Celiac disease is a condition that years ago not many people knew much about. Now it has turned into a 4.2 billion dollar food industry. Whether you have a gluten allergy, gluten intolerance, or just want to avoid gluten for health concerns, you must always keep in mind that “gluten-free” does not mean “healthful”. Consumers must be smart, especially when it comes to snacking. The market is filled with gluten-free snack options, but before this boom, people with celiac disease had to make their own snacks. More options means more confusion and tricky advertising. Putting an item in your basket just because it says “gluten-free” is not smart shopping. You must read labels. A lot of items are high in calories from extra sugar and added fat. Two good examples are that gluten-free potato chips, do not make potato chips a healthy snack option, and pretzels are naturally low in fat, but most gluten-free are high in fat. Here are a few tips and snack recommendations to help you become a smart shopper.
Tip 1: Gluten-free snacks do not need to be highly processed. Avoid prepackaged snacks as much as possible. Grab fresh fruit with nut butters, or nuts with dried fruit.
Tip 2: If it is prepackaged, choose the healthier option. Example a gluten free muffin with chia or flax seeds (added fiber and protein) will be a better choice than your standard gluten free muffin.
Tip 3: Read the labels and compare. Snacks should contain some fiber and protein. A snack with 0 g fiber and 0 g protein is not going to be the best choice.