Gluten-Free Food Recommendations for Celiacs in a Hurry

Recently diagnosed with adult-onset celiac disease, I’ve found that one of my greatest struggles when it comes to eating safe, gluten-free foods happens when I’m in a hurry. No longer can I grab a bagel on the way to work, or pop into a bodega for a muffin. Most energy bars, many sports drinks and lots of quick lunch options like canned soup also contain gluten. Increasingly though, I have been finding good, cost-effective solutions beyond the obvious of grabbing a piece of fruit (which, perhaps regrettably, isn’t really my style). Hopefully some of these products will be as useful to you in meeting your gluten-free needs as they have been to me.

Larabar is a gluten-free, raw-food (meaning never cooked) energy bar line that tastes good, has interesting flavors and is filling. It’s been my celiac on the go breakfast of choice since becoming gluten-free. Larabar comes in lemon, banana cookie, cinnamon roll, ginger snap, cocoa mole, pecan pie, chocolate coconut, cherry pie and cashew cookie. All flavors are gluten-free and confirmed with Gliadin testing. The same company that producers Larabar also makes a line of chocolate bars called Maya, which I’ve not yet been able to find to try, but it is similarly gluten-free. Products can also be ordered by the box from their website at http://www.larabar.com

At breakfast or snack time I am also enjoying the gluten-free coconut bars from Oskri. Oskri’s labeling and web-site is not as detailed as Larabar’s about the gluten-free nature of its products (certification, if it’s manufactured where products containing gluten are also manufactured), but I tend to react to even minor gluten contamination and I have had zero problems with their bars. Coconut bars come in original, cherry, strawberry, pineapple, mango and almond flavors and all are gluten-free. While they are generally about $2 each at Whole Foods and similar retailers, they can also be purchased directly from their site by the box or case, for a price that puts them at less than a dollar each. Order five boxes (a significant investment, but also a significant cost savings) and you’ll get a sixth free. Oskri also makes a number of condiments, candies and halva, some, but not all of which are gluten-free. All however are clearly labeled on the packaging and on the website at http://www.oskri.com

When it comes to gluten-free energy drinks, you’d be surprised how many products are out there that simply aren’t safe for celiacs, mainly because they contain maltodextrin, a common food additive derived from the wheat family. In this category, my number one gluten-free beverage recommendation is Glaceau’s Vitamin Water. Not only are all flavors gluten-free, but all flavors contain a different combination of herbs and nutrients. Since celiacs can have trouble absorbing nutrients, this is a great way to get a little extra gluten-free nourishment in the course of a day. Related Glaceau products, FruitWater and SmartWater are also-gluten free and vitamin enhanced. While the products can’t be ordered off their website, the good news is they are everywhere. You can check out your flavor options at http://www.vitaminwater.com

Your other good, easy to find gluten-free energy beverage option is old-fashioned Gatorade. All flavors are gluten-free (and yes, I wrote the company and asked). Remember though, that you want Gatorade, not PowerAde, which is made by a different company, contains maltodextrin and is therefore not a part of a gluten-free diet or safe for celiacs. http://www.gatorade.com

Finally, I have a suggestion for lunch on the go when you sleep through your alarm and don’t have time to pack a lunch in the morning. Thai Kitchen produces a wonderful line of Thai noodle dishes that are like high-end ramen noodles. Entirely made with rice noodles, the products are gluten free, double-sealed to prevent gluten cross-contamination and easy to find (they’re available at Duane Reade drug stores and many supermarkets). They have a range of flavors and if you like spicy food, as well as gluten-free food that doesn’t involve weird substitutions for the things you can’t eat, Thai Kitchen is the way to go. I’m particularly partial to their Noodle Cart in garlic flavor and their garlic and spring onion flavors of soup. You can view all their products at their website at http://www.thaikitchen.com Be sure to check the allergy information, as not all of their other products are gluten-free.

Happy eating!

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