“Going gluten-free” has gone mainstream with one out of ten consumers seeking gluten-free food choices. Snacks seem to be a hurdle for many people trying to eat gluten-free and healthy. Below are 12 satisfying low calorie gluten-free snacks that will work both midmorning or mid afternoon. But first-
WHAT is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is the binding agent that keeps baked goods from falling apart. It provides stability and texture.
WHERE is gluten found?
It is found in most types of breads, cereals, baked goods, pastas, pizza and as an ingredient in many processed foods. Not all foods from the grain family, however, contain gluten. Examples of grains that do not have gluten include rice, corn, gluten-free oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teff.
WHEN is gluten a concern?
Gluten is the major cause of inflammation in the body because we eat so much of it! We eat more gluten in the form of wheat than any other food: 825 calories per day. Our ancestors did not eat any wheat and we have not evolved to do so. The gluten protein molecules are simply not digested completely by humans. Gliadin peptides (undigested molecules of gluten) remain in the gut and cause the epithelial (top layer) cells of the small intestines to become more porous, causing increased intestinal permeability. This sequence of events results in Leaky Gut Syndrome, allowing large molecules of gliadin, bacteria, viruses, yeast and other toxins to enter the bloodstream causing chronic inflammation throughout the body. This reaction is called gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease is just one part of the gluten sensitivity spectrum affecting 1 in 133 people. Non-celiac gluten intolerance is a much larger part of the spectrum affecting 1 in 10.
When you first start the gluten-free diet, surviving the first two weeks can be tricky for many reasons, most of all, you are hungry! The diet is a process- substituting old favorites and traditions for new.
Here are 12 gluten-free (and casein-free) snacks 100 calories or less to ease the transition:
2 tablespoon hummus with 5 Crisproot® Chips (2 grams fiber)
1 piece fresh fruit (5 grams fiber)
1/4 cup dried fruit (2 grams fiber)
15 almonds (2 grams fiber)
2-3 cups popcorn (2 grams fiber)
1/2 ounce Manchego (sheep milk) cheese with 9 gluten-free rice crackers
2 tablespoons guacamole with 1 cup Jicama slices (6 grams fiber)
1 tablespoon favorite gluten-free dip with 1 cup sliced carrots, snap peas, red peppers and/or celery
1/2 cup Coconut Greek plain yogurt with teaspoon honey
2 Hail Merry® macaroons (2 grams fiber) (I am a brand ambassador)
2 squares dark chocolate
2 Glutino® Chocolate Wafers (3 grams fiber)
By Claudia Pillow, PhD