Healthy, delicious gluten-free snacks that truly satisfy
Good news, fellow gluten-free eaters: your local grocery store is likely packed with awesome, healthy gluten-free snacks. (Not only is the store’s natural products/gluten-free aisle filled with them, but if you check places like your chip and cracker aisles carefully, you’ll likely find some safe-to-eat nibbles there, too.) While this is a wonderful thing (so many great noshes to try), it also provides you with a unique dilemma: finding out which of these healthy snacks are actually worth the hype. Below, check out some of my favorite gluten-free snacks that truly satisfy.
Lundberg Family Farms Cinnamon Toast Rice Cakes: Gone are the days of boring rice cakes. Lundberg has a wide variety of sweet and savory rice cakes available. One of my favorites of the bunch is the Cinnamon Toast-flavored rice cake. This sweet, cinnamon treat is great as a morning snack alongside a cup of tea, but you can make it a truly balanced snack by topping it with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter. My favorite way to enjoy a Cinnamon Toast rice cake is with a layer of Peanut Butter & Co.’s White Chocolate Wonderful on top.
Popcorn: Popcorn has always been a favorite snack of mine. It’s a naturally gluten-free whole grain that you can actually eat a lot of because it’s so light and airy. When I’m in the mood for mindless munching, I often turn to popcorn. But with so many kinds available, which one should you pick? Here are a few of my favorite choices, from homemade to prepackaged.
- My favorite homemade popcorn recipe: Get out your air popper for this one! Dump in ¼ cup popcorn kernels and then fill the little oil cup about half full of olive oil. Put a bowl under the air popper and pop the popcorn. As soon as it’s done popping and you turn the machine off, drizzle the warmed olive oil over the popcorn and then stir it. Then, sprinkle on some salt—I love the Himalayan Pink Rock Salt from The Real Co. Stir once again to mix the salt in. (Let me take a moment to tell you why I dig The Real Co.’s salt. It contains more than 84 active minerals and is single-origin, coming straight from the Himalayan mountains. It’s also packaged in a BPA-free tub, and on the top it says “Pinch Me,” which makes me giggle every time. Salt, you’re so sassy!)
- My favorite prepackaged popcorn: I have seriously sampled what seems to be every kind of popcorn in the snack aisle; at this point I’m basically a popcornnoisseur. One thing that I’ve often found dissatisfying about some packaged popcorn is that the popcorn is dry. I had to hunt hard to find a popcorn brand whose products weren’t too dry—but now that I’ve found it, I’m sort of addicted. Popcorn, Indiana makes a ton of different kinds of gluten-free certified popcorn—some on the sweeter side, some more savory. My favorites come from their Classic line of popcorn—the fluffy Sea Salt flavor that’s perfectly balanced (it has the perfect amount of oil and sea salt) and the tangy, flavorful Aged White Cheddar popcorn that’s ridiculously tasty. Seriously, I downed half the bag in one sitting because I just. Couldn’t Stop.
KIND Bars: Not only is KIND one of my favorite brands (how can you not love a brand that spreads kindness all over the place?), they also make some of my favorite snacks. They’re perfectly portable, perfect for your desk drawer at work or your gym bag, and they’re gluten-free, full of real ingredients you can actually identify and pronounce (nuts, fruits, seeds, chocolate!), and the KIND team is always coming up with new and creative flavors. Case in point: they recently released five new flavors that can satisfy a variety of cravings. There are two new additions to their Fruit & Nuts line: the sweet-tart Raspberry Cashew & Chia as well as the mouthwateringly decadent Dark Chocolate Almond and Coconut. And their Nuts & Spices line got three new flavors: the sweet and filling Honey Roasted Nuts & Sea Salt, the sweet and savory (with a touch of umami) Black Truffle Almond & Sea Salt, and Dark Chocolate Almond Mint.
Let’s talk about that last flavor for a minute. When I was a kid I loved Grasshopper cookies (remember those? They were chocolate and mint and all sorts of delicious), and when I was a college student, I loved the Oreos with the mint crème (which are now off-limits to me because of gluten). This amazing KIND bar satisfies my mint chocolate cravings like nothing else—and best of all, KIND’s Dark Chocolate Almond Mint is really filling and much healthier than eating a box of chocolate mint cookies!
bare Cinnamon Banana Chips: These are one of my favorite snacks ever. You know the banana chips you find in the dried fruit section at the grocery store? They always seem like they’re gonna break your teeth, right? Bare Snacks’ banana chips are nothing like that. These baked chips are crispy and crunchy without being too crunchy—your molars will be happy you chose these to munch on! Bare Snacks banana chips come in three yummy varieties: Cinnamon, Cocoa, and Simply Banana. They have minimal ingredients (for example, the Cinnamon flavor contains just bananas and organic cinnamon—no oil, fat, preservatives, or added sugar!), which lets the banana flavor really shine through, plus it helps this snack be a truly healthy option.
Annie’s Homegrown Oatmeal Cookie Chewy Gluten-Free Granola Bars: Annie’s manages to do something really awesome: They make food that’s healthy, delicious, and fun to eat. Their gluten-free Chewy Oatmeal Cookie granola bars really do taste like oatmeal cookies, and they are soft, moist, and flavorful. And if you want an Annie’s product that tastes like a cookie and actually is a cookie, the Snickerdoodle Cinnamon Sugar Gluten-Free Bunny Cookies are seriously the best. These little bunnies aren’t just adorable–they’re also deliciously cinnamony and crunchy. They’re perfect for those moments when you have a craving for something that’s sweet and crunchy at the same time.
Royal Hawaiian Orchards Sweet Maui Onion Macadamias: OMG. I am seriously nuts for these nuts. They’re incredibly flavorful, and the onion seasoning is addictive. After I finished the bag, I made sure I licked my finger and got every bit of that seasoning out. Macadamia nuts are great on their own, but paired with this sweet onion seasoning, they’re a snack you can’t put down. Onion not your favorite? Then try Royal Hawaiian’s Sea Salt or Hawaiian BBQ flavors (the BBQ is sweeter and not too spicy).
And while I’m talking about Royal Hawaiian, did you know that they also use their macadamias to make delicious crunchy snacks like the sweet and tangy Mango Pineapple Macadamia Crunch, berrylicious Blueberry Pomegranate Macadamia Crunch, and Kona Coffee Banana Macadamia Crunch (which tastes like a coffee-laced crunchy version of a banana nut muffin)? These snacks are like little bite-sized cubes of fruits and nuts—in addition to containing macadamias, they also contain almonds. In addition to being delicious, they contain protein and fiber to help keep you feeling full.
I Won Protein Chips: If you’re looking for a great post-workout snack that isn’t a bar, these innovative chips are a fantastic choice. They’re made with pea protein and oat fiber, and they’re crispy, crunchy, and flavorful. Each individual-sized bag is 250 calories and contains a whopping 20 grains of protein and around 6 grams of fiber! That’s literally all that and a bag of chips. Choose from a range of exciting flavors like Cinnamon French Toast and Sriracha.
Garden Lites Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins: When you’re strapped for time, making muffins can really be a pain in the neck. Thankfully, Garden Lites has come to the rescue with boxes of frozen gluten-free muffins that are packed with fruits and veggies (and are therefore more nutritious than most other muffins). They’re actually so tasty you’d never know they were healthy! They come 4 to a box and they’re individually packaged, making them an ideal treat to take to work or microwave for your child for a quick breakfast. Not a fan of banana and chocolate? Garden Lites also has Chocolate and Blueberry Oat muffins available. All three varieties are moist and delicious. Find ‘em in your grocer’s freezer!
Good Thins crackers: For those of you who have been craving a gluten-free substitute for former snack food favorites like Wheat Thins, you’re in luck. Enter Good Thins—The Rice Ones. Good Thins are a new line of snack crackers available from Mondelez International, and The Rice Ones, which come in four varieties, are really tasty. Sea Salt and Pepper is quite flavorful, Poppy and Sesame Seed brings to mind the flavor of an Everything bagel, Simply Salt is basic but never boring and pairs nicely with your favorite cheese, and the Veggie Blend is amazingly delicious (its flavor is reminiscent of Vegetable Thins, which we can’t eat because of gluten—these are an amazing safe-to-eat substitute). These crackers are crunchy and a great choice to snack on when you’ve got a savory craving.
One very important thing to note is that only the Good Thins that say The Rice One on the front are gluten-free. There are other Good Thins flavors that are potato-based and chickpea-based, and those are not gluten-free.
Blue Diamond Toasted Coconut Almonds: I love keeping a little can of almonds in my car and at my desk for healthy snacking anytime. Almonds are packed with protein and even just a few of the nuts can help me stave off hunger pangs. I recently tried Blue Diamond’s Toasted Coconut almonds and immediately fell in love with them. Not only do I want to take them everywhere, I want to add them to everything—like trail mix, use my nut grinder to crush some up and sprinkle them on top of oatmeal or rice pudding, top my salads with them…there are so many creative ways to enjoy these delightful almonds. Or just eat them right out of the can, pure and simple.
Protein bars: It can sometimes be overwhelming to walk into the protein bar section of the grocery store. There are so many choices, and many of them are gluten-free! If you’re looking to make a quick selection, here’s a rundown of a few of the major protein bar brands, and my favorites from each.
- Clif Bars: Did you know that some Clif Bars are gluten-free? This was a pleasant surprise to me! For example, there are several varieties of Clif Organic Trail Mix bars that are gluten-free: the chewy and tangy Wild Blueberry Almond, sweet and salty Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt, decadent and tart Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Raspberry, and (my favorite) Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter.
- Luna Bars: There are quite a few Luna Bars that are gluten-free. They have around 7-8 grams of protein and come in crave-worthy flavors like Dark Chocolate Hazelnut, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk, and Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond. Don’t they sound like candy bars? The good news is, they’re just as tasty, and much better for you!
- Kit’s Organic Bars: One of the things I love about these bars is that the following varieties are not just free of gluten, but also free of dairy and soy. They’re a great choice for anyone who has multiple food sensitivities. Plus, these bars only contain real food ingredients that you can easily pronounce—stuff like organic dates, nuts, chocolate, fruits, and seeds. Cherry + Pumpkin Seeds is uniquely delicious, Dark Chocolate Peanut tastes brownie-like, and Cashew (my favorite) is a delicious blend of nuts, sea salt, and dates. These three varieties all provide about 12 to 16% of your daily fiber intake, too!
What’s your favorite gluten-free snack? Leave a comment and let me know!
Disclaimer: Some of the products mentioned in this article were provided to me for review purposes. This did not influence the article in any way; my opinions are my own. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t cover it here. See my personal disclaimer for more details.