Yes, it’s true, we want to limit our intake of processed foods and eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible.

There are times however when convenience trumps natural and homemade. These are my go-to foods on those occasions. They are all delicious (mostly nutritious) and favorites in my household even among the not gluten-free inhabitants!

Larabar brand fruit and nut bars
I love these bars and they make a great quick breakfast. They are about as “unprocessed” as a processed food can be. They contain very few ingredients. The flavor that I am partial to, cashew cookie, contains only two ingredients — cashews and dates. There are many other flavors to choose from, including ginger snap, cocoa mole and cinnamon roll.

Lundberg Family Farms brand rice chips, specifically the “sea salt” flavor
These chips are a cross between a chip and a cracker. In my mind there is nothing better than these chips when crunch is desired. I eat them plain all by themselves but they would be delicious served with hummus or salsa.

Van’s International Foods brand gluten-free homestyle waffles
These waffles are extremely versatile. While I occasionally eat them as waffles topped with maple syrup and berries, I use them most often as “bread.” In fact, they are the best gluten-free “bread” around in my opinion. Toast them first and then fill with cashew butter and marmalade or sliced turkey breast and tomato. They also make a great snack when toasted, cut into quarters, and topped with honey.

Ancient Harvest brand corn and quinoa pasta
This is my new favorite pasta. It is a combination of corn and quinoa flours. This pasta has a nice firm chewy texture and does not turn mushy when cooked. I first ate this pasta at an Italian restaurant in Savannah, Georgia (more and more Italian restaurants have gluten-free pasta available — ask you may be pleasantly surprised). While the formulation for this pasta seems to have changed recently — they appear to be using more corn flour — it is still good.

Enjoy Life Brand chocolate chip cookies
Sometimes you just need a cookie — a chewy, gooey one at that! These cookies are a favorite in my household, including among those who do not have to eat gluten free. If you buy them, hide them or they will disappear! These cookies are delicious as is but even better when heated for a few seconds in the microwave.

Copyright © by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD

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My 5 favorite gluten-free processed foods