Beginners Guide: Gluten Free Grains & Breads

Whole grains are an excellent source of nutrition.  They contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fiber, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins, and because the body absorbs grains slowly, they provide sustained and high-quality energy.  However just because you're gluten free doesn't mean whole grains are off limits.  Nutritionally, you want to try and add a whole grain to every meal to stay fuller longer.  With grains, as with any food, you’ll want to experiment and find what works for you. 


Those that are gluten sensitive can experience abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, skin issues and other less than desirable side effects.  It is becoming more popular than ever for people to cut out gluten under the assumption that it will help them lose weight, but that is far from the truth.  Gluten allergies and sensitivities are a real thing for many, yet others may never have these symptoms.  That is part of the bio-individuality of foods:

One persons food is another persons poison.​

Ever heard that before?  I live and breathe through that thought process in my own health coaching practice.  

By going through an elimination diet or 30-day detox such as the Arbonne 30 Day program, you are cutting out the inflammatory foods and simply replacing them with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins.  When you hear that things like gluten and dairy are being removed, many might say, "Well what the heck can I eat?"  With that, I say PLENTY!  

For a complete list of all my favorite dairy replacements, you can click here.

For an overview of all the gluten free grains, breads, snacks, crackers and baking products you can use, you can keep scrolling to read it all, or click any of the following to skip to the section you're looking for.

Types of GF Grains
The Foolproof Method to Cooking Any Grain
My Favorite Recipes Using GF Grains
Gluten Free Baking (& My Favorite Flourless Recipes)
Gluten Free Pastas, Breads, Snacks, Crackers and Chips

Types of Gluten Free Grains

  • Brown rice
  • Jasmine rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats - for those with Celiac's, please note that oats are produced in factories with other gluten products, making it possible for them to contain trace amounts of gluten, thus not being 100% GF.
  • Amaranth - has an earthy, nutty flavor, similar in size to caviar. 
  • Teff - has an earthy, nutty flavor, best used in a porridge or purchased as teff flour to use in baked goods.
  • Buckwheat - can be known to taste bitter, but also with an earthy, nutty taste.  Try GF buckwheat noodles in a stir fry or Asian-style soup.
  • Millet - a sweeter grain in flavor, similar to the flavor of corn.  Serve it in place of rice for a new variety of grain on the table.
  • Sorghum - a mild, earthy flavor.  Make a pilaf or grain salad with sorghum.

When cutting out gluten, avoid:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Durum
  • Farro
  • Kamut
  • Panko
  • Orzo
  • Rye
  • Seitan

The Foolproof Way to Cook Any Grain

Whether it is regular rice, quinoa or any other type of grain, here is a foolproof way to cook any of them.

  1. Measure the grain, check for bugs or unwanted material, and rinse in cold water using a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Soak grains for one to eight hours to soften and increase digestibility. Drain grains and discard the soaking water (this is an optional step)
  3. Add grains to recommended amount of water and bring to a boil.
  4. A pinch of sea salt may be added to grains to help the cooking process, with the exception of kamut, amaranth, and spelt (salt interferes with their cooking time).
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for the suggested amount of time, without stirring during the cooking process.
  6. Chew well and enjoy every bite!

Buying grains in bulk is always more cost effective, however some varieties of rice and quinoa can be bought pre-made and flash frozen, which makes cooking so much easier.

I recommend a rice cooker if you plan to use grains in your diet.  Rice can be tricky to make, but with a rice cooker you have perfectly cooked rice every time.

My Favorite Recipes Using GF Grains

Mexican Quinoa & Jackfruit Casserole

Almond Butter Noodles 

Spicy Broccoli Rabe with GF Banza Pasta

Korean Mushroom & Asparagus Bowl with Brown Jasmine Rice

Gluten Free Baking (& My Favorite Flourless Recipes)

Simply replacing regular flour with gluten free flour is totally ok to do, and there are so many options to choose from for brands.  What you do want to be aware of is the measurements and baking time difference between using regular versus GF flours.  America's Test Kitchen says it best, and you can read their whole GF baking guide by clicking here.

You can also explore recipes that use spelt flour, coconut flour, almond flour and cassava flour.  Cornmeal is also a gluten free option, however if you are on a detox, corn would not be a good option.

I personally have tried to stay away from all flour altogether, and making flourless treats.  My favorites that you can try are:

No-Bake Chocolate Date Bars

Non-Dairy Almond Fruit Tart

Cinnamon & Honey No-Oats Granola

Chocolate Energy Bites

Gluten Free Pastas, Breads, Snacks, Crackers and Chips

If you are like me and love to snack throughout the day, then having some yummy gluten free snack options on hand is a must.  Here is a quick rundown of my favorite GF snack products:

  • Trader Joe's GF Bagels & Breads - TJ's is known for their gluten free bagels. For those cutting out eggs however, these are a no-go :(. For those that aren't, these are by far the best on the market that I have found. Same goes for their GF bread loaves.
  • Simple Kneads - these loaves are hard to find, but they make an incredible GF sourdough loaf that you'd never guess was GF!  You can visit their website by clicking here.  They sell to most Whole Foods stores along the east coast.
  • Cauliflower or Kale Pizza Crust from Trader Joes - these are well known and great substitutes for regular pizza crust.
  • Banza pasta - made with chickpeas and comes in a variety of shapes, like ziti and spaghetti.  It is higher in fiber and protein than regular pasta and tastes great with any dish you pair it with.  Can be bought at almost any grocery store.
  • Lotus Foods Rice Noodles - I use these in my Almond Butter Noodle recipe, along with any other Asian-style recipes where I want to use noodles.  I have found them at WF's and Shaws, but any grocery store will have some kind of GF rice noodle.  Look in the Pad Thai area of the international food section.
  • Siete Chips - this brand also has a great tortilla as well and is found at Whole Foods, Shaws, Target and other chain grocery stores. Corn-free, gluten free and made from only cassava flour, avocado oil, salt just a few other ingredients, these hit all the marks on flavor and crunch.
  • Simple Mills Sprouted Seed Crackers - these can be found at Whole Foods, Shaws, Stop & Shop other other chain grocery stores.  They are a super crunchy cracker free of everything and come in a few different flavors - I love the everything crackers the best.
  • Lundberg Rice Cakes - These are great for topping with sliced green apple and almond or seed butter for a quick snack, and can be found at most grocery stores.
For those looking for GF snack/protein bars, these are the brands I trust the most:

  • Bobo's Oat Bites and Snack Bars - you can purchase these online or in regular and specialty grocery stores.
  • Aloha Bars - found on Amazon and Target
  • RX Bars - these have egg whites in them, so for those that are cutting out eggs, these are a no-go, but great for those who aren't. You can find these at most grocery stores and Whole Foods.
  • Go Macro Bars - found at most grocery stores and Whole Foods. Just be sure not to choose a peanut butter flavor!
  • Enjoy Life Brand - this brand is fabulous for vegan GF chocolate chips, protein bars and snack bars. You can find them at Shaws, possibly Whole Foods and Thrive Market.
  • Natures Bakery - I found these on a google search and they hit all the marks, although I don't know about the taste since I haven't tried them yet!

So, What Do You Think?

Do you have a favorite GF snack or product you'd like to share?  Let me know in the comments below!

Going gluten free doesn't have to mean complete deprivation, it's all about finding alternatives that work for you.  

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions!

Lauren Collins

I'm a health coach and plant-based recipe creator from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In a few short words, I love to cook, eat, travel, play around with food photography and most of all, I love to help people live healthier and happier lives. A lot of the recipes you see here are adapted from my Mom, or from just throwing a few ingredients together until something magical happens.

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