Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Toss the Gluten, Keep the Flavor!

With Celiac Disease and other gluten sensitivities on the rise, many food companies have been jumping on the gluten free band wagon. In honor of Celiac Awareness Day (September 13th), Sara Siskind, founder of Hands on Healthy has thought up some great gluten free snacks that are not only healthy for your body, but taste great too. The key is to go gluten free the natural way, by always reading labels and knowing what is in your food. Choose foods with as few additive ingredients as possible and stay clear of all the extra starches that can weigh you down.

See below for her favorite, naturally gluten free snacks that are easy to pack and are sure to be a hit!

-Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites are my favorite protein packed snacks that are also loaded with fiber and antioxidants with only 5 ingredients. Find them at your local market or buy from
-Greek Yogurt which is higher in protein than regular yogurt. Sprinkle with flax seeds, blueberries or chopped nuts for an extra kick.
-Roasted chickpeas are great on their own or even as a topping on salads or soups creating a little mini meal.  Either make them at home or look for them in your market.

Fruits and Vegetables:
-Cucumber and Carrot sticks with Guacamole- love the individual packs by Wholly Guacamole.
-Clementines are great to toss into your bag, plus loaded with Vitamin C.
-Smoothies- make your own with milk, berries, spinach, banana and a tablespoon of nut butter or look for store bought with no added sugar.

Crunchy and Savory
-Homemade Non-GMO Popcorn made with coconut oil and sea salt .
-Mary’s Gone Crackers come in many flavors and have no added starchy fillers and certainly fill the crunch criteria.

Sweet Treats
-Dark chocolate covered fruit or nuts; check out Setton Farms Dark Chocolate Pistachios. They keep you full and hit the spot!
-Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough- here’s my favorite easy no cook recipe:  2/3 cups raw cashews, 1/3 cup gluten free oatmeal, 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp salt, 1Ž4 cup mini chocolate chips.  Place nuts and oats into a blender until a powder like consistency forms.  Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well and form into small balls.  Enjoy!

About Sara Siskind
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature "toss it in" approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.

About Pistachio Chewy Bites
With two main ingredients, Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios and cranberries in a delicious and nutritious bite-size bar.  Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart-healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great on-the-go protein snack.  They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber.  These nutrient-rich snack bars provide a great balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat for sustainable energy. With 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and healthy fat, the individually wrapped bars are the perfect one stop shop. 

Available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Bristol Farms, Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc.  They are also available online at and

Pricing: 2-Pack $1.99 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50

About Dark Chocolate Pistachios 
Available in 5oz bags, these sweet treats offer the heart healthy benefits of pistachios along with the amazing qualities of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Dark Chocolate Pistachios are definitely a sweet snack that you can feel good about, these power-packed treats are a must-have item for your pantry or office drawer. MSRP $5.99 

Fun Facts:
·      A serving of dark chocolate pistachios 2-3 times a week can help lower your blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
·      Pistachios and cocoa are loaded with nutrients and rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent a variety of chronic diseases and slow the signs of aging. 
·      Dark chocolate can increase blood flow to the brain and heart, helping to improve cognitive function. 
·      You can obtain as much dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios as from a 1Ž2 cup cooked broccoli.

 My Thoughts 
We got to test out the Pistachio Chewy Bites and they are really awesome. Each one is a delicious blend of two of my favorite things: pistachios and cranberries. These nuts and berries are merged together into a mini bar. They are a chewy and delicious combination of salty and sweet that is a mouth watering concoction both kids and adults can enjoy.
Each Pistachio Chewy Bite comes in its own individual package to ensure freshness. This makes them a great snack when you're on the go or to toss in school lunch boxes. In addition to tasting great, they are packed with protein and fiber. Best of all, they are a 100% natural choice, that is gluten free, dairy free, GMO free, and vegan friendly. 

Pistachio Chewy bites are available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc.  They are also available online at and
Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50


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