21 Quick and Nutritious Gluten-Free Snacks
If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, avoiding gluten is imperative (1).
However, you may struggle to find good snack options.
Though many convenient gluten-free snacks are available in stores, some may be unnecessarily high in calories or added sugars.
However, you don't have to rely on packaged foods for your next snack. It's also simple to make your own.
People with celiac disease should choose snacks rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as dietary restrictions and gluten-related intestinal damage may increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies (2, 3).
Here are 21 quick and nutritious gluten-free snacks.
1. Popcorn with Fruit, Chocolate and Peanuts
For a snack, lightly drizzle air-popped popcorn with melted dark chocolate and toss in fiber-rich dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or cherries. Add peanuts for a good source of healthy fat and plant-based protein (5).
Chocolate and peanuts are naturally gluten-free. However, some may have additives, so be sure to choose products that are certified gluten-free.
2. Turkey-Wrapped Cheese Sticks
Notably, intolerance to lactose — the natural sugar in dairy products — is common in people with celiac disease, but this often improves as your intestine heals on a gluten-free diet (1).
3. Instant Oatmeal with Apple, Walnuts and Cinnamon
Oats are naturally gluten-free but may be contaminated with wheat and other grains during growing, harvest, transportation, and manufacturing. Therefore, you should only buy certified gluten-free oats (1, 8).
For a warm, filling snack, combine plain, instant oatmeal with apples, walnuts, and cinnamon.
4. Cucumber-Hummus Sandwiches
Hummus is a nutritious, protein-rich dip made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds. Premade gluten-free hummus is sold in supermarkets.
To make mini sandwiches, spread hummus on thick, round slices of cucumber. If you desire, add another slice on top of the hummus.
5. Grass-Fed Beef Jerky
The protein in beef jerky makes it a filling snack. High-quality beef jerky, including gluten-free and grass-fed options, has become more widely available. Notably, grass-fed beef is higher in nutrients like anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and antioxidants (5, 6, 9).
6. Fruit and Nut Tortilla Roll-Up
Warm the tortilla briefly in the oven, then spread one side with a thin layer of chunky, unsweetened almond butter. Top with fresh berries or half of a diced apple and roll the tortilla tightly.
7. Toast with Beans and Olive Oil
To make a satisfying, protein-rich snack, heat canned navy beans and spread them over toast. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The toast can also be topped with fresh herbs.
To avoid gluten contamination from toasters, it's a good idea to invest in a new one and only use it for gluten-free foods. When you're away from home, reusable toaster bags can prevent contact with crumbs (1).
8. Yogurt Parfait with Granola
To make this snack, alternate layers of plain Greek yogurt with berries or other fruit, then top with gluten-free granola and nuts or seeds.
Many yogurts contain live and active bacterial cultures that help break down lactose. Thus, you may tolerate these yogurts even if you don't digest milk well (9).
9. Bite-Size Zucchini Pizzas
Gluten-free pizza can be hard to find, but you can make your own with vegetables in place of crust.
Cut zucchini into thick, round slices and brush each side with olive oil. Put the slices on a lined baking sheet in the oven and broil each side for about two minutes, or until they start to brown.
Next, spread pasta sauce on each slice and top with shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese. Broil for one minute to melt the cheese.
10. Sweet and Crunchy Stuffed Dates
For a simple snack, fill pitted dates with unsweetened, crunchy peanut butter or a mix of chopped walnuts and unsweetened coconut flakes.
Three dates (72 grams) have 5 grams of fiber, which is 18% of the RDI. People on gluten-free diets are sometimes deficient in fiber and may experience constipation, so these dates may aid your digestive system (5, 16).
11. Mango with Lime Juice and Chili Powder
Chili powder may either be a blend of spices or simply ground chili peppers. To avoid contamination, make sure yours is labeled gluten-free.
12. Tomato-Basil Mozzarella Skewers
Skewered foods make festive appetizers for gatherings. Plus, they're easy to make and enjoyable whether or not you're gluten-free.
For a twist, try serving them with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
13. Black Bean Salad with Avocado
For an easy, filling snack, toss half of a cubed avocado with 1/4 cup (43 grams) of black beans. Add chopped onion, fresh cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
14. Do-It-Yourself Trail Mix
Nutritious trail mix ingredients include nuts, seeds, and unsweetened, dried fruit, such as goji berries and apricots.
It's best to buy these foods in packages rather than bulk bins due to the risk of gluten contamination from containers and scoops.
15. Vegetable Soup
A serving of gluten-free canned soup makes for a great snack. You can also freeze homemade soup in small glass containers for eating later.
Always check that canned soup is certified gluten-free. Besides obvious glutenous ingredients like noodles and barley, some soup is thickened with wheat flour.
16. Tuna Lettuce Cups
Avoid canned tuna with gluten-containing ingredients, such as broth made with wheat protein.
17. Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Banana
Rice cakes are commonly made with whole-grain brown rice. Some also contain other nutritious gluten-free whole grains, such as quinoa or sorghum.
Thin rice cakes are about half the thickness of regular ones and work well as sandwiches. Top them with unsweetened peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon.
18. Sweet Potato Chips with Tzatziki Sauce
For extra flavor, pair the chips with tzatziki sauce, which is a yogurt and cucumber dip. You can buy it premade or make your own.
You can also make your own chips. Toss thin slices of sweet potato with olive oil and sea salt, then spread on a pan and bake at 400℉ (204℃) for about 25 minutes or until the edges brown. Flip the chips once during cooking.
19. Honeydew with Raspberries
For a refreshing snack, toss cubed honeydew melon with raspberries, then sprinkle with fresh mint.
Honeydew and raspberries are naturally gluten-free and packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins, including vitamin C.
20. Egg-Salad-Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers
Miniature bell peppers are perfectly sized for snacking. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds before adding egg salad.
To make the salad, chop a hard-boiled egg and mix it with diced green onion and plain Greek yogurt or mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Eggs are a good source of vitamin B12, which up to 41% of people newly diagnosed with celiac disease are deficient in. This vitamin is essential for energy production, nerve function, and DNA synthesis (3, 5, 21).
21. Pear Drizzled with Dark Chocolate
For a sweet snack, melt gluten-free dark chocolate and drizzle it over a sliced pear, then top with crushed walnuts for a boost of protein and healthy fat. Pear slices are also tasty dipped in unsweetened almond butter.
The Bottom Line
Gluten-free snacks don't have to be difficult to make. Plenty of tasty, unique snack combinations can be enjoyed on a gluten-free diet.
To avoid nutritional deficiencies, choose whole foods packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
If you're craving healthy, homemade snacks, try some of these ideas today.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.
"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."
The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.
They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.
They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.
But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.
"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.
What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.
It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.
To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.
First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.
Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.
University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.
"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."
Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.
"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.
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