9 of the Best Gluten-free Snacks You Haven't Heard of. . . Yet!

Gluten-free snacks are a marvel of modern snack making. Gluten helps bind ingredients together, creating a chewier texture. Gluten can be found in many snacks, whether they are junky, processed foods, or healthy snacks.

Living gluten-free can be a challenge, constantly questioning yourself and wondering if the meal you ate at that restaurant had gluten in it, and second-guessing the snack choices you made at the grocery store. Gluten is not directly called out in the nutrition label or ingredients list, and there is no taste to give it away, so you must know how to look for the ingredients (and allergen callouts) that contain gluten. No one wants to pour over ingredients labels trying to find the right snack for their cravings!

The team at Youtopia Snacks has put together a list of the best gluten-free snacks you may not have heard of yet. Once you try these snacks, you’ll be amazed at how great they taste, and astounded at the fact that they contain absolutely no gluten.

Read about our top 9 favorite gluten-free snacks and learn about gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, and what makes gluten-free snacks so important in this article.

Why Are Gluten-Free Snacks Important?

Gluten-free snacks are important because they help people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease enjoy life as normal. Snacking is such an important part of our everyday lives, that even on strict diets we make way for one or two fun snacks here and there, painstakingly moving calories around and planning out our meals the night ahead.

Individuals with gluten sensitivities are not able to enjoy the snacks we do every day, and it can make the search for healthier snacking options even more difficult, as gluten is used in many foods as a binding agent to keep the snack from falling apart.

Many people believe that this disease is extremely uncommon, but since it came into popular awareness, doctors have found that Celiac disease is a condition that has over 200,000 cases across the United States each year.

Gluten intolerance is often used as an alternative name for celiac disease, for cases that are milder than most. These two terms are technically different, as Celiac disease is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks its systems, known as an autoimmune disorder. Gluten intolerance is a milder form of this, where the person might experience gassiness or short-term bloating after ingesting foods with gluten. Even if the symptoms are mild, it is still recommended that people who are gluten intolerant avoid foods that contain gluten.

Celiac disease can be diagnosed at any age once you begin eating gluten, and it is classified as an autoimmune disorder. The body reacts to the gluten and wheat in the intestines and causes inflammation. This may also prevent your body from absorbing certain nutrients, leading to nutritional deficiencies over time.

Symptoms of Celiac disease are bloating, diarrhea, gas, and anemia, however, some individuals may not show any clear signs of these symptoms. There is no known cure, but with the right diet and proper treatment, the symptoms can become easier to cope with.

What Are Gluten-Free Snacks?

If you are looking for gluten-free snacks for a friend, or if you have recently been diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, then you might be new to exploring the world of gluten-free options. It’s easy to take snacking for granted when you don’t have any dietary restrictions but skimping on the gluten can severely limit what you can have.

Most brands of processed and pre-prepared foods contain gluten. Gluten is used as a binding agent for many snacks, prepared foods, and beverages to help maintain a more consistent taste and texture. Gluten-free snacks are, in the simplest terms, snacks that are free from any gluten.

Gluten is found in many grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, and other types of bread. Some grains are free of gluten, however, and these include corn, rice, and soy. Unfortunately, just because a prepared meal contains corn flour, rice, or soy meal, this does not mean that the meal is entirely gluten-free.

Some brands have begun adding “gluten-free” labels to their boxes to help individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity avoid these ingredients that can be harmful to their health.

This, of course, leaves out all the brands of snacks that are gluten-free but have not added the gluten-free label to their snacks.

Are Gluten-Free Snacks Healthier?

If you do not have a gluten sensitivity, then there is no evidence that eating gluten-free is beneficial to your health in any significant way. Eating gluten-free options may potentially increase your weight gain if you do not have a gluten sensitivity since this removes a lot of complex carbohydrates from your diet. This can make eating healthier and losing weight difficult.

Complex carbohydrates affect your diet so much because they are digested slower than simple carbs, keeping your metabolism working throughout the day and increasing the rate at which you burn fat. Consistent snacking is an important part of this fat-burning process and will help keep your energy levels elevated throughout the day.

For people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, eating gluten-free snacks is beneficial to their gut bacteria and immune system since the body no longer needs to attack its own systems. Bloating, gassiness and diarrhea is no longer a part of the equation with gluten removed from the diet.

For someone with gluten sensitivity, eating a gluten-free diet is healthier for your body’s overall health, but it is still important to choose healthy versions of these gluten-free foods.

In short, if you eat gluten-free junk food all day, then you might not experience the effects of the autoimmune disease, but you will still experience the effects of the junk food on your gut. These effects can feel like gluten intolerance if your body is not used to the ingredients you are eating.

What are the Benefits of Eating Gluten-Free?

If you suspect you have gluten intolerance or have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, you might be wondering exactly what benefits leading a gluten-free lifestyle can have on your overall health.

Improves Energy Levels

If you have a gluten sensitivity, you might notice that you are always tired. This chronic fatigue can affect every area of your life and is closely linked to an iron deficiency. When your body is suffering from inflammation, your intestines cannot absorb nutrients as well, leading to a deficiency in many key nutrients. Once you switch to a gluten-free diet, your body has a chance to begin healing some of the damage done to the intestines, which can help increase how much nutrition your body derives from the foods you are eating. In turn, this will help restore your energy levels, allowing you to reclaim the day from chronic fatigue.

Promotes Healthy Weight

Healthy weight gain is important for individuals with Celiac disease. Because the disease can suppress the appetite and cause bloating and diarrhea, it can be easy to lose weight to the point of unhealthiness. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for high energy levels, peak bodily performance, and mental health.

When you choose to switch to a gluten-free diet, it may take your body some time to acclimate to the new food and lack of inflammation, but you will begin to gain back healthy stores of fat and muscle, returning your body to a healthy weight for your age and gender.  

Eliminates Bloating, Headaches, and Depression

Bloating and gas can be anywhere from mild to severe with Celiac disease, but it doesn’t mean that it is pleasant. The nearly constant source of discomfort and pain can be irritating, causing additional effects on your mood, weight, and appetite. By changing your diet and allowing your gut to repair itself, you will see a great improvement in your mood. This, coupled with the extra nutrient absorption and lack of inflammation, you will find that bloating and gas have essentially disappeared, and headaches become less frequent as your body is receiving the nutrients it needs.

Reduces Hair Loss

Hair loss is a surprisingly unknown side effect of Celiac disease. This is linked closely with the nutritional deficiencies that the gut inflammation can have, specifically in B vitamins. By cutting gluten out of your diet and removing the cause of inflammation, your body can absorb these nutrients better, slowing, or even stopping hair loss caused by dietary deficiencies.  

Does Gluten Have Any Benefits?

Living a gluten-free lifestyle has a lot of people wondering about the underlying effects that this dietary change has on their bodies. After all, gluten is one of the only sources of protein found in food that is completely indigestible.

The body needs some nutrients that it cannot digest, such as dietary fiber, but does that inherently mean that gluten has hidden benefits that people on the gluten-free diet might be missing out on?

While gluten has interesting effects on the texture of many of our favorite foods and snacks, making them chewier or keeping the ingredients together, there is no evidence that gluten itself has any benefits to the body.

Unless you have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, there is no reason for you to switch to a gluten-free diet, and likewise, there is no detriment for individuals with these health conditions to worry about a lack of gluten in their diets.

How Can You Tell if Something Is Gluten-Free?

There are a couple of ways you can tell whether a snack is gluten-free. With new, unique foods coming out every day, it can seem impossible to keep up with learning about what contains gluten and what doesn’t. There are three main ways you can tell if the snack you want is gluten-free or not.

You might be surprised to learn that several unsuspecting foods do contain gluten, such as lunch meats and soy sauce. This can make the process of buying groceries unnerving and dreadful, but with the right knowledge on how to identify gluten-free snacks, you can set yourself up for success.

Product Labels

Look on the product packaging for any sort of label stating “gluten-free” or “no gluten.” To be allowed to place a "gluten free" callout on packaging, foods and snacks must have fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten in them. To be certified as gluten free, it must have fewer than 5 parts per million. This is a sure indicator of food that is safe to eat even on a gluten-free diet.

Unfortunately, not every gluten-free food has a gluten-free label, as it costs the company time, money, and resources to apply the label to all its packaging distributed throughout the world. On the upside, this also means that you are not restricted to foods that have this label, so long as you learn how to read the ingredients label properly.

Ingredients Lists

By looking for key items on the ingredients list that contains wheat or gluten, you can determine whether the food is gluten-free or not, even if it does not have a gluten-free label on the packaging.

Allergy Warnings

Many ingredient lists will also be accompanied by an allergy warning, and manufacturers are beginning to include wheat and gluten in these warnings. It is important to read these warnings in addition to the ingredients list to make sure that the snack has not been cross-contaminated with sources of gluten.

What Are the Best Gluten-Free Snacks?

If you have a gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, then you know that it can be a challenge to maintain a healthy diet on top of all the considerations that go into a gluten-free diet.

The team at Youtopia Snacks has taken the time to source 9 of the best gluten-free snacks that you might not have heard of before. These snacks are healthy and delicious, giving you the best of both worlds in a single gluten-free snack.

Choose your favorite and find which snacks satisfy your cravings while still allowing you to watch your macros and calories.

YOUTOPIA SNACKS

Kicking off the list are our very own Youtopia Snacks! Specifically designed around the macronutrient ratio that Dietitians recommend, Youtopia's low calorie and high protein snacks are also gluten free! But you'd never know it based on how yummy they are ;)

PLANT SNACKS CASSAVA ROOT CHIPS

These chips are a great low calorie alternative to traditional chips and a completely gluten free snack. While they don’t have much in the way of macros, sometimes all you need is a snack to get you through the day.

FROM THE GROUND UP CAULIFLOWER CRACKERS

Who doesn’t love Cheez-Its? Well if you’re gluten intolerent, your stomach probably isn’t a fan. Not only are these crackers by From the Ground UP gluten free, but they’re also plant based. They’re low fat, low sugar, and low calorie so you can munch all day.

POPCORNERS FLEX CHIPS

At this point, we’re all pretty familiar with puffed rice or corn chips, but PopCorners kick it up a notch. Their Flex line of chips has 10 grams of protein per serving, and one of the three flavors is even vegan friendly. Of course, all three are gluten free.

HIPPIE SNACKS AVOCADO CRISPS

Chips made out of different foods are popular in today’s market, but many of them aren’t any healthier than the potato alternative. These avocado based chips from Hippie Snacks, on the other hand, offer 5 grams of protein and plenty of healthy, unsaturated fats.

WHOLESOME PROVISIONS PROTEIN CHIPS

Speaking of chips that pack a nutritional punch, we couldn’t leave out these high protein, high fiber, and, of course, gluten free snacks from Wholesome Provisions. Their protein chips have 14 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and only 5 grams of fat.

FBOMB REAL FOOD SNACK BARS

The rest of this list tends to focus on protein and fiber, and while those are generally the hardest macros for people to hit, you may be on a diet that emphasizes healthy fats. That’s where this bar from FBomb (the F stands for fat) comes into play. These bars are keto friendly, gluten free, and very low sugar.

CHOMPS ORIGINAL BEEF STICK

This may seem like a no brainer. Of course a beef stick is gluten free. However, so many other jerky and beef stick brands use a ton of nasty additives or package their snacks in huge portions. The Chomps Original Beef Stick has just 90 calories and 9 grams of protein. Plus, their beef is grass fed and doesn’t have any fillers.

POWERFUL FOODS POWERFUL YOGURT

Yogurt is an excellent snack that is almost always gluten free. Unfortunately, a lot of yogurt isn’t too stellar in the nutrition department. Powerful Foods tackles that issue head on with their line of Greek yogurt. With 20+ grams of protein per serving, this snack earns the “powerful” title. It still has all of the probiotics you expect from your yogurt as well.

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE AND YOUR GLUTEN-FREE SNACKS CLOSER

At Youtopia, we know that finding gluten free snacks that taste good and don’t destroy your macros is hard. That’s why we make all of our varieties gluten free. You can enjoy our well-balanced macros, delicious flavor combos, and smart portion sizes without worrying about the ingredients. It’s what we like to call "guilt-free goodness" :)