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Unhealthy junk food. Many of us grew up with, and still, love it! Honestly, now the sound of “junk food” makes my stomach turn a little bit. Candy, pizza, cookies….thinking about what I used to consume as a kid makes me squeemish. But! The healthy alternatives I eat now make me smile…so let’s talk about those.
As you may know or have read, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 5 years ago. Since then, I’ve found gluten-free, healthier alternatives to quote on quote, “junk food”.
Please don’t be fooled by “gluten-free” claims.
There are no regulations on how to label things gluten-free so often times companies use it as a marketing tool to earn your dolla dolla bills.
There are 3 main things I look for when buying gluten-free products:
- What are the quality of the ingredients? (i.e. grass fed, organic, non-gmo, etc)
- Is this certified gluten-free (and, for me because of the severity of Celiac Disease, wasn’t made in a facility that processes wheat)
- Is this a reputable brand? (One that I am familiar with and a company whose practices I’m familiar with)
Good news is, the following companies and following products pass with flying colors and are goodies I consume myself 🙂
Pizza is my biggest guilty pleasure. It’s something I could eat probably any time of the day for any occasion. It was the one college food I remember diligently consuming. There was nothing like a Friday night pizza and leaving a few bites for Saturday morning breakfast.
When I was beginning my gluten-free journey pizza was one of my first replacements. I dabbled in locally made gluten-free pizza, some of the few frozen ones that were out on the market, and making my own. None seemed to fit the bill, that is, until I found my favorite: Against the Grain Pepperoni Pizza.
Be still my heart! Against the Grain did it! And not only is the pizza gluten-free but grain free as well! Also made with quality cheese and by a company who makes wonderful products! Against the Grain pizza and I are a match made in gluten-free heaven. I top mine with ground beef and pineapple.
I was never a chip person but I know so many who are!
Next time you reach for a bag of horribly sourced, rancidified-oil-doused potato chips, think about Inka Plantain Chips instead! These little yellow beauties are the cherry on top in my infamous sardine recipe (that has people loving sardines) and they make a great, crunchy addition to taco night!
Plantains are the “cousins” to bananas. You can buy sweet plantain chips, but if you’re a standard potato chip kind of person, you’ll want to stick with the original, green bag plantain chips. And for you spicy fans, they also have a chile flavor.
Although Inka Plantain Chips are my favorite, check out these yummy options as well:
- Jackson’s Honest Barbeque Chips
- Jackson’s Honest Salt and Vinegar Chips
- Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips
- Good Health Lime Ranch Potato Chips
Bonus points to Jackson’s Honest as they use coconut oil rather than hydrogenated, rancid oils like canola or soybean oil. Ick.
I must be honest, that daggon song from the 2000s always pops into my head when I read that word. Ugh.
But! Boy do I miss the occasional chocolate milkshake on a hot, sunny day. Or, any day for that matter. Some milkshakes will contain gluten in the form of malt, an additive, or the extra ingredients (like cookies).
Although it may not be exactly a “milkshake”, Justin and I throw together some great whole food ingredients to make a yummy protein shake (that might just do the trick for your milkshake craving) and happens to be perfect as a snack or post-workout refuel.
- 8oz Grass-Fed Whole Milk (Hemp milk is also really creamy or you can stick with almond or coconut milk (sans carrageenan, please))
- 1 Scoop BlueBonnet Chocolate Protein
- 1/4-1/2 Cup Certified Gluten-Free Oats (This brand is my favorite)
- 2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
- 1 Organic Banana
Protein shakes are always fun to be creative with! BlueBonnet’s sister brand, Extreme Edge, also makes a gluten-free cookies and cream protein powder that is miiiiiighty delicious. And anything cookies and cream and gluten-free is hard to come by!
Did someone say cookies?
Chocolate chip cookies are the way to my heart and many recipes aren’t gluten-free. Good news is, Cappellos has you covered.
Their cookie dough is gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan which means you can eat the whole stick raw if you want to! Cappellos is a company that wants to serve those who live a gluten-free lifestyle and still want to enjoy the luxuries of cuisine. In addition to their delicious cookies they also make gluten-free fettuchini noodles, lasagna noodles, pizza, other cookie flavors, and more!
Try these cookies next time you have a sweet tooth. (And from experience, topping them with a little Simple Mills Vanilla Icing makes them extra indulgent)
5. Candy Bar
Candy bars not only stare at you the entire time you’re waiting in the check-out line, they also badger you for every Hallmark holiday known to man. Caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, crispy, smooth; you name it, they’ve made it.
Although it may not be covered in caramel, Perfect Bars are pretty darn….well….perfect.
Perfect Bars are filled with healthy fats, is run by a family owned company, and stack a killer ingredient list! The peanut butter bar tends to be the most popular at the health food store I’ve worked at since college, but my favorite is the almond butter.
I can’t leave out the maple almond or the carob chip, though. Maple almond is the perfect taste of sweet fall in a bar. And the carob chip…let’s just say the first time I tried it I thought to myself, “This reminds me of something…but I caaan’t put my finger on it, wait, wait….a nutty bar!” Do I even need to say more?
Perfect Bars are the perfect go-to snack when you’re hangry but still want to be hungry for dinner.
Give one a try! (I am NOT responsible for your future addiction, just sayin’)
There ya have it! Everyone needs a tasty treat every now and again.
Learning to be gluten-free can be incredibly overwhelming. It’s nice to know that some companies work hard to be as transparent and accommodating as possible. I’m thankful for each of the companies I mentioned today because as someone who can’t readily eat whatever may be available, they allow me to enjoy life through one of my favorites senses, taste.
I hope next time you go to grab a bite of junk food, you think of these healthier alternatives. And if you’re just dabbling into the gluten-free world, have no fear, because these goodies are near!
If you need any other gluten-free ideas, don’t hesitate to ask (as I’ve tried many, many products in my time).
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Disclaimer: None of this information is intended to diagnose or treat any type of illness or disease. Always consult with your physician before making any decisions regarding your health.
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