Being told you have celiac disease can be daunting. But, it is a condition that can be very well managed, by making the right dietary choices.
This disease is an inflammatory condition of the small intestine, which improves when gluten is removed from the diet. Gluten is a protein most commonly found in foods like wheat, barley and rye.
You may also need to be careful with oats, which can become contaminated from other wheat products during the milling process. It is possible to get oats that are free from gluten contamination, however, so check out your local health food store.
(I’ve written about this disease before. For more information on what celiac disease is, check out the linked article.)
Initially, you may find it a little difficult to find foods which don’t contain gluten in some form. So with that in mind, here are a few healthy snack ideas to help you maintain a gluten free diet.
Gluten Free Snacks
1. Natural Nut Butter With Celery
Peanut butter is a very satisfying snack, which is packed with protein, and helps to keep hunger at bay.
If you can get your hands on a natural nut butter, it is healthier than the processed version, which often contain a lot of sugar and additional oils.
Try dripping celery sticks into one tablespoon of nut butter.
Fruit should also be one of your top snack options. It obviously doesn’t contain any gluten, and the boost of nutrients you get is very important in your everyday diet.
All types of fruit are good, so aim for one or two portions each day.
If you don’t like the idea of nut butter with celery, try it with apple slices instead.
3. Dried Fruit And Nuts
A small amount of dried fruits, such as apples, pineapples, and apricots, make a really nice addition to a snack of nuts, like walnuts, almonds or Brazil nuts.
I suggest making nuts one of your snack options each day. A portion is 1 ounce (28g), which is roughly the same as a 1/4 cup serving.
4. Homemade Popcorn
Air popped popcorn is another very good gluten free snack.
To add flavor without adding calories, experiment with different spices, such as cinnamon. Here is a homemade popcorn recipe you can make in the microwave.
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1 tsp vegetable oil (with a high smoke point, such as rice bran)
1/2 tsp salt
1 brown paper bag or a microwave bowl which can be covered with a lid
- In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, so that the kernels are well coated with the oil, salt and spices (if using).
- Pour the kernels into the lunch bag, then make two folds from the top of the bag creating a seal. Staple the bag shut, or use tape to seal.
- Next, lay the bag on its side, allowing the kernels to spread out in a single layer.
- Microwave on high for around 2-3 minutes. Take care when removing from the microwave, as it will be very hot.
5. Baked Corn Tortillas With Dip
Baked corn tortillas make a good alternative to potato chips. Serve them with a dip, such as guacamole or salsa.
All you need to do is lightly brush both sides of a tortilla with a little vegetable oil, cut into triangles, then spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with some salt, and bake until golden and crisp — about 12 minutes.
6. Lettuce Wraps
This is one of my favorite snacks at the minute.
Just take a big lettuce leaf and fill with a little tuna, some hummus and crunchy vegetables, such as carrots, peppers or baby tomatoes. Then, wrap up and enjoy.
Another alternative to this is to take ham slices and fill with lettuce leaves, hummus and vegetables. Again, wrap up to eat.
7. Rice Cakes
Rice cakes are another good option, when you are trying to avoid gluten.
They aren’t terribly nutritious in themselves, however. So, make sure you top them with something a bit more substantial.
Some options include nut butter with banana slices, cottage cheese and fruit, or cheese and tomatoes, to name just a few.
8. Chocolate Covered Fruit
This is a lovely treat to have, and it’s relatively healthy, too.
Simply melt a few squares of good quality dark chocolate, then dip bananas, apricots or any other fruit you prefer into the chocolate, for a decadent snack.
Incidentally, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. These offer a variety of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, increasing mood-boosting serotonin levels, and reducing LDL cholesterol.
Go for chocolate with a higher cocoa content, for the biggest health benefits. And, stick to a few small pieces at a time.
Note: You need to double check the food label to make sure your chocolate is gluten free.
Living a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult, it is just different!
There are a wide variety of foods out there, which are tasty, satisfying and gluten-free. So, use your imagination, and you will be able to find healthy gluten free snacks, that satisfy your taste buds, as well as your stomach.
What are your favorite gluten free snacks?