Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with Celiac disease or simply have a slight wheat intolerance, it can be somewhat tricky to find gluten free snacks that are as satisfying as the traditional versions. The last few years have seen an increase in the number of companies trying to create perfect gluten free snacks to fit any craving.
While most gluten free eating comes down to being a bit more conscious of labels when buying ingredients for meal preparation, I know from first-hand experience that not having snacks on hand can be a real drag. My wife eats primarily gluten free, so I’ve spent a good amount of time digging around for the best of them to find things she’ll like. There are, of course, whole categories of gluten free snacks out there, from potato chips (Kettle’s salt and vinegar being my favorite) to jerky to nuts.
Still, having alternatives to crackers and cookies is key. We’ve compiled the 10 best gluten free snacks to help you on your quest. Give these a try during your next snacking adventure:
1. Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels
Pretzels make an excellent candidate for a gluten free product, and this version doesn’t disappoint. They are slightly crunchier than normal pretzels, but the flavor is spot-on. In fact, I’ve found myself gravitating more toward these than their normal counterparts. Also available in Honey Mustard and the truly excellent Hot Buffalo Wing. Or you could opt to try the variety pack.
Price: $40.86 for 12 8-ounce bags (5 percent off)
2. Blue Diamond Nut Thins
If you’re serving hors d’oeuvres for a mixed crowd, providing a gluten free cracker option is a must. Though these don’t do a great job of emulating the taste of say, a Ritz cracker, Nut Thins are still a tasty option. They go great with cheese and even pair well with red wine. Nut Thins tend to be lower in sodium and fat while offering slightly more protein than other crackers. Also check out their Artisan line for something a little higher end.
Price: $21.59 for three 4.25-ounce boxes
3. FitJoy Nutrition Protein Bar
Protein bars are excellent meal replacers, especially for breakfast. When first transitioning to a gluten free diet, breakfast can be a difficult meal to contend with for those on the go since options like bagels, toast, and pastries tend to be lacking in their gluten free forms. I recently tried these FitJoy bars, which are relatively new to the market. Available in six regular flavors — Cinnamon Roll, Mint Chocolate Crisp, Chocolate Iced Brownie, Vanilla Almond, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Peanut Butter — as well as seasonal varieties, I find that these compare favorably to something like a Clif Builder Bar, containing the same amount of protein, fewer calories, and more fiber. I also find them to be less cloyingly sweet, if that’s an issue you’ve had with other bars.
Price: $27.97 – $49.99 for a 12-pack, depending on flavor combination
4. KIND Bars
It’s true that granola and nut bars are frequently gluten free by their very nature, but KIND bars go the extra step of limiting added sugars and providing more good stuff. A staple at Starbucks, reviews rave about the flavor (particularly Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt) and fans have pushed this to the #1 overall item in Amazon’s Grocery & Gourmet Food category. A variant with slightly more protein (10g per serving, versus 6g in the regular offering) comes in Roasted Jalapeño. Some folks say the flavors are too strong, but we leave you to be the judge of that.
Price: $13.51 (5 percent off) for 12
5. Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta
While not necessarily a snack in its own right, Tinkyada is far and away the best gluten free pasta available. The consistency is fantastic and the flavor is arguably better than the average supermarket dry boxed pasta. Brown rice pasta can withstand a good deal of overcooking, but I find that it’s helpful to keep a slightly closer eye on this than a semolina-based product. You won’t be able to open the package and start eating right away, but it deserves a mention in any gluten free list. If you decide to make a pasta salad with it, make only enough to eat that day; it makes a fantastic salad, but doesn’t keep very well overnight.
Price: $29.95 for six bags
6. KinniToos Chocolate Sandwich Creme Cookies
Looking for an Oreo replacement? These are as close as it gets to the real thing in the land of gluten free. Some folks say you can’t even tell they’re gluten free at all. They come in three tasty varieties — not quite as exotic as birthday cake or key lime pie, but a solid offering. Word of warning to those of you who dunk your cookies in milk: these tend to break down quickly, so just go for the quick dip.
Price: $26.89 for six packs
7. Orville Redenbacher Popcorn
One of my wife’s favorite snacks is air-popped popcorn. Sure, you could always go with the microwave stuff, but you get so much more popcorn (and fewer calories) for the price if you pop it yourself. Not only that, but you can put whatever you like on it. Grab a popper — or go all-out and get an old-school popcorn maker — and make up a huge bowl of it. Of course you can always just use a large stockpot, too.
8. GoPicnic Ready-To-Eat Meals
Bundling an entire meal under 500 calories, these go-anywhere meals don’t need to be refrigerated. This variety pack is ready to surprise you with an array of different gluten free items to try. Even better, if you find that you don’t like one, the GoPicnic team is active in responding to negative reviews on Amazon, so getting a free replacement with one you did enjoy may be a distinct possibility. It’s one thing to grab a single snack, but an entire meal that’s ready-to-go is even better.
Included in the variety pack:
- Turkey stick & crunch
- Salami & cheese
- Peanut butter & crackers
9. Udi’s Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cashew Soft Baked Cookies
We couldn’t get all the way through this list on only one treat. A bit thicker than your standard cookie, these soft cookies are a little sweet, a little salty, and moist. As with most gluten free alternatives, reviewers found these to be a bit on the crumbly side. If you’re not a fan of caramel, you can also try Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip. Udi’s is one of the more prominent gluten free brands out there, so it might be worth it to you to check out their whole line.
10. Gluten Free Healthy Snack Box
Want to try a whole bunch of gluten free things at once? Go with a snack box. This 15-pack box includes a little bit of everything to either re-stock a gluten free pantry or introduce the newly-wheat-free to happy snacking. While not many of these items are expressly gluten free versions of common snack foods, this could be a good way to try something new.