It’s super exciting to spot new products in the gluten-free section of your grocery store. Gluten-free pretzels? Gluten-free graham crackers? Gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies? (Excuse us, we’re drooling.)
But slow your roll—when you dig into their nutrition labels, you’ll see these novel snacks aren’t meant for everyday snacking. Save them for special treats, and choose nutrient-dense foods that are naturally gluten-free for your regular snack foods.
Tips for a Healthy Gluten-Free Snack
Choosing real foods that are rich in nutrients is even more important for someone with celiac disease. This autoimmune diseasemay cause malabsorption of important nutrients, like iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. While supplements may help (if your doctor recommends them), there’s no denying the benefits of eating whole-food sources of micronutrients.
These nutritious naturally gluten-free snacks all clock in under 200 calories and are made from fresh, minimally processed ingredients.
Two brown rice cakes with a third of an avocado. You know, like GF avocado toast. The healthy fats in avocado can help fill you up, and this creamy fruit is also a good source of magnesium (a common deficiency among celiacs). Learn more top food sources of magnesium here.
Frozen yogurt popsicles. These are easy, flavorful, and way more fun that eating yogurt from a bowl. Blend eight ounces of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with blueberries or raspberries, and then freeze in a popsicle mold (or paper cup). If you’re not used to the tang of unsweetened yogurt, blend a date in for extra sweetness—at least until your taste buds adapt. Yogurt provides 11 percent of the daily value of zinc and 40 percent of calcium, two common deficiencies for people with celiac disease. Here are more ways to jazz up your daily yogurt.
Three dried apricots and 24 roasted almonds. Those almonds have plenty of plant-based protein and monounsaturated fats (that’s the good kind of fat), and they also supply 20 percent of the DV of magnesium. You’ve heard that dried fruit can be a not-so-healthy snack, but that’s because they’re easy to eat quickly, resulting in more calories and sugar than you may have intended to eat. Here’s an easy solution: Count out how many you need to stay within your calorie budget, instead of just eating from the bag.
Apple “sandwiches.” Here’s a fun snack: Slice an apple crosswise, so you get the “star” in the middle from the seeds. Use that crispy apple slice in place of your bread. Smear on about a tablespoon of almond butter, sprinkle on a tablespoon of shredded (unsweetened) coconut, and top with another apple slice. (Sure, you could just dip your apple in almond butter, but this is way more fun.)
Five ounces of chia pudding with strawberries. Chia seeds are a classic case of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” They may not look cute, but these tiny black seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Almost all of those are things people with celiac disease commonly have deficiencies in. Here are more health benefits of chia seeds you should know about.
If you’re still learning the gluten-free ropes, here are surprising foods that actually aren’t gluten free.
Oh, and if you want to jump on the energy ball snacking trend, check out these gluten-free energy truffles to make at home.