Five On-The-Go Gluten-Free Snacks

Do you find yourself in need of snack during the day? Most people do, but it’s harder for those on the gluten free to find something safe. It usually requires advanced planning and packing something. Here are five of our favorite snacks to take along, wherever we go.

  • Fruit. Nature’s tastiest food is cheap, healthy, attractive, and bursting with easy energy. In summer try peaches, grapes, or melon slices, and in winter enjoy apples, clementines, and dried papaya. We’re also very partial to dried cranberries.
  • Nuts. Different kinds of nuts have vastly different nutritional content, so rotate among them. Try them raw, dry-roasted, with a touch of salt, or in a mix with rice crackers or dried fruit. A handful goes a long way.
  • Lärabar. Speaking of fruits and nuts, Lärabars have both in abundance, mixed with spices. It’s kosher, casein free, gluten free, soy free, GMO free, raw, and vegan. Our favorite is the banana cookie (there are no cookies in it, just dried bananas, dates, and almonds. Or check the Grocery Guide for 40 more brands of gluten-free granola bars.
  • Bag of Cereal. Need to settle your stomach? The simple carbohydrates of dry cereal can be quite soothing in the middle of a hectic work day. Try Rice Chex or a Nature’s Path option like Koala Krisp or Panda Puffs.
  • Peanut M&Ms. Some nuts are health nuts and other nuts are basically candy. When the junk food urge bites us, we reach for peanut M&Ms. Every sweet crunch is 100% gluten free.

37 thoughts on “Five On-The-Go Gluten-Free Snacks”

  1. Readers in Australia (and possibly other countries) should know that ALL M&Ms in Australia are NOT gluten-free. They are produced with wheat starch which contains gluten.

    They are made with glucose syrup from wheat, but the Coeliac Society of Australia has advised that there is no gluten in glucose syrup made from wheat as it is processed out.

  2. Hi Ross! I’m saying that M&Ms in Australia are NOT safe for Celiacs and other gluten intolerant people. They contain gluten in the wheat starch.

    I probably should have amended the last paragraph to read “Any confectionery, while made with glucose syrup from wheat, has been declared gluten-free by the Coeliac Society provided it doesn’t have other, gluten-containing ingredients like wheat starch or flour, etc, in it.” Including M&Ms in it was just confusing. :)

  3. Hi Sonia, Thanks for the clarification. I’m sorry to hear M&M’s are a concern in Australia – they’re usually a good go-to here because it’s so easy to find them.

    Otherwise, I’ve heard Australia is generally really gluten-free-friendly, and I see a lot of interesting news reports about new gluten free products coming out of Australia. Would love to check it out at some point.


  4. There are some very good products. My favourites are from Deeks bakery here in Canberra. They have gluten-free bread that actually has a bread texture, kind of like a sourdough or Italian loaf. ( ) So delicious! I hope they go international. :)

  5. I was just reading your blog about M&M’s, im new to the gluten free diet only a week now…I was looking for a snack I could grab from the vending machine that would hold me over till I got home. I got the peanut M&Ms and once I ate them my energy level went caput! I got extremely tired and a little light headed. Are we sure that M&Ms are gluten free?

  6. Hi Mona-Where did you hear that M&M’s contain gluten? Their owner, M&M Mars, states M&M’s are gf. If you have any verifiable sources that they are not gf, please pass it along and I will investigate. Gluten-sleuthing is my specialty. :) But otherwise, I believe M&M’s to be safe. In addition, dextrin does not always contain gluten. It’s one of those ingredients that can go either way. You have to contact the manufacturer to find out if theirs is or is not gf. If you haven’t already, check out Shelley Case’s book. It has a nice little chapter on dextrin that you might find useful.

  7. I heard from a gluten free friend that M&M’s contain a small amount of gluten, perhaps just enough to help them not stick together. Depending on your level of gluten sensitivity, it may or may not bother you. Most gluten free people can eat a few, but eating a bag might be too much.

  8. Hi Guys, please, let’s not scare people without doing your homework first. I get so frustrated when I hear people passing along outdated or plain wrong information. I called M&M today, and they said M&Ms are gluten-free.

    Check it out yourself. Call them yourself at 1–800–627–7852. Press option 3.

  9. Maybe it’s the sugar? Sugar is known to zap energy, big time. And I suffer from the phlegm in my throat, ie. Candida(yuck)…last night I ate some honeycomb milk chocolate candy and I’m dealing with the fall out now. :( Now that I’ve eliminated the gluten, I guess it’s time to begin eliminating the sugar. Waaaaaaaaah!!

  10. Most nuts sold in stores are processed in a factory and some type of “gluten”, i.e. flour is added to them after the processing. This is done so that the nuts do not stick together in the bag/box.
    Therefore almost all nuts sold in the stores are not gluten free.
    The only ones that are GF are the RAW NUTS,or nuts in the shell.
    Those of us who are extremely sensitive can not eat nuts in restaurants or those sold in the stores unless they are raw or in the shell.

  11. I have been aware that nuts that are sold loose in bins are possibly contaminated with wheat, and it is therefore safer to purchase packaged nuts. If nuts in stores are treated with wheat, then they have to say so, since wheat is one of the top 8 allergens, and must be labeled if it is in a food.

  12. Laura is correct! Trader Joe’s and Ingles both sell small travel size bags of nuts which I am never without. They are nuts – no gluten – just nuts. Many nuts with spices added are not gluten-free and wheat if the form of gluten most often added to them. If present, wheat will be listed on the label. When you see a pacakge of nuts that list just the nut on the ingredient list – there is not any gluten in them. Naturally Fresh, based in Atlanta, sells candied nuts for salads that are incredible and also gluten-free. So even when you find candied or spiced nuts, that doesn’t mean they contain gluten. It just means to have to figure out if they are gluten-free or not before deciding to buy them. Most restuarants in my area use wheat flour when making candied or spiced nuts so be careful when ordering salads that come with nuts on them.

  13. Not trying to scare anyone, but check out the facts… “gluten free” is not always gluten free. Google “gluten free labeling” and you will find that there are criteria that manufacturers use to say something is gluten free even though it may contain small amounts of gluten. Here’s what one website said: “To date, there is no legal definition of “gluten-free,” but there is an international standard for gluten-free products called Codex Alimentarius. The standard allows products to be labeled as gluten-free if there are less than 200 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in the final product, according to the Food Standards Agency.” So, it all depends on a person’s sensitivity to know if they can eat something or not depending on the level of gluten in a product.

  14. I find things that say “gluten free” and then on further reading the label will say “manufactured in a plant that also manufactures wheat products”
    I have gotten sick from that type of cross contamination so I can’t eat anything thats even produced in the same area despite the gluten free label. It is not the “typical” gluten free label (image) though…it will just say “gluten free” so….no consistency with labeling.

    I had an incident with dry roasted peanuts with “carmel color” where I had a reaction.

  15. I do have to say…any product in any country needs to be read over…always read the label. I am from Canada and now live in the US and my dad also has Celiac. Things that are gluten free here are not necessairly gluten free there. I also heard that Australia is very “gluten free” friendly. I was going to look into gluten free shampoo/conditioner from there since my sister lives in NZ but ended up getting “Keys” out of frusteration. It is the only one that actually says “gluten free”

    M&M’s I went to thier website 2 days ago. The only ones that aren’t gluten free are the crunchy ones. Again..important to check frequently I think. Formulas are always changing…Hershey’s made in PA in the US is made for Canadian use elsewhere. Canadian chocolate is completely different than US chocolate. Canadian and European chocolate is more similar.
    I just have to keep reminding myself not to get complacent and read the label!

  16. Always read labels. I can’t eat anything that is gluten free, but processed in a facility that also processes wheat. Trader Joe’s does have some bagged nuts that are not processed in a wheat facility, but some are. I too also have to eliminate most sugars in my diet due to candida – which I have not been able to eliminate yet. Lara Bars are great, but I cannot usually only tolerate one or two at a time because the sugars from the fruit can bother me.

  17. I am looking for soups that are Gluten Free, I do not have time to make my own these days. Also Cream of Chicken Soup, where or what kind can I have?

  18. Lisa great soups; by Imagine; they have Broccoli; pototoe soup, onion, and a few more; they come in boxes; I purchased them at whole Foods. Also Annies has canned soups tomatoe, split pea. Also Progresso now has nine soups that are gluten free; New England Clam Chowder; so good and 8 others; check out their website

  19. Anybody who is newly gluten intolerant should also know that many people are also (at least temporarily) lactose intolerant.

    So if you try something with milk chocolate that is supposed to be gluten free you may have similar symptoms because of the milk in the chocolate.

    I have been gluten free for 5 months but I also discovered I am lactose intolerant. I had been eating M&M’s happily until that flared up.

    Supposedly, the lactose intolerance goes away as your intestines heal. I have tried the Lactase pills that supposedly help you digest dairy but they have not helped me.

  20. One cream of chicken soup that at least every time I’ve called the company to check was gluten-free, is from Health Valley. It does not state gluten-free on the product and the company explained that they have no plans to mark their gluten-free items as such, until the FDA rules on what gltuen-free labeling means in the U.S. To find the list of gluten-free soups from Progresso (as noted by Shelley above), check the website which lists all of the gluten-free items produced by General Mills companies.

  21. Tiffany, sorry to get off topic of the article but you mentioned the Health Valley cream of chicken soup. Quoted from Clan Thompson’s website:

    “December 11, 2009: Health Valley organic cream of chicken, cream of celery and cream of mushroom soups are no longer gluten free, according to the manufacturer who states that the products “may contain traces of gluten in the natural flavoring.””

  22. Brook – thanks for the info! I have not purchased the soups since last fall but did just include the info about the line in my post about soups. I’ll correct that now and include your helpful info!

  23. Hey folks, I’m very new to this Celiac’s & GF stuff. Have found the internet helpful, but get different info on different sites, For one, someone please set me streight on distilled Vinegar, yes or no. Also need clearing on Carmel Coloring. Does this also mean you cant have carmels? Was also told that Pepi, coke , Dr Pepper ect are a big NO, because of the carmel coloring? HELP

  24. this from pepsi via –

    PEPSI-COLA COMPANY (mail 04/28/08)

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at Pepsi-Cola Company
    concerning our products.
    All of our products (diet and regular), including Pepsi, Pepsi One, Wild Cherry
    Pepsi, Pepsi Lime, Diet Pepsi MAX, Diet Pepsi JAZZ, Mountain Dew, Mountain
    Dew Code Red, Mountain Dew LiveWire, Mug Root Beer, Mug Cream, TAVA,
    Tropicana Juice Drinks, Sierra Mist, Aquafina, Lipton Brisk, and Lipton Iced Tea
    are gluten-free.
    We want to assure you that these products continue to be suitable for
    gluten-sensitive individuals with Celiac Disease. Please know that we fully
    understand the seriousness of this issue and have also shared our findings with
    Celiac Sprue Association and the Celiac Disease Foundation regarding this
    important topic.
    I sincerely appreciate your allowing us the opportunity to address your concerns
    and welcome any additional questions you may have. Please feel free to contact
    our Consumer Relations Office, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    Eastern time at (1) 800-433-2652 should you wish to discuss this matter further.
    Consumer Relations Representative

    Anna – My advise is to go a step further and stick to their throwback line – high fructose corn syrup is nasty stuff, not to mention an additional problem for those of us that are fructose malabsorbant. Gl and welcome!

  25. Great GF nut snack if those who live in NYC – Duane Reade now carries a line of snacks called D’Lish – usually hanging on posts by the register lines. They have bags of cashew clusters & almond cluster…clearly labeled “Gluten Free” in large type on the front of the bag. Great snack and if you are in Manhattan…let’s face it you’re never more than a block away from a Duane Reade store so they’re convenient too Troube is it’s hard to eat just one or two clusters and before you know the bag is empty!

  26. Having been GF for a few years now, I have a few other suggestions for on-the-go GF snacks to carry around with you. Since I am also 6 months pregnant, I snack a little more often and like to have some variety. I was getting tired of nuts all the time.

    1. Popcorn with creole seasoning/seasoned salt (like Tony’s) sprinkled on top. Nice bit of spice and really good!

    2. Smartfood white cheddar popcorn. The only down side is that it turns your fingers all white and cheesy. But, licking all that cheese off is half the fun of buying it, right?
    **Smartfood does not specifically say it is GF, but I have eaten for years and have never had an issue. I am one of those super sensitive GF people, too.

    3. White chocolate covered grapes. It sounds odd, but it is so very very good. If you roll them in powdered sugar as well, they won’t stick together too badly if they aren’t kept cold.

    4. Plain rice cakes with Nutella. I make little sandwiches and pack them up for a great snack. Also really good with sliced bananas in them. You can also do this with peanut butter, but I get too thirsty with the PB, so I generally stick with Nutella. Plus, who wouldn’t want chocolate hazelnut spread?

    5. Sliced bell peppers. Yellow are my favorite and don’t seem to wilt as much as the others. However, they don’t seem to keep in my purse for more than about an hour.

    Hope this helps someone else out there!!

  27. Any thoughts about M&Ms in the UK? I agree in Australia they are out. And US are ok. I’ve just moved to the UK and I’m not sure.


  28. I believe Mars will have to start labeling their bags with “produced in a facility that also uses wheat” because they have the new pretzel M&Ms. I called tham and they will put it on the new bags, so older ones out there, will not say it.

  29. I just got a big bag of M&Ms with peanuts last weekend, and have been eating a handful a couple times a day, maybe 2/3 the size of the small packs at the cash registers in grocery stores. For a week now, I’ve been fighting tightness in my chest and increased sinus problems, which are my gluten-related symptoms. I’m holding off on any more M&Ms. That is the only thing that I’ve changed, and I hope I’m wrong, but I’m betting there is gluten in them somewhere. It might just be cross-contamination, but it’s apparently enough to make me sick. Dang it. Ah, well. At least my hubby will be happy. They’re all his now.

  30. I have just been told I have celiac spur and am also a diabetic. Rice and corn are big no no’s as they raise my blood sugar to high to fast. I need some snacks that are not hard to chew as I am in the middle of dential work as well. I am eating mostly fresh foods right now but it is hard to find things that I can grab in a hurry for snacks. Can any of you give me some advice.

  31. Sonia is correct in saying M&M’s in australia are NOT gluten free as they contain wheat starch- its on every label that i have seen. In the usa the ingredients may be different and they may use corn starch which would be ok

  32. I still have a lot of problems after eating gf, am now developing derm hermatform? Tremors mostly legs! Tired all the time! I take vitamins but still feel bad! I probably had celiac 9 years before diagnosed two years ago! I am 71 years old and healthy otherwise! Any advice or encouragent! Thanks and GOD bless all!

  33. I am fairly new to this gf sensitivity. I do know I had a really bad reaction after eating M&M pretzels (thinking they were peanuts). I am finding the difficulty in the products with hidden gluten that you wouldn’t expect there to be gluten in them. I try to be careful and read labels but slip up now and then. Have paid dearly for that. Thanks to all of you for your help and input. JB

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  35. Hi Sonia,
    I can’t speak for Australia, since we’re US-based, but I’m a little confused. Are you saying M&MS are (a) not okay because they’re made with wheat, or (b) okay because, while they’re made with wheat, it’s wheat starch where the gluten protein has been processed out?


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