Whether an individual has just been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, or whether an individual has been living with the diagnosis for years, it’s always necessary to be mindful when shopping for gluten-free food products. It’s not only the protein found in wheat, barley and rye that can be harmful, but components of the protein called glutens as well. Glutens are widely used as stabilizing, flavoring or thickening agents in a variety of processed foods.
Because of the potential hazards of processed foods, many of those who suffer from gluten intolerance have abandoned pre-packaged foods altogether. Today, there’s no longer a reason for those diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to be restricted to preparing and cooking everything they consume themselves. National grocery chains are responding to the demand for products safe for those with celiac disease by offering foods distributed by wholesale gluten-free food manufacturing companies.
Many of these products are becoming available in the frozen food sections of local supermarkets. Shoppers will find an increasing number of safe-to-eat products like pizza dough and waffles showing up in the frozen food aisle. Among the newest arrivals are baked goods, including breads, cornbread and dinner rolls, as well as a broad assortment of delicious sweets, such as brownies, cupcakes and pies.
Baked goods have always been among the most challenging foods to prepare and cook at home. It can be difficult to recreate the elastic quality of traditionally baked breads and desserts. Achieving the right texture requires special ingredient substitutions, from guar gum and xanthan gum to evaporated cane juice and tapioca starch. As more and more supermarkets offer foods produced by wholesale gluten-free food companies, shoppers can enjoy the convenience of purchasing pre-packaged sweet treats for themselves and their families.
Some traditional foods found in the grocery store frozen food sections are naturally free of glutens, but shoppers still need to check labels carefully to ensure the absence of ingredients containing them. Frozen vegetables, fruits, fish, meats and poultry with no additives or sauces are safe to eat, as are dessert items like ice cream and sherbets. Some supermarkets offer frozen foods in a special frozen food section, sometimes designated with a “natural foods” sign.
While shoppers can feel confident about buying foods produced by companies that specialize in offering gluten-free foods, they need to be wary about conventional food manufacturers jumping on the celiac bandwagon. Some companies label their foods as “wheat-free,” a label that holds no guarantee that the foods are safe for those diagnosed with celiac disease to eat. Foods that are labeled “gluten-free” are a safer choice.