Grocery shopping use to be a painful experience. I’ve seen a major transition over the past few years. You can find GF items everywhere, and so many companies are now labeling their food items. I’m like a kid in a candy store every time I go food shopping and find a new GF item. I love trying new products and visiting new food stores.
Trader Joes: When I first went to Traders I think I was there for an hour (the store is pretty small) and bought every GF item! Traders is awesome because their GF items are labeled GF! I frequent the one in Westfield, NJ. This store has a lot of options and the best prices for GF packaged goods. I normally buy the Trader Joes brand (pasta, sauce, and waffles). I think I’ve tried every brand of rice pasta and find Trader Joes brand to be the best (and only $1.99 a bag!). If you ask a store clerk they have a list of all their items that are gluten free. I just tried their NEW chocolate chip cookies – heaven! (I’m like a kid in a candy store when I see new products!)
Whole Foods: Anyone with dietary restrictions knows that Whole Foods is like the greatest place on earth! It is so refreshing to walk into a food store that caters to those who eat organic, vegan, GF, etc, etc, etc. There are so many brands of GF packaged foods. Whole Foods “Bake Shop” make pizza crust, cupcakes, muffins, and bread. All are excellent quality. I often buy the pizza crust and make my own pizza at home.
Many WF stores also have a buffet area with hot and cold food stations where you can select a meal to take out or eat in. They usually have the salad bar option where you can make a fresh salad (many GF items), and some stores have a soup station. I normally avoid soups but WF lists their soups and indicates whether the ingredients contain wheat, daily, or soy. I even inquired about their chicken and rice soup because it appeared to be gluten free based on the ingredients listed. The WF employee assured me that the chicken broth did not have gluten in it. I’ve had the soup several times and did not have a reaction. Since stores might vary on how they prepare food, I suggest double check with an employee working in the buffet area.
Standard Food Stores (Pathmark, Shoprite, A&P): Most food stores have sections of GF items. In my experience, Shoprite GF items are much cheaper than Pathmark. If I am going to buy packaged GF goods I usually go to Shoprite. I’m always surprised when I go to Shoprite and see new items in the store (I recently saw GF fresh baked goods in their bakery section!).
Fresh Greens (Charles Street, Baltimore) – this food store has a lot of GF options. There is a section towards the back of the store (near dairy) with a lot of GF packaged goods including bread. They also have many frozen GF products.