In thirteen years I have seen a huge increase in companies that offer gluten free products. I remember having to always make my own flour and just going without many things. The variety today is fantastic!
That being said, kids are still picky. Many things we try get shot down quickly, some get a vote of being "just okay", but others are actually amazing. Here is a list to get you started:
The biggest challenge of all! Our best contender in this department has been Udi's. It has the best taste and texture for my kids, especially when used for toast or grilled sandwiches. It works great in recipes for stuffing, french toast, bread puddings, etc. The white and multigrain are both good, so we switch it up every week. Second place would be Trader Joes' multigrain bread.
I have several recipes for a homemade GF loaf that turn out soft and spongy which I can share in a future post, but homemade GF bread is just plain tricky! Because of this, we only bake our own on special occasions and use Udi's for everyday meals. Second place would be Trader Joes' multigrain bread.
Our favorite bagels are Aldi's plain bagels. They toast up perfectly and the look and texture are the closest to a traditional bagel. Udi's bagels taste fine and my kids will eat them, but they are a little misshapen if you want my opinion.
Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns
Once again, Udi's is our number one choice for this. When we grill burgers and hot dogs at home, I like to butter and broil the buns first. It just makes them more like eating out! They are definitely our take along when we go out to eat. My kids will order their burger in a lettuce wrap, then transfer it to their bun. You can order a hot dog without the bun easily, then transfer it to your own bun and add toppings.
Hands down, the Barilla brand pasta is the most like regular pasta in both taste, texture, and appearance. It's good enough that when I'm making a big pasta dish, we all eat gluten free pasta. If I'm just making spaghetti, I'll cook both kinds because I am cheap and anything gluten free costs more!
We continue to test in this area, and it's only getting better and more available. Udi's frozen pizza is my kids' favorite. If you live in the east, Ledo Pizza is our favorite take out or sit down restaurant.
If you are looking for a Ritz-type cracker, Lance Original Crackers is the closest. My kids also like their Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers. They are at Walmart and available on Amazon. There are a lot of options out there though, ranging from nut flour crackers to baked crackers. It's worth trying a variety to see what your kids like best.
Our recent favorite is Krusteaz GF pancake mix. It makes great waffles too. They also have awesome muffin mixes. Another favorite when I need to make a big batch of pancakes is King Arthur's.
General Mills wins my lifetime devotion as they were the ones to make a good majority of their current cereals gluten free. All Chex cereals (except Wheat Chex of course) and most types of Cheerios are GF. General Mills is good to label their cereals as gluten free if it is. Many other cereals work too, such as any Pebbles cereals and Oh's. Just look at the labels and check for wheat as well as "barley malt extract".
My kids love zone bars. Many are gluten free and give them healthy energy. They also love Annie's granola bars and Great Value GF Chocolate Chip Granola Bars from Walmart.
The Cup 4 Cup GF Multipurpose Flour works well for cookies, cakes, and bars I bake. When I need flour to thicken (like in a roux) I just use superfine ground rice flour. I also have a recipe for a mix I make myself and keep in a storage container that I'll share.
Of course, these are just the opinions of two kids! Yours may have very different tastes. I would love to hear from you about what great products you have found and can't live without! We are always open to trying new things!
It seems overwhelming when beginning this journey, but it's very doable. You've got this!