When starting your gluten-free journey, it’s important to identify gluten foods to avoid. Once you learn which foods have gluten, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you! This guide teaches you what to avoid and also offers tasty gluten-free alternatives.
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Curious about which gluten-free foods you should stay away from? Look no further than this handy list of ten gluten-free foods to steer clear of. Throughout the list we also share easy alternatives and recipes you can try at home!
10 Gluten Foods to Avoid
1. Bread, Crackers & Wraps
Traditional bread is made with wheat flour, which is a form of gluten. Gluten is what causes bread to rise and also gives it a distinct chewy texture. Avoid:
- White Bread
- Flour Tortillas
- Sourdough Bread
- Rye Bread
- Saltine Crackers
- Ritz Crackers
However, there are gluten-free bread alternatives available for individuals who need to avoid gluten due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Here are some gluten-free bread recipes to try:
- Easy Flaxseed Wraps: Use this as a tortilla replacement for your favorite wraps. It’s made easily with just 3 ingredients.
- Gluten-Free Garlic Bread: This is just as buttery and satisfying as traditional Garlic Bread.
- Sweet Potato Cornbread: Serve this with Sunday supper or holiday meals and no one will notice it’s gluten-free.
2. Wheat-Based Pasta
Gluten is a protein present in wheat. Regular pasta is made from wheat flour, which forms its texture and structure, so it’s not gluten-free. Avoid these wheat-based foods:
- Pasta Noodles (i.e., spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, macaroni, lasagna, etc.)
- Gnocchi with wheat flour
Look for gluten-free pasta alternatives made from rice, corn, or other gluten-free flour. These alternatives replicate the texture and flavor you’d expect from traditional pasta. Here are some gluten-free pasta recipes:
- Spicy Vodka Pasta: Also known as Gigi Hadid Pasta, this TikTok viral recipe is a hearty, saucy meal of gluten-free penne tossed with red chili flakes and parmesan.
- Creamy Lobster Pasta: This is an indulgent meal of succulent lobster mixed with cheesy parmesan sauce and fresh herbs.
3. Processed Foods (sausage, lunch meat, prepacked foods)
You may be shocked to learn that many processed foods, particularly meat, have gluten. It’s because they often contain gluten proteins like wheat, barley, and rye as fillers, flavoring agents, binding ingredients, and even coloring.
- Lunch Meats
- Deli Cheeses
- Hot Dogs
- Canned Soups
Processed foods with gluten can sneak up on you but we have some gluten-free solutions:
- Air Fryer Crispy Prosciutto: This cured Italian ham is usually salted and air-dried so it’s unlikely to contain gluten. Add it as a crunchy, savory addition to salads and pasta.
- Gluten-Free Croutons: Have homemade croutons to add to soups and salads in just 20 minutes!
4. Condiments and Sauces
We’re often so focused on how to avoid gluten foods that we forget about condiments and sauce. These seasoning agents often contain yeast extracts obtained from barley. Here are some examples:
- Salad Dressings
- Soy Sauce
- Seasoning and Spice Mixes
Luckily, we have some delicious gluten-free sauces. Here are a few:
- Cashew Cream Sauce: Who knew soaked cashews could be a delicious, creamy base for a variety of sauces?
- Homemade Barbecue Sauce: Sticky, tangy, with the perfect hint of spice, this is a delicious gluten-free option for chicken, ribs, and more!
- Vegan Ranch Dressing: You have to try this gluten-free, dairy-free alternative to the classic sauce. It’s truly mouthwatering!
5. Some Beverages
It’s possible for drinks to include gluten so definitely watch your labels. One prime example is beer, which is typically made from barley or wheat, both of which contain gluten. Aside from beer, the following beverages may contain gluten:
- Wine Coolers
- Cocktail Mixes
- Premade Coffee Beverages
- Malt Milkshakes
But don’t fret! There are plenty of gluten-free drinks. Here are some ideas:
- Easy Fall Sangria with Apple Cider: This fall twist on classic sangria is the perfect cocktail for all your autumn events.
- Best Coffee Smoothie: You’re just 5 minutes away from a thick, frothy, caffeinated smoothie.
- Lychee Tea Recipe: This sweet, infused drink has hints of floral and a super refreshing quality.
6. Gluten-containing Grains
Although there are gluten-free grains, there are many that contain grains. It’s important for people with gluten-related disorders to avoid foods made from the following:
- Oats (oats themselves don’t contain gluten but are often processed in facilities that produce gluten-containing grains and may be contaminated)
- Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Here are some gluten-free grain recipes to try:
7. Wheat, in all of its forms
Wheat is a common ingredient found in a wide range of foods and products from roux to cereals. People with gluten sensitivity should avoid wheat, in all its forms. That includes:
- Whole Wheat
- White Wheat
- Durum Wheat
- Wheat Starch
- Cracked Wheat
- Wheat Bran
- Wheat germ
Here are some wheat-free recipes to try instead:
- White Bean Quinoa Chili: Warm up from the inside out with this gluten-free comfort food. This is a yummy alternative to couscous.
- Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes: Enjoy a stack of pancakes for breakfast without the side effects you get from eating gluten.
8. Certain Snack Foods
When you want a quick snack, it’s tempting to reach for the first thing you see but if consuming gluten is an issue, knowing how to avoid gluten foods is vital. Some of the most popular snacks contain gluten. They include:
- Cereal bars
- Energy bars
- Snack mixes
- Candy bars
- Granola bars
Craving a snack but need it to be gluten-free? Check out these gluten-free snack recipes:
- Best Grain-Free Granola Bars: Made with nuts and seeds, this is a nutty snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Easy Sea Moss Chocolate Bark: The next time you’re craving a chocolate bar, try this instead.
- Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos: You can have fully loaded gluten-free nachos with this recipe.
9. Most Baked Goods
Most baked goods require all-purpose flour, which is made with wheat. Here are gluten foods to avoid:
- Cake Pops
If you’re looking to avoid gluten due to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or other reasons, you’ll need to choose gluten-free baked goods or recipes that use alternative flours, such as rice flour, almond flour, coconut flour, or gluten-free blends. Here are some gluten-free options:
- Sheet Pan Pancakes: Oven-baked pancakes are an easy alternative to traditional pancakes. They’re just as fluffy and sweet.
- Apricot Galette: This pastry has a pleasant tart taste with warm spices added to enhance the overall flavor.
- Orange Cranberry Muffins: Soft, buttery muffins are great for breakfast or a snack. They’re not only gluten-free but low-carb too!
10. Sietan and Alternative Meats
Seitan is a high-protein meat substitute that is primarily made from wheat gluten. Alternative meats typically have wheat as fillers or binders so always read the packaging to ensure they are gluten-free. Avoid:
- Veggie Burgers
- Some Tofu Products
- Plant-Based “Chicken”
Check out these gluten-free food alternatives:
- Tofu Ricotta: Although it’s vegan. It’s very creamy so you can use it to make lasagna or a dip.
- Vegan Black Bean Burgers: These plant-based patties aren’t processed but are packed with big flavor and plenty of protein.
Tips for Avoiding Gluten Intolerance Foods
- When in doubt, read the label. Look for phrases like “gluten-free”, “sans gluten”, or “no gluten”, but always check for hidden sources of gluten, such as wheat derivatives, malt, and modified food starch.
- Stick to one ingredient foods (like whole fruits and vegetables). There’s no guesswork when there are no labels! Opt for whole, unprocessed foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Make your own gluten-free foods at home. Preparing your own meals means you determine what goes into the recipe. It’s also a great way to avoid cross-contamination, which can happen in restaurants and factories.
- Try gluten-free grains and alternatives. Incorporate gluten-free grains into your diet. Some examples include rice, quinoa, corn, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, and certified gluten-free oats.
Good Gluten-Free Brands to Try
Numerous companies excel in crafting gluten-free goods. These brands are great when you need to avoid gluten foods. Explore a selection of top-notch gluten-free labels:
- Bob’s Red Mill: This brand offers a large number of gluten-free items, including flours, grains, cake mixes, pancakes, and pizza crust mixes. Shop for Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free products online.
- King Arthur Baking Company: Similar to Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur offers a variety of gluten-free flours, cake mixes, pancake mixes, and more. Here at GFB, we like to alternative between using Bobs or Kinds, depending on what we are baking! Shop King Arthur Baking Company Gluten-Free Products Online.
- Schar Gluten-Free: You can easily find Schar products at your local grocery store. They offer everything from gluten-free bagels to English muffins, bread, hot dog buns, crackers, and more! Shop Schar Gluten-Free Products Online.
- Banza: This company specializes in making high-protein, gluten-free, chickpea pasta noodles and pizza crust. Choose from bucatini, rigatoni, penne noodles, and frozen pizza dough. Shop for Banza products online.
- Simple Mills. This company offers gluten-free and grain-free snacks! You can find crackers, brownies, cookies, muffins, and more! Shop for Simple Mills online.