Back to School with Almonds – Nature’s Perfect Gluten-Free Snack

Celiac Disease Foundation gratefully acknowledges The Almond Board of California for their support of the celiac and gluten-sensitive community, and for providing the following:

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If you’re reading this article, you most likely know someone – a child, close friend or other family member—with celiac disease, or perhaps have been diagnosed yourself. You also likely understand how difficult those first few weeks and months can be while transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle. Many favorite breakfast cereals have to be replaced, school lunch has to be completely rethought, lunch out with coworkers now takes a bit more work than just picking a place everyone likes, standby dinner menus must be revised, and most of all, many favorite standby snacks have fallen off the safe list. It’s no longer safe to mindlessly graze on whatever happens to be within arm’s length. While this is a fantastic opportunity to adopt some healthier snacking habits, it’s anything but convenient and can be really frustrating.

While there are many top-quality snack products on the market today that have been formulated to be gluten-free, building naturally gluten-free foods into your daily repertoire of snack options might just be the key to restoring snacking sanity. These are items that you can find at any grocery store at any time and that are familiar to every member of the family.

Of course, there are countless naturally gluten-free and nutrient-rich snacking options available if you plan ahead and prepare in advance—think sliced fresh fruits and vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, for example—but what about the times you don’t? It’s vital to develop a new list of convenient, portable go-to snacks that you can find almost anywhere…and we think that almonds should top the list!

Here’s why…

  • There’s serious nutrition power in the crunch of almonds, with 6 g of energizing protein, hunger-fighting fiber and essential nutrients in every heart-smart handful.
  • Almonds are rich in vitamin E, magnesium and riboflavin. They are also a good source of fiber, which manufactured gluten-free products tend to lack. (Many gluten-free products are made with highly-refined flours that tend to be poor sources of iron, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and fiber.)
  • In fact, almonds are the nut highest in vitamin E, fiber, calcium (76 mg/oz) and riboflavin.
  • Almonds are portable and convenient. Since they don’t need to be refrigerated, you can easily keep a stash at your desk, in the car, in your purse or gym bag. Almonds are also known for being non-greasy (aka: “the neat nut”), so they are great on the go!
  • Almonds are a satisfying between-meal snack. The combination of protein, fiber and good fats in almonds are thought to promote satiety, which may just help keep you from reaching for high-calorie, nutrient-poor gluten-free options.
  • Gluten-free and guilt-free, almonds are a snack you can feel good about! Snacking on a handful of almonds is an easy and satisfying way to help you get more of the nutrients your body needs to take on the day.
  • Almonds are available in many different forms, all of which make an excellent and nutritious addition to the gluten-free diet: whole natural almonds, roasted almonds, flavored almonds*, almond butter, almond milk and almond flour.
  • Since almond milk is dairy-free, it is an easy, tasty and popular milk-substitute for those sensitive to both gluten and lactose.
  • Almonds are a heart-healthy snack. Nearly two decades of research show that almonds may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. A qualified heart health claim from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognizes the role of nuts, such as almonds, in reducing the risk of heart disease by maintaining a healthy heart. **

The Almond Board of California has many online resources dedicated to gluten-free living. On our consumer page, you’ll find tips for eating gluten-free with almonds and a link to our recipe center, featuring exclusive gluten-free recipes developed with the help of Elana Amsterdam, author of The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook, and Chef John Csukor. Be sure to select “gluten-free” under “Dietary Considerations” to limit your search to these and more than 100 additional gluten-free selections! Our health professional page also has downloadable teaching tools on how to incorporate almonds into meals and snacks, including how to prepare and use almond flour.

We hope you’ll take advantage of these resources to discover the many ways to enjoy almonds as part of a heart-healthy and delicious gluten-free lifestyle.

 *A note about seasoned nut products: Though whole natural and roasted, salted almonds are typically free of gluten, seasoned nuts may contain hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat flour or wheat starch. Read labels carefully and check with manufacturers if you have additional questions about added ingredients.
**Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.  One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.