Jennifer ~ For four years now, our family has been immersed in the world of allergy free foods since we found out our youngest one had multiple food allergies. Initially dealing with his allergies, we struggled to find replacements for his "normal" food. As time went on, we adapted to the new way of eating, but a lot of what we were feeding him was full of rice or potato flour which wasn't always the most nutritious. So as a mom, I searched for healthier foods to include in his diet.
Just as our son’s diet has matured over the years, I can see the same thing happening in the allergy free food market. A few years ago, it was about finding replacements for the missing foods and so you found lots cookies, ice cream and baking mixes. What we discovered is that while many products were delicious and very close to “normal”, if not better than the non-allergy food products, they just didn't have much in the way of being packed with nutritious ingredients. Now manufacturers are offering different products that not only are allergy friendly and tasty, but also provide a healthy boost to the body. Here is a rundown of some of the really great products that are now available and highly rated by their users …
Explore Asian Bean Pastas: Now here's a product that I thought would never be available – a lower carb gluten free pasta! Most gluten free pastas are made with rice, corn, or quinoa, which are carb heavy. But these pastas are not. They are dairy, egg and gluten free and pack a punch of protein. There are three types available: Black bean spaghetti, Mung bean Fettucini or Soybean Spaghetti. Average protein per serving is 20 grams with only 17 grams carbs.
Beanitos Bean Chips [https://www.navanfoods.com/taxonomy/term/300]: Bean is in! And these unique chips are formulated with black bean or pinto beans. They are actually lab tested and certified low glycemic. Because of the bean content, the chips have a decent amount of protein and fiber for a snack compared to the majority of snacks made from potato and corn. The chips are free of corn, dairy, gluten and soy (note – the company does have a cheese flavor chip available, which is not dairy free).
King Soba Pumpkin, Ginger and Rice Noodles: A combination that I would never had made myself, but one that works well nonetheless. You get the benefit of the potassium and antioxidants of the pumpkin combined with the unique flavor of ginger. We've heard back from several customers who have talked very positively about the noodles. One person said that the noodles have the closest texture to wheat noodles.
Coconut Secret Raw Crystals: Low glycemic is another growing attribute sought out by those on special diets and this coconut sugar fits in that category. The crystals have a Glycemic Index of 35. Since the product is raw and minimally processed, it retains many of its nutrients. The product boasts having 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, and broad spectrum B-vitamins.
Surf Sweets Gummy Swirls: Okay, so these are not new to the market, but I had to throw this one in because I was shocked to find that these candies are actually fortified with calcium and provide 100% of the daily value per serving. The sweets are free of the top eight allergens and naturally flavored and colored. A serving size is 16 pieces of candy which is a lot, but even if you only give the kids a few pieces, it is a nice, easy way to get a little extra calcium into the little ones!
And for those who are wondering what to do with bean pasta, here’s a fast and easy recipe we use at our house to prepare the Mung Bean Fettucini.
Grain-Free Veggie Fettucini
- 1 bag Explore Asian Mung Bean Fettucini
- 1/2 cup of diced red pepper
- 1/2 cup of diced green pepper
- 1/2 cup of mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup of scallions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Prepare the Mung Bean Fettucini according to directions on package. While pasta is cooking, saute garlic and scallions in the oil. Add in the red pepper, green pepper and mushrooms. Set aside until pasta is done. Drain pasta and then add in the saute mixture to the pasta. Serve and eat!
Article and recipe by Jennifer, founder of Navan Foods, an allergy-free food shop. Navan Foods ships goodies around the country from their online store, but they also have a storefront in Virginia Beach. Jennifer consistently works to research and source the best quality allergy-free foods, and also shares what she learns on the Navan Foods blog and newsletter.