**note~ ingredients can change at any time, so please verify for yourself that these items are still gluten free before consuming them yourself. and always read the labels once you find a product you like, so you can catch any ingredient changes more easily. you can also contact companies, or consult grocery guides for more certainty. also, because any given product below may be gluten free, doesn’t necessarily mean that similar ones with different flavors or spices are gluten free as well. be very careful.
because I don’t like to carry my grocery guide around with me every time I go to the store, I have certain go-to products that I enjoy, that happen to be gluten free (which means they’re most likely not made in a dedicated GF facility).
being a Midwesterner, I love potatoes. so when I want to get a bag of tater tots, Ore Ida’s regular seasoned tots are gluten free. several of their other frozen potato products are also gluten free. (as I posted in a previous email, tater tots can be dangerous unless you know for sure that they’re gluten-free, because they can dust the potatoes with flour to avoid sticking together, and not list it in their ingredients).
for meat products, here are ones that I enjoy… I recently discovered the Hormel Natural deli meats for sandwiches. they even state on the back of the box that they’re gluten free, which is a nice assurance. they taste great, and aren’t pumped with as many processing ingredients than most deli meats. Boar’s Head is also good, but the problem there is that it’s usually in the bulk section, where they slice however much you’d like right there. and with other non- gluten-free items sharing the same meat shaver, it’s just not safe. but if you happen to see pre-packaged Boar’s Head meats or cheeses, those are great. (Crumb Deli uses Boar’s Head meats and cheeses).
when I want to make homemade pizza, I always get Hormel brand’s pepperoni. for hot dogs, I love the Hebrew National brand, which is also Kosher (more natural ingredients, and less bad stuff). Hillshire Farms and Johnsonville both have lots of gluten free products. Johnsonville Beef or regular summer sausage is what I get when I’d like to make little cracker sandwiches. Hillshire Farms’ Lil’ Smokies Smoked Sausage and Beef Lil’ Smokies are fun (and cheap!) to make for parties/ gatherings, sticking them in a crockpot with BBQ sauce.
speaking of BBQ sauce, my new favorite is Cattleman’s regular BBQ sauce. I also have several HyVee brand ones, because their products are so cheap (HyVee’s complete gluten free product list is available on their website).
while on the subject of condiments, if I’m not buying a natural brand with simple, clear ingredients (or if I’m at a restaurant), I make sure I get Heinz ketchup.
for salsa, my standard is Tostitos’ All Natural Chunky Salsa (mild, medium, or hot). several of their other salsas and dips are also gluten free, the list of which can be found on their website (see below for further details).
other HyVee products that I stock up on, because I find it strangely difficult to find brands that are GF are tomato sauce, cream style corn, instant mashed potatoes, enchilada sauce, and their taco mix (seasoning packet). so if you live near a HyVee, or end up travelling by one, you may want to check it out. it’s also great for cheap, basic ingredients like mustards and other condiments. their traditional spaghetti sauce is pretty good too (and of course very affordable around $1, like most of these products).
while I haven’t had the following since I’ve gone gluten-free, I know that I enjoy them. Snickers, M&Ms (plain, peanut), Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfingers (which surprised me) and Hershey’s bars are all gluten free, the last time I heard. one great resource in which to find a list of gluten free candy, is the Triumph Dining restaurant guide. they have gluten free menu items from various national chain restaurants, including Cold Stone and Dairy Queen lists, where most of the mix-ins are candy (and therefore provide gluten-free candy lists)! so check that out if you have that book or one with similar info (or write to Cold Stone or DQ and request a list of their gluten free menu items).
more products that I haven’t had yet since my celiac diagnosis, but happen to be GF are several of the varieties of Cheetos, Doritos, and Fritos. the list of which exact products and varieties that are gluten free are available at tostitos.com, and click on the top link of “for special diets”.
in fact, I just found this handy gluten free snack & candy list: http://www.celiaccentral.org/SiteData/docs/Gluten-Free-Candy-List/370e802df5a4b099ad419d940cf8fe22/Gluten-Free-Candy-List.pdf
in general, I often find that the more generic brands of products at a grocery store have less of those complex, questionably gluten-containing ingredients. also, the more natural the product, the fewer fillers (which again are generally the questionably gluten free ones). so I always prefer to be able to tell if it’s gluten free, just by reading the ingredients. not only can you tell easier if the ingredients change, but I just feel that it has to be healthier as well.
I hope that this is helpful for some people to get started. there’s also a “50 things” list for getting started that I’ve seen many times. here’s a link to that (however, note that Prego spaghetti sauce is no longer gluten-free~ which is proof that you need to keep updated info~ you may want to verify the rest of these for yourselves too): http://www.okceliac.com/50things.php