sweet bean’s gluten-free pasta picks


My sister, who is gluten-free, has me brainwashed: don’t give the boys too much wheat. It’s an easy habit to fall into when, as veggie kids, their diets are grain-based. So I started checking out the gluten- free sections at grocery stores, and have experimented with different brands. One important factor to keep in mind when giving kids gluten-free stuff is the nutritional content: Trader Joe’s rice spirals, for example, are low in nutritional value compared to whole wheat noodles.

One of my favorite gluten free pasta brands is Ancient Grains. They make a spate of gluten free products, but the bites of choice for my four-year-old, a sucker for fun shapes, is their quinoa shells. You can’t go wrong with products made of quinoa—it’s a seed rich in protein, iron, magnesium, and other minerals. B loves eating the shells, which I sometimes mix with their elbow pasta to keep B excited about eating a healthy dinner.


Another longtime favorite is Orgran buckwheat pasta, which is made of 80 percent buckwheat and 20 percent rice. It looks like whole wheat pasta, and comes in spirals that my 7-year-old happily feasts on.

I am a lifelong loyalist of buckwheat: it is a complete protein, so it has all of the amino acids available in plants, plus its rich in protein, B vitamins and numerous minerals.

The orgran web site has an extra hook: activities for the kids, including coloring print outs and a memory game.

I’m put at ease when feeding the boys these wheat-alternative pastas for dinner as frequently as they want, knowing that they’re getting a big chunk of their daily dose of several critical nutrients without needing to add animal products.


Mother Nature Network Quinoa Nutrition Facts

Whole Foods Buckwheat Facts

The Whole Grains Council Buckwheat Information