Target’s First “Gluten-Freesta”

Slide1I’m sure you’ve heard the term “fashionista” as an endearing term for anyone that frequently buys clothing from Target retail stores.  If you aren’t familiar with Target, it is the second leading upscale discount retailer in the US and they have a lot of really cute clothes.  Matter of fact, I always tell my husband how lucky he is to have a wife that buys her clothing (and children’s clothes) from Target (pronounced Tar-Jay to sound more French and fancy).

But, I’m here to coin a new title for Target.  I am not only a “fashionista” I am also a       “Gluten-Freesta.”  This is a new term (that I just made up) for someone who frequents the store for their many gluten-free offerings in the grocery section of the store.

I’ve been gluten-free for over seven years and have seen many changes in retail over this period of time.  It used to be difficult for anyone required to eat gluten-free to shop.  Matter of fact, I can remember standing in the aisles of grocery stores reading label ingredients for hidden names of gluten for long periods of time.  Traveling to 2-3 different stores to get the products you needed for recipes was expected, but since the FDA’s gluten-free labeling requirements came into effect in 2015, labeling has only gotten better for the Celiac and gluten-intolerant.  No longer do sufferers have to read the ingredient lists line item by line, but instead just look for the GF certification symbol on the package to ensure its safety.

Thankfully, Target has embraced the gluten-free food market and now offers many different gluten-free products in their grocery section.  It’s a one-stop-shop for everything gluten-free.  For anyone not familiar with Target’s gluten-free product line, and to secure the name as the very first “Gluten-Freesta” here is my tour of products for your convenience.  Keep in mind that not all Targets carry the same products, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for at one Target, go to another and see what they have on their shelves.

As a Gluten-Free Health Coach, I must encourage seeking out naturally gluten-free products first in any grocery store setting.  In a standard grocery store, that means shopping on the exterior aisles of the grocery store which include the fresh produce, dairy and fresh meats.  All Targets are set-up a little different, but their grocery section puts the fresh produce, meats and dairy together in the same area for convenience.  Naturally gluten-free foods like fruits and vegetables are always safe for a gluten-intolerant to eat, so stock-up here first.  I found some great fresh salad dressings, hummus packs, yogurt and lunch snacks in this section so be sure to look on all the shelves for products.  I love the fresh meat department specifically for their chicken tenders because they label them as gluten-free.  If you didn’t know, some meats contain fillers or flavorings that could contain gluten, so read every label.  In the refrigerator section behind the dairy items, they carry several brands of gluten-free lunch meats (my fav is Applegate Farms) and cheeses for kids lunches and sandwiches.

After you stock up on fresh ingredients, you can get what you need to make your breakfast smoothies.  I like to grab my almond milk (or soy, rice or regular cows milk) as well as various juice blends and frozen fruit, which is all in the same area of the store.

As you head down the aisle, you can pick-up a gluten-free pizza and head into the frozen food section for any frozen veggies you couldn’t find in the fresh section of the store.  I’m lucky because both of the Targets in my town have freezer space specifically for their Udi’s gluten-free items.  I love Udi’s gluten-free tortillas, bagels and bread, but they also carry some Udi’s frozen meals as well.   They do carry fresh Canyon House breads near the potatoes and onions in the center aisle of the fresh produce section if you prefer bread not frozen.

How convenient that they carry 2-3 different gluten-free breaded chicken nuggets and strips in the freezer section for a quick dinner.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and there are lots of frozen gluten-free breakfast items to choose from.  Gluten-free waffles and french toast are all available in the freezer section to pop into your toaster.

Heading into the dry goods of the store, you are in gluten-free heaven.  Gluten-free products are conveniently labeled with a grey dot next to the pricing tag on the shelf.  So look for those as you go down the aisles.  Target’s own Simply Balanced products are priced competitively and taste just as good (if not better) than the branded products.  I’m a big Barilla pasta fan, but they also carry Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta.  I’m seeing more and more gluten-free labeled Indian and Asian products on the shelf, which I love!

Lunch is my MOST hated meal of the day.  My husband is Celiac and currently very paleo and my recently gluten-free son requests socially acceptable gluten-free products for his lunch and his sister is gluten-full, so its the meal I struggle with the most.  But thankfully Target has something for everyone.  Nut butters (Simply Balanced almond butter is a MUST) and jellies are all in the same section and labeled as gluten-free.  There are even some quick grab gluten-free snack boxes from Picnic and Annie’s brand microwave macaroni and cheese to send in for lunch with a Kind bar or Annie’s granola bar.

For the paleo husband, I pick-up different flavors of jerky, nuts and seeds to send in his lunch.  They even have dehydrated fruits (strawberries, apples, etc.) that everyone in our house fights over.

The snack section of our pantry is filled with lots of gluten-free products from Target.  Simply Balanced nut crackers for entertaining and some Doritos and chips for my son to devour. Anyone that isn’t gluten-free would enjoy them as well, so no need to buy separate brands for the gluten-full eaters that come over to visit.

As if that wasn’t enough products to convince you that Target is the place for all your gluten-free shopping, there is a plethora of gluten-free baking products, spices, flours and mixes in the baking aisle.  Gluten-Free Bisquick is a MUST in our house!

And now for my most hated aisle in ANY store, it’s the place where the most arguments with my children occur in public…the dreaded cereal aisle.  Thankfully Target offers lots of gluten-free and gluten-full options (for my daughter).  Trying to get out without 10 different boxes is always a challenge.  Our favorite is Chex brand, but now they carry gluten-free Cheerios in many different flavors.  I love all the different granola’s that are available for a quick breakfast with fruit for me.

So, as you can see from this long and detailed post, I deserve the title as first “Gluten-freesta.”  To learn more about the products and retailers I recommend, please purchase my book, 3 Steps to Gluten-Free Living from Amazon.com or visit my website www.glutenfreebebe.com or www.3stepstoglutenfreeliving.com.

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