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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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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