Whether your child has celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten sensitivity, there are an increasing number of gluten-free and gluten-friendly products on the market for families to choose from today. Follow these 7 tips to make your next grocery shopping trip a breeze.
Read the Labels
In the United States, all food products containing common allergens (including wheat) must be labeled as such. Look for a bold section underneath the ingredients list to identify the presence of wheat in the product at a glance and learn to spot the other common names that indicate the presence of gluten. Keep in mind that gluten can be added to products that you might not expect, such as soy sauce or soup. Be on the lookout for these ingredients:
- Brewer’s yeast
- Wheat (including spelt, emmer, farro, and durum)
Lastly, watch out for labels that say “may contain” or “made on shared equipment with wheat/gluten,” especially if your child is particularly sensitive to gluten.
Look for the Gluten-Free Aisle
Most health food stores (and even some big-name grocery stores) have singled out their gluten-free products and created a special section for them. This makes shopping for safe products even easier for parents and kids who need to stick to a gluten-free diet. Manufacturers today have become increasingly focused on offering gluten-free alternatives to everything from cookies and cake to pasta and bread. Additionally, most gluten-free food products will be marketed and labeled as such in order to make them easy for consumers to identify.
Shop the Perimeter
Sticking to whole, natural foods like those located around the grocery store’s perimeter will help you avoid the presence of gluten, which is so often found in processed foods. Be sure to stock up on healthy groceries like fruits and vegetables as well as meat and dairy products.
Look for Alternatives
Even if your grocery store does not have a designated gluten-free aisle, it is important to know what products to look for that can substitute for your favorite staples. For example, if your child has a taste for pasta, you can stock up on varieties made from rice, quinoa, or chickpeas.
Consider New Stores
For a better selection of gluten-free products, consider shopping at your local health food store such as Whole Foods or Sprouts. These stores provide consumers with much more variety to choose from, especially when it comes to gluten-free alternatives to childhood favorites like cakes, cookies, crackers, pizza, or macaroni.
Alternatively, you can order some of your child’s favorite gluten-free products online from places like Amazon or natural online grocers like Thrive Market. Not only will this give you access to a better product selection, but it should also save you time and money, especially if you order in bulk.
Download an App
There are several apps designed to help gluten-sensitive shoppers and diners locate the safe products they have been looking for. Some of these include Find Me Gluten Free, The Gluten Free Scanner, ShopWell, and AllergyEats.
Parents can also search the GFCO Product Directory to find the products and brands that have gone through the Gluten-Free Certification Organization’s detailed product testing and earned the GFCO certification.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s gluten-free diet, give us a call today to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly board-certified pediatricians in Littleton!