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10 Best New Gluten-Free Foods

by
author image Patricia Bannan, MS, RD
Patricia Bannan, MS, RD, is a freelance writer, frequent guest expert on news shows and author of "Eat Right When Time Is Tight." She is passionate about helping people reach their health and wellness goals.

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10 Best New Gluten-Free Foods
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In August 2014 the FDA labeling requirements for gluten-free foods went into effect. Prior to the ruling, the term “gluten-free” on food packages was arbitrary. With this new rule, the term means the same thing across all products: Gluten-free foods must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. However, just because a food is labeled gluten-free doesn’t automatically mean it’s better for you. “There is a ‘health halo’ surrounding gluten-free products. While there are many healthy gluten-free foods on the market, just as many are made mostly from refined grains and empty starches, which don’t provide much in the way of nutrition,” says Rachel Begun, M.S., RDN, gluten-free lifestyle expert. To make things easier, three nutrition gurus share their top picks for the best new gluten-free foods.

1. Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine Organic Bean Pastas
Courtesy of Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine

1 EXPLORE ASIAN AUTHENTIC CUISINE ORGANIC BEAN PASTAS

Craving pasta? Now there are healthy gluten-free options. “There are bean-based pastas on the market that are made solely from beans and water. I love them not just because they are gluten-free, but because they are delicious and nutritious too. They have a mild to neutral taste and will take on any flavor profile you want. Unlike gluten-free and regular pastas made from refined grains, these bean-based pastas are rich in fiber and B vitamins, nutrients often lacking in the average gluten-free diet. Plus, they are much higher in protein than grain-based pastas (gluten-free or regular), adding staying power to a pasta meal,” says Rachel Begun, M.S., RDN. One brand Begun likes is Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine, made from 100 percent organic beans and water.

Related: Check Out Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine’s Products

2. Ancient Harvest Culinary Ancient Grains
Courtesy of Ancient Harvest

2 ANCIENT HARVEST CULINARY ANCIENT GRAINS

While going gluten-free means avoiding grains like wheat, barley and rye, there are some healthy grains that are naturally gluten free. Quinoa is a flavorful, wholesome grain that is naturally free of gluten and packed with protein, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. It’s not surprising that quinoa supports good health -- it’s one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein, offering all the essential amino acids in a healthy balance. “Ancient Harvest offers simple side dishes packed with good nutrition from quinoa, amaranth and millet -- full of protein and fiber to complement any meal,” says Lara Field, M.S., RD, owner and founder of FEED. Ancient Harvest grains are also organic and non-GMO. “Rather than processed pasta, Ancient Harvest products make a fiber-filled, energy-dense choice,” adds Field.

Related: More Info About Ancient Harvest Culinary Ancient Grains’ Products

3. Strong & Kind Bars
Courtesy of KIND Snacks

3 STRONG & KIND BARS

While gluten-free KIND bars have been on the market for a while, what’s new is their bold-flavored Strong & Kind line of bars. “A good nutrition profile can be found in KIND bars, which offer flavors that will wake up your taste buds too, like the Strong & Kind Thai Sweet Chili flavor,” says Lola O’Rourke, M.S., RDN, Gluten Intolerance Group Education Manager. Offering a savory alternative to all the sweet bars on the market, Strong & Kind bars are made from whole ingredients like almonds, pumpkin and hemp seeds, pea crisps and spices and deliver 10 grams of protein per bar. Other flavors include Honey Mustard, Hickory Smoked, Roasted Jalapeno, and Honey Smoked BBQ.

Related: Where to Find Strong & KIND Bars

4. Qrunch Quinoa Burgers
QRUNCH Foods

4 QRUNCH QUINOA BURGERS

While ground beef and ground turkey are gluten-free, processed veggie burgers and other vegetarian options often present a problem for those avoiding gluten who wanted to eat a more plant-based diet. “Until recently, vegan and vegetarian options weren’t very gluten-free friendly,” says Rachel Begun, M.S., RDN. Begun is excited to see more healthy gluten-free vegetarian options on the market, such as Qrunch Quinoa Burgers. The burgers are made with quinoa, millet, organic vegetables and coconut oil and are 190 calories per burger. Qrunch Burgers are also popular with kids and offer healthy vegetarian and vegan options regardless of whether someone needs to eat gluten-free or not.

Related: More Info About Qrunch Quinoa Burgers

5. Nud Fud Crackers and Snaps
Courtesy of Nud Fud

5 NUD FUD CRACKERS AND SNAPS

Traditionally, when food manufacturers removed gluten or made a gluten-free product, it was made with less valuable food ingredients, including tapioca flour, potato starch, rice flour and other refined flours lacking beneficial nutrients. “Wheat flour has properties making it a desirable product for breads, cereals and crackers. Thus, without wheat, ingredients such as fat, sugar and others have to be added in its place to make it taste, feel and act similar to wheat in a food,” says Lara Field, M.S., RD. However, if you want the crunch of a cracker, Field recommends Nud Fud Carrot Flax Crackers. “They have just three ingredients, clean and simple! Omega-3-containing flax, no added sweeteners or processed extras,” adds Field. The three ingredients in the Carrot Flax Crackers are golden flax seed, carrots, and salt. The crackers are organic and packed with fiber, vitamin A, healthy fats, and minerals. Other Nud Fud gluten-free products include Green Energy sesame snaps, Chai Energy snaps, and Goji Energy snaps.

Related: More Info About Nud Fud Snacks

6. Udi’s Steel Cut Oats With Currants, Flax & Chia
Courtesy of Udi's

6 UDI’S STEEL CUT OATS WITH CURRANTS, FLAX & CHIA

Although pure oats are gluten-free, the main problem for people avoiding gluten is that commercial oats are often contaminated. Most commercial oats are processed in facilities that also process wheat, barley and rye, so that store-bought box of oatmeal isn’t likely to be gluten-free. Luckily, now there are quick and easy oatmeal options that are not only gluten-free, they also offer added health benefits. “Udi’s Steel Cut Oats with Currants, Flax & Chia offer whole oats (a great source of fiber, helping kids and adults feel fueled throughout the day), and they also have added omega-3s from chia and flax seeds in addition to currants, which may assist with inflammatory conditions and heart disease,” says Lara Field, M.S., RD.

Related: Where to Find Udi’s Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats

7. Tanka Bars
Courtesy of Tanka Bars

7 TANKA BARS

While eating gluten-free on the go was traditionally challenging, there are more and more gluten-free, protein-packed convenience foods that offer a healthy option to keep you fueled until your next meal. “For a more jerky-like version of a savory bar with a similar nutrition profile, try Tanka Bars, also relatively high in protein,” recommends Lola O’Rourke, M.S., RDN. The bars are just 70 calories, and the primary ingredients are dried buffalo meat, herbs and fruits. The bars are low-fat, hormone-free, nitrate-free and, of course, gluten-free. Flavors include slow-smoked original, spicy pepper and apple orange peel.

Related: Where to Find Tanka Bars

8. Neat Vegetarian Ground-Meat Replacements
Courtesy of Neat

8 NEAT VEGETARIAN GROUND-MEAT REPLACEMENTS

Want a gluten-free vegetarian meat replacement? That request was once quite challenging. “Older versions of vegetarian meat replacements often contained gluten as well as other ingredients I’d prefer not to have in my food,” says Rachel Begun, M.S., RDN. However, a newer generation of ground-meat replacements are offering certified gluten-free options with a truly healthy ingredient profile. “A brand I really like is Neat, in which you add water and eggs to any one of several mixtures of ground nuts, beans, gluten-free whole grains and spices to make a really delicious ground-meat alternative,” adds Begun. Neat products are all vegetarian and soy-free.

Related: More Information About Neat Vegetarian Ground Meat Replacements

9. Pacific Foods Quinoa Vegetable Soup
Courtesy of Pacific Foods

9 PACIFIC FOODS QUINOA VEGETABLE SOUP

Traditionally, soups could present a problem for those going gluten-free since they often contain wheat starch as a thickener. “At times it is difficult to find a shelf-stable, healthy soup choice,” says Lara Field, M.S., RD. But soup’s on with some new gluten-free vegetarian options. Field recommends Pacific Foods Quinoa Vegetable Soup, which is made with organic vegetables, including chopped onions, tomatoes and red bell peppers, along with protein-rich quinoa and herbs and spices. “This one is low-fat, fiber-filled and iron-packed,” says Field. It’s nice to see more healthy vegetarian convenience foods for those going gluten-free.

Related: More Information About Pacific Foods Quinoa Vegetable Soup

10. Epic 100 Percent Grass-Fed Animal-Based Protein Bars
Courtesy of EPIC Bars

10 EPIC 100 PERCENT GRASS-FED ANIMAL-BASED PROTEIN BARS

While most energy bars are made with soy or nuts, Epic bars are unique in that they are made with a living animal, offering real animal protein like 100 percent grass-fed bison, beef, turkey or lamb. The benefit: “While many energy bars (gluten-free or not) are high in carbs and sugar but not protein, these bars are the opposite. The significant protein content will help keep you satiated longer,” says Lola O’Rourke, M.S., RDN. The meat flavors are balanced out by additions like dried cranberries, almonds and spices. One turkey bar contains 150 calories but provides a hefty 14 grams of protein.

Related: More About Epic Bars

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you eat a gluten-free diet? If so, why? Would you or have you tried any of the gluten-free foods suggested in this article? Leave a comment below and let us know. Share how you’re working on living a healthier life, and maybe your experience will inspire others.

Related: 15 Unexpected Foods That Contain Gluten

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