By Guest Blogger Suzy Fielders
I’ve been on my ‘gluten-free journey’ for over 11 years now. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2009. At that time gluten-free was rarely heard of, especially in restaurants or stores. Today, I’m so pleased there are an abundance of gluten-free options throughout the Triad. As I’ve been on this journey for awhile now, I’d love the chance to share some gluten-free foods, recipes, and tips with others to help them on their gluten-free journeys. Living gluten-free is not easy but if you do not have a choice or it is a diet you’d prefer to live by, then it is completely doable.
Utilize Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
Even with today’s slightly higher demand, most gluten-free food is more expensive than regular food. Therefore, I often incorporate many naturally gluten-free foods into our meals. These include almost all meats (as long as they are not breaded), vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. I usually try to make things that are very simple as I don’t like spending much time in the kitchen, nor do I typically have much time since I work full-time!
This could be anything from grilling steaks to roasting vegetables. To get you started below are two of my family’s, favorite naturally gluten-free recipes.
Label Reading 101
For someone who needs to eat gluten-free, knowing how to read a label to find any ‘hidden gluten’ is imperative. Something my friends and family who try to cook for me tend to always say is… “I didn’t realize gluten was in so many things!” From condiments to canned goods, always be sure to read the label fully. Even if somethings says ‘gluten-free’ I still err on the side of caution as sometimes there are additives that do normally contain gluten.
This webpage on the Celiac Disease Foundation’s site is a great resource to learn more about reading labels for gluten-free. If you click the ‘Living Gluten-Free’ tab on the navigation, there are amazing resources on there with meal plans, recipes, sources of gluten, and much more.
There are many gluten-free only brands that focus solely on providing gluten-free food. One of the best things about these brands is you rarely have to worry about cross contamination, and it is a company who truly values making and providing gluten-free options to consumers.
These are my favorite gluten-free brands:
- Canyon Bakehouse
Each offers a wide variety of options to cover every meal and snack of the day.
Udi’s is among my favorite as they have all the typically gluten-filled food I need, but without all the gluten. I love their hot dog and hamburger rolls. They also make some great bagels, my favorite is the Everything Bagel flavor. Plus, since most of their food is frozen, it tends to last longer than the non-frozen gluten-free choices. That is one thing about gluten-free food… it expires pretty quickly as there are usually less or no preservatives than normal food.
My most recent favorite sweet tooth find is Heavenly Crème Cakes by Katz. It is basically a gluten-free version of a Twinkie. Alright, it doesn’t taste 100% like the original, but pretty darn close! These are probably sold at various stores, but I get them from the Lowes Foods off 150 (near the East Coast Wings) in Winston-Salem.
Similar to Udi’s, Glutino makes a lot of different gluten-free products. My favorite is the oven baked strawberry flavor breakfast bars. I’m also a big fan of their pretzel twists, which they even have in fudge-covered and yogurt-covered options.
I tend to buy the Canyon Bakehouse bread when I want bread. They have a variety of flavors, but my most recent favorite is their Hawaiian Sweet Bread.
Brands with Awesome Gluten-Free Choices
There are also many brands that now sell gluten-free options among their regular options. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Freschetta’s Gluten-Free Pizza – they have a couple topping options (this is usually sold at Walmart making it an easy choice!)
- McCormick Taco and Chili Seasonings – Seasonings are one of those things that often have hidden gluten to act as thickening agents. I’ve found and loved the McCormick’s Gluten-Free Taco and Chili seasons taste great. Just always be sure you have the gluten-free one in your cart!
- Pillsbury Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies – I swear any time I’ve made these and taken anywhere everyone says they do not even taste gluten-free! They are always a huge hit!
- Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix (Gluten-Free) – Just like the Pillsbury cookies above, this is another favorite not just for me but even those that do not usually eat gluten-free. They taste amazing and are so easy to make! I usually find this mix at Walmart. There is a regular mix though, so again always be sure you are purchasing the gluten-free one!
- Lance Gluten-Free Cheddar Cheese Crackers – Ok, these do not taste quite like Cheez-Its, but it’s a good second choice!
- Nature’s Bakery Gluten-Free Fig Bars – My favorite flavors are the pomegranate and the blueberry. They are the perfect quick breakfast option.
Places to Eat Gluten-Free in Town
There are luckily many places that offer gluten-free options in the Triad, and especially Winston-Salem. If you are looking for gluten-free pizza, my favorites are from Brixx and Mario’s Pizza.
For baked goods and sweet treats, I love the gluten-free cupcakes and macaroons at Ava’s Cupcakes in Clemmons and Winston-Salem. Another amazing shop for gluten-free is To Your Health Bakery. Everything in there is gluten-free and delicious.
I love that Village Tavern (all locations) is a certified gluten-free restaurant. I feel completely safe eating there knowing there will be no cross contamination and the food is so good.
Many restaurants in the Triad also have gluten-free menus, or mark on their menu items that are gluten-free. This makes it so easy to order stress-free! Always tell your server that you are gluten-free though. This helps them know to notify the kitchen staff to take extra precautions to avoid cross-contamination. I’ve mentioned that word a few times, and if you aren’t sure what that means let me elaborate. Cross-contamination is when gluten can possibly get mixed into the food by touching either gloves or a conveyor belt (if a product made in factory) that handle food with gluten. If you have Celiac like myself, or maybe a gluten allergy, it is crucial to avoid any amount of gluten – even a crumb!
Even without gluten, food is still fun and tasty with these options, places, and tips!! Enjoy!
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