One store will have a gluten free section, while other stores will have the products spread throughout the store but in their specific food category (i.e. gluten free pasta in the pasta section). And THEN…there are stores that do BOTH!
What’s a gluten-free person to do? Especially if you’re new to the diet, or new to the store– this can be very confusing.
Find your Gluten Free Foods in the Store:
- First and foremost– don’t forget that the fresh produce and meat (without spices) sections have tons of gluten free food.
Definitely a great resource for finding safe, 1-ingredient foods.
- Ask the customer service counter if they have a gluten free section or perhaps a list or map of where the gluten free foods are.
If they do, it might cut your time in the store down.
- If they have a gluten free section don’t stop looking there!
That gluten-free section probably has a lot of items, but they won’t be limited to this section.
Examples of Gluten Free Foods that Likely won’t be in the Gluten Free Section
- Chex cereals, Gluten Free Rice Krispies and Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles cereals are ALWAYS in the cereal aisle. I have never seen them in a gluten free section. There might be some exceptions to this, but don’t neglect the cereal aisle if you are looking for these products.
- Mainstream chips like Lay’s, Cheetos, and Tostitos are in the main chip aisle.
- Popcorn will be in the popcorn section
- Boom Chicka Pop (Yummy pre-made popcorn that is au natural, low in calorie and gluten free) — I have found in either the gluten free section or the chip aisle
- Sabra Hummus I found in the produce section
- Hormel pepperoni is in the pizza section
- Barilla and Ronzoni gluten free pastas are in the pasta section, but others made from gluten free companies, like Tinkyada, are usually found in the gluten free section. My local store has had them in both sections at the same time before.
- Gluten free ice cream will be intermixed with all of the ice cream
- Gluten free breads, waffles and convenience items that need to be frozen are often paired together in a gluten free/specialty foods frozen section…unless they’re not. Yes..I know. Confusing.
- Gluten Free Bisquick and Gluten Free Betty Crocker Cake/brownie/cookie mixes are in the baking aisle
If you are comfortable eating mainstream brands like Tostitos, you will likely save more money than the corn chips you may find in the gluten free section. Maybe it’s just me, but foods in that gluten free section tend to be higher priced, in my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong. I seek out gluten free specialty items all the time when I buy my daughter’s Schar Pizza Crusts, Tinkyada lasagna noodles or Glutino wafer cookies and pretzels. But she also eats the Pebbles cereals, Tostitos, Baked Ruffles, cantaloupe, salad and hot dogs –none of which will be found in the gluten free section of the store.
Two bottom lines here:
- Early on, it will take time to get through the grocery store and find the foods you want to buy. Expect it. Be patient.
- If you can’t find your product, check the gluten free section and THEN don’t give up, find the other section it could be in (pasta, baking, chips). If all else fails, go back to the customer service counter and ask for help.
Do you have other tips? Feel free to share them in the comments!