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What Foods Have Gluten? 25 Products to Remove from Your Home

Patti Podnar
June 5, 2017

Has your child been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? These 25 foods have no place in your pantry.



Parents spend a lot of their time dealing with conflicting emotions, and reacting to your child's diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten intolerance is no exception. If you're unsure about what foods have gluten, now's the time to start educating yourself. The sense of relief at finally having some answers can make you feel like celebrating -- but your job as a parent just got harder as you learn what your child can and can't eat. And if your child is resistant to the necessary changes, you've got your hands full.

The trick is to take it a step at a time and to remember that it's much easier to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle than it was even a few years ago. It's also important to remember that you're not alone. Lola O'Rourke, a registered dietitian and an education manager for The Gluten Intolerance Group, points out that 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease, and even more have gluten sensitivity. In addition, over 11 percent of American families now report purchasing gluten-free products, so there are many other people making this switch with you.

Still, the idea of eliminating all gluten can seem overwhelming for the parents and caregivers of a newly diagnosed child. Victoria Lamberth, a marketing communications coordinator for Ardenne Farm, a company that makes and sells gluten-free baking mixes, says that getting your child involved from the beginning can make your job a lot easier. "As soon as a child can read," she says, "they can be taught to check labels for gluten. They will learn what foods have gluten, how to order foods in restaurants, and how to handle parties, snacks and any other occasion ... most kids don't want to feel ill and will avoid eating the foods that make them sick."

Aside from the obvious culprits of wheat, barley and rye products, gluten is in many common processed foods. While you should always read labels, the following common culprits make the list for a variety of reasons. Some foods that are naturally gluten-free contain gluten after processing. Others are prone to cross-contamination, like foods fried in oil that has previously been used to fry gluten-containing products.

Natural Sources of Gluten:

  1. Bread and bread products (like pizza or pastry crust)
  2. Breakfast cereals
  3. Breading and coating mixes
  4. Crackers
  5. Pastas and couscous
  6. Croutons

Foods That May Contain Gluten After Processing:

  1. Broth
  2. Some chips
  3. Energy bars
  4. Imitation bacon
  5. Imitation seafood
  6. Red and black licorice
  7. Marinades
  8. Hot dogs and processed luncheon meats
  9. Salad dressings
  10. Sauces and condiments
  11. Seasoned rice and pasta mixes
  12. Self-basting poultry
  13. French fries
  14. Pickled products
  15. Veggie burgers

Foods Vulnerable to Cross-Contamination:

  1. Foods fried in oil that was used to cook food containing gluten
  2. Foods prepared in a newly gluten-free kitchen that hasn't been thoroughly cleaned of gluten residue
  3. Restaurant foods
  4. Foods that were processed in a plant that also processes foods that contain gluten

Remember, just because your kid's favorite food makes this list doesn't mean she'll never have it again. You can likely find a gluten-free version on store shelves. If all else fails, make your own version at home.

And try these 30 Gluten-Free Recipes for Kids to Make.

Both O'Rourke and Lamberth want to encourage families with a new diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Lamberth, who is herself gluten-intolerant, emphasizes the importance of education. "My best advice is to know your disease. Get educated about what gluten is, what foods contain it and what is safe to eat." O'Rourke adds, "If you make a mistake or eat something you know you shouldn't, just resolve to start over tomorrow." Having a great attitude goes a long way.

Patti Podnar is a freelance writer committed to writing complex things simply and boring things engagingly. Patti is a regular contributor to Skyword, Prose Media and Career Addict. She also develops employee training materials and process documentation for City G.E.A.R, an urban streetwear company. Follow Patti @PattiPodnar.

* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.

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