Friday, March 26, 2010

Gluten-free snacks - the good and the not so good

Greetings to all and happy spring! I have been sampling some different gluten-free snack items this week and what follows is my take on them individually.

Bakery on Main - Nutty Cranberry Maple Granola - I have never been "over-the-moon" about granola, but I did occasionally indulge in it in my before celiac (BC) life. It has too many calories and too much sugar normally, but this one seems quite different. It has 13 grams of sugar per serving which is not over the top. It is loaded with pecans, almonds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, fruit juice, cranberries, and other good stuff. I like it alot! It is really good straight out of the bag when you need something with crunch and it is also good as a cereal with milk. However, I do prefer it just as is in the bag. I have found this at Hy-Vee and No Name Nutrition. It isn't terribly expensive and it fulfills a need for a few bites of crunchy delight when you need a quick lift. And it is so conveniently can take it anywhere. I give this item a thumbs-up.

Arrowhead Mills - Organic Maple Buckwheat Flakes Cereal - now I know many people who consider cereal a snack (me included) or strictly as a breakfast food. But whichever way you lean, I think this is a good healthy option. It has 33 grams of whole grain per serving and has buckwheat and grits in it. With only 5 grams of sugar it fits the bill for me. I like to put soy or almond milk on it and it really doesn't need any additional sweetener. And I am not racked with guilt when I have a small bowl for a light snack. I get this at Hy-Vee or No Name Nutrition as well.

Katz - Chocolate Chip Cookies - I hate to be the bearer of bad news but these cookies are just not good at all. They give gluten-free cookies a bad name and quite frankly there are plenty of gluten-free products floating around the universe giving gluten-free products a bad reputation, not to mention bad taste. So I don't think we need any more contenders in that area. They were dry and crumbly and basically had no redeming qualities. Don't waste your money and don't settle for "ho-hum" products.

Katz - Cinnamon Rugelach/Rugelech - For those of you who don't know, rugelach is a perfectly delightful, sinful pastry that you will find in many bakeries on the East Coast. It is quite wonderful and flaky and a real treat. Let me just say that this is not a real treat! It was extremely dry, stale tasting and not the least bit deserving of a second piece. This was a new box so it hadn't been opened, so I am not sure what the staleness was about but again, don't waste your money. As always, I think you get what you pay for.

Sahalie Snacks - Glazed almonds with cranberries, honey & sea salt - I had several friends try this with me to see if I was just jaded by inferior products. But we all agreed.....although it sounded healthy and tasty it was extremely mediocre and I would not purchase it again. There was just something totally "off" about it and I could not recommend this to anyone.....friend or foe. I was somewhat disappointed because I wanted to like the product...........but it just didn't happen.

This brings me to a point that I may have driven home not settle for products that don't taste good. There is a great deal of competition out there in the new world of gluten-free products being baked and manufactured. If you buy something and you think it isn't any good........tell the store, dietician, manager, whatever, that it was not good. Most of the people doing the purchasing don't try many of these products and consequently, they need to know so they don't keep ordering them. We need to be pro-active and insist on quality over quantity. To me there doesn't seem to be much point in having a large selection of product if a good percentage of it is not worthy of indulging in. The same can be said for restaurants. If you go to a restaurant and you are assured your food is gluten-free but.....saints preserve 2 hours your small intestine is telling you something completely the restaurant the next day and let them know what happened. They need to know these things! And they won't know if you don't tell them. Now go out there and enjoy life!! Later, Linda

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