GFCF Food List: Simple Meals To Get You Started On The GFCF Diet

“I just wish there was a GFCF food list that we could follow! Just tell me what to eat and what brands to look for!”

 

This is what my wife said 8 years ago when we were starting the gluten free, dairy free diet. Unfortunately, we couldn’t really find anything like that, so we ended up wandering the aisles of Whole Foods for hours.

We were like lost puppies drifting from one section of the store to the next with no clear direction. The lack of guidance and the emotional turmoil of just learning our son had autism almost led to a complete breakdown at Whole Foods.

Check out Safe Essential Oils for Kids, Only at Plant Therapy!

I nearly cried right there in the middle of the store.

GFCF Food List: Simple Meals To Get You Started On The GFCF Diet

GFCF Food List: Simple Meals for Beginners on the GFCF Diet

This is the article my wife was looking for back when we started almost 10 years ago. It includes a GFCF food list full of easy and convenient meal ideas, and I’ve also included many specific brand names that are widely available.

This is not a complete GFCF food list. It is meant as a guide to help you answer the question, “What can I eat on a GFCF diet?”

After reading this post, you will have a much better idea of what you can eat and what you can feed your family.

GFCF = GFCFSF

Anytime I mention GFCF, I am always meaning a GFCFSF Diet. This is a gluten-free, casein-free, and soy-free diet. I use GFCF because it is more commonly used in the autism community, but you will notice I use the two terms interchangeably.

Begin With The End in Mind

This GFCF Food List and guide is written with beginners in mind. When you’re first starting out, the goal is just to get to your diet at 100% compliance. That is, 100% free of gluten, casein, (and soy too).

However, you want to begin moving towards a healing GFCF diet once you’re comfortable. A healing diet is essentially a whole foods-based diet with limited sugars and no artificial ingredients.

You may find improvement after giving up gluten, casein, and soy. However, the real progress comes after you start adding in nutrient dense, whole foods. These foods will provide the building blocks for healing.

If you find no improvement after a few months at 100% compliance, it is likely you are relying too heavily on GFCF convenience foods.

 

GFCF Diet Jump Start 
I go into great detail about what a healing diet is in my free Ebook: “A Parent’s Complete Guide to the GFCF Diet”. You can read that guide here.  OR, enter your email at the end of this page and I’ll send you my FREE GFCF Diet Jump Start Kit which includes a free copy of the Ebook.

GFCF Food List for Beginners

Remember, this GFCF food list is written specifically for people beginning the diet. My goal is to help you avoid the feelings of overwhelm and potential emotional breakdown that my wife and I experienced when we first started.

I want it to be as easy as possible for you to make it through the first few weeks on the diet. As a result, you will find a lot of packaged, convenience foods as you read through this GFCF Food List.

BUT AGAIN, this type of food should only be uses a bridge to get you from your current diet to a GFCFSF diet.

Always Double Check

While I have personally checked the labels on all the foods that I will recommend here, always check for yourself. Reading labels is critical to ensure there is no accidental diet mishaps.

Companies change their ingredients all the time and tweak their recipes, so it’s always a good idea to read through the ingredients every so often.

A Note on Soy

While you should also eliminate soy on the GFCF diet, there is one ingredient that is okay. Soy lecithin is used in a lot of packaged foods as an emulsifier. Lecithin can actually be a healthy addition to your diet.

It is very good for the nervous system and brain. In fact, I actually buy it in supplement form for my morning smoothies. All other forms of soy should be avoided, but soy lecithin is acceptable-(unless of course, you have an allergy to soy).

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GFCF Food List: GFCF Diet for autism, ADD/ADHD. Tips, ideas, and a GFCF food list for parents to help their kids go gluten free and dairy free. Reliable GFCF brands and ideas for each meal and snack. A full week of GFCF meal options.

Picky Eater???

I wrote an in-depth article on how our family overcame picky eating and autism. If you’re concerned that your child is too picky to eat anything from this GFCF food list, you may find advice and help with picky eating here.

 

GFCF Food List for Breakfast

If your kids are anything like mine, then they want breakfast before your eyes are even open. So, it’s really helpful to have fast and easy GFCF & SF options for them. Luckily, there are plenty of convenient options that you can give them while you wait for your coffee to brew.

Cereal & Granola

If your kids like to start their day with a bowl of cereal, there are options for you.

However, you have to be very careful as you will be hit with an aisle full of gluten free cereal and granola options, but only a few of them will be free of gluten, casein, AND soy.

I’ve listed some of the easier to find options below, but remember to check your labels.

Even within the brands listed below, you will also find they make noncompliant options too. For example, Envirokidz “Gorilla Munch” is good, but Envirokidz “peanut butter Leapin Lemurs” is not. (soy oil) Again, check your labels to be sure.

Cereal
  • Envirokidz: Gorilla Munch
  • Nature’s Path: Sunrise Crunchy Vanilla
  • Arrowhead Mills: Maple Buckwheat Flakes
  • Erewhon: Crispy Brown Rice
Granola
  • Kind
  • Nature’s Path
  • Go Raw
  • Paleonola
  • Udi’s
Dairy Free Milk

Many parents are concerned about milk in the beginning. They wonder, “what will they drink with their breakfast or what will they put in their cereal?”

You will find an assortment of nut milks, pea, rice, potato, and even flax milks at your local natural grocer. I’ve listed some reliable brands here, but personally I would simply go without milk altogether.

  • Pacific Foods
  • So Delicious
  • Milkadamia
  • Ripple
  • Califia Farms
  • Thai Kitchen (canned-full fat coconut)

Most milk alternatives have questionable added ingredients and sugars. A lot of kids don’t even like them anyway, so why have that battle.

The one exception would be canned, full fat coconut milk. You can add water to thin it for baking and cereals. Califia Farms is quite good too, but not cheap.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a great way to start the day with a good dose of probiotics. You can easily find coconut, almond, and even cashew milk yogurt in a variety of flavors. Avoid soy milk yogurt though.

  • So Delicious Coconut Yogurt
  • Kite-Hill Almond Yogurt
  • Forager Cashew Yogurt
  • Ripple Pea Protein Yogurt
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GFCF Food List: GFCF Diet for autism, ADD/ADHD. Tips, ideas, and a GFCF food list for parents to help their kids go gluten free and dairy free. Reliable GFCF brands and ideas for each meal and snack. A full week of GFCF meal options.

Pancakes & Waffles

Van’s is pretty much the king of frozen gluten free waffles and pancakes. However, they only have 1 option that is GFCF & SF compliant, so make sure to check your labels. Ian’s and Kitchfix are two brands that offer great options, but may be harder to find.

  • Van’s Gluten Free Ancient Grains Waffles
  • Kitchfix Frozen Waffles (paleo too!)
  • Ian’s Sausage Pancrepes
  • Ian’s French Toast Sticks (also egg free)

Unfortunately, if your kids really want pancakes for breakfast, you’re going to have to make them yourself. All the frozen options that I found are made with soy.

There are several good mixes that make it really easy for you though. Birch Benders has a paleo pancake mix. All you need is water and you’re ready to make pancakes!

 Pancake & Waffle Mixes
    • Birch Benders
    • Simple Mills
    • Bob’s Red Mill
    • King Arthur
    • Enjoy Life
    • Arrowhead Mills

 

*Many of these brands will also offer different gluten free flour options as well as cake & brownie mixes for all your baking needs.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is somewhat tricky as oats are naturally gluten free. However, due to the way they are transported and processed, they are often contaminated by gluten.

Therefore, look for certified gluten free oats. When buying flavored oatmeal, check your labels to ensure no gluten, casein, or soy was added.

  • Glutenfreeda Maple Raisin
  • Nature’s Path Hot Oatmeal
  • Envirokidz Brown Sugar Maple Oatmeal
  • Qi’a
  • Bob’s Red Mill


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Breads & Muffins

If your family likes to have muffins for breakfast or perhaps you enjoy a slice of toast with your oatmeal, had to the freezer section of your local store.

Gluten free breads and muffins are kept frozen to preserve their freshness.

  • Udi’s (sliced bread, blueberry muffins, chocolate muffins, cinnamon rolls)
  • Rudis (double check labels)
  • Canyon House
  • Mikey’s English Muffins, muffin tops (paleo too)
Breakfast Meats

Don’t worry. You can still have bacon and sausage on a GFCFSF diet. However, you want to look for ones that are nitrate free.

Applegate Farms has many options for sausages, bacon, and deli meats too. While it would be best to find a local farmer or order online from Wellness Meats (who offers only grass fed meats), Applegate is a widely available option for us GFCF dieters.

GFCF Food List:

What Does My Family Do For Breakfast

When we first started this diet, we tried many of the options listed here. Ultimately, we shifted to offering PB&J crackers. Our thinking was it offered protein in the peanut butter (later almond butter) and it was a much more affordable option.

Today, we often have a homemade breakfast bread or homemade yogurt with frozen berries. We also do scrambled eggs a couple times a week as well.

GFCF Food List for Lunch

When you’re first starting out on the GFCF diet, packing your child’s lunch for school can be tricky. Since you will not be there with them, you have to make sure lunch is enticing enough for them to actually it on their own.

In my experience, teachers are not very helpful making sure the kids eat their lunch, so keep this in mind when packing your child’s lunch.

No Brownie Points

Remember there is no extra credit for variety in the beginning. If your child only eats a handful of GFCF foods, then by all means pack them the same lunch everyday. You can work on expanding their palate at home.

ALL IN

The important thing is maintaining 100% compliance with the diet. I hear many parents allow their kids to eat a regular school lunch without worrying about GFCF status and only follow the diet while at home.

This is NOT a good practice. You are unlikely to see any benefits unless you are “all-in” with the GFCF diet. *For more on this check out my GFCF Diet Guide*

All of the recommendations that follow are easy to eat, kid-friendly lunches that most children will enjoy.

GFCF Diet Lunch Ideas:

Making GFCF school lunches doesn’t have to be all that different. Grab a hot dog and a gluten free bun or make a grilled cheese sandwich on GF bread with sliced casein-free cheese.

You could also skip the bread entirely and roll up a pickle with a slice of ham or turkey.

You could also make homemade lunchables or PB & J on GF crackers or plantain chips. Dairy-free yogurt and granola could make a good school lunch as well.

Leftover dinner makes a really easy lunch to pack so long as the child really likes it. You could also cook frozen pizza or chicken nuggets the night before or the morning.

 

GFCF Food List: GFCF Diet for autism, ADD/ADHD. Tips, ideas, and a GFCF food list for parents to help their kids go gluten free and dairy free. Reliable GFCF brands and ideas for each meal and snack. A full week of GFCF meal options.

GFCF Bread Options (in the freezer section)
  • Udi’s (sliced bread,hamburger, hot dog buns)
  • Rudis (double check labels)
  • Canyon House (sliced bread)
Lunch Meats: Applegate

Applegate Farms is the #1 brand for good, clean, GFCF deli meats, hot dogs, sausages, and even bacon too. All are nitrate free, and you can find them fairly easily. Even my small town local Target store offers them.

Dairy Free Cheese: 
  • Daiya
  • So Delicious
Daiya: The Plant-Based Cheese Company

Daiya is a company that makes great tasting dairy-free, plant-based cheese products. They offer different varieties of shredded, cubed, sliced, and even cream cheeses. Daiya also makes yogurt, cheezy mac, frozen pizzas, and fantastic cheesecakes.

While they are far too processed to be a long term part of a healthy or healing diet, they can definitely help you build a bridge from your typical diet to the GFCF diet.

Daiya cheeses even melt just like a regular cheese does, so they are great to satisfy that cheezy craving we all get from time to time.

So Delicious

So Delicious also makes shredded cheese options. I have not personally tried them. So Delicious typically lives up to their name with their other products, so I am confident their dairy free cheeses will taste pretty good too.

Nut Butters

Almond butter is the healthier and most widely available alternative to peanut butter. Additionally, many of the better known peanut butter brands will use vegetable(soy) oils, so steer clear of those.

Double check your labels for vegetable and/or soy oil, and also be mindful of added sugars

  • Justin’s
  • YumButter
  • Barney’s
  • SunButter (nut-free Sunflower seed butter)
Crackers

Crackers make a great side for your kid’s lunch or a good vessel for guacamole or hummus. You could also use them to make “lunchable-type” sandwiches and PB & J.

  • Simple Mills
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers (caution some varieties have soy)
  • Flackers
  • Edward & Sons Rice Crackers
Chips

Who doesn’t love a good bag of chips. When I was a kid, it certainly was my favorite part of lunch. You’ll find many GFCF compliant chips at your local grocery store.

If you want the healthiest ones, look for chips cooked in coconut oil or palm oil, like Jackson’s Honest sweet potato chips. And of course, no artificial colors and flavors.

When we first started on the diet, we bought the giant bag of organic corn tortilla chips from Costco. These are some of my favorite brands today, and they all have a variety of flavors:

  • Siete (grain free, paleo)
  • Jackson’s Honest
  • Late July
  • Simply 7 Quinoa Chips
  • Enjoy Life Plentils
  • Way Better
  • Inca Crops (plantain chips)
  • EPIC (pork rinds)
Yogurt

Yogurt is a great option for a GFCF side or with added fruit and granola can be a full lunch for your child. There are several brands all offering different flavor options. However, most of the flavored varieties are loaded in sugar, so be aware of that moving forward.

Once you’re comfortable with the GFCF diet, plain yogurt with raw honey and/or fresh fruit is most definitely a part of a good healing protocol.

  • Dairy-Free Yogurt Brands
  • So Delicious Coconut Yogurt
  • Kite-Hill Almond Yogurt
  • Forager Cashew Yogurt
  • Ripple Pea Protein Yogurt
Granola
  • Kind
  • Nature’s Path
  • Go Raw
  • Paleonola
  • Udi’s

GFCF Food List: GFCF Diet for autism, ADD/ADHD. Tips, ideas, and a GFCF food list for parents to help their kids go gluten free and dairy free. Reliable GFCF brands and ideas for each meal and snack. A full week of GFCF meal options.

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GFCF Food List for Snacks & Treats

When we started 8 years ago, there was a tiny section of GFCF snacks, and most of them tasted like cardboard. Luckily, there are a lot more snack options and they are actually quite tasty!

There are plenty of GFCFSF compliant chips, cookies, snack bars, crackers, and even frozen treats like ice cream and popsicles.

Keep in mind, that all of these options are loaded with sugar and carbs, so try to limit them as much as possible. Of course, fresh fruit and vegetables are always good options.

Snack Bars
  • Enjoy Life
  • Larabars
  • RXBar
  • Bulletproof
  • Primal Kitchen
  • Epic Meat Bars & Jerky
Cookies

 

  • Simple Mills
  • Enjoy Life
  • Coco-Roons
  • Udi’s
Fruit & Veggie Snacks
  • Bare (apple, banana, coconut chips- PLUS veggie chips coming soon!)
  • Dang (coconut chips)
  • Nature’s All: Freeze Dried Fruit and Vegetables
  • Annie’s Fruit Snacks
  • Veggie Go’s (fruit and vegetable strips)
  • Stretch Island (fruit leathers)
  • Mama Chia Squeeze
  • GoGo Squeez (applesauce pouches)

GFCF Treats

Candies & Chocolates
  • YUM Earth (lollipops & licorice)
  • Surf Sweets (gummies & jelly beans)
  • Enjoy Life (chocolate chips, chocolate rice bars)
  • Heavenly Organics (chocolate honey patties)
  • Sun Cups (chocolate sunbutter cups)
Ice Cream & Frozen Treats

Not to worry, your family can still enjoy delicious ice cream and other frozen treats on the GFCF diet.

All of the brands below offer several different varieties, and some are not fully compliant with the GFCFSF diet. Make sure you check your labels!

  • So Delicious
  • Coconut Bliss
  • Halo-Top (look for dairy-free versions)
  • Daiya Cheesecake
  • Whoopie Pies
  • Udi’s (cinnamon Rolls, blueberry, chocolate muffins)
Cake & Brownie Mixes

When your child’s special day rolls around, you can still bake them a very special (and much healthier) birthday cake.

Below are some easy to find cake mixes that will make sure your child doesn’t miss out on this childhood tradition.

  • Simple Mills (also offers frosting)
  • King Arthur
  • Bob’s Red Mill (look for the gluten free label)

GFCF Food List for Dinner

Dinner is a great time to come together as a family. My wife and I missed out on this opportunity when we first started Ethan on the diet.

We would make separate GFCF meals for the boys, and then we would eat some frozen, processed garbage after they went to bed. Too often, I would order pizza or run out to McDonalds while she put them to bed. (not a habit that promoted good health and happiness for Mom & Dad)

Make it a Family Affair

Now that everyone has adopted the gfcf diet, dinner is much more enjoyable. We all eat the same thing, and more importantly, we’re all together as a family.

The evenings are often very busy times for families and a lot of us parents are tired after a long day. Making a home-cooked gluten, casein, and soy free meal may be the last thing you want to do, so do not make more work for yourself by cooking separate meals.

Join your child on the GFCF diet and everyone will be healthier for it.

Convenient Premade Dinner Options

While homemade is always best, there are plenty of convenient GFCF meals that you can throw together with little effort. The following ideas are temporary solutions that will allow you to get more comfortable with the diet and transition your family to a 100% GFCF & SF compliant diet.

15 Minute Dinner Ideas

  • Pasta: GF boxed pasta, with spaghetti sauce, and ground beef
  • Mac N Cheese: GF macaroni noodles w/melted Daiya cheese
  • Tacos/Burritos: seasoned ground beef, rice and beans and a GF Wrap
  • GF Frozen Foods: GFCF Pizza, chicken tenders or fish sticks with fries
  • Slow cooker Meals: whole chicken or roast w/veggies, chili, or soup
  • Stir Fry: Saute your favorite veggies, meat, and seasoning of choice
GFCF Food List: GFCF Diet for autism, ADD/ADHD. Tips, ideas, and a GFCF food list for parents to help their kids go gluten free and dairy free. Reliable GFCF brands and ideas for each meal and snack. A full week of GFCF meal options.

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GFCF Food List for Dinners (always check labels to verify)
Frozen Foods
  • Daiya Frozen Pizza
  • Capello’s Frozen No-cheese Pizza & Pastas (paleo too)
  • Amy’s Burritos (look for gluten and dairy free)
  • Ian’s Fish Sticks
  • Applegate Chicken Tenders & Nuggets (look for gluten free label)
  • Alexia French Fries

 

The following are popular brands that reliably offer GFCF & SF compliant ingredients.
Tortillas, Wraps, & Buns
  • Seite
  • Udi’s
  • Nuco
  • Happy Pho (Spring roll wraps)
Rice & Noodles:
  • Ancient Harvest
  • Banza
  • Tinkyada
  • Jovial
Rice, Beans, Lentils (most whole & unflavored are GFCFSF)
  • Lundberg Farms
  • Bob’s Red Mill
  • Uncle Ben’s (check labels)
  • Bush’s Canned Beans (check labels)
Pasta Sauces: (check labels)
  • Muir Glen
  • Cucina
  • Newman’s Own
Soups/Broths (noodles usually contain gluten so avoid noodle soups)
  • Pacific Foods
  • Kettle & Fire Broths
Condiments
  • Coconut Secret – Coconut Aminos (soy sauce alternative)
  • Big Tree – Coconut Aminos (soy sauce alternative)
  • Chosen Foods Mayo
  • Primal Kitchen Mayo
  • Sir Kensington Mayo
  • Ketchup & Mustard (most are GFCF check labels-watch for high fructose corn syrup)

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GFCF Food List: In Summary

One Day at a Time

Of course, it’s best to jump right into a healing, whole foods-based diet, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by this dramatic change in your diet, then take it one step at a time.

In the first month or two, don’t worry about variety and or food quality. Be mindful of these important aspects, but do not worry about them until you and your family are comfortable and 100% GFCF compliant.

Remember This Important Point

Once your family’s diet is completely free of gluten, casein, and soy, then start working towards improving food quality, avoiding unnatural ingredients, and adding more healing foods. Make sure you read my guide to a GFCF diet to learn all about a healing diet.

Conclusion

After reading through this GFCF food list, you should have a really good idea of what you can eat on a GFCF diet. Hopefully, this you will help you avoid feeling lost at the grocery store and prevent the emotional breakdown my wife and I had when we started.

I have many more resources to help you with this important transition. You can check out my GFCF diet resource guide to see all of my articles on the topic.

Don’t forget to sign up to get my Free GFCF Diet Jump Start Kit that includes:

  1. Free Ebook: A Parent’s Complete Guide to the GFCF Diet
  2. Cheat Sheet: Hidden Sources of Gluten, Casein, and Soy
  3. Cheat Sheet: Approved Foods List
  4. Meal Plan: One Week of GFCFSF Meals for Beginners

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