1. Lollies and Ice Cream
It was a sad day in our house when we realised we were now limited with our lolly choices. No more Nobbly Bobbly (darn those little sugar balls), nothing with cookie dough and nothing in a cone. To be fair its mostly very obvious however you do have to be careful of innocuous looking ice creams and lollies that have wheat flour added. For kids it’s not all that bad, my kids still love all the little people lollies like Calippo, Twisters and Mini Milks. If you have tweens or teens Tesco Cookies and Cream Ice Cream is an excellent choice.
I’m not sure if this one is deemed obvious or not but it certainly shocked me when I started doing our gluten free shopping. Many regular sausages are made using flour or grains to hold them together in the same way breadcrumbs are used in burgers (watch out for them too) however there is now a really good range of GF sausages. Heck sausages are great and come in a variety of types including Chicken Italia Sausages (I would never normally entertain a chicken sausage but its lovely). Also a mention to the massive range of ASDA Extra sausages, Debbie & Andrew’s and Black Farmer.
I know, I know the clue is in the title but avoid Fruit and Barley squash drinks as they contain refined barley flour. Hiccup got glutened with this during a stay in hospital and the resulting reaction was horrendous on a busy children’s ward!!
4. Lip Balm and other Cosmetics
This is a very tricky area of the GF world that needs far more of my research, and I’m sure as Boo starts to take an interest in make up I’ll be all over it but for now here’s what I do know. Unless you have a skin reaction to any lotions containing gluten you don’t need to worry as gluten needs to be ingested to cause any problems. Now the tricky bit here is lip balm and lipstick, coeliac.org state that “It is unlikely that you would swallow enough lip balm or lipstick to cause a problem” however if like me you need to be as sure as sure can be it is best to contact individual manufacturers. We use Vaseline, which is gluten free and a My Little Pony one which I have no idea if its gluten free but currently no adverse reactions to it. Advertised as gluten free EoS in sweet mint and strawberry sorbet look so beautiful they are instantly going on my birthday list as a mummy treat!
Why? Oh why? Cant I just buy a cream of chicken soup. My kids luckily really love tomato soup, which is about the only flavour that apparently doesn’t need gluten. Expensive ones, cheapest of cheaps all seem safe. However, for those of us that like a bit of variety in our lives its not plain sailing. I have yet to find a tinned chicken or mushroom soup that I can use, and as for condensed soups – forget it. Yorkshire Provender Roast Chicken and Traditional Vegetables Soup is a life saver, however, not only for a quick lunch but is awesome chucked on top of chicken thighs and veggies in the slow cooker.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but chocolate is not always safe. We really struggle with chocolate especially for the kids. There are three categories of chocolate for someone with a gluten problem (be that coeliac or hypersensitivity). The first is the kind of chocolate you know is a problem but it doesn’t immediately register as such. I’m talking Kit Kat and Twix types, I’m not a silly woman, I know they’ve got a biscuit in but its not until you’ve let your kid have a bite that it suddenly hits you with the “oh shit” moment! The next category is the chocolate that doesn’t have bits of biscuit in but you probably still cant eat because its been produced in a factory containing gluten. This is where research comes into play, as just because one bar from a manufacturer is safe doesn’t mean they all are. I recommend you scour the ingredients list of any chocolate bar you are thinking of buying. The final chocolate category is the best one, the stuff my kids can actually eat! I will do a separate list of excellent kids choccies but Hiccup and Boo’s favourite ones are; Kinder Eggs (which kid isn’t a sucker for the toys!), Twirl and Milky Bar Buttons. For anyone who could also do with avoiding dairy literally any Moo Free chocolate is amazing and gets massive thumbs up from my small ones.
7. Soy Sauce & Oriental Sauces
We have always loved a good stir fry, its something I could whip up quickly and easily after Boo’s swimming lessons or on a Saturday when we’ve been out all day and the cupboard is bare. So imagine my horror at the discovery that soy sauce is a big gluten free no-no. Luckily Kikkoman Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce came along to save the day and is available in most supermarkets. Then we discovered its not only soy sauce but a whole host of nearly all our favourite sauces – yellow bean, teriyaki, hoisin and satay all gone from my throw it in repertoire. In fact the only chuck in sauce that doesn’t seem to harbour gluten is sweet and sour – unfortunately Boo and Hiccup will not eat it no matter what I bribe them with! One day I will buy a Japanese recipe book and we will dine in style, until then we are stuck with chucking in a bit (or the entire bottle) of sweet chilli sauce with our stir frys.
8. Prepared Meat
It has to be said before we went down the path of gluten free I was a lazy cook, its not that I don’t like cooking but caring for a toddler with crazy behaviours and a newborn baby I was all for something easy. I would love nothing more than a hunters chicken and roast potatoes all prepared in those little foil trays and ready to throw in the oven. Oh if only I had known what evils were hidden in those lovely dinners. If you pick up almost any of those lovely foil parcels in the supermarket fridges and have a look they nearly all contain wheat, barley, malt barley extract or oats. You even need to take heed when it comes to a lovely whole chicken for Sunday dinner, remember if its stuffed you cant eat it.
So this isn’t the healthiest of option but Hiccup especially has always loved crisps. You would think you can’t go wrong with potatoes cooked in oil, but apparently you can. This is all about where they are made rather than the actual ingredients in the crisps so if you can tolerate cross contamination you are good to go however for those of us that are crumb/trace sensitive here’s what I know. All Walkers crisps are off the menu, as are cool kids crisps like Quavers, Frazzles and Sun Bites. The good news is that there is an awesome variety of crisps that are gluten free out there. The most obvious and best in my opinion for kids are Pombears, they have the lowest salt intake of any other crisp I have found and come in three gluten free flavours. Sadly I think Boo is getting a little old for these now and looking for something less babyish to have with her friends. Luckily for Boo Seabrooks crisps are amazing and in eight really scrummy flavours and Tesco everyday value ready salted crisps are a proper GF bargain at 66p for 12packs (though don’t be tempted by the variety pack the salt and vinegar contain barley). For us grown ups Kettle and Tyrrells are great as long as you again avoid salt and vinegar varieties.
10. Frozen Potatoes
Being a reasonably sensible person when we went gluten free I expected that was the end of my love affair with potato croquettes however what I didn’t expect was to find gluten hiding in a roast potato or in a bag of chips. I find this really hit and miss and it is a definite case of having to read the labels for instance many McCain potato wedges contain wheat whereas Tesco own spicy wedges do not. McCain Roast Potatoes contain gluten but Aunt Bessies do not. However don’t write off McCains for the kids as their Smiles are gluten free as are the ASDA equivalent Stars. As Boo and Hiccup don’t really like chips we tend to stick to waffles and have found that supermarket own and brands like Birds Eye are gluten free.