Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cereal & Snacks

Let's talk products. As much as I love to cook, I'm not about to start making my own cereal or pretzels or anything like that. Maybe one day I'll make my own crackers, but that day is not today. However, as difficult as it may seem now, there are quite a few products that are starting to pop up in major markets that may make life a bit easier. Cereals can be tricky (I've only just discovered that I have actual options). I decided to be a wonderful person and do a large part of the research and make a handy dandy list of cereals. I also created a basic list with an overview of easy snacks. Despite all this, I still HIGHLY encourage everyone to go out to local markets and health food stores because they will have delicious products that you have never heard of and can get in very few places. So many more options!
Good markets to check out in California: Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Henry’s Market,  and miscellaneous health food stores. Ralph’s has also started expanding its selection of “natural” foods, which means more gluten-free and vegan products. These foods tend to be more expensive at Ralph’s though. To those of you outside of California, I'm sure you can figure it out! 
There are many gluten-free cereals out there, both major brand and obscure. Check out health food stores, maybe even a Whole Foods, to find some non-name brand cereals.
  • Cocoa Pebbles & Fruity Pebbles: Completely vegan and gluten-free. Rice based. 
  • Chex
    • Gluten-free: Rice, Chocolate (rice based), Cinnamon (rice based), Corn, and Honey Nut (corn based, with rice bran oil and almond extract).
    • Vegan: Wheat, Multi-Bran, Rice, and Corn.
  • Kix: Vegan and gluten-free. Corn based. However, General Mills has not officially labeled Kix gluten-free due to fear of cross-contamination. So be careful if you’re hypersensitive.
  • Glutino cereals: These are gluten-free and dairy-free. They contain honey and almonds. Glutino cereals are starting to show up in super markets, but they’re a bit on the pricy side (about $6).
  • Nature's Path and EnviroKidz: I'm not going to detail every single cereal product, but they basically have natural versions of most major brand cereals. They have many gluten-free and vegan options. You'll just have to browse the shelves on this one. Their products are sold at most natural markets (at least every one I have ever been to).
There are so many options out there! My warning: always, always, ALWAYS read the ingredients. And don’t assume that those ingredients you can’t say are vegan.
  • Potato Chips: The fewer ingredients, the better. Plain chips are usually just potato, oil, and salt. Ruffles, Lays, Kettle, etc... Careful with BBQ chips. They usually have a million ingredients, which sometimes includes wheat, rice, or milk. I’ve even had trouble with Salt & Pepper chips. If they aren’t plain, check the ingredients. Thrice.
  • Tortilla chips: BE CAREFUL. Some brands will add soy sauce, which is wheat-based. Tostitos, Mission Tortilla Chips, and Trader Joe’s brand chips are all vegan and gluten-free. I repeat: the fewer ingredients, the better.
  • Glutino Pretzels: I have just discovered their deliciousness. As far as I can tell, they actually taste like pretzels. Though it has been at least four years since I’ve eaten a “real” pretzel. Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free.
  • Fruit by the Foot: Gluten-free, vegan. I love that I can still put these in my lunch.
  • Ener-G Crackers: Vegan and gluten-free crackers. Corn and soy based. I don’t know about super markets, but you could probably find these at a Whole Foods or small health store. If not, use the powers of the internet!
  • FRUIT: Fruit is the perfect snack. Sugary and delicious instant energy. Chilled apples are an amazing wake-up food.
Don't worry. We'll mention many of our favorite products as we go. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us. :)

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