Gluten-free Foods

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions & Advice

Resources for child with Celiac Disease

Oct 2009

Hi everyone, I have a friend who is moving to the East Bay in the next few months from Chicago (probably the Lamorinda area). Her son has celiac disease and we're looking for resources. Can you let us know where she can find gluten free stores, gluten free bakeries, or restaurants with gluten free menus. Thanks in advance! friend of gluten free mom

They should check out Mariposa Baking, a gluten-free bakery, on Telegraph near 51st. Also, the chain restaurant, P.F. Chang, has a separate gluten-free menu. Even Trader Joe's now carries several gluten-free items, including pancakes and bread. Leslie

My son does not have celiac disease, but he is on a gluten free diet. We live in Walnut Creek, and I buy his food at Whole Foods (they carry lots of gluten free foods now) and Harvest House (a health food store in Concord). We also pick up a few things at Trader Joes, like their gluten free frozen pancakes. There is also a health food store in Lafayette called Open Seasame that carries a few gluten free foods that Whole Foods doesn't carry. In terms of restaurants, I haven't found too many, but I did just track down a pizza place - Amici\xc3\x82\xe2\x80\x99s East Coast Pizzeria - in Dublin that carries a gluten free crust. I'm hoping others out there have more recommendations for restaurants. There is also a gluten free bakery in Oakland called Mariposa - I haven't tried it, but I've read a few reviews that say it is good. Hope this helps! Jen

TONS!!! Mariposa Bakery at Telegraph and I think 47th is a gluten free bakery. They have a nice website. Great pastries, pizza, bagels, bread etc. Whole Foods has lots of GF products, as does Berkeley Bowl, El Cerrito and Berkeley Natural Grocery, Trader Joes.

Some restaurants have GF pasta. You'd have to ask around. I haven't found any that make sandwiches with gf bread...that would be really great!! Good luck to your's an easy place to be accomodated with food allergies. not celiac, but gf

My sister and her daughter both have Celiac. Here is her response to your question

''Let them know to join the Bay Area ROCK (Raising Our Celiac Kids) Yahoo group asap. There are members all over the bay area. We will help her choose a doctor, shop, go out to eat, etc. We also have get togethers and play dates.''

If you have any other questions email me and I can put you in touch with her. She is very on top of things... gretchen

In the Lamorinda area, a GREAT resource is Open Sesame, a small health food/grocery in Lafayette. They have tons of gluten free products I can't find anywhere else: bread, muffins, DONUTS (!), pasta, etc. Whole Foods (Walnut Creek & Berkeley), of course, carries many gluten-free products. A nice gluten-free bakery and cafe is Mariposa Baking on Telegraph right near the hwy 24 on- & offramps.

I live in Moraga. Our local pizza joint, Pennini's, has started offering gluten-free pizza crust as an option. I woman I know who has a daughter with celiac's checked it out and they showed her where they make it and how they follow all the procedures necessary to prevent cross-contamination. Hope some of that helps.

I forgot to mention something in the last round of posts about gluten-free resources in lamorinda. The Moraga Safeway has been increasing their gluten-free items. They have carried pasta, crackers, and cookies for a while. Even on the rice milk and other products, they post ''Gluten-Free'' labels on the shelves. The other day I was in there, and they had a free-standing display in the back (by the burger buns) with lots of new gluten-free items, including sliced bread, muffins, frosted cake, brownies, and cookies. I have no idea if the other Safeways are carrying these products but am glad the Moraga one is.

Gluten free kids lunches

April 2008

My 12 yo son is gluten free as of about 6 months ago. He does not like most of the gluten free breads. I'm out of school lunch ideas. He's so tired of rolled up turkey slices, rice crackers, etc. I can't give him anything that needs to be heated cause there's no access to a microwave at school. Also soupy stuff leaks into his lunchbox and then he won't eat it. He doesn't eat most vegies. Sometimes his lunch comes home untouched. I'm so tired of throwing out untouched food that's been sitting in a lunch box all day. Any ideas? Much appreciated, June

Have you tried the bread at Mariposa Bakeshop in Oakland? (Telegraph at 55th, Mariposa is a gluten- free bakery. Because the bread is fresh, rather than the frozen loaves at Whole Foods or mail order, your son might like it better. You might also try brown rice pasta (Tinkyada is good). If the shells or rotini are stored in tomato sauce (especially if you make it or microwave it in the morning), it should be okay for lunch, if your son doesn't mind it cold. My celiac daughter (now 17) often relies on string cheese, fresh fruit, dried fruit, and organic corn chips when she can't find anything else. Leslie

In terms of heated lunches, you might try a thing called a ''lunch jar'' by Zojirushi (Japanese in origin -- even has kana writing on it!).

It doesn't leak, it keeps things warm, and it allows me to pack things like stir-fries with rice, pasta with sauce (does rice pasta work for your child?), jambalaya with sausage and shrimp, various dinner leftovers, and other such stuff, for my kid who simply won't eat sandwiches, and doesn't like cheese... There are several sizes (I use the petite size but there are two others, one of which is as large as a standard-sized thermos). I simply could not live without this item

I also find that hardboiled eggs, with homemade muffins -- I'm sure you could find gluten-free quick bread recipes -- corn tortillas with stuff rolled in them (a bit fragile but tasty), even cut up hot dogs, work OK for kids Karen

No specific food suggestions, but a few serving tips - ''Soupy stuff'' can be kept quite nicely warm in a stainless steel wide-mouth thermos. It works best if you pre-warm the thermos by pouring some boiling water into it (cover) for about 5 minutes before you put the warm soup in. I got mine at Target a few years ago.

Also - your son may not care as much as you think about warm things being warm. Some things we usually eat warm taste just fine cold/room temperature (think cold pizza and leftover Chinese food). R.K.

I don't deal with the gluten issue, but do pack cold lunches for my daughter, and about 3/4 of what I pack for her is gluten free. I usually pack her 2 pieces of fruit (sometimes carrot sticks instead, but my daighter is also not a huge veggie fan). I usually pack either string cheese or yogurt (Go-gurt types, even though I think they're junky). If I have them on hand, she likes hard-boiled eggs and luncheon meat (we were using up some dry salami left over from a picnic).

What about cold corn-on-the-cob, cut corn, or a corn-based salad? Or sushi? Edamame? Or a grain-based salad using quinoa or millet (think taboulleh, but gluten-free). Chicken or tuna salad. Tortilla chips & guacamole. Carrie

We are gluten-free, too. Things I pack in my daughter's lunch:
--almond butter (or other nut butter) in a small bowl, eat it with a spoon. Sometimes I mix ghee and/or honey into it (we're also casein-free) --beef or pork patties that I get from Three Stone Hearth ( --granola (Lydia's Organics, grain-free), sometimes dry, sometimes with water, so by the time she eats it, it is soft --sausage --quinoa or rice with ghee (or butter) and/or coconut oil --nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds --sliced apple w/ dip made from nut butter or tahini (tahini + honey + cinnamon is great) --chicken cut in pieces, each stabbed with a toothpick (more fun to eat)
I use a Thermos brand stainless steel food container--nothing leaks out. Plus, it keeps warm things well, if you ''preheat'' the thermos by filling with hot water for a few minutes before filling with your food. I usually don't preheat it, and most warm things (the beef patties, sausage, quinoa) end up at room temperature, and are just fine that way.

Our staple veggies at lunch are red, orange and yellow peppers (bright, slightly sweet), cucumbers, carrot sticks, and cultured veggies (Cultured brand, can find at Berkeley Tuesday farmers market and at Whole Foods; Three Stone Hearth also offers cultured veggies). I know age 12 can be more difficult than age 4 to get a child to eat something new (assuming cultured veggies are new in your house), but at least at age 12, you can reason with him... Anyway, they add a nice tang to the meal, and of course are loaded with good bacteria which aid digestion.

Occasionally, I make buckwheat-millet pancakes or waffles (recipe from Rebecca Wood--, she has a great cookbook, too) on the weekend and put leftovers of those in her lunch--that's a nice treat.

Best gluten-free bread I've found is by Grindstone Bakery in Sonoma, available at Berkeley Bowl, and, again, Three Stone Hearth. Best wishes, Tracy

We are fifteen months into dealing with gluten free school lunches. My 6 year old daughter also does not care for gluten free bread. However, she does like breadsticks made from Chebe mix (a brazilian product made from tapioca flour). You can roll out the dough into stick form ahead of time, store the sticks in the freezer and bake them in the morning before school so they taste fresh. She likes to dip them in ranch dressing. I also make pizza using this dough and she will eat it at room temperature. I purchase Chebe mix at our local natural foods store but you can get is online as well (or, enter your zip code from the Chebe website to find the nearest store). Some stores carry frozen dough if you don't care to mix it up yourself.

My daugher also likes Trader Joe's gluten free turkey maple sausages - cook them ahead of time then store in the frig, they taste fine at room temperature and better than cold cuts. Sometimes I wrap them in Chebe dough and bake them like a ''pig in a blanket''.

If bread is out, how about cheese with gluten free crackers? (Glutino is our favorite brand of cracker with Laughing Cow cheese wedges). My daughter also makes her own ''nachos'' with corn tortilla chips and shredded or sliced cheese (at room temperature). A thick salsa will stay in a tiny Glad plastic container without leaking (or, place the whole tiny container in a ziploc bag to capture the leak)

We use a small Thermos I bought at Target to send warm gluten free pasta - haven't had any problems with leaks. However, I'm not sure if it would hold enough food for a 12 year old. You could also make a gluten free pasta salad using Italian dressing or some other non-mayonnaise containing dressing that can be eaten at room temp. You can purchase salad dressing in individual packets as to avoid leaks.

If your son likes hard boiled eggs, these are easy to send with a little salt and pepper in a ziploc bag.

Good luck, I know how challenging this diet is and I too am at my wits end regarding school lunches. mom of 6 yr old celiac who hates to eat

correction to the link for salad dressing in packets (as well as other items such as gluten free soy sauce). Also be sure to review the ingredients list of all products as not all items at this site are gluten free. The url is: (not mom of 6 year old celiac who hates to eat

I have a GF child, here are some lunch ideas:
string cheese salami rice cakes apples bananas, all other dried or fresh fruits carrot sticks potato chips corn chips corn tortillas
berkeley one

Yes, it's a challenge, especially since he can't heat things up. Here are some ideas:
- japanese style rice balls - look up ''onigiri'' in Wikipedia - basically, a rice 'sandwich.' The ones I've had were filled with tuna salad. - california rolls - pasta salad - many good gluten free pastas out there - and you can mix with whatever you like - boiled potatoes - hard-boiled eggs, cheese, gluten-free crackers, fruit, yogurt
for more ideas and products, check out, if you haven't already tofu (you will probably have to season and cook your own - most of the baked/smoked tofu varieties out there contain wheat)

Also, at Whole Foods, you can ask customer service for a list of gluten-free products, which may give you more ideas. Hope this helps

I wonder what kind of gluten-free bread you have tried. The ones that most health food stores carry around here are pretty awful. There are a few exceptions however. You might try the Whole Foods brand (Bakehouse). All Bakehouse gluten-free products are quite good, but expensive. They are in the frozen food section. The only other brand of decent bread that I know of that you can get around here is the fresh baked bread from Mariposa Bakery in Oakland. I usually bake my own bread. Sometimes I mail order bread. My favorite for on-line orders is Kinickinick bread from Canada. They also make really good gluten-free bagels and donuts. Your son grew up eating wheat bread, so it's going to take him a while to get use to a different flavor. Making sandwiches from gluten-free bread is challenging, especially when it comes right out of the cold fridge. I spritz mine with water and then toast on the lightest setting to soften it up. Then I make sure the sandwich isn't over-stuffed with meat or lettuce. I keep them simple so they hold together more easily.

My duaghter was getting bored with my lunches that I made, because all I ccould think of were sandwiches. Then I discovered the wide-mouth thermos! Having the hot lunch option was a savior. I never experienced our thermos leaking. Maybe the one you have is faulty. My daughter loves homemade soups or canned soups, pasta, mac & cheese, etc. You should find out what your son does like to eat. Try to think outside the lunch menu box and maybe offer him things that you might eat at dinner time that you know he likes. Americans get stuck on sandwiches, which are really not my favortie type of food anyway. Sometimes to cut corners on time and effort I will heat up Amy's frozen gluten-free Mac & cheese entree and put that in the thermos. Or I might put in baked beans, or left over stew or soup from the night before. Veggies are tastey if you offer some yummy dip to dip them into. Anyway, I know it's a challenge. My daughter still doesn't eat everything in her lunch from time to time. And I think you will find that is true for all parents, regardless of whether or not the food is gluten-free. We can get stuck in a rut, and our kids can quickly get bored with their food. What's important is to vary it. Hope that helps. Laurey

Gluten-free diet for twins' chronic loose stools

April 2004

My husband and I are thinking about looking into a gluten and dairy free diet for our 4 year old twins to see if this helps relieve them of chronic ear infections and chronic loose stools (we are not sure if these are related issuse or not). I was hoping to get some recommendations on favorite foods/recipes and where to buys such products- especially breads. Thanks,
tired of feeling helpless

I have celiac disease and I'm on a gluten-free diet for life. It is really important to put children on this diet if they show any symptoms at all. There are many other health related problems besides gastrointestinal that occur with celiac disease. I have some great resources for you, all are on- line. All the health food stores in the bay area don't seem to have a large enough selection of gluten-free products, and the GF breads they carry around here are simply awful! I was so frustrated and disappointed that I ended up having to bake my own bread with the help from several good books written by Betty Hagman. But being a mother has made it difficult to find time to bake. So luckily I found a great source for bread from Kinnikinnick Foods based in Canada. So far it is the best source for gluten-free and dairy-free bread you can find without having to bake it yourself. Here is their link:

Another great source for gluten-free products is the Gluten Free Pantry. They also have a good resource for other celiac links, including resources for Autism:

Link to gluten-free cook books. I recommend ones from Betty Hagman, the Gluten-Free Gourmet series. Also look for ones about children with celiac disease.

And for an all purpose starting point, check out :

For local support group information and news:
SF Bay Area Celiacs Martha Deutsch 341 Central Avenue Half Moon Bay, CA 94019 deutschm AT
If you just want to pick things up at the market, look for Pamela's GF baking mix and cookies. Also, Tinkyada pasta is really good. Goodluck. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly. Laurey

For bread: I eat a lot of Van's waffles (several flavors), corn tortillas, and whole grain pumpernickel (found in the frozen section). I guess there is gluten in rye, but it doens't act the same for me as does wheat. Keep in mind that spelt and kamut are really older varieties of wheat. Rice crackers. I sure feel better when I don't eat wheat. May be hard to adjust to no sandwiches for lunch, but I just make up extra veges with dinner and eat that and some sort of protein. As for dairy, I use soy creamer, soy yogurt, and soymilk and have no complaints. I do still eat a bit of regular cheese. Bonnie

I'm not sure it's gluten free, but it is wheat-free and dairy- free: Mochi. This is available from grainaissance and is sold at Whole Foods near tofu and the wheatfree refridgerated breads at the back. My daughter loves the raisin cinnamon flavor and I like the seeded ones. Plain is too blah, and garlic a little to garlic. You slice or break it into little 1'' x1'' squares, pop it in the toaster oven for about 6 minutes at 450 and you get these puffy chewy steamy little muffins. I also like a wheat free corn thin that is like a super thin rice cake. They come in a bright yellow-y package just like rice cakes. They are organic, made in Australia or New Zealand and my tot likes them too. We use the rice pastas sold at Whole Foods. Lundberg tends to be super thick and taste different. The asian brand is smoother and more similar to wheat pastas. We also like the Quinoa pastas that also contain corn sold at Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl. It's a better deal than the rice ones. None of these pasta products store well. You can make wrap sandwiches from corn tortillas. You can do a lot of baking with bob's redmill oat flour. Great pancake recipe on the package. There's a bakery in petaluma that makes gluten free cookies. occasionally wheat free

I'm not sure what the original post asked, but I was just shopping online for a few favorite gluten-free items and remember that I had meant to respond to this earlier. Here is a great site for buying GF products you might not find easily in local health-food stores: My two favorites are the Garfava Flour (you need to add Xantham gum to provide the ''chew'') and the MolinodiFerro Corn Pasta. Both of these even please the discriminating wheat eaters in my family. Favorites I buy mainly at Whole Foods include Tinkyada rice pasta (beats ALL the others), Lifestream MegaSunrise Waffles (SO MUCH better than Vans!), Primavera Corn Tortillas (great for pizza), and ''instant'' la polenta Beretta (an Italian polenta in a box that cooks in just a few minutes). maria

Wheat-Free ideas for 10-month-old

August 2003

Does anyone have any suggestions for some wheat-free recipes and foods that I can try with my 10 month old? She is pretty attached to the wheat - free O's cereal nad not too interested in rice pasta. I want to move beyond the baby rice and oat and barley cereals to something with a bit more substance. I am feeling like her diet is pretty limited. She hates all the green veggies i have tried (she is only now cutting her first tooth). She eats a lot of the organic baby foods- carrots, sweet potatoe, squash, pears and applesauce . Also she eats bananas, peaches and sometimes avocado. She doesn't like tofu or cheese much at all either. I am trying tokeep her away from wheat and corn due to my own history with some sensitivity to those foods. seeking baby culinary diversity

If she is still nursing well (and/or taking infant formula), don't worry too much. Some folks suggest staying away from cow's milk dairy foods (including cheese), and even soy until 1 year, especially if there are allergy concerns. Some ideas to offer (if she wants to try): try seasoning the tofu with a little sesame oil; large-curd cottage cheese (if you do dairy); melon; non-baby-food vegetables cut small or mashed (soft cooked sweet potatoes,steamed, thawed frozen or canned green beans, etc.). No specific recipe suggestions, but if you do a web search for ''wheat free recipes'', lots of things come up! R.K.

We too kept our baby off of wheat (and all gluten, including oats) until she was one. We gave her rice puffs as a snack. We also gave her lots of polenta. It is a good baby food (if they can handle corn) because it is easily made into finger foods and a creamy (we used water instead of milk) was good for spoon feeding. We also gave her lots of corn tortillas which she loved!

If you go to the Berkeley or El Cerrito Natural Groocer you can buy other types of pasta (besides rice) that do not contain wheat. They make a lentil pasta that has lots of protein (it does smell kind of bad) and there is a polenta pasta which is quite good. good luck. anon