Tips for Shopping for Gluten-Free Products

Going gluten-free can be challenging at first, whether you have Celiac Disease or are just sensitive to gluten-containing grains. Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, and rye, and derivatives of these grains (such as kamut, emmer, spelt, farro, emmer, triticale, and eikorn wheat). For people who are intolerant or sensitive to it, this protein can trigger symptoms in the immune system that show up in the body as inflammation, stomach upset, skin issues, headaches, and more.

Berry Forage Toast

What is Celiac Disease vs. Gluten-Sensitivity?

For those with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease, gluten is seen as invader by the body and triggers a systemic response that can be life-threatening if left unchecked. Others who have not been diagnosed with Celiac Disease may just be sensitive to the gluten protein found in the aforementioned grains even though they may suffer similar symptoms. The difference is that those who are sensitive to gluten, but don’t have Celiac Disease, aren’t susceptible to life-threatening autoimmune issues.

Either way, it’s important to be careful when shopping at the store no matter which category you fit under so that you can eat in a way that suits your body best and helps you feel great! If you’re unsure whether you have Celiac Disease or not, be sure to visit a physician who can help you obtain testing which is simple to do with a blood panel test. It’s worth for you to have a peace of mind and know so you can make the best choices for you.

How to Shop for Gluten-Free Products at the Store: Our Top Tips


1. Buy Certified Gluten-Free Products

Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to find which grain-based products are certified gluten-free at local supermarkets. All brands that carry a “Certified Gluten-Free” label or the Gluten-Free seal must undergo regular testing that ensures the products routinely test as gluten-free.

Keep in mind there may be other products (such as plain frozen vegetables, for example), that may not carry the seal because they are products that aren’t normally processed with gluten, so they may not undergo testing. However, when buying grain products such as cereal, foods with added flavors, flour-based items, baking items, crackers, cookies, baked goods, or other similar grain products, it’s important to look for certified gluten-free products. Any time a food contains more than one ingredient, like a cereal, it’s always important to check to make sure the product is safe for you to eat.

You can easily see this indication of the gluten-free seal on the item with a little bit of search. Here at Lifeway, we always test our products to ensure they all carry the Gluten-Free seal. Keep an eye out for all of our delicious probiotic products at the store and feel safe knowing they are always gluten-free!

2. Check Everything You Buy and Read the Allergen List

One of the simplest tips is to make sure you’re not overlooking simple items, such as condiments, spices, dairy products, protein powders, vitamins, and other similar items you might not think to double-check. Even the simplest things often contain gluten, whether as a filler or main ingredient in the product. Gluten can also undergo different names on ingredient lists and may not be as obvious as you might think. It’s  almost never labeled as “gluten.” For this reason, double-check that the brands and items you buy are certified gluten-free or made without gluten-containing grains.

To double-check a product without a seal of certification, you can also read the ingredient list and underneath it, look for the allergen list that’s mandatory for food manufacturers to include. This reads as “May Contain:…..” If a product contains one of the major allergens (wheat, milk, soy, peanuts, etc.), it will be required to list it there. This is a helpful way to see if a product may or may not contain gluten. If it does, this list will read as “May Contain Wheat” in which case you can know the item was processed or may have been processed in a facility with gluten-containing grains.

Quinoa Pancakes


3. Enjoy Nature’s Gluten-Free Grains and Other Foods

One of the simplest tips for eating and enjoying gluten-free grains is just to eat those that are naturally wholesome and gluten-free. Although many of us grew up on wheat-based bread, cereal, and crackers, there are an abundant of delicious and healthy whole grains you can choose from that contain no gluten whatsoever.

Some of the many whole grains that are naturally gluten-free are oats, corn, rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth just to name some of the most popular. Keep in mind that some of these grains like oats, rice, and corn, may be produced in fields with wheat, barley, and rye, so they can be cross contaminated if not tested. For this reason, it’s still important to buy gluten-free labeled items with the seal and certification on the front, side, or back of the package in these cases. Thankfully, due to the prevalence of food intolerances, most all whole grain products do offer this certification as a standard practice. If not, feel free to contact the brand of the product in question and ask.

Be sure to also enjoy natural gluten-free foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, plain frozen fruits and vegetables, lean fresh proteins, nuts, seeds, and gluten-free cultured dairy like Lifeway Kefir!

4. Buy From Trusted Brands

Many popular and well-known brands routinely test and label their products with the Gluten-Free certification seal or logo. Be sure to choose these brands whenever possible to ensure your grain-based products or other products are tested gluten-free. Although some items without the seal may  still be excellent in nutrition attributes and made without gluten-containing ingredients, purchasing safe brands can be an easy way to make shopping a simpler and enjoyable experience. For this reason, we always test all our products to make sure you enjoy healthy, delicious probiotic products without a bit of worry in your day to day life!

5. Look for Supermarket Signs

Lastly, keep in mind that your local supermarket can often be your best friend for shopping for gluten-free items. Many stores now carry special gluten-free sections at the store (often on the cereal, condiment, baking, or other aisles), or they will have tags under all gluten-free items! You can also shop online or look at store websites to see if they have a gluten-free shopping subsection to make planning even easier! Use these resources to your advantage, though it never hurts to double-check a product by hand if you can.

Have questions? Let us know! Be sure to contact us by email or at any of our social media channels. We’re here for you no matter where you are on your gluten-free journey!