woman on cell phone

Image via Derek A.

Understatement of the year: eating gluten free is hard. And shopping gluten free is a formidable challenge, even for those of us who are old hands at the GF diet. New products, changing ingredient lists, vague nutrition info – grocery shopping is a vertiable minefield of problems.

While our gluten free grocery guide is a pretty awesome solution (if we do say so ourselves), sometimes you want to travel a little lighter. Luckily, most – if not all – smartphones have apps that can help make GF grocery shopping a little easier. Below are some of our go-to apps for info on GF groceries, broken down by type of phone.

For Blackberry users, we love the simply named Gluten Free app. You can search by food category, brand name, or grocery store to find lists of GF products. Besides the obvious though, it boasts a ton of useful features, including food recall alerts and MyList, which gives you the ability to save personalized food items for a quick reference. You can share your list with friends and family members so they know what’s safe to buy without making a dozen double-check phone calls.

My personal favorite feature? Because it’s possible that your GF purchases could be tax deductible, this app has a Grocery Bill feature that allows you to list your grocery bill amount and calculate the allowable tax deduction. You can then send the information to your accountant or to yourself for your personal records. Obviously this information will vary from person to person, but it’s a pretty awesome starting point for more exploration of your tax deduction options.

To see more about this app, just click the link above to see a description in the BlackBerry App World store.

We have a couple favorites for the Android. The first is Gluten Free Ingredients, a simple little app that gives you a searchable list of safe and unsafe ingredients. This has been awesome for me when I run across an item with vague packaging or unfamiliar ingredients. Plus, at $0.99, it’s pretty dang affordable! You can check it out on the Android Market by clicking the link.

Also in the Android market is the Gluten Free Ultimate Solution. This 2-for-1 app gives you lists of GF recipes (handily rated so you know where the good stuff is) as well as lists and reviews of GF friendly restaurants near you. I love that you can search the recipes by ingredient so you can work with what you have on hand.

And, last but not least, we have two favorites for the iPhone as well. The first is a really handy one called Cook IT Allergy Free. This recipe app is a compendium of GF recipes, but with an added bonus: with just one tap, you can switch out ingredients you’re allergic to – like milk, nuts, or eggs – and it will substitute it with a safe replacement. You can then save you customized recipes to a grocery list, organized by either Aisle or Recipe, allowing you to recreate your delicious, allergen-free meal with no note-taking or memorizing. The one downside is that, with a little over 200 recipes, your options are a tad limited, but each update comes with more recipes so this is definitely an app with some staying power.

Our other favorite app is, of course, our own Gluten Free Groceries by Triumph Dining. With over 30,000 items from over 1,000 brands, this is one of the most comprehensive apps you’ll find on any mobile platform – it’s essentially our grocery guide in app form. Search by category, brand, or item and see detailed information for each product, including manufacturer’s comments and cross-contamination risks.

My personal favorite part? This app works offline. So if your grocery store is, like my beloved Safeway, in a dead zone, you can still use this app to navigate the aisles with confidence. Bam.

Do you all use apps to make your GF lifestyle a little easier? Do you have a favorite that we missed here? Let us know!