Eat Up: Gluten-Free, Dairy-free On-the-Go Options

Dairy-free product manufacturers are forging a new path that allows consumers to take their products “to go.” A wide variety of items, including milk, smoothies, sweets, cheese, pudding and yogurt, are available in on-the-go formulations—and their improved texture, taste and nutrition really resonate.

Who has the time to sit and eat in these days? While convenient on-the-go options are not especially noteworthy, portable nosh-worthy snacks or thirst-quenching beverages made from nutritious ingredients are a bit harder to come by. To help you satisfy your cravings, here are some of our favorite portable health-forward dairy-free products:

Drinks

  • Avonut smoothies are made from a blend of avocados, coconuts and tropical fruit. Sweetened with coconut nectar and available in guava and dragon fruit flavors, they provide a creamy and nutritious alternative to typical dairy-based smoothies.
  • Odwalla’s rich almond milk protein shakes made with pea protein and sweetened with cane sugar come in three indulgent flavors: mocha latte, snickerdoodle and spiced pumpkin (seasonal).
  • Remedy Organics’ superfood fuel beverages are designed by a nutritional health counselor to go beyond hydration and nutrition. The plant-based drinks blend nut milks with superfoods, ayurvedics, herbs and probiotics to help with inflammation, digestion and gut health.
  • Ripple Foods’ Milk Kids Packs are shelf-stable pea milk singles free of the top allergens, including dairy, gluten, nuts and soy. Available in original, vanilla and chocolate flavors, they are perfect for lunchboxes and drinking on the go. And they contain more calcium and iron than dairy milk.

Sweets

  • There’s no need to feel guilty when scarfing down Because Cookie Dough’s single-serve line of edible cookie doughs because they are made with whole-grain flours and sweetened with coconut sugar. Each 2-ounce serving contains less than 200 calories and can be eaten raw or heated for a warm, gooey treat. Choose from chocolate espresso, chocolate chip, brownie batter, cinnamon snickerdoodle and oatmeal chocolate chip varieties.
  • The plant-based brownies and chocolate chunk blondies from Rule Breaker Snacks are made from a base of chickpeas and beans—and they taste sinfully delicious. Packed with fiber and protein, these delectable treats have been reformulated to contain fewer calories. They are shelf-stable too.
  • Protein cookies are all the rage, but the ones from NuGo Nutrition taste like a soft-baked cookie. Packed with 16 grams of pea protein and no dairy, soy or eggs, these cookies make it more than OK to bite into a dark chocolate chip, double chocolate, peanut butter or oatmeal raisin treat.
  • Zemas Madhouse Foods’ cookies, which are made with better-for-you whole-grain ingredients, now come in snack packs. Available in four flavors (chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, oatmeal cranberry and Peruvian sweet potato spice), these crunchy cookies are free of gluten, dairy, rice, GMOs and the top eight allergens.

Cheese

  • Follow Your Heart’s provolone and American snack cheeses are just what your snacking routine has been missing. Creamy and smooth with a mild flavor, these plant-based cheeses are highly portable and free of artificial binders.
  • Tangy white American and white cheddar with meatless bacon snack bars are new from GO VEGGIE. These seriously addictive flavors could easily take center stage on a cheese tray or in a lunchbox.

Chocolate

  • All Enjoy Life Foods’ chocolate bars come in bite-sized minis. Choose from dark chocolate, rice chocolate, rice milk crunch and a variety pack. These dynamite dairy-free chocolates are free of the top eight allergens.
  • Nutiva’s hazelnut spread travel packs are perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up and keep portion control on point. This creamy spread, available in classic or dark, is made with organic and non-GMO ingredients and full of nutritious ingredients like flaxseed flour and chia seed oil. It also contains 40 percent less sugar than other brands.

Pudding

  • When you soak chia seeds in coconut milk, add in wholesome non-GMO ingredients, a pinch of salt and natural sweetener, then you have CHiA ViVA puddings. Loaded with protein, omega-3s and calcium, they have six flavors. You only feel like you’re indulging, knowing your body is being treated to a nutritional punch.

Yogurt

  • Kite Hill’s yogurt tubes and drinkable yogurts are all about health and convenience. Made with cultured almond milk, the strawberry banana and wild berry yogurt tubes are sweetened with cane sugar. Its smooth yogurts, available in plain, mango, vanilla and summer berry, have been adapted into drinkable treats full of nutrients and active cultures that make maintaining gut health effortless and delicious.

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Maizy’s Shrimp Summer Rolls

Maizy Boosin, winner of Food Network’s Chopped Junior, likes this recipe for shrimp summer rolls because it shows that “cooking can be creative, and everyone can bring their own taste and style to it.” At her house, she sets up a “summer roll bar,” where everyone picks their desired fillings, and she rolls them up. “It’s a great dish for adults and kids,” Maizy says.

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FDA Issues Guidance On Labeling Gluten-Free Medications

Steve Plogsted, a pharmacist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, is an expert on gluten in medications. His website, glutenfreedrugs.com, is widely recognized as the most reliable source of information on gluten-free prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Have a question about gluten and medications? Send it to glutenfreedrugs@gmail.com.

 

Q: I get very frustrated when I ask my pharmacist or physician if a medication I am prescribed contains gluten. Nobody seems to know the answer or where to find it. Can’t the federal government help this situation?

A: Our celiac community received some important help from the government. On Dec. 12, 2017, the FDA issued guidance to drug manufacturers on voluntarily labeling medications to state that no known gluten-containing ingredients were used in their product. This effort has been ongoing since 2015, when Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) introduced legislation to Congress. His persistent efforts, along with those of other experts and stakeholders in the celiac community, paid off.

Although this legislation asks for voluntary compliance for now, it could lead to more mandatory labeling in the future. I am particularly excited because Congressman Ryan’s office has contacted me to provide them with some background information on gluten in medications. This legislation also addresses the sugar alcohol issue. Sugar alcohols, or polyols, are substances used as sugar substitutes in food products. Some manufacturers categorically state that their drug product contains gluten simply due to the presence of one of these sugar alcohols. While sugar alcohols could be derived from a wheat source, the gluten protein is removed during the manufacturing process. The major celiac organizations do not recommend avoiding these sugar alcohols.

Since there is no official definition of gluten free in drug products, this is the best they can do at this time. You can read the legislation at http://bit.ly/2CzPCug.

To read more of Steve Plogsted’s advice and information on gluten-free medications, read these past Q&As:

To read resident dietitian Amy Keller’s advice on following and thriving on the gluten-free diet, check out these Q&As:

 

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What to Explore in Gluten-Free Singapore

With its lush tropical gardens, year-round summer weather and unique mix of cultures, Singapore had plenty to keep me entertained and amazed. But what about when mealtime rolled around? This equatorial Asian city-state is known as a culinary mecca, but that doesn’t always mean gluten-free visitors can partake. Though I did find many local dishes to be challenging, several fantastic meals kept me fueled for countless tropical adventures as I toured gluten-free Singapore.

Visit the remarkably green city center

Starting my Singapore visit with a walk through the Gardens by the Bay was a wonderful way to soak in the city-state’s seamless blend of urban and natural spaces, and I recommend that you do the same. The Gardens by the Bay are home to several beautiful heritage gardens that boast a fascinating mix of tropical plants, along with enchanting environments like the Cloud Forest. I found myself completely mesmerized by this misty conservatory, where leafy ferns, waterfalls, colorful flowers and wispy clouds all thrive.

Supertree grove

The main attractions at the Gardens by the Bay are the Supertrees. Some of Singapore’s most iconic structures, the gigantic Supertrees mimic tree forms and support growing vines, ferns and flowers along with an array of environmentally friendly solar panels. Visit in the evening, and you’ll see the Supertree grove come to life with a dazzling light and music show.

Leave the Supertree grove on foot, and you’ll find that Singapore’s cosmopolitan downtown is just a short stroll away. Although this waterfront area buzzes with activity at all times of day, it’s most lively in the evening, when you can walk along Marina Bay, catch the fountain show in front of the Marina Bay Sands and take a photo with the statue of the Merlion, Singapore’s one-of-a-kind mermaid-lion mascot.

Dig into hawker-style dishes

For most visitors to Singapore, tucking into a meal at one of the hawker centers is a major highlight. These popular outdoor food courts are scattered across the island, and they host vendors selling Singapore’s quintessential dishes. For gluten-free visitors, however, touring the hawker centers is more about observing the local culture and less about sampling countless dishes. Almost every stand is off-limits for gluten-free diners due to the omnipresent soy sauce, wheat noodles and language barriers.

The Wholefood Kitchen

Be sure to try The Wholefood Kitchen’s most popular dish, the Heavenly Brown Rice Bowl With Lemongrass Ginger Tofu and Curried Cashew Nuts, which comes with savory, citrusy tofu topped with a zesty sauce, curried cashews and plenty of fresh veggies. Don’t forget to save room for one of Sanye’s incredible raw desserts, like the Strawberry Rosewater or Lavender Blueberry tart. These cool treats are the perfect antidote to Singapore’s steamy weather.

Delve into the culture

After a fantastic meal, I recommend delving into Singapore’s culture with a visit to a couple of the island’s many museums and heritage centers. The National Museum of Singapore, for instance, has enough history and artifacts to fill an entire afternoon. Not only is this the nation’s oldest museum, but it’s also the best place to learn about Singapore’s history, including its early days; its existence under British, Japanese and Malaysian rule; and how it has thrived in its independent state.

Offering an intoxicating mix of Asian art and historical exhibitionshe Asian Civilisations Museum is also well worth a visit. You can see everything from a ninth-century shipwreck to contemporary art here, and you’ll also learn how Singapore has long held a prominent role in the dispersal of ideas, languages and cultures throughout Asia.

Singapore is truly a melting pot of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and British cultures, and there’s no better way to find out more than with a tour of the various heritage centers. Visits to the Indian Heritage Centre, the Malay Heritage Centre and the Peranakan Museum also give you an opportunity to wander through the surrounding neighborhoods, where you can experience the culture firsthand.

Indulge in a local treat or two

Tiann’s

Once you’ve gotten your fill of culture, turn just west of Singapore’s main museum hub, where you’ll find Tiann’s bakery. This welcoming spot is completely gluten free, and it’s the perfect place to grab lunch or an afternoon treat. If you have as much of a sweet tooth as I do, you’ll let the case of beautiful tarts, cakes and bars lure you in. Once you see the full menu, you’ll want to sit down for a complete meal.

While Tiann’s serves plenty of brunch classics and savory waffles, I couldn’t resist the Korean dishes on the menu, especially since they would typically contain gluten in other settings. I liked Grandma’s Bibimbap—which comes with sesame-toasted veggies, savory kimchi and housemade Korean red chili paste—so much that I ordered it on multiple visits.

Of course, you can’t leave without trying Tiann’s waffles with gelato, both of which are made in house. After spotting numerous gluten-containing versions of this sweet treat during my visit, I was thrilled to get to try Tiann’s offering. It’s perfect for sharing, as it comes with two mini waffles and scoops of mouthwatering strawberries and cream and coconut maple cookie gelato. The sweet toffee sauce drizzled on top is quite literally icing on the cake.

Hit the beach

After such an indulgent treat, you’ll need to walk it off, and the beach is the ideal destination. I found that the best beaches in Singapore aren’t designed for swimming. Instead, they’re made for strolling along the boardwalk and taking in the ocean views.

I can’t say enough about East Coast Park, a forested beach with a boardwalk that stretches for several miles along the island’s east coast. While this is a gorgeous place to see the sunrise, it’s really wonderful any time you want to take a long, leisurely walk under the shady coconut palms, inhale the sea breeze or watch the boats in the distance.

Go big for brunch

Singapore is big on weekend brunch, and for gluten-free diners, there’s a clear winner: Open Door Policy. This café turns sustainable dining into serious fun. The moment you step inside, you’ll feel like you walked into an enclosed garden, thanks to the myriad herbs and greens growing on the walls and the numerous skylights overhead. Everything on the menu is free of both gluten and dairy, which means there are no wrong choices here.

Open Door Policy

I recommend splitting a savory and a sweet dish with your dining partner so both of you can try a little of everything. The King Crab Eggs Florentine is always a good choice, with a generous helping of king crab, some spicy sautéed greens, a couple of poached eggs and plenty of house-made bread to soak it all up. For a sweet foil, try the Healthy Granola Breakfast, which comes with house-made granola, caramelized bananas, and a rich combination of banana
sorbet and banana mousse.

 

 

 

Immerse yourself in natural beauty

National Orchid Garden

After brunch, the lush Singapore Botanic Gardens is the perfect place to unwind. For more than 150 years, this stunning spot has welcomed visitors and locals alike to immerse themselves in natural beauty. The moment you walk through the gates, you’ll be transported to another world, and you’ll quickly get lost among more than 10,000 plants, including palms, orchids, ferns and much more.

A large portion of the garden is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and as you wind your way along the paths, you can take detours to explore everything from heritage trees to rainforests to ginger gardens to ponds overflowing with water lilies. Tucked inside, you’ll also find the National Orchid Garden, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous area that’s dedicated to orchids of all shapes, sizes and colors.

 

Get wild in the national parks

Although the botanic gardens make for a lovely tropical escape, Singapore has much more to offer if you’re looking for something a bit more wild—or if you really need to work off that brunch. In fact, the island is home to an extensive network of national parks and nature reserves, many of which offer hiking opportunities that range from easy to difficult with chances to spot wildlife.

If you really want to get off the beaten path, be sure to visit the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, a massive green space located in the middle of the island nation. It spans about 5,000 acres and has everything from thick forest growth to freshwater swamps to centuries-old original forest cover.

While much of this nature reserve seems relatively wild, it’s home to miles and miles of neatly planned trails and boardwalks that let you wind through the tropical forest. Whatever you do, don’t miss the TreeTop walk, where you can conquer your fear of heights on an 820-foot suspension bridge high above the forest floor. After completing that challenge, you deserve Tiann’s housemade waffles and gelato or a cool raw dessert from The Wholefood Kitchen.

Travel Editor Anna Sonnenberg is a food and travel writer who has journeyed around the world gluten free since being diagnosed with celiac in 2012. 

Want more information, tips and destinations for gluten-free travel? Check out our Travel section!

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Gluten-free Vegan Recipes

A vegan diet is devoid of animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs and seafood. Cooking gluten-free vegan recipes can be tricky, but with some thought and creativity, you’ll realize that the possibilities are endless. After living in Philadelphia (an underrated culinary treasure!) for 10 years, I have been exposed to a wonderfully diverse selection of vegan food. The health benefits are becoming more apparent over time as many find that a vegan diet can increase consumption of iron, many vitamins and omega-3 acids that could ultimately reduce the risk of countless chronic diseases. The menu here is easy and provides some great options if you want to give eating vegan a try. Have fun with it and try adding your own spin.

Mint and Chickpea Salad

 

“Cheesy” Vegan Pasta

Mango Rice

Frozen Sangria

Laura Hahn Carroll, author of the cookbook Around the Word One Gluten-Free Meal at a Time, is a regular contributor to Gluten-Free Living. She also blogs about gluten-free food at GuiltFreeFoodieCutie.com.

Photos by Angela Sackett.

For more information and recipes that satisfy dietary restrictions in addition to gluten free, check out our Not Just Gluten Free section!

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