Top 5: Good-Tasting & Gluten Free

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Gluten-free products have come a long, long way in taste and texture over the past few years. Our buyers and friends on our Facebook page offered up these suggestions for good-tasting alternatives to beat the wheat. Whether you have switched to a gluten-free diet by choice or necessity, it can be difficult to find foods that you really like, or that remind you of your old “normal” diet. And when you have a household of gluten-free and non-gluten-free eaters, making meals that everyone can appreciate is a monumentally difficult task. Sprouts recently asked our buyers and friends on Facebook to name the items they missed the most since going gluten-free … and what good-tasting items they have found to beat the wheat.

#1 BreadsDifferent types of gluten free bread

The most commonly missed item, not surprisingly: bread. That included loaves of sandwich bread, English muffins, and French bread. For gluten-free bread, there are a few options available, depending on how much time you have. If you enjoy baking and the warm fluff-crunch of a fresh-baked loaf, grab a Pamela’s Flour Blend Bread Mix, and you can knead, bake, and delight your taste buds with an irresistible loaf. For immediate sliced gratification, the grab-and-go winner is Schar Breads, in Multigrain or Classic White. There was also lots of praise for the two similar-sounding frozen gluten-free loaves: Udi’s and Rudi’s.

#2 Pasta

A close runner-up for most-missed: pasta. Celiacs and others allergic to glutens mourned the loss of linguini and bade farewell to fusilli. But fortunately, many new gluten-free pasta options have recently popped up all over the store—for example, House Foods Noodles Shirataki (made from tofu) in the dairy case. Admittedly, it is truly difficult to get a great-tasting gluten-free pasta with the right texture. Of the many options now available at Sprouts, we suggest (as did many Facebook friends) the Tinkyada Rice varieties. Available in Wheat-Free, Organic, Brown Rice, and White Rice options, you can have spaghetti, fettuccini, shells, or spiral pasta on your plate tonight. Flavored boxed rice and pasta are also great on-the-go additions to any dinner menu, and Lundberg has a delicious variety of risottos (Creamy Parmesan and Alfredo, to name two) ready to upstage your protein and veggies tonight.

#3 Snacks

No meal can be properly spoiled without some good snacks, and this is another category that the gluten-freers look back on with longing. But snacking can be treacherous territory for the gluten-free crowd. (To our Facebook friends, we regret that as of yet there is no Ritz cracker alternative, although we have passed this request along to our vendors.) But there are some amazing crackers and treats that are not only gluten-free, they are delicious! Among them: Blue Diamond Nut Thins come in a virtual rainbow of eye-popping nuts and flavors. From Almond and Cheddar Cheese to Country Ranch and Hazelnut, you may have to hide the box from yourself. Food Should Taste Good chips taste way better than “good,” and the fact that they are gluten-free makes us feel great. Available in enticing varieties like Sweet Potato, Chocolate and Olive, these yummy chips are so good, in fact, that we had to double-check that they were actually gluten-free! Some days the kids in your household, and the kid in all of us, just need a gummy snack. And Annie’s Homegrown delivers with fruit snacks in Tropical, Berry Patch, Citrus, and Summer Strawberry, all gluten-free. The nutrition bar aisle at Sprouts can be intimidating, even if you aren’t looking for a gluten-free option. Some of our favorites include the relative new-comer Bakery on Main True Bars, and KIND Bars, which are also peanut-free. Note that while they are glutenus minimus, some are still high in calories and may add to your gluteus maximus. So don’t forget to check out the gluten-free and low- (or no-) sugar options from thinkThin.

#4 Pizza

Pizza probably would have been higher on the lost list, but for the number of good gluten-free alternatives now in the Sprouts frozen case. The top two? Gluten Free & Fabulous, and Amy’s (whose rice crusts are truly terrific).

#5 Pancakes

The gluten-free crowd has had a bit of a flap over flapjacks. It seems that they dearly miss pancakes and waffles, but have also warmed to the wheat-free version offered by Pamela’s Pancake Mix. And, because the sweet tooth knows no boundaries, not even a gluten-free diet, they also recommend Nature’s Hollow Sugar Free Maple Syrup. You may not find it on your Aunt Jemima’s table, but once you have one taste, you won’t need that extra sugar. Nature’s Hollow also has a delicious line of preserves in flavors you’ll want to slather on a nut butter and jelly sandwich, like Apricot, Raspberry and Wild Berry. (And speaking of nut butters, our gluten-free customers are really enjoying Justin’s Almond Butter, with or without honey.) Gluten-free eating has evolved and definitely grown tastier over time. Still, some things are just not the same. Items for which we have yet to find a truly great substitute include beer and flour tortillas. With more than 3,000 gluten-free items waiting for you at your local Sprouts store, there are many different options to explore. If there is something that you would like to see on Sprouts shelves, let us know and we’ll give it a look—or, a taste.