wooden bowel filled with various dried fruits and nuts
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
June 13, 2024 ·  10 min read

40+ Easy Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Snack Ideas

People on gluten and dairy-free diets often hear the same question: “What can you eat?!” The answer is: quite a lot! In fact, most foods are acceptable on this diet. Yes, you have to avoid the grocery store snack aisle of pretzels, cookies, and granola bars (although gluten-free versions are becoming increasingly available) and think beyond yogurt and cheese (which also have vegan alternatives).

But fruits, vegetables, legumes, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and many types of grains are all naturally gluten and dairy-free. Even better, they are delicious, nutritious, and filling. When trying to eat healthy, the worst things snacks can be are boring and repetitive. Fortunately, many kinds of gluten and dairy-free snacks require minimal preparation, so keep this list on hand for when snack time becomes too dull or unhealthy.

Apples or pears and nut butter

Instead of crackers, use apple or pear slices to hold your favorite nut butter.  If desired, you can add a topping like seeds, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or a sprinkling of coconut.

Read More: 7 Vegan Foods High In Protein That Make Meat Obsolete

Frozen banana “ice cream”

Banana ice cream in a glass dish
Photo: Silvia Trigo

Make a healthy banana-based “ice cream” in a matter of minutes. First, freeze chunks or slices of bananas for at least 8 hours until they are completely solid. Next, put them in a blender or food pressor on high speed for a few minutes. You may need to add a couple of spoonfuls of water or dairy-free milk to aid the process. The texture should be thick and creamy like soft serve. Serve immediately or freeze for a few hours to enjoy as a more “scoopable” ice cream.

Popcorn

 Popcorn in Ceramic Bowl
Photo: Mo Abrahim

Popcorn shouldn’t be reserved for movies. It’s a healthy and filling snack for any day of the week. But skip the microwavable versions, caramel, and cheese toppings. Instead, make it in a pot or air-popper and season with salt and spices.

Frozen grapes 

Grapes are like nature’s candy as is. But the sugars become more prominent when frozen, making these fruits like nature’s popsicles.

Smoothies

Cup of banana berry smoothie
Photo: Denis Tuksar

It’s difficult to get sick of smoothies because there are unlimited combinations to try from all types of fruits, berries, melons, leafy greens, nuts, and more. You can also add cocoa powder or espresso powder for an extra boost of flavor.

Oatmeal or overnight oats

Two bowls of oatmeal with fruits
Photo: Brooke Lark

Oats are naturally gluten-free but they can be cross-contaminated with other grains. So ensure you use certified gluten-free oats when you snack on oatmeal. Alternatively, you can prepare a snack in advance by mixing oats with dairy-free milk, dairy-free yogurt, chopped fruit, honey, nuts, and the like, and letting them soak for a few hours — or overnight.

Veggies and hummus

This is a classic nutritious and filling combination. Try an assortment of veggies like carrots, cucumbers, celery, peppers, etc. There are also many flavors of hummus to try, including garlic, roasted peppers, herbs, olive, and more. 

Boiled eggs

Boiled eggs can be made ahead and enjoyed over several days. There are many ways to eat them, sliced on gluten-free crackers, mashed into egg salad, deviled, or on their own.

Dairy-free yogurt 

Dessert with berries served on pink table with wooden spoon
Photo: Any Lane

Fortunately for people who avoid dairy, there are many yogurts available made from nuts, coconut, and soy. Just look out for sugar content; these products tend to add extra sweetener to make up for the flavor. Instead, buy unsweetened ones and add fruit and berries yourself.

Sweet potato chips

Baked Cinnamon Sweet Potato Slices
Photo: Ella Olsson

Many types of potato chips are naturally gluten-free but most don’t contain anything beneficial. Instead, look for baked sweet potato chips or make them yourself by roasting thin slices of sweet potato drizzled with olive oil and salt.

Homemade trail mix

Create your own trail mix by mixing your favorite assortment of nuts, seeds, fruits, gluten-free pretzels, chocolate chips, toasted chickpeas, etc. and enjoy on the go. 

Read More: With Food Costs Rising, These 18 Foods Are Just Not Worth It Anymore

Fruit salad

Fruit salad is a great make-ahead snack. Chop up fruits, drizzle with lemon juice and honey if desired, and keep in the fridge to enjoy at any time. Choose a combination of apples, pears, oranges, strawberries, mango, cucumbers, blueberries, grapes, etc.

Homemade granola bars 

Store-bought granola bars aren’t always gluten-free. And even if they are, they tend to be full of added sugar. So make your own version that’s delicious and full of healthy ingredients. And you can freeze them to enjoy in weeks to come. Here is a recipe from Cookie and Kate that requires oats, cinnamon, nut butter, honey, vanilla, and any additions you prefer.

Roasted chickpeas

Photo of Roasted Chickpeas
Photo: Engin Akyurt

Yes, you can eat chickpea salad as a snack, but roasted chickpeas are transportable and crunchy enough to satisfy “the munchies”. They are available for purchase, or you can make your own by mixing cooked chickpeas with oil, salt, and desired spices and roasting for about half an hour on 425°F. For more tips, see the recipe by Love and Lemons

Quinoa salad

Mason jars with quinoa salad inside
Photo: Ella Olsson

Quinoa is known for being gluten-free and healthy, but it’s also a grain that can pair well with sweet and savory ingredients. Mix it with fruit and nuts with honey, or layer it with roasted vegetables, or dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and enjoy on its own.

Rice cakes and tuna

Here’s another classic snack that’s naturally gluten- and dairy-free. You can opt for rice cakes that are mixed with other grains like quinoa but look out for multi-grain versions that may contain wheat or spelt.

Dates stuffed with nut butter

hands taking dates with nut butter from a plate
Photo: Gül Işık

Like grapes, dates are nature’s candy. They are so sweet, it’s no wonder manufacturers produce date honey. So replace the pits with nuts, coconut shards, or a slathering of peanut butter, and enjoy!

Gluten-free avocado toast

Plate of avocado toast
Photo: Douglas Bagg

Eating a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean missing out on the famous avocado toast. Just take gluten-free bread or crackers, or even rice cakes, and top it with slices of avocado or guacamole.

Tortilla chips and salsa

Tortilla chips are corn-based so many brands are naturally gluten-free, just check the labels first. While you’re at it, look for versions with fiber, low sodium, and no trans fats. Additionally, look for salsa that’s low in sodium or make your own at home. If you’re not a salsa fan, enjoy chips with guacamole.

Banana chips

Bowl of dried Banana chips
Photo: StockSnap

Unlike most other dried fruits, banana chips deliver the perfect crunchy, munchy fix. They are also naturally sweet, so they can satisfy a sweet tooth at the same time.

Banana

But let’s not ignore the classic snack fruit, the fresh banana. It can be taken on the go, eaten almost anywhere without making a mess, and it’s full of vital nutrients like fiber and potassium that will help you feel full.

Read More: 5 Ingredients You Do Not Want in Your Food

Edamame

Edamame is a dish of soybeans served in pods or on their own, typically boiled or steamed and served with salt. They are natural gluten-free snacks, rich in vitamins and fiber.

Vegetable soup

Cream of pumpkin soup
Photo: congerdesign

Like smoothies, soups are endlessly versatile, except they are better suited to cold weather. You can make a hearty soup full of chopped vegetables, grains, and beans, or make a light pureed soup made of broccoli, squash, zucchini, etc. 

Pumpkin seeds 

Here’s another healthy food with a satisfying crunchy texture. They also come in lightly salted versions, making them a much healthier alternative to sodium-filled chips.

Sunflower seeds

Mound of shelled sunflower seeds
Photo: engin akyurt

Sunflower seeds also can fulfill the need for salty munchies but with a bonus step. You can buy whole seeds in their shells, which adds to the crunch factor by creating a more fun eating experience. Just keep a bin nearby to toss away the shells.

Smoked salmon

smoked salmon and cucumber open sandwich
Photo: LUM3N

Salmon is a known health food and it could be enjoyed casually in its smoked form. You can eat it on its own as a snack, spread over gluten-free crackers, or rolled up with roasted vegetables.

Pistachios

Pistachios in their shells
Photo: Pixabay

Like sunflower seeds, pistachios offer a satisfying crunch with a more involved eating experience. Since cracking shells requires attention, this snack food could be a good exercise in mindful eating.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers can be enjoyed sliced and salted, pickled, or eaten whole, like a banana. They are great “munchies” snacks since they are low in calories and high in water, so they can be satisfying to eat without being too filling.

Protein shake

Many protein shake powders are based on whey, which is dairy, but many more are based on soy or pea protein. If you need a boost of energy during the day, protein shakes can be a great option since they are transportable and hydrating.

Chia pudding

Chia seed pudding in a glass
Photo: Marc Mintel

Chia pudding is made of chia seeds soaked in dairy-free milk until they turn soft and creamy. Flavor with honey or maple sugar and top with fruit or berries if desired. Here’s a recipe from Feel Good Foodie to try.

Chopped apple with cinnamon

Chopped apple with cinnamon on a plate
Photo: Ajale

You can’t beat the yummy combination of apples and cinnamon. Snacks don’t need to be fancy; they just need to be filling and tasty.

Read More: 14 Foods To Help You Sleep (+ Foods to Avoid)

Dark chocolate

Don’t be afraid to indulge once in a while to satisfy your sweet tooth. Besides, there are some health benefits in bars that are 70% cocoa or darker, since they contain iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and other nutrients,

Dried fruit

Assortment of dried fruits
Photo: K8

There is a wide variety so you can sample which ones you like best, like pineapple, apple, apricots, prunes, mango, and more. However, dried fruit is already very sweet so avoid ones with added sugar.

Melon

Melon can be a refreshing, satisfying, and hydrating snack, making it perfect for the summertime. Chop up the melon of choice ahead of time so you can have a healthy option ready for when you get hungry.

Turkey slices

Snacks with protein can help you feel fuller for longer. Plus, they are ideal before or after exercise, so if you are going to the gym or walking to an errand, have some turkey slices on their own or paired with vegetables or gluten-free bread.

Energy bites

Here’s a healthy variation of no-bake cookies. They are easy to make and can be stored in the freezer so you can always have a sweet, nutrient-packed snack at any time. Here’s a recipe to try that requires only gluten-free oats, chocolate chips, flax seed, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract.

Homemade popsicles

home-made strawberry ice cream popsicle
Photo: Goran Ivos

Popsicles may be refreshing and gluten-free, but they don’t make filling snacks. So make your own using molds and real fruit. It’s essentially as simple as making a smoothie and freezing it. Here are some popsicles recipes to get started. 

Cherries

Cherries are sweet, tart, and full of important vitamins and minerals. They also contain melatonin, serotonin, and tyrtophans, all of which contribute to better sleep, making cherries an amazing pre-bedtime snack.

Zucchini chips

Try a new kind of healthy chip by making zucchini chips. Pat thin slices of zucchini dry with a paper towel before tossing the slices with olive oil and salt. Then place the zucchini on a lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake them on 115C/225F for 90 minutes or until they are crispy and lightly browned. See this recipe for more details.

Microwave mug cake

Want to satisfy a craving for sweets with minimal preparation and cooking time? Try a gluten-free and dairy free mug cake that you “bake” within a few minutes in the microwave. There are many recipes online for all sorts of cake flavors but here’s a classic chocolate mug cake recipe to try.

Sugar snap peas

Get your crunchy snack cravings fulfilled with sugar snap peas. Unlike edamame, the pods of sugar snap peas are edible, and delicious. 

Read More: Does Junk Food Cause Cancer? Morgan Spurlock, Maker of Super Size Me, Dies From Disease at Age 53

Sources

  1. The Cherry on Top: 8 Health Benefits of Cherries.Cleveland Clinic. March 26, 2023
  2. “Dark chocolate: An overview of its biological activity, processing, and fortification approaches.” Curr Res Food Sci. Sharmistha Samanta. October 15. 2022.