I’m fresh off my trip to San Francisco’s Fancy Foods Winter Show with a host of yummy, new gluten-free products to share with you. There were tens of thousands of products at the show–and a healthy portion of them were gluten-free. By no means could we cover them all, but here are some of the most innovative, healthy, allergy-friendly, exciting, new products at the show.
What’s New for Snacks?
Crispy Green® In spite of the name, these snacks are not fried, nor are they of a vegetable variety. Crispy Green® snacks are freeze-dried fruits with nothing whatsoever added–just fruit, the whole fruit and nothing but the fruit.
Started by a research scientist who spent her days working on cures for metabolic diseases, founder Angela Liu doesn’t call Crispy Green® a “magic bullet,” but she emphasizes that her snacks provide a healthy way to get your recommended daily supply of fruits in a handy pouch perfect for lunch boxes, traveling or munching anytime. Flavor choices include apple, banana, pear, pineapple, and mango.
Their unique freeze-drying process reportedly removes 99 percent of the water in the fruit, leaving behind just the fruit fiber, nutrients and taste. Because they’re so totally dry, they are quite crunchy and actually will absorb moisture from the air in very little time, so each pouch is a single serving to preserve its crunch.
The company has a sister brand called Fruitzio, which operates on the same freeze-drying process but adds a small amount of natural sugar, as well. The fruits in this line are strawberries, apples & strawberries, apricots and peaches.
Produced in a dedicated facility, all these products are free of gluten and the top 8 food allergens.
If crunchy fruit isn’t your thing, you might just fall in love with these chewy fruit snacks. Fat-free, gluten-free and low sodium, they do contain some sugar. Each pouch equals one full serving of fruit and they are kid-tested yummy. OK, I admit I really liked them, too!
Flavors include Cinnamon Apple, Peach, Pineapple, Blueberry, Cherry, Cranberry and Mixed.
Imagine food that continues to grow even after it’s packaged. Imagine the life-giving properties conveyed by such a food. Imagine raw.
Raw foods have known health benefits like supplying living enzymes to aid with digestion and health, as well as fiber and pure nutrition.
I know, I know. Raw is healthy–but does it taste good? These products do! I tasted Go Raw’s Ginger Snaps Super Cookies, Lemon Super Cookies and Carrot Cake Super Cookies (each with only 4 or 5 ingredients), as well as their Live Organic Chocolate (the only ingredients are raw organic cacao and raw organic agave nectar), and loved every one. They also offer plenty of bars, Flax Snax, granola, chips and seeds.
Besides the outstanding taste, what really impressed me about this company was what was not in their products. No: added sugars, added oils, GMOs, cholesterol, gluten or nuts. And their facility is dedicated nut-free. All their products are also certified organic, kosher and gluten-free.
Fun Fact: Go Raw guarantees that if you plant their products in the ground, they will grow! How’s that for alive? (See photo above of their Go Raw Live Granola Bar on a wet paper towel, waiting to sprout at any minute.)
I’ve loved plantains since traveling to Costa Rica years ago. To the uninitiated, a plantain looks a lot like a banana–but it is so much more. Fried or baked, dessert or main dish, plantains are not only versatile, they have super nutritional properties, too.
I’ve tried my share of plaintain chips (for research purposes, of course) on my search for one that is crispy, not oily, and has the flavor I remember from that fresh fruit in Costa Rica. These really fit the bill–strong enough to support a dip but thin enough to be crispy and reminiscent of a flavorful potato chip.
Fortunately, these chips have 30 percent less fat than regular chips, no trans fats and no cholesterol, so you can feel better about grabbing a handful instead of your old stand-bys. They also have 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving, something your average chip can’t claim. Another bonus: Only three ingredients, none of which are preservatives. Gluten-free and dairy-free.
You might recognize Snikiddy’s quirky name from their “Puffs” and “Fries” products (including “Classic Ketchup Fries!”). They told me that their new “Eat Your Vegetables” line is their “grown-up snack solution.” The kid-friendly Snikiddy logo is even hard to find on these adult snack bags, further evidencing their desire to shake their juvenile image for this product line.
Permit me to digress from Fancy Foods for a moment to explain why I am so very impressed with these new chips. The week before I left for the show, I discovered this brand on my own in my local Costco. I brought them home to sample and let my family give me feedback. I was pleasantly surprised that my kids, even though they could clearly read the label saying “1 Full Serving of Vegetables in Every Ounce,” still dug in eagerly, my son proclaiming, “These taste like Doritos!”
I served these chips at a grown-up party alongside corn chips and some other yummy gluten-free crackers. Again to my surprise, these chips were the crowd favorite. I had to refill the bowl several times and show the packaging to many guests who inquired as to what they were and where they could get them. These folks didn’t know the chips were made of veggies or that they were gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan* … and they didn’t care. They just liked them.
So fast-forward to Fancy Foods, where I am interviewing the good folks from Snikiddy about these wonder-chips. Made of vegetables and legumes like potato, navy bean, rice, carrot, sweet potato and onion, they have 2½ times the amount of protein of most vegetable chips and less sodium (140 mg per ounce), yet they lack nothing in crunch or flavor. And they contain no cholesterol or trans fats and no MSG. They’ll soon be available in snack packs, great for box lunches, picnics and travel.
Fun Fact: These chips contain Konjac flour, a yam flour that’s used to deflect the oil when frying in sunflower oil, reducing any lingering greasiness.
Look for more yummy snacks and other exciting new products in next week’s blog. Jules talks more about her adventures at the Fancy Foods Show on her radio program tonight. Click here for details.
Jules Shepard (julesglutenfree.com) is a regular Living Without contributor. She is author of several special-diet books, including Free for All Cooking (Da Capo Press), and is creator of Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.Originally posted January 2012