Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. So you will find it most breads, pasta, cakes, biscuits and pastry as well as in many breakfast cereals and sauces. It is also used a lot in processed foods such as soups.
The key to processed foods is to read the label. Some tips on gluten free processed foods are given below.
You can find useful information on reading food labels with tips on what to watch out for on our Avoiding Gluten page.
There are a lot of foods which are naturally gluten free and it is relatively easy to prepare a gluten free meal if you are using the raw ingredients rather than packets.
Stock cubes: Knorr and Kallo stock cubes are gluten free.
Soy sauce: This usually contains gluten therefore you will need to find one that specifically says it is gluten free. Brands that I use include Sanchi Organic Tamari Soy Sauce. Be very careful with which of their bottles you use, their small bottle (150ml) is gluten free but not the big one (no I don’t know why!).
Baked beans: Heinz baked beans is gluten free and has been for years. Just the original though, not the ones with sausages or other flavours.
Chocolate: Surprisingly even dark or milk chocolate without any other flavours can include gluten. So you will need to read the label.
Ice-cream: There is nothing in the raw ingredients of ice-cream that contain gluten. However you will need to read the label since some commercial ice-creams include stabilising agents which contain gluten (for more info, see our Avoiding Gluten page).
Bread: The vast majority of bread is made from wheat or rye you have to use gluten free breads.
Pasta: The vast majority of pasta is made from wheat flour so you have to use gluten free pasta.
Baked goods - cakes, tarts and biscuits: The majority of these use wheat flour so you have to use gluten free version of these. Why not try some of our recipes or check out our reviews of the gluten free products available.
Breakfast cereals: Many of these contain wheat, even the ones that promote being oat cereals. Therefore careful reading of labels is required. Things like Cornflakes and Rice Krispies may sound ok since they should be just corn and rice respectively, but as with all highly processed foods they include lots of other things which may contain gluten. A common item which is added is malt which is usually barley (for more information on malt, see our Avoiding Gluten page). However the good news is that some brands are adapting their products. For example Sainsbury’s own brand Cornflakes which although it does contain malt is below the level which is regarded as being harmful and therefore is labelled gluten free.
Muesli: With muesli you need to check the label since they often contains oats which have a high risk of being cross contaminated with wheat unless specially processed (see Oats in the Naturally Gluten Free Foods section above). They sometimes also include things like wheat germ or malt which contain gluten. One tasty gluten free option is Sainsbury’s Freefrom Oaty Muesli.
Oat cakes: Oat cakes often include wheat flour so you need to check the label. Even if the ingredients do not include wheat flour the oats themselves need to be gluten free due to the high risk of being cross contaminated with wheat when oats are processed (see Oats in the Naturally Gluten Free Foods section above). Nairn, those very traditional makers of oat cakes have a range of gluten free oat cakes in different flavours which are every bit as good as their originals.
Crisps: Many flavoured crisps contain gluten due to some of the strange ingredients that are used to produce those “natural” flavours! So do read the labels. The plain (salted) variety of crisps are often the best option as they are less likely to contain gluten. However you should still check the labels and check them regularly. This is because companies do change their labelling without any warning. For example, Walkers Ready Salted Crisps were labelled gluten free for a long time but they no longer are.
Tortilla chips: Like crisps above, many flavoured tortilla crisps contain gluten so do read the label. The simpler the chip the more likely it is not to contain gluten. For example both Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s basic tortilla chips have no gluten containing ingredients although they are not marked gluten free. I suspect this is because of the way they are made. They are probably made in the same factory as the flavoured tortilla chips and therefore they cannot guarantee there hasn’t been cross contamination (there is more information on cross contamination on our Avoiding Gluten page). Therefore if you are planning on serving tortilla chips do check with the person who needs gluten free how sensitive they are and whether they can cope with this level of risk. It has to be there call.
This list is regularly updated so do come back again.
I'm Janne. I create recipes and provide tips for enjoying fantastic food that just happens to be gluten free.
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