25 Gluten-Free Products Your Kids Will Love
If you read my post about the first step to improve your child's gut health and asked yourself, How in the world do I remove gluten from my child's diet?, you're not alone.
I've lost count of how many emails I received asking for advice on going gluten-free.
For more information on the health risks of gluten, Click Here.
For many of you, the thought of getting your child to give up gluten is stirring up a lot of anxiety.
This is a totally normal way to feel.
Our brains are actually hard-wired to resist change. That’s why, even when we know the change will be beneficial, we still feel resistant and anxious.
To make things even harder, there's no such thing as being kind of gluten-free, so our start small strategy won't work here.
But, I have good news! There are tons of delicious, healthy, gluten-free options on the market to make this transition nice and easy for you.
Caution- gluten-free doesn’t mean healthy! Many of the brands out there are full of gut-irritating ingredients like canola oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, maltodextrin, soy protein, and corn starch, to name a few.
Rules of thumb when shopping for gluten-free products (or any processed food for that matter!):
- The shorter the ingredient list, the better.
- If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, it’s probably a gut-irritant.
- Look for products that use olive, coconut, or avocado oil instead of canola, sunflower, or palm oil.
- Beware of hidden sugars with tricky names like corn syrup, dextrose, ethyl maltol, maltose, malt syrup, sucrose - even the “healthier” ones like brown rice syrup, agave syrup, and coconut sugar are still gut-irritants.
One more caveat- many of the high-quality gluten-free options come with sticker shock.
Before I list my favorite gluten-free brands, I want to acknowledge that some of the price points are likely to make you gasp in horror (like my husband does when he sees our grocery bill).
To prevent hyperventilation, I’m including several budget-friendly options as well as my favorite DIY recipes.
Tip: Thrive Market, an online market known as the "Costco of health food," carries many of my top 25 brands for a discounted price.
Here we go… the following are my Top 25 Kid-Friendly, Gut-Friendly, Gluten-Free Products:
There are dozens of gluten-free bread options, but most of them are highly processed and full of, for lack of a better word, crap.
Cooks is one of the "cleanest" brands I've found and it's delicious. My boys (including my very picky husband) love it.
A clean and delicious option, Julian Bakery's almond bread is a staple in our house. Only downside? It's quite pricey.
The ingredient list is a little longer than Cooks or Julian Bakery, but I love that Canyon Bakehouse uses olive oil instead of gut-irritating canola oil. Overall it’s pretty clean, tastes great, and is a more budget-friendly option.
Budget-friendly options: Udi's, Rudi's, Trader Joe’s, and Schar. The only tradeoff is the ingredient list- you’ll find some gut-irritants in each of them.
Made with 8 simple ingredients, these tasty crackers are my boys’ favorite.
After finding out her husband was gluten intolerant, Jill went searching for some healthy grain-free crackers and couldn’t find any. So, she made her own! They’re made from the cleanest, high-quality “real” ingredients, which, unfortunately, is reflected in the hefty price point. I buy one or two boxes a month and put them in our cracker rotation, but they’re not a staple.
Clean, gut-friendly ingredients but they have a stronger taste. My younger son will eat them but my older son won’t.
Budget-friendly options: Glutino, Blue Diamond, and Crunchmaster.
My boys are obsessed with Mexican food (like their dad!), so finding a delicious gluten-free tortilla was a top priority. We’ve tried several brown rice tortillas, but couldn’t find one my boys liked. Then I discovered Siete- a brand created by a family who is on a mission to “make and share real food.”
After getting over my initial sticker shock (yikes!), I bought the almond flour tortillas (made with 5 gut-friendly ingredients) and my boys loved them. We’ve also tried the coconut flour and cassava and coconut- my boys love all of them.
Budget-friendly options: Udi’s, Rudi’s, and Trader Joe’s.
We’ve tried several brown rice pastas and this one is our favorite.
Made from one simple ingredient: legumes. My boys love the green lentil option and I love that it has added protein (21g in a 3 ounce serving). I make it with coconut oil (great for the gut) and sea salt for my picky boys.
Made from white rice flour and protein-rich quinoa, this non-GMO pasta is delicious and healthy. It’s a great way to get a little more protein into your kids’ diets.
Budget-friendly options: Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta, Banza.
Tip- avoid brands that use corn flour.
Cereal and Granola
Purely Elizabeth uses whole, gut-friendly ingredients and, compared to most options out there, is low in sugar. Plus it’s delicious! My boys eat it as a snack when we’re on the go. Look for it at Target and online at Thrive Market.
This is low in sugar, high in fiber, and minimally processed. Plus it tastes great! The price point is high, so it’s a good one to rotate in and out.
With only 4 grams of sugar per serving and nine delicious, nutritious, and gut-friendly ingredients, this is a perfect breakfast option for your little ones.
Budget-friendly options: Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Flakes, Nature’s Path, Gluten-free Chex Granola Mix: Honey Nut, Rice Chex Gluten-Free Cereal.
Tip- if you’re child eats cereal for breakfast, and whenever they eat something starchy for that matter, pair it with a healthy fat like avocado, a teaspoon of coconut oil, or a handful of nuts to offset the insulin-spiking effects of the starch.
Pancakes and Waffles
I'm a big Simple Mills fan. Their products are so clean- full of gut-friendly ingredients you can actually prounouce! We love their pancake mix. Even my husband can't tell the difference between this and the "gluten" kind.
Pamela's is a little less expensive than Simple Mills and is equally delicious. Only downside? Longer ingredient list.
These are my favorite on-the-go snack for my boys. Made with eight whole food ingredients, they have 12g of protein and 5g of fiber. There are several great flavors to choose from (my boys like chocolate sea salt the best), they are minimally processed, AND you can find them at Costco!
Made with real, plant-based ingredients, these tasty little bars are dairy-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and only have 3g of sugar.
These are a little more processed and have a few iffy ingredients (agave nectar, sunflower oil), but they are still one of the better bar options out there. My boys love the chocolate chip flavor. I don’t make a habit of buying these, but I include them in our rotation once in a while.
Dairy-free, soy-free, non-GMO, high in protein, and super delicious.
These tasty little chocolate treats are a favorite in our house. With only two ingredients, they are minimally processed and low in sugar.
Made from plant powered, nutrient-dense ingredients, these soy, corn and dairy-free cookies are low in sugar (only 6 grams per serving) and high in deliciousness.
Only 3 grams of sugar per cookie and a decent ingredient list - there are a couple gut-offenders in there (agave and "natural flavor") - but overall, it's a good option to satisfy your kid's sweet tooth.
My boys are obsessed with pizza. And, let me tell you, they are very particular. Simple Mills pizza dough is on a biweekly rotation in our house. It's delicious and so easy to make. My boys ask for it every week! The price point is hefty, but still less than the cost of ordering out.
Budget-friendly option: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Pizza Crust.
Vegetable oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, and palm) that are commonly found in processed foods are major gut irritants and are linked to inflammation. It's a challenge to find chips sans vegetable oil. That's why I was thrilled when I discovered Siete. They use avocado oil (a healthy cooking oil with beneficial fatty acids) and have only five ingredients. Admittedly, they're not quite as tasty as "regular" tortilla chips, but my boys love them nonetheless.
Made with three gut-friendly ingredients: coconut oil, sweet potatoes, and sea salt. They are tasty and guilt-free.
Budget-friendly options: Terra Original Sea Salt Chips, Kettle Brand, Trader Joes Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips.
There you have it, my top 25 kid-friendly, gut-friendly gluten-free products. Going gluten-free doesn't have to be hard and you don't have to sacrifice taste for health.
The only "hard" part about it is the cost. If you're thinking, this all sounds great...if money grew on trees!, you're in good company. But, in this case, I urge you to adopt a where there's a will, there's a way attitude.
The thing is, what we (and our kids) put in our bodies has an enormous impact on our health and there is absolutely nothing more important than our health.
Look for other areas in your budget where you can make cuts, keep your eyes peeled for deals at Costco, join Thrive Market, or try some of the DIY options.
It may be challenging at first, but becoming ingredient-conscious and making sure the foods you're regularly feeding your kids are as minimally processed and gut-irritant-free as possible will go a long way toward improving your child's physical, emotional, and mental health.
Is your child gluten-free? What are some of your favorite brands? Was it a smooth transition? If you're considering going gluten-free, what are your hang-ups and/or concerns? Please leave your comments below, we'd love to hear from you.