Unique Gluten Free Products to Upgrade Any Smoothie Bowl

When it comes to smoothies, it may seem like they are Jack (or, more accurately, a snack) of all trades. They can be poured into glasses and enjoyed through straws, or blended into thick smoothie bowls worthy of a "nice cream" title. They can be green, purple or any color of the rainbow. And whether it's Christmas or summer, smoothies are always in style. 

casey the college celiac

Smoothie toppings often receive less attention, however. Before you decide to just throw on a handful of trail mix and fruit, though, take a look at some of these unique smoothie upgrades from Aloha and Dolci Di Maria Italian Desserts (both of whom kindly sent me samples to taste test and review.) Whether you're a superfood fanatic or a pancake connoisseur, prepare to drool over products that fit my three C's - crunchy, chewy and celiac safe! 

The Crunchy

Just picture it: biting into a creamy, cold smoothie bowl...only it's even tastier thanks to the crunchy toppings mixed in. When you add crunchy components, you do more than just make your taste buds dance. Crunchy ingredients can also boost your digestion because they remind you to chew - not chug - your smoothie. As several health bloggers have written, chewing your smoothie ensures that the food becomes covered with saliva, which contains the digestive enzyme of Ptyalin.

Besides regular goodies like puffed rice, homemade granola and trail mix, though, you can also experiment with more unusual treats. For instance, why not have dessert for breakfast by crumbling up a piece of Dolci di Maria's Vanilla Chocolate Chip biscotti? While this pastry is usually enjoyed with coffee, it offers the same sweet crunch to smoothies! 

casey the college celiac
Biscotti and coffee just got upgraded!
Not only is Dolci di Maria's biscotti gluten and dairy free, but it's also flaky, packed with vanilla flavor and full of large chocolate chips. (If you know you have a hard day coming up, this is definitely my suggested fuel!) I'll admit used that I used to consider biscotti an inferior form of cookie - but the rapid rate these goodies are disappearing suggests that Dolci definitely changed my mind.

This last crunchy trick might also change your mind about protein powder. Whether animal-based or vegan (like Aloha's protein powders, which features ingredients like pea, pumpkin seed and hemp protein along with various flavorings), people often complain of a gritty texture. Instead of only using protein powder inside your smoothie, though, why not transform it into a memorable topping? My favorite method is mixing a little melted coconut oil with a spoon of protein powder

casey the college celiac
Protein magic shell anyone?
Pour the sauce on your smoothie, leave your treat in the freezer for a few minutes and prepare to be amazed. The resulting magic shell offers just as much crunch as vanilla-(or chocolate)-flavored protein

The Chewy

Perhaps, though, crunch isn't enough to satisfy your taste buds. When I'm in a hurry or craving an extra filling breakfast, I've discovered another smoothie secret weapon: adding pieces of a snack or protein bar to my nice cream!

In the case of Aloha's Dark Chocolate Coconut bar, smoothie lovers can get the best of both crunchy and chewy worlds. Nuts and seeds dominate the bar, but are held together by chewy ingredients like maple and tapioca syrup. Basically, these taste like an addictive hybrid between bliss balls and granola - meaning that they lasted approximately 2.3 days in my pantry. 

casey the college celiac
Enjoying that last bite of the protein bar...
For smoothie lovers craving an extra hit of protein, just use your favorite protein bar instead. While I'm still a huge fan of Health Warrior's chia bars, Aloha's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Protein Bar has definitely joined my short list for favorite snacks! Besides boasting plant based protein sources (like cashew butter, pea and pumpkin seed), it also tastes indulgent without triggering a sugar high. 

One of my favorite chewy finds to top smoothies with, though, is actually Dolci's Morning Chai Pancakes. Using their gluten free (and optionally vegan) mix, I just added a mashed banana and coconut milk and wala - delicious, lightly spiced and super fluffy pancakes! I also loved  how easy these were to bake; they only took five or so minutes on the stove top and, even for a pancake-flipping failure like me, they came out perfect. My roommates were equally impressed; one even walked out of her room that morning, stopped, sniffed the air, and said, "What are you making!?! It smells like fall!" 

casey the college celiac
Just when I thought the view couldn't get any better...
If you've never tried adding pancakes pieces to your smoothies, you have a long way to go before becoming the queen of brunch. Trust me: mixing creamy and cold with fluffy, warm and chewy results in an addictive feast!

Celiac Safe

Finally, the most important "C": all of these smoothie toppers are as celiac safe as they are delicious. Although I would advise celiacs to read the ingredients of Aloha products carefully (since some of their items, like the granola and other superfood powders, contain wheatgrass juice), their vanilla and chocolate protein powder, chocolate protein bar and dark chocolate coconut bar all pass the celiac test - in safety and taste

As for Dolci di Maria, their entire bakery offers a variety of gluten free (and often vegan) goodies - ranging from pre-made cakes to pancake mixes to brownies. Like many businesses in the gluten free community, Dolci emerged from a mother wanting to bake gluten and dairy free options for her children with food allergies. Besides using only natural and organic ingredients, owner Mary Tantillo also draws inspiration from her Italian background. "Dolci" means "sweet" in Italian... and considering how hard I'm working to ration both their biscotti and their pancakes, the bakery's name is definitely accurate! 

casey the college celiac
Gluten free companies have never tasted so sweet!
Besides highlighting two brands that have recently won me (and my taste buds) over, though, this blog post has a bigger purpose: to inspire smoothie lovers to experiment with their toppings as much as their main ingredients. Not only will you upgrade the flavor, nutrition and Instagram appeal of your smoothies, but you'll also ensure that eating a healthy breakfast never feels boring again! 

Because if it isn't a smooth (pun-intended) move to add everything from protein bars to pancakes to your nice cream, I don't know what is! 

*Although I received these products for free in return for a review, all opinions and drool worthy pictures are my own!*

*Also found at What's Cookin' WednesdayWow Me Wednesday, Vegetarian MamaLet's Get Real, Saucy Saturdays, RunningwithSpoons, SnickerdoodleSunday and Allergy Free Thursdays!*

What is the most unique topping you add to your smoothie bowls - or even your oatmeal, yogurt or chia deed puddings? Tell me in the comments below!


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