With kids, one thing is certain: they EAT, and if your kids need gluten-free snacks for after school time or to pack in their lunches, parents today have a lot of options. There is an ever-growing list of brands and companies with widely marketed gluten-free snacks for kids, plus a lot of traditional choices that you might not have thought were gluten-free. We put our favorite gluten-free snacks for kids to the Nima test.
Fruity and Chewy Snacks
One of the classic snacks of childhood, Fruit Roll-Ups are gluten-free, and most kids (and let’s face it, adults) love them. In fact, the Fruit Roll-Ups brand has a number of gummy-style fruit snacks on the market, and while they aren’t widely marketed as such, they are all labeled gluten-free. These favorites include Fruit by the Foot, a wide variety of Mott’s brand fruit snacks, and Gushers, a fruit snack with a juicy center. For a somewhat healthier choice, popular brand Annie’s also features a line of “Bunny Fruit Snacks” that are not only gluten-free but made from all organic ingredients. We tested a some of these ourselves, and they all got smiles!
Just about every kid ever loves pudding cups, but very few on the market are billed as gluten-free. However, careful checking of labels reveals almost all the popular brands and flavors are gluten-free. One exception proved to be Safeway Kitchens brand pudding cups, which do not bear the gluten-free label on the packaging but don’t appear to have any ingredients that differ from other major brands. Both brands tested gluten-free with Nima.
Chips, Pretzels and Dips
While at first the crunchy-salty snacks might be worrisome, there are loads of gluten-free snacks in this category that your kids will love. Most of these brands are well labeled and claim their gluten-free status loud and proud, so finding them is a bit easier. One of the brands with the widest variety of gluten-free chips and snacks is Late July, whose certified gluten-free tortilla chips come in crispy yellow corn and a variety of flavors like jalapeno lime, buffalo queso and even sriracha! Other popular chips brands that feature gluten-free snacks are Boulder Mountain with a line of kettle cooked potato chips, and Luke’s Organic, which features a line of multi-grain and seed crackers as well as multigrain and potato chips that are all gluten-free.
Once again, testing revealed all smiles!
When it comes to salsas, most varieties on the market are naturally gluten-free but some salsas can be made with vinegar that has been distilled from gluten-containing grains. Salsa and other dips can be tested by your Nima, but remember if you are testing chips as well to crunch the chips into small pieces to make the test more reliable.
Nima pro tip: Here’s a quick guide to testing hard or crunchy foods.
DIY Healthy Gluten-free Snacks
With kids, ready-to-go snacks can often be easiest, but if you prefer homemade or natural snacks to processed foods, there are lots of gluten-free snacks for kids. The ever popular “ants on a log” – celery and peanut butter with raisins on top – is naturally gluten-free (though be sure to check the ingredients on your choice of peanut butter. It’s rare to find a brand that’s NOT gluten-free.) Sweeter options include fresh fruit – like apple or orange slices – or unsweetened dried fruit is always a healthy gluten-free snack, obviously, and some kids will even eat carrot sticks as snacks! Vegetables, who knew?