With celiac disease — or gluten allergies — on the rise, you can never be too careful when it comes to checking those nutrition labels! Targeting the gluten in your food sources may seem pretty straightforward, especially for those of you who have lived with a gluten allergy your whole life, but there are a surprising amount of products out there that contain various kinds of hidden gluten! Check out the list below to see what to avoid next time you hit the grocery store.
Pickles: Many people are unaware that the pickling process often involves malt vinegar, a beer-like substance that contains gluten. Next time you go to slap a couple pickles on your burger, make sure you check the label to be sure you're in the clear! Take a look at the many benefits of pickles by clicking here.
Hot dogs: You already know to ditch the bun, but check that package carefully! Some hot dog brands actually contain wheat gluten. Luckily, there are tons of options out there, so indulging in a juicy chili dog once in a while is no big deal! Ready to spice up your hot dog? Check out our 10 homemade hot dog toppings here!
Soy sauce: Sodium? Sure. Tangy, mouthwatering flavor? Of course. Gluten? Surprisingly, yes. Most people do not realize that soy sauce is manufactured using gluten. Wheat is an essential part of the production process, so be sure to select the gluten-free alternatives next time you are at the store!
Prepackaged hot chocolate: Whipping yourself up a steaming mug of hot cocoa from scratch is no problem, but hot chocolate mixes are processed by machines that frequently come into contact with products containing gluten. You can avoid the threat altogether by checking out our favorite hot chocolate recipes here!
Frozen vegetables in sauce: We know how convenient those microwavable veggie bags are, especially during hectic weeknights, but many of those prepackaged veggie mixes contain soy sauce or gravy that contains gluten. Stick to plain frozen vegetables or fresh produce to stay on the safe side!
French fries: Beware those curly fries you crave so much! Sure, French fries on their own are gluten-free, but most restaurants deep-fry those taters in the same oil as breaded onion rings, hush puppies and more. Cross-contamination becomes a real threat, so make sure you check with your waiter before you dig in. Looking for a healthier alternative? Check out our Crispy Green Bean Fries instead!
Veggie burgers: These sneaky patties can be especially misleading, even for the most experienced gluten-free eaters! Faux meat products often utilize gluten as a way to give their burgers a meaty quality and look, so make sure you keep an eye out for any lurking wheat products in the labels!
Salad dressing: Before you go adding a healthy dollop of dressing to your favorite summer salad, take a look at that label! A lot of dressing use thickening agents that contain gluten. Keep an eye out for terms like "modified food starch," as these have been infiltrated by ingredients containing gluten!
Licorice: As addicting as these chewy candies are, gluten is often listed as one of the first ingredients on the label! Luckily, many companies are now producing gluten-free versions, so just make sure you keep your eye out the next time you reach for this twisty treat! You can also try out these healthy candy substitutes instead!
Deli meat: When you hit up the deli for your weekly pound of sliced turkey, be sure to ask your server for the gluten-free option! Many people are not aware that the deli is an absolute breeding ground for hidden gluten, so instead of risking contamination, make sure you are proactive in your meat selection.
» Read more: 7 Most Important Things to Look for When Buying Meat