8 Foods You Wouldn’t Have Guessed Are Gluten-Free
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you suffer from celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, or if you’ve just opted to go gluten-free for whatever reason, it can be hard to find appetizing foods that are naturally gluten-free. Many people who follow a gluten-free diet end up eating processed foods that aren’t naturally gluten-free but have had their gluten removed, such as gluten-free cookies, bread and pasta. But if you do a little digging, you’ll find that there are quite a few yummy foods that are actually naturally gluten-free. Here are eight of them that might come as a surprise to you.
Although the word “wheat” is in its name, this grain does not contain wheat or gluten. Buckwheat flour is often used as a substitute for traditional baking flour in gluten-free pancake recipes, homemade breads and baked goods. Some manufacturers do mix buckwheat with other grains to soften buckwheat’s bitter flavor, though, so make sure that you read the label before buying buckwheat-based foods from grocery stores or restaurants.
Health-wise, you can feel pretty good about eating this gluten-free grain. Buckwheat is rich in filling fiber — a 100-gram serving contains a whopping 10 grams. It’s also a healthy source of complex carbs, a good substitute for those who can’t get their daily carb intake from wheat products due to a gluten intolerance.
2. Kettle Brand Potato Chips
You’d think that all potato chips are gluten-free since they’re commonly made from potatoes, but some popular varieties like Pringles and most multi-grain chips do contain gluten. Luckily, those who follow a gluten-free diet can still enjoy this crispy snack by opting for gluten-free chip brands like the popular Kettle Brand varieties. We advise sticking to more conscientious brands like Kettle Brand potato chips to avoid the harmful effects of eating too much fried, processed food. Kettle Brand’s sea salt chips are a solid pick if you’re looking for a little crispy indulgence. They only contain three ingredients: potatoes, oil and sea salt.
Most sweet indulgences contain gluten, so we were pleasantly surprised to find out that these French delicacies are typically gluten-free. Since the traditional macaron recipe calls for nothing more than sugar, almonds, egg whites and (often) cream, they’re safe for those leading a gluten-free diet. Just make sure that your favorite macaron isn’t topped with gluten-laden additives like breadcrumbs or certain types of chocolate. Always ask the seller or read the ingredients list before buying macarons to be 100 percent certain that they’re following the original gluten-free recipe.
Rice is another good gluten-free grain option for the gluten-intolerant. White rice, brown rice and wild rice are all naturally gluten-free. If you’re buying ready-to-eat instant rice, make sure that you read the label as some varieties could contain spices and sauces that are not gluten-free. Rice pilaf, for example, is a popular rice-based option that actually contains gluten because it’s typically made with orzo, which is not gluten-free. Those with celiac disease or a severe gluten intolerance should keep in mind that although rice is naturally gluten-free, it could have come in contact with wheat, barley or rye during growing, harvesting or manufacturing. These individuals should opt to buy only certified gluten-free rice.
Keep these babies gluten-free by avoiding popular toppings like gravy and always checking the ingredients label of your store-bought sour cream to make sure that it doesn’t contain gluten. If you’re ordering potato-based dishes at a restaurant, like mashed potatoes or French fries, always ask your server if they’re gluten-free — some restaurants coat potato skin in butter and flour to make potatoes crispier. One of the healthiest potato varieties that you can eat are sweet potatoes (which are also naturally gluten-free). Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals and contain more filling fiber than their white-potato cousins.
5. Corn Tortillas
Good news for the gluten-intolerant: You don’t have to swear off tacos just because you can’t eat wheat tortillas. Corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free and a gluten-free Mexican food lover’s best friend. This staple is made with corn flour, water and salt. Opting for corn tortillas instead of flour-based varieties is also great for your health: flour-based tortillas have more calories and more fat than corn-based varieties, which, on the flipside, contain higher amounts of healthy dietary fiber.
Since corn is naturally gluten-free, popcorn is a great snack option for those who avoid gluten. Even movie theater popcorn is usually gluten-free, although it’s always best to ask the seller to be safe. However, some microwavable packaged popcorn could contain gluten because of cross-contamination during manufacturing or due to the presence of gluten in added flavorings, so always look for that “gluten-free” blessing on the label before eating.
If you depend on overnight oats for a grab-and-go breakfast, you’re safe — this healthy staple is naturally gluten-free. Oats are rich in antioxidants and loaded with fiber, so they’ll keep you feeling full until lunch and stave off those mid-morning cravings. Although plain oats are naturally gluten-free, some store-bought varieties could contain gluten, so make sure to scan the label for that “gluten-free” tag before buying your fill.
If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth without violating your gluten-free diet, eating a couple of marshmallows might be your best bet. These fluffy cushions of joy are made with sugar, water and gelatin — all gluten-free ingredients. Make a gluten-free marshmallow dessert by combining marshmallows with gluten-free graham crackers and dark chocolate. Mmm.