Gluten-Free for Beginners

Where to Find Gluten Free Foods in the Grocery

What we are going to do is walk a new path through the grocery together. And after you’ve done this a few times, well, you’re brain will already be settling into a new ‘auto-pilot’ mode…

Going grocery shopping is something most of us adults do on auto-pilot… 

Walk in…grab a cart, and begin to snake your way through the store…past each product you want…

…then check out.

Once in a while, there’s that one special ingredient you want and then you have to break out of the usual trance and actually search around to find it…

That is called a pattern interrupt. It causes our brain to have to shift out of auto-pilot mode and actually engage.

Well, after you discover that your child must eat gluten-free, suddenly grocery shopping feels like everything on the list is hard to find…like you have to search for it…and it takes forever…and

It suddenly seems like everything has gluten in it!

This is a huge pattern interrupt and

It can be overwhelming…

But let’s take a deep breath. Everything is going to be alright. 

What we are going to do is walk a new path through the grocery together. And after you’ve done this a few times, well, you’re brain will already be settling into a new ‘auto-pilot’ mode…

And the good news is, there are a lot of gluten-free foods in the grocery…and even better news: they are not all in the (usually overpriced)  ‘Natural Foods’ aisle.

One last thing I want to mention before we start shopping…grocery stores have a planned layout. Maybe you already knew that. 

Anyway, we can use this planned layout to our advantage as you’ll see in a minute.


Grab your cart and let’s get going

Near the entrance to almost every grocery is the produce section. Let’s walk through.

LOTS of gluten-free in the produce section. Almost everything is GF. Stock up.

Notice that the produce section usually connects to the deli and bakery areas.

From the deli area, we can grab some pre-packaged lunch meats. (Let’s talk about how to safely ask for and order from the deli counter in another post)…

We’ll just walk by the bakery stuff. If we’re trying to shop GF, then there’s not much (if anything) for us here.

Keep walking and as we approach the back of the store, we’ll get to the meat section and eventually the meat counter. Again, lots of GF here – just stick with the plain pre-packaged non-marinated meats for now.

So far, we haven’t even had to walk down an aisle…

Which brings me to another point about the layout of a grocery…

The outside edges

The perimeter of the grocery store is where you can / should find most of your food (according to some health experts). 

Think about that – you’ve got these types of foods and sections around the grocery store edges:

  • Produce
  • Deli
  • Meats
  • Dairy
  • Frozen

Anyway…let’s keep going along the back of the store. Next, we’ll get to the dairy section. Grab cheese, milk, yogurt, eggs. 

Even if you’re avoiding dairy, this is where you’ll find many of the dairy substitutes. Grab what you need and let’s keep going to the 

Frozen foods

Finally, we’ll get to the frozen foods and now we make our first turn down an aisle. 

First off, I want to point out that the ‘natural foods’ section of a frozen aisle is likely where you will find GF bread. This will be one of the shocking moments when you realize that those little loafs of GF bread cost $6.00.

*Quick hint: buy the frozen GF bread. It seems like GF bread goes bad / moldy at room temperature exceptionally fast. So we buy it frozen and then put it in the fridge once we are ready to eat it.

Grab some bread and then look for GF waffles, pizza (or pizza crusts), etc. This is also where you’ll find Oreida brand french fries and tater tots  – both GF (but always double check the bag to be sure).

Now to find other staple foods

It’s time to snake up and down the aisles. 

GF pasta options will be with the regular pastas. Peanut butter like JIF brand is GF. Corn tortillas are GF. 

If you’re looking for gluten-free flour or cake mix (like Betty Crocker), it will likely be with the other flours and cake mixes. 

Gluten-free crackers like Nut Thins will be with the rest of the crackers. GF cereals will be with the rest of the cereals. 

And finally, gluten-free goodies like cookies and cupcakes are usually in the ‘natural foods’ aisle or section. 

In summary

Together, we’ve walked through the store in what may be a new pattern…but the important thing is that the grocery is full of gluten-free food options. The outside edges of the grocery have tons of gluten-free options from produce to meats and dairy products.

Some of the foods we need – like bread, pizza, or GF cookies – are in special sections of the store. But otherwise, many of the staples like pasta, cereal, and flour are next to the gluten options. 

Happy Gluten Free