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When we set out to review gluten free foods the initial items were pretty disappointing. I almost gave up, feeling that it must be a real challenge for folks with celiac disease. Our initial tasting of pastas didn't go well, and gluten free breads have been tough going. With persistence I have been able to find some pastas that are pretty good and reported on them recently.
Forging forward, I picked up a group of breakfast cereals for the tasting panel. The easiest one to find are Chex cereals. With the exception of their Wheat and Multigrain versions, Chex are gluten free. You know these guys because of Chex Mix recipes (what my mom used to call Texas Trash when I was growing up). That they are easily available is a good thing, but the main issue is they have only a gram of fiber in Corn Chex and the flavored versions. Rice Chex, however, is listed as 0 fiber (that's right: zero). Since getting a good portion of fiber at breakfast is important, these might not be your best choice.
Unfortunately, Chex is the only mainstream brand that's gluten free. The good news is that most grocery stores are carrying more and more gluten free products.
A big player is the company Nature's Path. They have a lot of choices, but I stuck with those that seemed familiar. The WholeO's (think Cheerios) are really great. They taste pretty much like Cheerios but are a lot crispier. Tasters really loved these and the bonus is that they contain 3 grams of fiber in a 2/3 cup serving.
Their Corn Flakes are equally good. These are also crispy, much like the WholeO's, and there's a nice sweetness (these aren't frosted like Frosted Flakes of course). There's less fiber at only 2 grams, however. The Organic Millet Rice is a cereal that you might think of when thinking of gluten free cereals. Seems kinda kooky but this is a great choice. The texture is sort of like an extra-crunchy Special K. This one has 3 grams of fiber also.
Arrowhead Mills is a large manufacturer of milled flours and there's a lot of their cereals on the market (not all gluten free). The Organic Maple Buckwheat Flakes seemed like a promising choice and they're pretty good. They have a nice light crispiness with a good rich maple flavor. Only one gram of fiber unfortunately.
Last in this tasting is one for the kids (made by Nature's Path by the way). EnviroKidz Organic (whew, what a name!) makes a lot of cereals but I chose their Koala Crisp for the tasting. Not sure why they named it after a fuzzy little bear when it's essentially Cocoa Krispies. Much better than Cocoa Krispies but still these are just puffed rice with a cocoa taste. Mind you, this is not as chocolaty as Cocoa Krispies but they have a great sweet flavor.
Most gluten free "replacements" are higher in calories, but that's not the case with cereals. Calories are about the same as wheat based cereals at 110 to 120 or so for a 3/4 cup serving. While some may not have as much fiber as those made with whole wheat and wheat bran, they are still pretty respectable.
So my faith is being restored. We've now had good reviews with pastas and cereals. Bread is next on the list, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
Reviewed: January 29, 2010