Practical Gluten & Casein Free Substitutes

I perpetually have the best intentions in trying to eliminate gluten and casein from my child’s diet (to read about why you should consider a GFCF diet for your autistic child, see my previous post). However, I’m a single mom with a grocery budget, so going the extra mile for organic and special brands aren’t always practical! Add to the mix an older child that is one of the pickiest eaters in the universe and sodium and sugar restrictions on my own diet… it is not unusual for me to buy and prepare three separate menus in this house.

I thought I would put together a small list of some common items found at your local grocery store that are gluten and casein free. Some may not be the healthiest, but it is nice to know that there are options to sometimes buy these common brands, saving a trip to the ATM a health food store.





What are some of your experiences? Feel free to head over to the Spirit Of Autism Facebook Fan Page and post some of your successes, strategies, and struggles with the GFCF diet in your home! I’d love to hear from you.

6 thoughts on “Practical Gluten & Casein Free Substitutes

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  3. Marilyn says:

    We are a family of eight, struggling financially. So I totally understand the difficulty of GFCF, and of feeding a family on a very tighht budget! But to be honest, I had a difficult time with the list of snack options mentioned, as well as most of the cereals (with the exception of the Envirokidz ones)! Going the extra mile, and struggling to help your child regain his functioning, and then feeding him petroleum based chemical “non-foods” can undo all the good you are trying to accomplish with therapy and the GFCF diet! I have been on GFCF support lists where every other question from a new mom was “Is Fruity Pebbles GF?”, or “What is a GFCF substitute for Pop Tarts?”. And I was unsure how to respond because it seems that so many parents really don’t understand how these artificial colors, flavors, etc., affect their child’s behavior and ability to learn. Yes, we do get excited when our kids can eat “mainstream” treats, or when we find an old favorite from our childhood that is GFCF. But there is so much more known now about how these things affect our kids that just being GFCF should not be our only concern. And every day, more and more delicious snacks and treats come on the market that are “petroleum free” that we really don’t need to give our kids the less desirable options. For Halloween, I found two online sites ( and, and several local stores (including Walmart) where I could buy such candy and treats for my kids. Just wanted to present another option.

  4. Tabitha says:

    As the mother of a child with Autism, I think it is great that you are willing to go the extra mile to try and help him, but I think that the ‘food’ items you posted may have an adverse affect. I have found the real key with my son has been eliminating what I consider to be inedible items. For example, anything containing petroleum (artificial colors and preservatives). I know that if I allowed ANY of my four children to eat most of the items from this list, that their behavior would be terrible. The Feingold diet ( has been the most amazing thing to happen to our family. Nutrition labels are not taken for face value, as all ingredients do not have to be listed, instead companies are contacted individually to confirm that an item is actually (what I would consider) edible.

    Just because it comes from the earth doesn’t mean we should eat it. Petroleum products (gasoline, heating oil, etc) are natural products that come from the earth, but you certainly wouldn’t want to eat them. Guess what those food colorings and preservatives are made of?

  5. Melinda S. says:

    I haven’t done GF, but I did CF for a long time–then I figured out that what my dd really struggled with was CORN, in any form whatsoever. And then, I found that besides that, artificial colors and flavors were a big problem, too. That ruled out nearly all of the candy and jello type items, as well as most potato chips and such.

    I was able to find quite a few things through the Feingold program that my daughter can eat, and they are very good to mark things that fit GF, CF, or corn sweeteners, which has been abundantly helpful to me.

    Most of the basic things like vegetables, beans, and regular meats are not too hard on the budget, either, thankfully.

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