YAY!!! Gluten-free “regular” cereal!

NOTE, added May 22, 2014:  This post was originally from OCTOBER, 2006.  A lot has changed since then, including our own eating habits.  In the post below, I was rejoicing over finding General Mills’ Dora the Explorer cereal.  First, we have totally removed anything artificial — including preservatives and flavorings — from our family’s diet.  Secondly, they don’t even MAKE Dora cereal any longer.  Read labels.  Choose your cereals carefully, even those marked “gluten-free”.  For instance, most Chex flavors are gluten-free, but they are not organic, very likely contain GMO grain, and they now include BHT as a chemical preservative.  We no longer purchase Chex.

One of the drawbacks of a gluten-free diet is that I can no longer buy “regular” food when it goes on sale.  I used to save a good $30-40/week in coupons, sometimes more.  I still do coupons, but only typically save $5-12/week with them, since I can no longer buy many of the items for which the coupons are created, since they are what we un-affectionately call “Gluten Delievery Devices,” or GDD for short.

So, for cereal (which we eat 2-3x/week), I’m often stuck buying boxes that are not on sale.  When I can, I get myself up to Trader Joe’s for their smokin’ deals on EnviroKidz gluten-free cereal, but more often, I have to pay full price (about $3.99/box) for them (and other g.f. cereals).

I discovered this cereal a couple of months ago, and every time it goes on sale, I scoop up a few boxes.  Last night, I was *thrilled* to buy 3 boxes of General Mills’ Dora the Explorer cereal, on sale with a coupon, so I spent only $4.25 total on them.

Now, General Mills makes no claims on the box (nor on its website) that ANY of its cereals are g.f. — they probably don’t want to open the possible cross-contamination can of worms — but all the ingredients are g.f., *and* it only has 6 g/sugar per serving, which is the same as Life, Honey Bunches of Oats, and other lower-sugar cereals.  The ingredients (not counting added vitamins & minerals) are:

whole grain corn, corn meal, sugar, corn bran, modified corn starch, canola and/or rice bran oil, corn syrup, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, natural and artificial flavor

“Natural flavor” can be iffy, harboring gluten-derived or gluten-containing flavors, but the risk is pretty small.

I’m not really into kid-character-branded *anything* but Dora’s all right, and the product is fairly healthy, so…  we’ll gladly partake.

About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on October 30, 2006, in Celiac Disease, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Random Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Check your boxes regularly b/c I was happily scooping up Cocoa Puffs, when one day the box said, “Now contains wheat.” Buried in the vitamins, next to the last ingredient was the dreaded “wheat flour.” I almost think that they put it there as a just-in-case.

    As a fellow GF eater, someday, I would love to get an average “list” of what you serve for breakfast and lunch. Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in a lunchtime quesadilla rut.

  2. Since you guys eat Cocoa Puffs, that means you can have oats? I know some celiacs can handle oats, but both Wesley and I can’t. We get Cocoa Pebbles sometimes, but mix it w/ plain g.f. rice crispies or rice puffs since it’s so sweet on its own. Also, Kelloggs just did a similar thing w/ Corn Pops, which used to have totally g.f. ingredients. Now, buried in the vitamins is “wheat starch.” I thought the same thing that you did, that they put it in to avoid lawsuits from celiacs who have develop symptoms from eating what appeared to be a g.f. product. Ugh.

    I’ll send you an e-mail w/ breakfast & lunch ideas. I just sent a similar e-mail to another friend whose daughter and husband were dx’ed.

  3. NO!NO!NO! Not Cocoa Puffs. Ugg. They just changed it a few months ago to make it GF and I wrote them a huge thank you letter. I think I’m going to break out my nasty words and send them another one. I don’t think it had oats though. It uses corn flour. Corn Pops here has not been GF for a while. 😦 I think I’ll just stick with EnviroKids. At least they have a big GLUTEN-FREE label on the front of the box so I don’t have to spend the day reading labels while shopping.

    I actually stopped by to thank you for mentioning the Dora cereal. It really helped us out when we went to Palm Springs last month. You’d think a city with the make-up of Palm Springs would have a Whole Foods or something. I guess those old people aren’t as health-concious as I thought.

  4. I tolerate oats just fine (3 years and going with yearly blood test), there’s a Back to Nature cereal that’s not bad (in a few flavors).

    BTW – Diana just reviewed her first true celiac cereal and the RSS feed should be fixed.


  5. I have been serving my son Fruity Pebbles because I saw it listed on several sites. For a sometimes picky 2 year old it is a quick way to get some calories in him (it is full of sugar) It does have fiber and Vit and Min so better than only soy milk for breakfast. I need to try the Dora Cereal. We were on the EnviroKids for awhile but he got tired of them. I need to vary his choices when I can. I can’t wait to try the Dora.

  6. Rice Chex is now gluten free! They are even claiming it on the box 🙂

  7. Georgianna Lester-Elliott

    Does anyone know if Rice crispies are gluten free. Trying to get my hotel to offer some Gluten free options.

    • Carolyn Frederick

      You would think a rice cereal would be gluten free, but read the label, it contains malt which is a no-no. Always read labels!

      • Just curious, Carolyn, which rice cereal you’re referring to.

        In general, you’re right. Two or three days into the GF diet, I gave my son Rice Krispies, thinking, “It’s RICE!” but he had a really bad reaction to it. That was my eye-opener, about how pervasive gluten is, and how even tiny amounts can cause huge problems!

    • sharon wilson

      No Rice Krispies are not gf, except for the yellow box it has snap , crackle and pop on it I forget the company that makes them ..the famous blue box w snap , crackle and pop.. now that company that makes the gf kind if you can find them on the shelfs are really good you can’t really tell the difference between gf or regular…good luck I hope this has helped you…sincerely sharon

      • Yes, I’m familiar with g.f. Rice Krispies. When I originally posted this, they didn’t exist. 🙂

      • Carolyn Frederick

        Although I usually don’t recommend Walmart, our local store carries gluten free Rice Krispies .my celiac son has ended up in the hospital several times from accidentally ingesting gluten. For you to say Honey Bunches of Oats and other cereals might be Gluten free is barbaric and thoughtless. This could literally kill someone. Only buy cereals marked GLUTEN FREE!!!

        • Carolyn, I certainly never recommended Honey Bunches of Oats. Did someone here, in the comments? I have missed it, if they did. However, this post is from 2006, and there are 37 comments… A lot has changed in the nearly eight years since I posted this. However, I would NEVER have recommended Honey Bunches of Oats. Never. I have been g.f. since my celiac diagnosis nearly 12 years ago, and for a good 5-6 years, I couldn’t even eat certified g.f. oats. The oats in HBO are not g.f., and I’m pretty sure there is wheat in there, too.

  8. I’m sorry, Georgianna, but Rice Krispies are not gluten-free. They have barley gluten from malt flavoring. Pretty much the only “regular” cereals
    that are g.f. are Post Cocoa Pebbles, Trix, and Rice Chex. (ONLY Rice Chex, not Corn or any other flavor.) Rice Chex didn’t used to be g.f., but they recently changed their ingredients, and now they are. Make sure you double-check to make sure you have the “new” g.f. version of Rice Chex.

    There are LOTS of specialty cereals that are g.f., but I don’t know how available they would be for ordering into a hotel.

  9. For whatever it’s worth, I just got an e-mail from Malt-o-Meal stating that their Fruity Dyno-Bites does not contain any gluten ingredients.

  10. Thank you so much! We are trying g.f. for my 2 1/2 yr. old b/c possible autism and or celiacs. All he will eat are fruit eggs and corn chips all day. He is not very happy! I had coco pebbles in the pantry and gave him some after reading this! It was like Christmas!! He liked it so much he said “more coco!!” I couldnt believe it! Any more g.f. kid friendly food I can buy at the regular gro. store?

  11. I just call Post. NO POST CEREALS are gluten free…this includes Fruity & Cocoa Pebbles – 6-5-09.

  12. I’m new to this GF for my son and myself both have stomach and bowl issue due to allergies, so he LOVES and I mean LOVE pancakes thank goodness for Trader Joes GF ones and they are good. I have been a vegterian for quite some time now and LOVE the morning star sasauge but did know that they are NOT GF so bummed out, but what I would like to do is to be able to go to the store and buy cereal and not have to read the back of the boxes all the time, so glad to see some of the cereals that u all named and I’m taken note of all of them, my son likes Cocoa Puffs so I will get more of them. Please post any others that u all know ok.
    Thanks in advance,
    Cathy & Isaiah
    SF, CA

    • I didn’t realize that Trader Joe’s had g.f. pancakes!! We used to get their waffles all the time, until I got a wafflemaker for Christmas. 🙂

      Yes, it is almost impossible to find vegetarian “meat” products that are gluten-free. Bummer! But, the good thing about you being a vegetarian is that you’re probably familiar with a lot of grains that most people on regular diets aren’t aware of — like buckwheat groats, quinoa, millet, etc. So, you may find it somewhat of an easier transition.

      Unfortunately, the cereals on this post are now hard to find. I don’t think the Mickey Mouse kind is being made anymore! Bummer (again)! But, Dora is still being manufactured, but it still is hard to find; it’s not carried in all grocery stores. However, there are LOTS more gluten-free cereals becoming available. Double-check the boxes, but General Mills recently switched over ALL their Chex varieties (except for Wheat and Multi-Grain) to gluten-free — Corn, Rice, Strawberry, Honey Nut, Chocolate… all g.f.

      The last I heard, Cocoa Puffs does now have wheat starch in them; you probably want to avoid them. However, even though Cocoa Pebbles (by Post) isn’t advertised as being g.f., their ingredients are all g.f., and we have never had a bad reaction to them. We have, though, had a bad reaction to Fruity Pebbles.

      Hope that helps!

  13. I’ve had a bad reaction to Cocoa Pebbles even though they are supposed to be GF. It really bummed me out too, as they were such a nice change from eating Chex and Envirokids all the time. Anyone else have a bad reaction to Cocoa Pebbles?

    • I’ve had a bad reaction to Fruit Pebbles (and will never buy them again), but we’ve never had a problem w/ Cocoa. That said, they’re not labeled as g.f., so there is definitely a risk for cross-contamination.

    • Carolyn Frederick

      I hope you have found out by now that cocoa pebble and rice crispies are NOT gluten free. If in doubt, please call the manufacturers. All Chex are gluten free except Wheat Chex. Have you tried Cinnamon Chex?
      Try the Chex web site for delicious snack recipies. Kasha or most Oatmeal, not instant, are great hot cereals.
      Gluten free does take a bit of sacarifice, but with a good attitude and some experimentation it is kinda fun – and feeling good is awesome!

      Good luck!

      • Cocoa Pebbles do not list any gluten-containing ingredients, but Post does not claim that it is g.f., due to cross-contamination manufacturing concerns. I have eaten it w/o problem, as have my two g.f. kids. Rice Crispies by Kellogg’s, obviously, is NOT g.f., due to barley malt, but there are a number of g.f. “crisp rice” cereals, like by Erewhon & others. There is a multi-grain Chex that is NOT g.f., but only that and wheat have gluten. However, the flavored Chex have peanut flour, which my anaphylactic son cannot have (so we just don’t keep it in the house — too dangerous). Most oatmeal is NOT safe, by the way. WIDESPREAD cross-contamination problems in growing, harvesting, storing, and manufacturing. I have recently enjoyed Bob’s Red Mill g.f. oats and Lara’s/Cream Hill Estates g.f. oats. Also, with kasha, it has to be PURE buckwheat, NOT the brand “Kashi.” There are no brand-name Kashi cereals that are g.f.

  14. kristi Dindinger

    I am brand new to all this. My husband has just been put on the g.f. diet. I’ll take any help I can get because I don’t even know what ingredients to be looking out for except “wheat”. He is asking me what cereals he can eat. I have no idea! Is there a list or website somewhere that lists g.f. cereals available at the regular grocery store? Everyone seems to agree that Rice Chex is okay and the Dora cereal but beyond that people appear to have different opinions. Any suggestions? He also wants to know what candy bars he can eat. Ugh!

    • Kristi, you may have a hard time finding Dora cereal. All of the Chex, though, except Wheat and Multi-grain, are gluten-free. There are MANY specialty cereals, usually found in the natural foods section of a grocery store, that are gluten-free. All of those should be labeled on the box as gluten-free.

      A good document that lists safe snacks and candy is found here. It’s worded for caregivers of children, but it has a ton of great info on it.

      There are lots of online resources for gluten-free eating. You may want to consider getting a Triumph Dining grocery guide and restaurant list, though they’re rather spendy.

      Or, just keep doing what you’re doing — research online. Call 1-800 numbers of your husband’s favorite products to find out if they’re gluten-free.

      One more thing: Click on these lists — SAFE foods and UNSAFE foods — to familiarize yourself with ingredients. Gluten isn’t just from wheat. It’s in rye & barley, too. Even TINY amounts of all wheat, rye, & barley need to be 100% eliminated from your hubby’s diet.

  15. Chex has a few different flavors out now that are labeled GF right on the front of the box,,, Chocolate Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Strawberry Chex, and Honey Nut Chex… They are all really good…

    • Yes — I’m so happy about that! That happened after this post. We can do corn & rice Chex, but the other ones, oddly enough, have peanut flour in them, and my celiac son is anaphyaxic to peanuts.

  16. Beware of “Gluten-Free” Chex; for the very sensitive (such as myself) bad reactions took place a while back, and I will never touch another box. {You can easily search for these comments elsewhere.} Bottom line: Caveat Emptor — just because it says “gluten free” on the box doesn’t necessarily make it so, sorry to say. Per federal regulations, they are allowed to have under 20 parts per million [ppm] of gluten, and those parts add up if you eat their cereal in any quantity! (Although I called in the FDA, who found that trace amounts that affected me and others undetectable with their equipment.) On a positive note, you might like to try the (Staten Island, NYC-based grocery store) “Key Food” brand of cereal called Corn Puffs. No gluten containing ingredients, and no reaction. Bon Appetit!

    • Doug, that is true about the 20 ppm. Although those regulations are not actually enforced yet, most American food producers are regulating themselves to that standard. A few countries, I think Australia and New Zealand among them, regulate down to 10 ppm; even though it looks like the US may stick with 20 ppm, I hope they change their minds and enforce the stricter standard.

      Chex/General Mills, however, are doing a really fabulous job of making more certain than many about being g.f. The g.f. Chex varieties are produced in a dedicated facility. Even the most sensitive gluten-detecting equipment can only detect down to 3-5 ppm, so even 100% g.f. stuff may not be 100%.

  17. I have never had any issues with Rice Krispies cereal…

    • Then you probably don’t have celiac disease. Perhaps a wheat allergy. Rice Krispies has malt flavoring, extracted from barley. Barley has gluten, which celiacs can’t have.

  18. Carolyn Frederick

    Rice Krispies contain Malt, which, with my gluten problem, I cannot eat. Quite a few of the Chex products have no wheat and are inexpensive at my Target store (and really on sale this week) I certainly would not recommend Cocoa Puffs! If you can eat them, you might check with your doctor to see if you really have celiac disease.

    • Yes, Cocoa Puffs have too much crap in them anyway for us to buy, *AND* I think they recently changed their formula; last I checked, they contain wheat starch.

      We regularly buy Chex products, too.

  19. Has anyone tried the corn bran squares by quaker? The ingredients lists Whole Grain Quaker Oats, but that is it for the risky ingredients. I haven’t experimented with quaker oats, but most other wheat free/gf oats have been ok for me. Thinking maybe it is time to experiment with some other oat products.

    • Ali, I have been g.f. for nearly nine years, and for YEARS, I couldn’t tolerate even certified gluten-free oats. Now, I eat certified g.f. oats, but a reeeealllly cautious about “regular” oats. To each his own, of course, but the risk for cross-contamination from gluten-containing grains is REALLY high in normal oats. I probably would have tried it, if it weren’t for the artificial color. I’ve been cutting way down on artificial additives for myself and my family.

  20. My daughter has Celiac so is on Gluten free. We love Cinnamon Chex! I make Chex Krispies with it as a treat. (Follow the Kellogs Rice Krispy Treats Receipe) but I use 4 cups Cinnamon Chex with 2 Cups Honey Nut Chex instead of Rice Krispies. You could use all CInnamon Chex for a sweeter taste too. The kids love it during the holidays.

  1. Pingback: Things Like This Make Me Cry « Mental Meanderings

  2. Pingback: **MORE** regular cereals that are gluten-free (and my thoughts on cross-contamination) « Only Sometimes Clever

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