What is a good gluten and dairy-free snack?

A gluten and dairy-free diet can seem restrictive, but there are still plenty of tasty snacks you can enjoy. Choosing snacks free from gluten and dairy is important for those with allergies or intolerances, such as celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance, and dairy allergy. Following a gluten and dairy-free diet provides relief from uncomfortable symptoms and prevents any damage that can result from eating problem foods. Fortunately, advancements in specialty products and greater awareness have made it easier than ever to find convenient and satisfying snacks that fit into a gluten and dairy-free lifestyle.

What are gluten and dairy?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s what gives bread its chewy texture. Dairy refers to foods and drinks derived from milk including yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and butter. Those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity cannot tolerate gluten because it causes an immune reaction that damages the small intestine. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of lactase, the enzyme needed to properly digest lactose – the natural sugar in milk. A dairy allergy is when the immune system overreacts to the proteins in milk. Avoiding gluten and/or dairy prevents unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, and nausea in those with related conditions.

Why follow a gluten and dairy-free diet?

Here are some of the key reasons someone may need to or choose to follow a gluten and dairy-free diet:

– Celiac disease – An autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the intestines when gluten is consumed. The only treatment is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

– Non-celiac gluten sensitivity – Experiencing symptoms when consuming gluten without having celiac disease. May involve a gluten-free diet.

– Wheat allergy – Allergic reaction to wheat proteins. Requires avoidance of all food containing wheat.

– Lactose intolerance – Inability to fully digest lactose due to insufficient lactase enzyme. Following a dairy-free diet helps manage symptoms.

– Dairy allergy – Immune reaction to the proteins in milk. Necessitates eliminating dairy to prevent adverse reactions.

– Eczema or digestive symptoms – Some people find avoiding gluten and/or dairy alleviates skin or gut issues.

– Autoimmune protocol diet – Temporarily eliminating foods like gluten and dairy thought to cause inflammation.

Healthy Gluten and Dairy-Free Snacks

When you need to avoid gluten and dairy, it can seem like your snacking options are limited. But there are still plenty of nutritious and delicious snacks you can rely on when following this way of eating. Here are some of the top choices:

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and veggies are naturally gluten and dairy-free. They make simple, satisfying snacks full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some convenient options include:

– Carrot or celery sticks with hummus, nut butter, or guacamole
– Apple or banana slices
– Berries
– Baby carrots, snap peas, or grape tomatoes
– Bell pepper strips with salsa or bean dip
– Dried fruit like raisins, apricots, or mango
– Smoothies made with frozen fruit, juice, and spinach or kale

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds deliver protein and healthy fats. They make tasty gluten and dairy-free snacks, but watch your portions since they are calorie-dense. Try these:

– Trail mix – Combine nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, and dried fruit
– Nut or seed butter spread on rice cakes or apple slices
– Roasted chickpeas
– Roasted edamame seasoned with sea salt
– Pumpkin seeds
– Hard boiled eggs


Plain popcorn is naturally gluten and dairy-free. You can jazz it up with olive oil and sea salt or nutritional yeast for flavor. Just make sure to avoid pre-packaged brands that contain additives.

Energy Bars

There are many energy and granola bars made without gluten or dairy. Look for options with a blend of ingredients like oats, nut butters, puffed rice, dried fruit, and dark chocolate. Some popular brands include:

– Larabar
– Kind Bars
– NuGo
– Oatmega Bars

Crackers and Chips

Shop for gluten-free crackers made from grains like rice, quinoa, and buckwheat. Brands like Simple Mills, Mary’s Gone Crackers, and Snyder’s of Hanover have tasty options. For chips, try bean or lentil chips from brands like Beanitos or black bean or arugula veggie chips.

Yogurt Alternatives

Skip dairy yogurt and try coconut or almond milk yogurts from So Delicious, Silk, Forager Project, and Kite Hill. They come in many flavors and offer probiotics.

Snack Key Nutrients Benefits
Apple slices with almond butter Fiber, vitamin C, healthy fats Provides steady energy
Kale smoothie Vitamins A, C, and K, antioxidants Nutrient boost
Trail mix Protein, antioxidants, variety of vitamins and minerals Curb hunger and cravings

Tips for Healthy Gluten and Dairy-Free Snacking

Following these simple tips can help ensure your gluten and dairy-free snacks are nutritious and keep you feeling satisfied:

Combine Fiber, Protein, and Healthy Fats

Aim for snacks with a balanced mix of fiber, protein, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. This combo helps stabilize blood sugar and keep you feeling full.

Watch Out for Added Sugars

Check labels and choose snacks with no added sugars, which provide empty calories. Sugars may be disguised on labels as words like cane juice, agave, or fruit juice concentrate.

Don’t Overdo the Carbs

While gluten-free snacks often rely on grains like rice, quinoa, and tapioca, these can spike blood sugar. Be mindful of portions and balance them out with protein and healthy fats.

Go for Whole Food Options When Possible

Snacks made from whole ingredients like fruits, nuts, and seeds provide more nutrients than heavily processed options. But some packaged snacks can be handy while traveling.

Make Your Own Trail Mixes

Customize your own trail mix using your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and shreds of coconut. This prevents unhealthy oils and excess sugar found in store-bought versions.

Prep Ahead

Take time on weekends to prep snacks like homemade energy bites, chia pudding, roasted chickpeas, and chopped veggies so you have easy grab-and-go options on busy weekdays.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water prevents dehydration and false hunger that leads to poor snacking choices. Herbal tea can also help fill the gap between meals.

Recipes for Gluten and Dairy-Free Snacks

Whipping up homemade snacks lets you control the quality of ingredients for optimal nutrition and flavor. Here are some gluten and dairy-free snack recipes to try:

No-Bake Energy Bites

– 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
– 1⁄2 cup almond butter
– 1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds
– 1⁄3 cup puffed brown rice cereal
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1⁄4 tsp sea salt

1. In a food processor, pulse dates until small bits remain.
2. Add almond butter, sunflower seeds, rice cereal, vanilla, and salt. Pulse until thoroughly mixed.
3. Using hands, roll mixture into bite sized balls.
4. Store refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

– 1⁄2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
– 1⁄2 cup almond milk
– 1⁄4 cup plain coconut yogurt
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
– 1⁄4 tsp vanilla extract
– 1⁄4 cup blueberries

1. In a mason jar or container, combine oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
2. Fold in blueberries.
3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. Enjoy chilled.

Roasted Chickpeas

– 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tsp onion powder
– 1⁄2 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Pat chickpeas dry with paper towel. Toss with olive oil and spices on baking sheet.
3. Roast 25-30 minutes, shaking pan halfway, until crispy.
4. Let cool before serving.

Apple Nachos

– 2 apples, sliced into wedges
– 2 tbsp almond butter
– 2 tbsp gluten-free granola
– 1 tbsp coconut flakes
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– 1 tbsp honey

1. Arrange apple wedges on plate.
2. Drizzle with almond butter and honey.
3. Top with granola, coconut, and chia seeds.

Best Store-Bought Brands

For days when you don’t have time to make homemade snacks, these are some of the top store-bought brands for gluten and dairy-free snacking:


Protein bars with egg whites, nuts, and dates. Gluten, dairy, and soy-free.


Bars made from real food ingredients like dates, nuts, and spices. Certified gluten and dairy-free.


Grain-free popcorn and healthy potato and veggie chips. Certified gluten and dairy-free.


Granola bars, cereals, and snacks made from wholesome gluten-free grains. Dairy-free and nut-free options.

Enjoy Life Foods

Cookies, bars, baking mixes, and chocolates free of gluten, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, casein, soy, and eggs.

Simple Mills

Bake mixes, crackers, bars, cookies, muffins, and snacks made with nutritious gluten-free whole grains.

Siete Foods

Grain-free tortilla chips, dips, hot sauces, and seasonings. All products are dairy-free.


Organic coconut snacks like coconut chips, coconut butter, and coconut manna (coconut butter).

Mary’s Gone Crackers

Crackers made from a variety of gluten-free whole grains. All products are dairy-free.


Contrary to popular belief, following a gluten and dairy-free diet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on snacks. With fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, energy bars, crackers, and many other delicious options, it’s easy to find satisfying snacks that fit this way of eating. Paying attention to quality ingredients, nutrients, and avoiding added sugars ensures your snacks provide lasting energy and nutrition without digestive issues. A little planning and preparation goes a long way when gluten and dairy-free snacking. With the right snacks on hand, you can stay fueled, focused, and happy following this lifestyle.

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