Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Best and Worst Gluten Free Snacks - Here are the Great, the Good and the TRULY YUCKY!

Because May is Celiac Awareness Month and because I know that eating a GF diet can get a little expensive . . . especially when you keep buying those tiny $6.00 snacks only to find them barely edible . . . I thought I would review some GF snacks that are new to me.

I promise this post will save you LOTS of money so you can reward yourself with a couple of super delicious snacks!

So let's get started with my recent purchases that seemed promising but alas they get my . . .

As you know, I recently helped my daughter Allison move to LA and on the trip I stopped at several healthy food markets to see if I could find some good road trip snacks.  Unfortunately I found these . . .

Now you know I love, Love, LOVE kale!  So these had so much promise!  Imagine just how decadently healthy a kale chip coated in spirulina that tastes like an orange creamsicle would be . . . right?  WRONG!!!  And I don't mean just a little bit wrong . . . I mean yucky WRONG!!!

And while I couldn't really imagine what chocolate covered kale would taste like, I thought it was worth a try.  After all I really like chocolate and I love kale . . . but this is NOT a marriage made in heaven!  They were not as bad as the orange creamsicle variety, and my goddaughter Malena ate a few tiny pieces before she decided that no amount of chocolate could make these two foods live in harmony . . . plus they were stuck together in a big mass.  I guess the chocolate had melted a little and there was no way to separate them.

Let's move on to some chips from a company in Boston - Danielle Chips - that I give mixed reviews, so let's start with the  . . .
I was really looking forward to the Crunchy Pumpkin Chips!  I had made some fresh guacamole and thought they would be really tasty together . . . that is until I opened the bag and tried one!  Unfortunately, they were fried (which I knew) in rice bran oil.  They were saturated with the stuff . . . leaving them really greasy, with a really off-putting flavor.  My dogs didn't even like them!

But I give the other 3 varieties I found a much different review! 
The Spicy Carrot Chips were delicious.  They were fried - which I generally try to avoid, but these are occasional treats for me - but this time in palm oil.  This oil allowed the carrot rounds to remain crisp and delicious but not greasy or saturated but did add 7 grams of fat per serving.  The chili powder gave them a hint of spice but by no means did it overpower the delicious flavor of the fresh tasting carrots!

The Sweet Mango Chips were also really good, quite sweet and crisp.  They were also fried in palm oil giving them about 3 grams of fat per serving.  They would be a great addition to a fruit and cheese (goat, sheep or nut milk of course) tray as an alternative to a cracker.

The Roasted Coconut Chips were outstanding, although they do have a touch of sugar but no frying this time!  So the 9 grams of fat are naturally occurring in the coconut itself.    These thin little strips of coconut, roasted until they are crisp and crunchy were practically addictive.  Plus I think the nature of the little crisps satisfied me with only 1/2 a serving - this will not only stretch your $$$$ it will also reduce the fat per serving.  They were great as a crunchy little dessert, but would also be a great topping for one of the dairy free ice cremes from my cookbook!

Now let's move on the the snacks that get my rousing, super happy, total endorsements!  These are totally worth spending a little money to try.  They are delicious, satisfying and offer great nutritional benefits as well!

Mediterranean Snacks Baked Lentil Chips are such a great alternative to corn or potato or pita chips!  They were sooooo great with hummus, guacamole and salsa.  Light, low fat (because they are baked not fried), crisp and so very yummy!  I really liked both varieties I found.  These are not just great road trip food, they are high in protein and make a great occasional treat!

Rhythm Superfoods makes delicious kale chips!  So if you are too pressed for time to make your own - look in the archives for the recipe I posted for you - these are my absolute favorites!  The Mango Habanero flavor combo is my particular favorite, but honestly I haven't found a variety that isn't plain delicious!  Plus they are raw (dehydrated not baked), super crunchy and packed with nutrition!

Mary's Gone Crackers is a great mostly flax seed cracker.  Their entire line of crackers are organic and manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, dairy-free facility so you can be sure there is no cross-contamination.  

Now I happen to LOVE flax crackers, and even shared a recipe so you can make your own, but I do find they are an acquired taste for some.  So if you haven't tried them, see if you can find a place that's offering free taste tests.  As you know from earlier posts, flax seeds are truly superfoods and this is a great way to enjoy them.  I actually ate an entire box by myself on the way home from California!  The black pepper variety are my personal favorites!

So now you know what to try, what to buy and what to leave on the shelf!

Bon Appetit my GF Friends!

Dr. P

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