When I first was diagnosed with Celiac I was told that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s were the best places to shop for Gluten Free items, and I don’t think I will ever forget the first shopping trip I did – it almost ended in tears! No lie, I about cried in the middle of whole foods. I was beyond overwhelmed with this new lifestyle. Which is kind of funny seeing as in my opinion Whole Foods is by far the best place to shop for Gluten Free items because everything is labeled, not just on the package but on the shelves they have these little tags that say what is Gluten Free. I just wasn’t used to this kind of shopping. I wasn’t used to having to read everything on the label and learning what many of these ingredients that you need to carry a dictionary around with you to figure out if they contain Gluten Free or not. If you have Celiac or shop for someone who does, I’m sure you can relate to my experience. Over the past two years I’ve gotten better with reading the labels and figuring out where gluten “hides” on the ingredients list.
Trader Joe’s on the other hand doesn’t come right out and label everything. Well they have gotten better over the last two years, but when I first started shopping for Gluten Free items it was so frustrating. Their Gluten Free list isn’t store specific like Whole Foods is, they don’t put any markings on the shelves and for the most part you had to read every ingredient on the box, do some research online etc to figure out what was Gluten Free and what wasn’t. Now thankfully they are starting to label many of their products as Gluten Free! (Thank you Trader Joe’s!). Their selection is still a bit limited compared to Whole Foods and they aren’t labeling everything but they are getting better.
For the most part I try to buy fresh ingredients, including herbs, meats, veggies etc. and try to avoid many of the processed/packaged foods, but lets be honest, sometimes its just hard to do. Some days I just want to grab something quick and not have to prepare a whole meal just for myself. I’ve tried a few of the frozen meals from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s…they are okay for a quick meal, but I try not to eat them too much. About a month ago I tried this frozen meal from Trader Joe’s and it was very very tasty, however I went to get another one to blog about and they were gone. Today on my lunch break I tried to restaurants in town and both were extremely rude and unhelpful with my gluten free diet so I decided to run over to Trader Joe’s and see if by some chance they had any in the freezer section and they did! So I grabbed one to bring home for dinner and decided to blog about it.
(You can find this in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s (items vary by location))
Vegetable Panang Curry with Jasmine Rice
Ingredients: Thai Jasmine Rice, Brown Jasmine Rice, Panang Sauce (coconut milk, Thai Chili, Shallots, Garlic, Basil, Galangal [Thai Ginger], Kaffir Lime Leaf, Palm Sugar Lemongrass, Coriander, Soy Oil, Sea Salt), Vegetable Blend (Zucchini, Onion, Asparagus, Kale, Green Beans, Snow Peas, Baby Corn and Spinach).
Granted this isn’t the healthiest of meals but its tasty and good for a quick meal as long as you don’t eat it too often!! So if you are looking for something tasty, quick (takes all of five minutes in the microwave), filling and GLUTEN FREE check this out! You really can’t go wrong for only $2.49!!
Now if Trader Joe’s could stock my local stores with some Gluten Free baked goods I would be all set!!