Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Over the past year my teen sons and I have tried a variety of gluten free and/or gluten free casein free (GFCF) snacks which were either purchased, received through a twitter party or a blog giveaway. The following is a brief review of each, covering the hits and misses of snacks and treats.
1. Zen Soy Puddings -I received samples of these puddings through my blog in the flavors - chocolate, vanilla, banana and chocolate swirl. My son Matthew used to consume soymilk before I switched him over to rice milk a year ago. Nicholas has never tried soy or rice milk, prefers skim milk that I also drink.
He has enjoyed the vanilla, chocolate and the chocolate vanilla swirl. He was not too fond of the banana flavor. I have been purchasing on a regular basis the chocolate vanilla swirl at Whole Foods. These soy puddings are certified vegan and USDA organic. ZenSoy Pudding is free of dairy (no eggs, lactose or casein), free of nuts and also gluten. The calories range from 100-130 per container.
They need to be kept refrigerated and have a stamp on the cardboard of the expiration date. They are sold in the refrigerated section at the store. ZenSoy only uses whole organic soybeans sustainably farmed here in the U.S.
My son describes the soy puddings as scoopable and tastes like melted chocolate and a bit sweeter than other brands. The top seal for the puddings have their signature Panda on them with the foiled seal easy to pull off. I tried the chocolate vanilla swirl and noticed a unique taste to the chocolate.
When we first received the samples I sent a few along in Matthew's insulated lunchbag indicating this could be given to any of his 4 classmates. One male student ate the entire chocolate serving, while two girls took their time and sort of liked their servings.
Another plus with ZenSoy is their active role in wildlife conservation. They donate 5% of profits to international wildlife organizations so that giant pandas like Su-Lin will survive. If you save 25 UPC codes from their products you can receive a ZenSoy Organic Cotton T-Shirt.
2. People Pops - I have purchased these on an annual basis since I discovered them a few years ago. They are sugar free, gluten free, fat free, no salt, no artificial flavors or colors that are naturally colored with beet juice and tumeric liquid or annatto. It can be used for diabetics as well. The label on the side indicates the best buy date. They contain 28 calories per pop.
Nicholas likes the raspberry, cherry and grape flavors the best. I have sent them to school with my other son for sharing with the class for parties. They are a bit hit. A bag contains 6 pops. I have given them away to classmates at year-end.
3. Surf Sweets - I received a sample of these through a twitter connection. They are organically sweetened gummy candies and jelly beans that also contain no artificial colors or sweeteners and have no corn syrup. The small bags are handy for adding for school lunch or snacking at home. The calories range from 120 to 140 per serving. Please note that the bag is considered two servings. I sent a few bags to Matthew's class for Halloween.
There is an expiration date stamped on the back of each package and they are certified organic. Nick liked the super sour worms as they are not sticky on his fingers. The packages are available in a variety including fruity bears, gummy bears and gummy swirls. Their motto is Catch a Wave of Flavor.
4. Ian's - I found their line of cookie buttons at Whole Foods. Several years ago I purchased their chicken nuggets at Trader Joe's for Matthew and they utilized them at his feeding therapy. They had a distinct flavor that I was not too fond of. Matt would tolerate them.
The cookie buttons are wheat free, gluten free. They range from 120 calories for the crunchy cinnamon flavor to 130 calories per pouch for the chocolate chip variety. There are six pouches in the box that costs $4.99 at Whole Foods. They contain no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The website has coupons to download. Boxes of the cookie buttons have a box to cut out for a point system to utilize. Follow them on twitter.
They satisfy the need for something crunchy, plus the taste of cinnamon is so comforting. Some varieties contain egg, dairy and soy. They utilize corn flour, soy flour and potato flour plus organic dehydrated cane juice. There is also ginger and sea salt. Sometimes they are too dry for me to eat an entire bag.
5. Enjoy Life Foods - I have purchased many of their snacks and received some of their bars as samples from my hosting a gluten free twitter party where they donated prizes. Check their website for a coupon to download and their facebook page. You can also follow them on twitter.
We like the double chocolate brownie, chewy chocolate chip and the snickerdoodles. These sell for about $3.69 per box of twelve cookies in a plastic tin that has dividers with the cookies. These cookies are allergy friendly, make in a dedicated bakery, nut and gluten free. They do not contain dairy, soy, eggs, or tree nuts. There are two cookies per serving with the calories being 120 or 130 per serving.
I love the dark chocolate bar Boom CHOCO Boom and the dairy-free rice milk with crispy rice bar. I stored them in the refrigerator over the summer. I prefer to eat these myself and not share. I did not really like the Cocoa Loco snack bars that are nut and gluten free, soft and chewy. They lacked taste and were too chewy for me.
6. Food Should Taste Good - I first learned of these snacks as they donated a case of chips as a prize on autism twitter day and sent me a case as well to sample with my kids. I also ordered a case a few months after as they were a hit with my sons and Matthew's classmates, teacher and aide. There is a fan club and coupon at the website.
They offer at least seven varieties of Gluten Free Chips in two bag sizes -six ounce grocery bags or the one ounce on-the-go mini bags. These are great to store in the backpack for school as well. Besides Whole Foods I also see them at Ralph's stores.
I like the option of customizing my case when ordering. I chose to order the one ounce bags that contain twenty-four bags. We got ten in the sweet potato flavor, four chocolate, four wholegrain and a few of the remaining to round out the case. For a case of the six ounce bags there would be twelve bags. I ordered on a Saturday with the box arriving by Friday.
They are like tortilla chips and similar to a cracker with fun varieties. Matt likes the sweet potato chips while Nick likes the whole grain. I did not really care for the chocolate ones. We have yet to try the Cinnamon flavor. The aide said Matthew even liked the Jalapeno flavor. They were a hit with his class and the adults.
7. Snikiddy - I first learned of these snacks at a twitter party where I won them as a prize. I chose Grilled Cheese Puffs and Mac n'Cheese Puffs for my sons and sent the Nacho Cheese and Pizza puffs to school for Matt's classmates. Both Nick and Matt liked them with the emphasis more on Nick. I have purchased the bag of snack packs at Whole Foods several times when I found them near the register at the checkout.
Join their newsletter and get a coupon at the website, plus follow the Founder on twitter. They have a fan page on facebook. I have seen the chocolate chip and chocolate chocolate chip bites at Whole Foods and need to try these out next. There is no corn syrup and only 120 calories per serving on the puffs.
8. Jessica's Natural Foods -I also won at the same twitter party two bags of Gluten Free granola. I figured this would be a good snack for Nick so I picked Vanilla Maple Granola and Chocolate Chip Granola. They come in 12 ounce ziplock bags. Nick preferred the Vanilla Maple, but ate most of both bags. There are no artificial colors or preservatives. Nick says they were tasty.
9. Funky Monkey - A few weeks ago I was at a Feeding Kids seminar by What's In Your Lunch Box and all participants received a gluten free goodie bag of samples. The purple funk is banana with acai and Nicholas devoured it. We visited the site to see the other flavors before I headed to Whole Foods in search of Mango OJ. Our local store discontinued the brand and I would have to special order a case of only one flavor, so I decided to purchase online instead.
Funky Monkey is gluten free fruit that crunches, freeze dried fruit in a one ounce bag at 120 calories. It is noted to store in a cool, dry place and to consume entire package once opened. Follow them on twitter.
10. Pamela's Products - I received a sample of the Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookie at the feeding kids seminar. There are two cookies in the package, it is gluten free and delicious. I ate them as soon as I took them out of the goodie bag. The ingredients are 89% organic. Two cookies contains 170 calories. They are on twitter.