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Gluten free lifestyles can be hard to adjust to. If you go out to eat regularly, you either have to do a ton of research prior to going to a restaurant or you avoid them all together. But what about in your own kitchen? By using fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals and cooking everything you eat, you can reduce the risk of getting glutened. But who has time for that everyday between work, life, kids, school….the list goes on. So how does one go about buying pre-made gluten free food that’s safe to eat?

The food labeling regulations have improved over the past couple years, but it can still be an intimidating shopping process. If the front of the box says “Gluten Free” does that make it safe to eat? Not always. Here’s a few tips to help you out the next time you go to the store.

  • Do your homework ahead of time. Celiac.org, StuffedPepper.com, and Celiac forums are great resources for finding out if certain packaged brands are safe to eat. Many of the forums on these types of sites are filled with parents in the Celiac community and can be pretty trustworthy. I also like to have resources such as the Essential Gluten Free Grocery Guide from Triumph Dining. Their resource books and many others have cataloged what foods contain gluten ingredients, how they’ve been processed, etc. Which leads perfectly into…
  • Just because the ingredients are gluten free doesn’t make the food gluten free. All pre-packaged foods are made in some kind of manufacturing center. Some brands go to the effort of isolating tools between gluten and gluten free food products, while others have factories dedicated solely to gluten free foods. The best resources for finding out if this is the case goes back to #1 on this list.
  • Seals of approval. If a product is Certified Gluten Free (see symbol above) then the product is Celiac endorsed and safe for consumption. Absolutely no worries. If you see this label on a package then you have absolutely no worries about what you’re consuming. If you want to read more, go to this link.

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