Food allergies are no fun. Parents with kids who need to eat gluten-free know just how much energy it takes to plan a menu and to acclimate their child to the special dietary needs that preclude wheat, barley, rye and triticale. The challenge grows if one child needs to be gluten-free but other children in the family don’t.
Mona Solar, Health Supportive Gluten-Free Chef and Certified Nutritional Consultant, knows about these challenges and is excited about expanding families’ awareness on resources for eating gluten-free. She offers her advice on where to eat and shop in Baristaville.
Solar’s first tip for parents relates to kitchen set up. “One of the biggest challenge is if the whole family is not eating gluten-free. Cross contamination is a big concern since something as small as a breadcrumb is enough to make someone with Celiac sick. So it is critical to make sure that the kitchen is set up in a way to prevent cross contamination.”
Solar recommends some staples for parents to have around the house, “I prefer to stick with whole foods as much as possible and suggest a variety of fruits, nuts and vegetables. There are also some wonderful gluten-free pastas; Tinkyada and Jovial brands are my favorite brown rice pastas and Andean Dream makes a really nice Quinoa Pasta. For some sweet treats, Andean Dream and Mary’s Gone Crackers have a nice variety of cookies with better ingredients.”
Solar points out that one downside of the gluten-free diet is that “many people miss breads on a gluten-free diet.” But, in fact, Solar recommends a line of gluten-free breads that she loves. “I am a big fan of Breads from Anna, which sells a line of gluten-free Bread mixes. The company carries 12 varieties of mixes that are also free of dairy, soy, nuts, corn and rice (some are also yeast free). The breads have a wonderful moist texture and delicious taste.”
For families eating out, the best thing to do is to find restaurants that serve some portion of their menu gluten-free. “I would avoid going to a restaurant that doesn’t offer any gluten-free options. The risk of cross contamination is extremely high, and you would want the chef to have knowledge of how to prepare gluten-free meals safely.” She also tells parents to speak up. Don’t be shy! “It is a good idea to ask to speak to the chef when you are dining at a restaurant with a gluten-free menu. The chef has full knowledge of the ingredients that are being used, can guide you through the menu and is the best person to answer any questions.”
Thankfully, there are many places that do cater to those with food allergies.
Here’s our guide to a Gluten-Free Baristaville:
Local places that prepare gluten-free products:
her Pretty ‘M’POWerFUL’ Chilly-Millie Cookie taste like brownies.
The Bread Company
113 Walnut Street
700 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ, 07042
Serves Will’s Firebird Pancakes, which are gluten-free
4 South Fullerton Avenue
Serves gluten-free, vegan cookies, cakes and more.
The Able Baker
187 Maplewood Avenue
The Roman Gourmet
153 Maplewood Avenue
Offers gluten-free pizza
147 B Maplewood Ave
Most of the frozen yogurt is gluten free certified.
Every day at least two gluten-free items are included on the menu.
La Riviera Trattoria
421-27 Piaget Avenue
Clifton, NJ 07011
La Riviera Trattoria is having a gluten-free Italian Thanksgiving dinner on Monday, November 14 at 6:30 p.m. ($50) According to Solar, “The chef has first-hand knowledge of Celiac disease since his daughter was diagnosed a few years ago. Since her diagnosis, he has introduced gluten-free menu options and knows the importance of cross contamination issues in the kitchen. If you plan on eating there and want to order a gluten-free meal, you need to make a reservation so that the kitchen can prep for the meal. The restaurant also sells gluten-free pasta and cookies imported from Italy.”
31 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ, 07042
All natural frozen yogurt and toppings. offered in non-fat, low-fat, no sugar added, kosher & Gluten-free.
Websites with gluten-free recipes:
- Gluten free goddess
- Simply Gluten-free
- Simply Sugar and Gluten-free
- Nourishing Meals
- Adventures of a Gluten-free Mom
- Solar Wellness
- Gluten-free Pantry (to purchase gluten-free products online)
Solar recommends any cookbooks by authors Carol Fenster, Rebecca Reilly, Bette Hagman, Annalise Roberts
The Northern NJ Celiac Disease Support Group
Lines of Food that are gluten-free
- Applegate Farms has a great line of frozen organic turkey and beef burgers as well as cold cuts and frozen breakfast sausages. These are good to have around the house for a quick meal.
- Kettle Cuisine has a nice line of gluten-free soups, which can be found in the frozen foods section.
- Pacific and Imagine brands have a great variety of organic broths that are also gluten-free.
- Whole Foods, Shop Rite and Stop& Shop are some of the big named supermarkets that carry a good variety of gluten-free products; also, you will find a good selection of gluten-free foods in nutrition/health food stores.
A few more resources from Barista Kids:
- Enjoy Life Foods: Gluten and allergen-free cookies, cereal bars, granola and chocolate.
- Cherrybrook Kitchen: Baking mixes that are gluten-free.
- Yummy Earth: Organic, peanut-free, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free lollipops and gummy bears.
- Stuck On You makes great vinyl labels.
- Jeeto makes cute allergy stickers for lunchboxes, backpacks and more.