Even though allergies and food sensitivities have become more common throughout the general population, finding snacks and alternatives to popular treats that don’t contain the top eight allergens can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. With the fad of gluten-free diets and veganism, products without wheat and eggs are becoming more of a mainstay in grocery stores, but they often contain other allergens, like nuts and dairy. Growing up with allergies to eggs, dairy, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish meant that I was not raised eating donuts, Oreos, sandwiches, or seafood. Thankfully, as I got older I was able to tolerate small amounts of dairy, wheat, and shellfish, but I still wasn’t able to fully indulge in all the different types of food I had missed out on for so long. So, I began my intense search to find products free of the top eight allergens and safe for me to enjoy without worrying about stomach aches or other allergic reactions. While certainly not exhaustive, this list contains five of my staple allergy-friendly products.
- Glutino Vanilla Creme Cookies
One of the hardest parts of growing up with so many allergies was missing out on classic snacks like Oreos. There weren’t any suitable alternatives for this cookie and it wasn’t until this year (yep, it took me 18 years to satisfy the cookie craving) that I discovered these gems! Gluten, dairy, egg, and nut free, these cookies look just like Oreos, with two chocolate cookies sandwiching sweet vanilla frosting. With a great crunch and crumbly texture, they’re pretty identical to their gluten-containing counterpart. The cookies themselves are slightly bitter from the chocolate, but they reduce the sweetness of the frosting so that when eaten together it’s not too sweet. If you aren’t a fan of chocolate, there is also a vanilla cookie option on their website. This product got the approval of two Oreo eaters, so they’re legit! For a full list of ingredients, visit here.
- Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks
Another snack I had to find an alternative for was pretzels. The ultimate crunchy and salty college snack. I tried some different brands of cassava pretzels, even some cauliflower ones (yep, just as nasty as they sound) before landing on this favorite. These pretzels are gluten, egg, dairy, nut, and soy free. Personally, I like the sticks much better than the classic pretzel twists. They’re a little thicker and have less salt on them, which I prefer. The aftertaste is almost sweet and the airy texture inside makes them an addictive and affordable snack. Snyder’s offers a ton of other gluten free flavors and shapes, including Pretzel Rods, Cinnamon Brown Sugar pieces and Mini Pretzels. See a full list of ingredients here.
- Ener-G Tapioca Loaf
Who can live without bread? Most gluten free loaves have nuts as alternative flours, so I’ve really struggled finding allergy friendly breads in grocery stores. Ener-G is known for making a great egg-replacer, but they are also known for their bread! The Tapioca Loaf is a great breakfast toast option, and they also make hamburger buns, rolls, hotdog buns, bagels, and a white loaf. The texture is very spongy and soft, which is hard to find in gluten free (and egg free) products. All of their bread is also free of corn, potato, soy, and canola oil. One note about this bread is that I don’t suggest using it for sandwiches. Go with the company’s Classic White Loaf or their Bagels to make sandwiches. See the ingredients and explore their other options here.
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Protein Bites
Quick, healthy protein is so important for college students to have on hand as we’re so often away from our kitchens or healthy options. Most protein bars have nuts or dairy products, or are fat-filled meat derivatives. Enjoy life (whose products avoid the top eight allergens, plus 6 more common ones) has the solution in these little protein bites. They come in three flavors (dark raspberry, banana, or sunflower butter) and contain eight grams of protein per serving. Whenever I’m on the run or post-workout, these are guaranteed to help me recover and make me feel full and energized. There is an outer chocolate shell with a fudgy middle which melts in your mouth and makes you believe that healthy options can also be decadent and delicious. Here is a list of the full ingredients and the link to their website, where they also sell cookies, cereals, and other treats.
- So Delicious Coconutmilk Peach Yogurt
I’m rounding this list off with my favorite snack: Peach Yogurt. This coconut milk yogurt is light, creamy, fruity, and delicious. It has healthy fats, live cultures, and real peaches mixed in, making it an awesome option to have in your fridge (I have four at any given time!). While it does lack the protein in regular dairy yogurt, it doesn’t sacrifice taste or texture. And for those who can have nuts, So Delicious recently created a new product with pairings of nuts and yogurt. They also have nut milks and nut-based ice creams, oat milk-based ice creams, and lots of other coconut-based treats like ice cream cookies, bars, and cheese alternatives. Check out their full product line and ingredients here.