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Monday, January 25, 2010

Top 10 Ready Made Snacks for GF College Students


You know that dream nightmare almost every Celiac admits to? The one where they are enjoying a giant sub or a tasty slice of pizza and suddenly, to their infinite horror realize they are eating GLUTEN? I will join the ranks, I have indeed experienced this dream, more than once in fact. There's been a few times when I've munched down on a new discovery and suddenly stopped chewing, scanning the this....Gluten FREE? Some of the foods that make it onto this list are those 'I can't believe it's not GF' products - you know, the ones my non-GF friends in college would mow down on when they came over to my room.

Sometimes you just want to EAT. Eating, without having to mix, stir, heat, or bake is a luxury I don't think all of us are quite ready to abandon - especially college Celiacs or those of us who just want to get up and fucking GO. We stash some of these items in our car, fill up reusable grocery bags when we're planning on roaming around for the day or have them on hand if we have don't have time to make meals to take to work. If you're in grade school or college - this list represents something a little more important. It means having some snackables around when your friends flip on a movie, a simple snack for your non-existent lunch hour or a great pick-me-up during your Friday morning 8AM lecture. These are some college-typical GF snacks I kept around during my college years - as well as some things I love now. Let's not leave out our hard working 20-somethings, little juniors getting home from school and dog-tired moms, these are equal opportunity snacks.

Top 10 (Ok, Maybe 11) Ready-Made Snacks for GF College Students
(and folks who like to eat)

EnviroKidz Organic Cheetah Crispy Rice Bars, Berry, 6-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)These noms are like a mix between fully loaded rice crispy treats and a sweet granola bar. My favorite is the berry variety but they also have chocolate, fruity burst, peanut choco drizzle, and peanut butter.To be fair, I haven't come across the peanut choco maybe that one will be my favorite. They come individually packed in a shiny wrapper like any sort of snack bar, so you're good to go. I had one kicking around in the bottom of my bookbag for about a semester and it was still delicious. Upside: There's fruit in there! Remember fruit? Downside: There are only six in the box.

Glutino Gluten Free Pretzel Twists, 8-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)

I never liked pretzels as a Gluten eater. Maybe it was because I had so many other choices? When eating any kind of snack smorgasbord, like Chex Mix, I always thought of the pretzels as obstacles you had to avoid to get to the good stuff, like the little toasts. Maybe it's because my choices are limited - or maybe it's because these pretzels are freakin awesome. I'll leave it up to you. Crispy, buttery, perfect for munching alone or as a dip in peanut butter or hummus. They also come in stick form, which I happen to prefer because they're better for dipping and I like to chomp them down vertically. Upside: The bag is HUGE. Downside: You can't let anyeone else try these - Gluten eaters will not be able to stay away from them. 

Kinnitoos Cookies, Chocolate Sandwich Cream, 8-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6) 
The request I see most often on GF discussion boards is where to find GF oreos that taste like oreos. I'm not sure if I just have extremely well stocked stores or my taste buds are totally off the richter scale...but these Kinnitoos are the most oreoist oreos since...well, oreos. They also make a vanilla switchup which are supurb. Upside: I'm not entirely sure you'll be able to tell that these aren't actually oreos. It's been a long time, so I guess I could be wrong. Downside: Um. None. 

Stretch Island Fruit Company Harvest Grape Pantry Pack, 4-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)

It's fruit! And flat! So it must be more fun than eating real fruit...Plus you don't have to wash it or peel it or cut it. Ahh, the glory of the food industry. These come in a whole host of flavors so there's something for everyone. I'm not sure that these should actually be used as a substitute for good old fashioned off-the-tree fruit...but this might be the closest you're going to get in college. Be grateful, it could save you from scurvy.

EnviroKidz Organic Gorilla Munch Cereal, 10-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)No college food list would be complete without cereal - hell, I'm still a cereal fiend. I was obsessed - obsessed - with Gorilla Munch. It's kind of like Kix - but you can eat it. THEN I discovered that they make Koala Crisp (which is like coco crispies), Panda Puffs (peanut butter flavored Gorilla Munch!), and the holy grail: Leapin' Lemurs - chocolate and peanut butter Gorilla Munch. They also make Amazon Frosted Flakes which are pretty good but I think the whole flake thing is a little hard to pull off, especially because I was a Corn Flakes fiend. (Is that barley malt really necessary?!) The Leapin Lemurs are the best for eating straight out of box dry. You can also buy them in individual serving cups. Organic, a portion of the sales go to helping endangered animals - it's a no brainer.  Upside: Your college friends really like that your favorite cereal is called Gorilla Munch. Great conversation starter. 

Rice Noodle Instant Soup, Spring Onion, 1.6 oz. College kids love ramen right? Ramen does not love a GF college student. Enter: Thai Kitchen Instant Rice Noodle Soup. Score. Cooks in like, maybe 4 minutes - all you need is water. And a bowl. And a microwave. I think you can dig some of that up. My favorite is the Spring Onion but they also make Bangkok Curry, Garlic and Vegetables, Thai Ginger, and Lemongrass & Chili. Super yumville. I take these to work all the time when I'm in a crunch. Upside: Much healthier than ramen. Downside: Might not be quite enough to calm a voracious appetite - better have two. Or you can add in some Perdue Shortcuts and make it a fully fledged meal. 

I can't even TELL YOU how many times the fire alarm in my dorm went off at 2 in the morning - because some numbnuts forgot to put water in with their Easy Mac. Seriously. Luckily for your dorm mates, you don't have to add water to this Mac and Cheese. If you've got some freezer space stock up on some of these - pop them in the microwave and taa daa - mac and cheese. Even though you don't have to add water - I usually find that sprinkling a few drops of water onto your food keeps it from drying out in the microwave. Pop on over to the Amy's website where they have a whole smattering of awesome frozen GF meals. Like PIZZA.  DISCLAIMER: I have never actually eaten this product as it includes dairy and I cannot eat dairy. But I've heard good things and for you, my kickass readers, I will include a milk-filled GF substitute for your cheesy cravings. See how much I like you?

Mi-Del Gluten-Free Ginger Snaps, 8-Ounce Bag (Pack of 12)Pamela's Products Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies, 7.25-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6) This list needs more cookies. Mi-Del GF Ginger Snaps are excellent for when you're crashing because you can load them up with peanut butter. Delicious, cookie-ish and topped with protein. You could also...pour chocolate syrup on them. But that would just be crazy. Crazy GOOD. If you're not into the Ginger Snaps I also suggest Pamela's Chunky Chocolate Chip. Fucking amazing. Seriously. Downside: You might not be immune to that old 'Freshman 15'.

College is rife with emotional hills and valleys. You might need ice cream. If you're GF and dairy free, this is more of a problem. May I introduce So Delicious Gluten Free Dairy Free Coconut Milk COOKIE DOUGH Ice Cream? May I? PLEASE. This ice cream is beyond all ice cream ever. Maybe even dairy ice cream. I'm in love with it. Deliriously in love. Visit the website to check out their flavors and other awesome products as well as where you can find them in the store. Downside: The carton is just too damn small. 

Finally, the all important, all inclusive super food - the brown rice wrap. There are two suppliers of this mighty food that I have come across, one is Food For LIfe, which you can find at Whole Foods, the other is a Trader Joe's brand. If I had to choose I would say the Trader Joe's is better - usually because it feels a little softer, a little fresher. NOTE: In order to fully enjoy these wraps I highly suggest wetting them - as in either running each side under water or rubbing water on them, shaking off the excess and microwaving them for between 15 and 20 seconds. This will take them into a soft, pliable mode rather than the crumbled, cracking speed you would see without the water/heat one-two punch. These will be great for a morning burrito of George Foreman scrambled eggs and sausage or bacon, straight up peanut butter or lunch meat sandwhich, salad in a wrap or a rice/chicken/cheese explosion. Mix it up, spread it around, knock yourself out. Upside: You can freeze these until you're ready to throw them in the fridge. 

So, there we have it. Obviously there are some awesome foods left out and maybe I missed some you would DEFINITELY put on your list. If so, share it in the comments so others can learn. Stay tuned for more GF college friendly products, tips and recipes from the GF College Guide at Gluten Free Chops.

In the meantime, check out what else has been going on at the The GF College Guide


  1. Jessica-

    Great post! I love all these products too and I am wayyyy pass my college years! Jsut goes to show - Good GF food, is Good GF Food!
    Keep up the great & informative posts!

    Be Free!

  2. Thanks Kathleen! I agree, you're never to old for some yummy ready-made goodness :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Love it! This is a fantastic series Jessica! Definitely gets my brain moving for University (although, with another year of high school to go, I do have some time ;D).

    I know most of these products, but thank you so much for reminding me of them - I sometimes forget what is out there =D.

  4. I had that dream last night! Actually, I wasn't eating the pizza. I was in a school cafeteria and the chef kept bringing out pizzas and sandwiches that were absolutely torturing me! I wanted to eat them so bad! But I often dream that I've mistakenly eaten gluten.

  5. Oh and great list. :) The thai kitchen noodles have been my savior more times than I can count! Especially when I'm craving ramen noodles.

  6. wow we are no joke the same person. gorilla munch is my crack, my friends eat all of my gluten free bretzel sticks, and i constantly crave spring onion flavoring. i like to make it with very little water, or to drain most of it before adding the spice packets. so much saltier... i'm gross, but it's goood.

  7. Great list -- I would have added ThinkThin bars. I relied on them when I studied abroad or when I'm now between classes and don't have time for a full meal. Check 'em out:

  8. Warning! Glutino pretzels are the BEST pretzels you could possibly eat! Every gluten eating person I know loves them more than their regular pretzels. Love this and beyond!

  9. That year will absolutely disappear Lauren! I think you'll do great though :)

    Hey Iris, I've eaten those Thai noodles waaaay too much, it's such a luxury to not have to COOK something!

    Haha, hey Tara! I'm definitely in the little-water-as-possible boat. I like to make it more like a lo mein than a soup. Nice to meet you, my GF-food Doppelganger :)

    Thanks Stephen, I haven't tried ThinkThin bars as I am dairy/casein free in addition to GF. Good choice for straight up GF-ers though, thanks for suggesting it :)

    Hey Anon! I don't know how they do it, Glutenous pretzel makers could learn a thing or two from them :)


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