All-star gluten-free snacks
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Last week we talked about the difference between gluten-free snacks and healthy gluten-free snacks. What does that mean? That means that just because a label says a food item is gluten-free, it doesn’t mean it’s also healthy.
News to you?
Well, like any packaged food item, the gluten-free products that are becoming more readily available in grocery stores across the globe are not always made with stellar ingredients. In fact, some are worse than their mainstream counterparts.
After that column, I received a lot of questions about what some of my favorite mainstream snacks are for moments when I need something quick and on-the-go. And it’s a great question! The truth is between hightailing it to work each morning, running to the kids’ after-school activities, squeezing in a workout and fulfilling a promise to bake 332 cookies for the upcoming bake sale, life is busy and eating healthy on the fly isn’t always easy.
But a jam-packed schedule doesn’t have to get in the way of our healthy gluten-free eating ways. Stash a few of these on-the-go snacks in your tote bag and you’ll guarantee the munchies won’t lead you to a last resort detour down fast food lane. The best part? I’ve paired them with beverages that will keep you hydrated for the long haul.
Food Should Taste Good Chocolate Chips
The perfect combination of sweet and salty, these chips (foodshouldtastegood.com) pack two grams of fiber per serving. Munch on them while sipping a pre-made – all you have to do is add water – Vega Viva Vanilla Smoothie (myvega.com) and you have the perfect nosh for rush hour traffic. Bonus? This whole snack is vegan, too!
KIND Snacks Dark Chocolate Chunk Healthy Grains Bar
Treat your body to a pre-workout snack with an irresistibly tasty bar that contains gluten-free oats, brown rice, millet, quinoa and other grains paired with a touch of honey and chocolate (kindsnacks.com). Rehydrate with coconut water, like Vita Coco (vitacoco.com), an all-natural choice that’s loaded with nutrients and electrolytes. And if homemade treats are the name of your game, then consider whipping up the recipe below for vegan, easy-as-pie Raw Sour Cherry Almond Bars.
Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar Snacks
Do a little double duty by packing a snack that will not only put a smile on your face, but make the kids happy, too. Toss some Pirate’s Booty (piratebrands.com) in a baggie along with a side of fresh cut veggies and everyone will have something to munch during long car rides. Keep everyone hydrated by filling a few reusable water bottles with water and adding slices of your favorite fruits, vegetables or herbs, such as lemons, oranges, berries, cucumbers, mint or parsley for a healthy alternative to store-bought versions.
Purely Elizabeth Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
Make ’em the night before and then store these cookies in the refrigerator for a delightful post-workday treat. They’re vegan, free of refined sugars and just plain ol’ yummy (purelyelizabeth.com). Had a really tough day? Sip on a Green’s Gluten-Free Endeavour Dubbel Ale (merchantduvin.com) for a hint of dark sugar and toffee flavorings that will feel like a hard-earned pat on the back.
Of course, as we discussed last week, you can also always opt for quick snacks that are prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or pantry until you need them. Stash cut veggies and sliced fruit in containers, then pair them with hummus or natural peanut butter for an easy snack. Smoothies, homemade trail mix and even hardboiled eggs are also easy-to-reach-for-snacks when you’re in a time crunch.
I want to know: What’s your favorite healthy gluten-free product that keeps you satisfied when you’re busy?
Raw Sour Cherry Almond Bars (gluten-free and vegan)
2.5 cups raw almonds
1/3 cup dried sour cherries
1 cup dates, pits removed and chopped
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon, seeds removed
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender until pulverized. Scoop mixture into a 9-by-9-inch square baking dish using a spatula to press into dish and spread evenly.
Refrigerate for one hour and then cut into squares. Store bars in refrigerator.
Caroline Shannon-Karasik is the author of The Gluten-Free Revolution and a certified health coach. She is also the author of the popular gluten-free blog, sincerelycaroline.com. Her writing and recipe development has been featured in several publications, including, VegNews, Kiwi and REDBOOK magazines. Caroline lives with her husband Dan and four adopted cats in Pittsburgh, Penn. Caroline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.