles may choose to avoid gluten as often as possible to cut down on those symptoms.
Unless you have Celiac disease or experience gastrointestinal distress after eating gluten, you don’t have to go gluten-free. It isn’t a way to lose weight or eat healthier. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, gluten-free cookies usually have the same amount of calories as their traditional counterparts. The same goes for bread.
You won’t lose weight or get healthier by voluntarily eliminating gluten from your diet when you don’t actually need to, either. In fact, research has shown that people who eat whole grains are less likely to be overweight. They’re also less likely to develop heart disease or colorectal cancers.
Whole grain carbohydrates are an extremely valuable part of a balanced diet, and you shouldn’t eliminate them unless you absolutely need to. They provide fiber and trace nutrients that help your body work the way it was intended to work. You’ll benefit from eating them in modest amounts. The key is to avoid ingesting nutritionally empty foods that won’t benefit your body.
People with Celiac disease and severe gluten deficiencies often have to work harder to achieve a balanced diet -- it’s not just as simple as purchasing the “gluten-free” variety of the products they already buy. They have to incorporate whole grain oats, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, and millet into their diets as often as possible. They can’t simply avoid gluten and call it a day.
Don’t decide that going gluten-free is a solution for you until you’ve talked to your doctor. You may be mistaking a different condition for gluten intolerance. You could have a bowel disorder or an allergy you haven’t yet discovered. Explain your symptoms to your doctor and get a valid solution for the problem. You may need medical treatment you aren’t getting, and your health isn’t worth taking a gamble.
Staying Gluten-Free in the Freezer Section
Almost all ice cream is naturally gluten-free. Unless the ice cream contains cookies, waffle cone, or brownie pieces, it’s probably gluten-free. Check the label and read the ingredients just to be sure. If you’re gluten-free and also dairy-free, though, you might have a harder time picking a pint that will work best for you.
You can choose ice cream alternatives made with plant-based milks. These are typically lower in calories than dairy ice cream, but they’re also much lower in protein.
You can also choose a plant-based ice cream like Snow Monkey. Our desserts are creamy and sweet like ice cream, but boast the nutrients that come from apples, bananas, berries, or raw chocolate. Snow Monkey features over 20 grams of protein per pint and is packed with beneficial antioxidants. It’s not just better for you than your other options - Snow Monkey is great for you in its own right. If you’re looking to make a health-conscious decision, we’re definitely the way to go if we do say so ourselves!
Staying Gluten-Free in the Cookie and Cracker Aisle
Gluten-free cookies and graham crackers are easy to find at almost every grocery store.
You’ll even see gluten-free labels on some of your childhood favorites. Oreo, Pepperidge Farms, and Udi’s have released gluten-free varieties of all of your favorites. However, Partake cookies are our go-to when buying gluten-free, and not to mention allergen-friendly, cookies. Buy a box, you’ll thank us later.
Don’t be surprised if you see some store brand gluten-free varieties lining the shelves. If you’re a budget shopper, you’ll appreciate them.
Staying Gluten-Free in the Baking Aisle
If you’re more of a “from the box” kind of baker, convenience desserts can be found in the baking aisle.
Betty Crocker dominates this aisle. They’ve created gluten-free mixes for cookies, cupcakes, cake, brownies, muffins, and even pancakes. But, to be honest, we’re going to go back to our above recommendation of Partake on this one, too. They recently entered the baking aisle and it is our allergen-free baking dream come true.
Gluten-free pancake mix is one of the most versatile pantry staples for a gluten-free kitchen. It can be used to make waffles, cinnamon rolls, pizza crusts, corn dogs, biscuits, and as a coating for fried foods. You definitely want to have some gluten-free pancake mix on-hand at all times.
Staying Gluten-Free in the Snack Aisle
Most major snack manufacturers seem to have missed the giant call for gluten-free desserts.
You likely won’t be seeing gluten-free Twinkies or Zebra Cakes any time soon. It’s okay, though -- don’t be upset. Other brands have swooped in to take the reins where the major players have dropped them.
A brand called Katz makes almost everything you’d expect from the other guys, but with one major difference: they’ve managed to successfully duplicate everything the big brands are doing without the use of glutens. If you want a premade creme-filled cupcake, you’re sure to find one in their product line that you’ll love.
Staying Gluten-Free At Your Grocery Store’s Bakery
Not every grocery store bakery will have freshly baked gluten-free options. Some people report having luck at Whole Foods Market, although it seems as though their gluten-free options vary by store and tend to be buy-ins, rather than desserts they actually make in-store.
Shoppers report having the best luck at the Sprouts bakery, finding more of a gluten-free selection among their breads, cakes, and pastries. And you know us -- Sprouts fans 4 life over here <3
If gluten causes you pain and dessert causes you pleasure, you don’t have to find a way to reconcile the two.
There are plenty of delicious pre-made gluten-free desserts like Snow Monkey that will keep your mouth and your tummy happy. You don’t have to break out the big bags of almond flour when your sweet tooth starts acting up. Just run to the pantry or the freezer. You’ll have something delicious waiting for you.
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