Shopping Gluten Free for the First Time

Yes, this might seem scary. Before your first trip I want you to make a list of things you need. Cross reference them from the Gluten Free Safe List and find out what items you need to find an alternative for. Below I will give you some brands that will be good substitutions. Some items that you will need to replace will be:

  • Flour – I prefer sorghum, tapioca, potato starch, and rice. I will buy others but these are the ones I use most frequently and keep stocked in the pantry.
  • Pasta – I use Tinkyada for everything. Nobody ever asks questions. It is forgiving and doesn’t turn to mush. Plus you can boil water, throw the noodles in, cover them and let them sit in the pan to cook without wasting energy boiling them. I do have to say, my Walmart started to carry a rice noodle that is acceptable. It does have more of a rice taste to it but not too overpowering. When I am in a crunch I pick it up and the price is great.
  • Bread – I use Ener-G light brown rice bread. It tastes great toasted, grilled and made into french toast. I know there are a million other kinds of amazing GF bread but this is what I use as a staple unless I am baking my own. The packages do not have to be frozen they are shelf stable for months. Update: Since writing this original post I have tried the amazing Udi’s bread. My local grocery store started to carry their bread and muffins. The bread is amazing but the price is a little steep. Each loaf is about double my Ener-G bread. So what I do is occasionally I buy Udi’s but I still purchase my Ener-G every couple of months to keep my shelves stocked. I have to say I like my french toast better with Ener-G for some reason but a grilled cheese tastes amazing with the Udi’s bread. Nothing beats a fresh peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam sandwich without having to toast the bread(Udi’s).
  • Soy sauce – San-J is great but you can also buy Bragg’s liquid Aminos which comes in a convenient spray bottle. My local grocer also started to carry San-J Thai Peanut and Szechuan. I purchased them today but have yet to try them. I can’t wait though! Update: my kids love the Peanut! Every single time a cook any type of meat, veggies and rice/noodles they top it with the Peanut sauce. I do have to say it tastes awesome!
  • Cereals – Chex is one of the easiest. They make strawberry, chocolate, cinnamon, honey nut, corn and rice now that are all gluten free.
  • Soups – I prefer either Amy’s Organic soups or Health Valley Organic. Between the two brands you can get your cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, tomato, lentil vegetable(my favorite), and chili. This is just a few basic soups. Do some digging and you will find many more. Don’t forget Progresso Creamy Mushroom! It is a perfect swap in all of those Kraft recipes.
  • Beer – I don’t drink beer but my sister in law is a home brewer and she has tried Sprecher. She was pleasantly surprised. I might add that she is not on a GF diet. She tried it at a beer festival so she could report back to me.
  • Crackers – My favorite is either Glutino (they are the closest to saltines that I can find but they also have a close taste to a Ritz) or Rice Thins. Rice thins can be bought at many regular grocery stores.
  • Cake or brownie mixes – For me this is all about convenience. I have many really good homemade recipes but sometimes it is nice to just whip out a box. Betty Crocker carries cakes, brownies and cookies now that are all GF. If you have not seen them, ask your grocer about carrying them. I also like Gluten Free Pantry and Namaste brands. They all produce a high quality mix that is very convenient and easy to use.
  • Pancake/waffle mix – This is by far my favorite category. I love Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix! The pancakes turn out light and fluffy just like they are at IHOP. I just recently discovered this mix and I use it at least once a week. You can make biscuits, breads, waffles or just about anything else that you can make with Bisquick. I made a ton of cakes with it and they are have turned out wonderful. It is definitely an all purpose mix.

Everyone is going to like different brands but these have passed the resistant child test and the husband refuses to eat GF test. This is where you will have to start buying items from either a specialty store or you can use my favorite, Amazon.

  • I also wanted to add that I did try the Pamela’s bread mix and as it makes an okay bread but it is quite sweet. I made homemade noodles and that was the first thing my girls said was they were sweet. Which I thought was odd until I tasted them also and I have to agree. I have started to add 2 bags of rice flour to one 3bl bag of the bread mix. It seems to mellow out the sweetness and the sorghum taste. I usually love sorghum but it might be something else in the mix that leaves an aftertaste in my mouth. Adding the rice flour eliminated that for me though.

I highly recommend Amazon because of it’s convenience.

I was getting all of my bread locally. Then the gas prices shot through the roof last year and I had to look for ways to cut our bills. Of course GF convenience foods had to be one of the cuts. I searched for alternatives and this is what I found. I could get my same bread from Amazon shipped directly to my house for about $7 less a case than buying it from a store.  Then I found out that by having it set up on autoship I was able to save over $10 a case. It came to almost half the price I was paying. I have found this with many items on Amazon. Betty Crocker GF mixes actually came out to be about the same price so I pick them up when I need them rather than buying an entire case at a time. That is one downfall. You have to make sure it is something you like because you do order it by the case.

Now that we have most of the staples covered we will be moving on to starting to use these items. If you were not a baker before starting the GF life you will be now. Unless you have a lot of extra cash lying around needing to be spent.

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