5 Tips for Trying New Gluten-Free Products
One of the difficult things about the gluten-free diet is testing out new gluten-free foods and brands. There have been many times when I’ve gotten excited about a new product on the shelf at the grocery store and purchased the product, only to get home and find out that it tastes like junk.
So how can you prevent yourself from wasting money on gluten-free products that aren’t worth it? The below 5 tips will help you to happily try new products without any regret!
Tip 1: Ask the Blogosphere
The online gluten-free community is HUGE. It is an invaluable resource for those on the gluten-free diet. There are tons of gluten-free blogs out there that are run by people just like you! Everyone is in the same boat when it comes to trying new products: we don’t know how it will taste until we taste it, and we don’t have the money to waste on things that taste like cardboard.
Before you pick up your next box of new gluten-free crackers, or a loaf of gluten-free bread from an unfamiliar brand, go home and Google the product to see what people have to say. Chances are that someone has written a review on the product. Utilize this online ‘support group’ before you commit a new product to your pocketbook.
Tip 2: Go on Twitter or Facebook
Odds are if you’re gluten-free and semi-in tune with the whole social media thing, you follow a few gluten-free people on Facebook or Twitter. If you have a question about a product and want to find out if your favorite blogger or social influencer has tried it, just ask them!
The great thing about normal, down-to-earth people with gluten-free blog-personalities is that they are right there with you. If someone sends me a message, or asks a question on Twitter, I respond as quickly as possible and to the best of my ability. If I don’t know the answer to their question, I try to figure it out, or point them in the right direction. I don’t want my followers wasting their time or money on products that aren’t worth it!
If you’re wondering whether or not to spend the $6.99 on those frozen gluten-free pizza crusts, or the $4.99 for that box of gluten-free crackers, ask someone if you should!
Tip #3: Utilize New Resources
Another great way to try new products is to literally get them delivered to your door step. There are new gluten-free companies popping up left and right that want to help the gluten-free community with their journey. I’m not going to lie, I’m jealous they weren’t around when I went gluten-free! It would have made the process slightly easier.
I recently learned about a company called Taste Guru that sends monthly boxes filled with gluten-free products. How awesome is that? A box delivered to your doorstep filled with gluten-free goodies. I so wish I had this service when I went gluten-free four years ago – It would have been the highlight of my month!
The BEST thing about utilizing resources like Taste Guru is that you get a lot more bang for your buck! The cost of one month’s box is $24.99, yet the value of the box is between $75 -$100. That’s like gluten-free gold. The company also prides itself on the fact that the boxes don’t just contain gluten-free food, but they contain GOOD gluten-free food. There’s none of that hard, questionable looking, bird-food stuff.
Tip #4: Keep a List
Have you ever tried a product, fell in love with it, then when you went to buy it again, you couldn’t remember the brand name for the life of you?!
When my family first went gluten-free, we would tear off the name on the box of crackers, or keep the bag it came in, so we would not only know the name, but also what the packaging looked like. We ended up having a somewhat large stack of package scraps but it sure was worth it! I’d rather have a pile of brand names to spark my memory than lose the chance to have my favorite product again.
A more efficient method than ours might be to start an excel spreadsheet (yes, the nerd in me is coming out now). Have a column for food type, brand name, link to website, and where you purchased the product at. This can help you to stay organized, know which store carries which brand, and make your shopping experience more efficient!
Tip #5: Believe in the Little Guy
Sometimes the best products are from start-up companies. Why? Because these people have a passion for gluten-free living and they oftentimes create the product for themselves or a loved one to eat. Who doesn’t want to eat food that is literally baked with love?
So give the ma and pa shops a little g-free love when you see them promoting themselves at the gluten-free expo, Celiac tour, or just at your local grocery store! I bet you won’t be sorry!
Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009 and reviews products, restaurants, posts simple recipes, and writes about gluten-free experiences on www.gfreelaura.com. Laura’s passion for spreading g-free love has led her to become a contributor for sites such as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Rudi’s Gluten-Free ‘Baked on the Bright Side‘ blog, and SwimUtopia. Visit Laura on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.