If someone in your family must follow a gluten-free diet, finding gluten-free snack bars can present a challenge. While food companies produce countless varieties of snack bars that people can munch on between meals, many of these snack bars are not suitable for people with gluten sensitivities. However, if you look hard enough -- particularly in health food stores and in the "gluten-free" sections of grocery stores -- you should be able to find several gluten-free snack bar options that can suit the snacking needs of you and your family. The best gluten-free snack bars not only taste good, but also provide nutritional benefits.
What Is Gluten Free?
Gluten is a natural substance, present in cereal grains, which can cause serious abdominal discomfort and malnourishment. In order for a snack bar or any other food to qualify as gluten free, it cannot contain any traces of gluten. In practical terms, this means a snack bar cannot contain any of the following gluten-filled ingredients: wheat, rye, barley, bulgar, spelt, triticale, semolina, matzo, graham, durham or farina.
For most celiacs, one of the most important factors that contributes to the makings of a top quality gluten-free snack bar is flavor. Just because a person needs to eat specialty snack bars does not mean he wants to waste his time chewing on bland, cardboard-like substances. Fortunately, several food companies understand this concern and produce gluten-free snack bars that contain sweet, tasty ingredients like chocolate, orange, pineapple, mango and coconut. For those who like bitter and salty better than sweet, there are also gluten-free snack bars available that contain coffee, espresso beans, sesame seeds and nuts.
While some judge the quality of gluten-free snack bars by their taste, others judge gluten-free snack bars by their nutritional components. While ingredients like chocolate and coffee add flavor to snack bars, they also add calories and caffeine. If you're in search of a super-nutritional gluten-free snack bar, read the labels carefully and avoid those bars that contain unhealthy ingredients. One healthy ingredient to look for is hemp nut, which is chock-full of fiber and protein.
The best gluten-free snack bar will ultimately be the snack bar that meets the specific needs and wants of the person who will be eating it. For celiacs who are also vegans, this will mean avoiding gluten-free snack bars that contain dairy products, like milk or milk chocolate. For celiacs who are dedicated to eating only the most natural of ingredients, this will mean choosing gluten-free snack bars that are certified organic. Other types of gluten-free snack bars to consider include those with extra-high concentrations of protein, those that are nut free and those that are low on the glycemic index.
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