It’s the season of love and you need a gluten-free Valentine’s day gift for your celiac loved one. But how do you find something both safe and enjoyable to give? By following the simple tips in this guide, you will easily be able to find amazing gluten-free Valentine’s day gifts to give your celiac loved one.
It can be easy to get sucked in to the gift side of Valentine’s day, making it overwhelming to find the perfect gluten-free gift for your loved one. While the gift of giving is a tradition of Valentine’s day, it’s not the real meaning of the day.
In fact, focusing on the food and gift aspects of the holiday can make those with celiac feel left out, since gluten plays a role in many Valentine’s Day traditions.
On the other hand, if we remember the purpose of Valentine’s Day, it becomes even more special and the ones we love become the focus, rather than all the traditions that are meant to enhance this day of love.
Valentine’s Day is all about telling our partners or loved ones how much they mean to us and well, how much we love them! For more tips on gluten-free romantic safety, check out my complete guide to dating with celiac disease.
As cheesy as it sounds, the heart is what counts. It’s the memories made, the love expressed, and the moments spent together that are the true gifts of Valentine’s day.
Although there are many gluten-free Valentine’s Day gift items, there are also many that contain gluten. In order to have a safe holiday, it’s important to know what to avoid.
A common gift on Valentine’s day is candy. While there are various gluten-free candies available, there are also a number of candies that contain gluten.
If you know the key ingredients to watch for, checking for gluten in candy is easy. Often gluten is found in candy in the form of: graham flour, malt flavoring, malted milk, malted barley, barley malt extract, barley malt, enriched wheat flour, and wheat flour. Check out my TOTALLY free label-reading training that will teach you a simple 4-step strategy to determine the safety of foods in the USA.
You should also look for suspicious ingredients that may contain gluten if the candy is not certified gluten-free. In Valentine’s Day candy, some of the suspicious ingredients to look out for include yeast extract, brown rice syrup, fermented grain extract, oats, and natural flavors.
There are some other commonly gifted Valentine’s Day candies that are not considered celiac-safe include:
One candy that’s often said not to be gluten-free during Valentine’s Day that may actually be gluten-free is Heart-Shaped Reeses! Check out this post on Gluten-Free Reese’s Cups to learn why. But we’ll also get into it later on in this blog post.
Other Valentine’s day gifts that may contain gluten include non-food items like hand lotions and hand sanitizers. Depending on your gluten-free loved one, they may need gluten-free beauty products so be sure to check the label.
In these products, some ingredients to look out for are any ingredient that contains wheat, rye, barely, oats, or malt.
Although the list of what to avoid when getting gluten-free Valentine’s day gifts can seem daunting, there are plenty of gluten-free gifts to give or receive on Valentine’s Day.
Yes, there are gluten-free alternatives for candies and body care products. However, there are also other forms of gifts that can easily be made gluten-free and come from the heart.
These include special experiences like dates and handmade gifts like homemade gluten-free valentines treats and desserts.
By making the effort to find gluten-free Valentine’s, your loved one will not only be celiac-safe, but will know that you took the time to research what was safe for you to give. This kind of gluten-free lifestyle support goes a long way.
Now that you know what candy is not a safe gluten-free Valentine’s Day gift, let’s look at some gluten-free Valentine’s day candy and chocolates to give! The following candies are gluten-free and safe to enjoy:
There are also gluten-free candies that are available year-round but are still great for Valentine’s Day gifts:
Comment down below your favorite gluten-free candy to get for Valentine’s day. And for more inspiration, check out my blog post ALL about gluten-free chocolate.
Speaking of candy to give as a gluten-free Valentine’s Day Gift, let’s talk about the controversial Reese’s Heart. These fun shaped cups might feel like the perfect gluten-free V-day gift… but are the chocolate peanut butter Reese’s Heart cups gluten-free?
Let’s break down the Reese’s Heart label to check for gluten. When checking these cups for gluten we start by looking for a gluten-free claim for certification. Unfortunately, these cups don’t contain a gluten-free claim which tends to scare a lot of people but this does not necessarily mean it’s not safe.
Continuing through the CANS acronym, we now check for an allergen statement. This is a statement that notifies you if the product contains wheat. In this case, there is no warning for wheat.
Now we check for NOT safe ingredients on the label. These ingredients would be those that contain gluten. To easily remember which ingredients these are, remember the BROW acronym which stands for Barley, Rye, Oats (sometimes), and Wheat. When checking, we don’t see any of these ingredients so we can move to suspicious ingredients.
Now suspicious ingredients are any ingredients that could hide gluten per FDA labeling laws. Now if these ingredients were derived from wheat, they would have to be listed in the allergen statement. But that doesn’t protect us from barley and rye. So we still need to check on these ingredients to make sure they are safe.
In this case, Reese’s Hearts do not contain any suspicious ingredients and thus are gluten-free. And if you’re not sure what ingredients can hide gluten in the USA, check out my FREE label-reading class where I cover all of that! You can get the class with this link.
Now many people have said these candies are not gluten-free because they can be processed on the same lines as gluten. However, when contacting Hershey, they reassured me these candies do not contain gluten and that the reason they don’t have a gluten-free claim is that they are not tested for gluten like the classic peanut butter cups that are sold year-round.
They also assured me that while these cups can sometimes be made on lines that process candy with gluten, they have strong cross-contact protocols to prevent contamination. This is the case for most processing plants because not only do they need to manage cross-contact but they also need prevent food-borne illness.
All of this is why Reese’s that come in holiday shapes are in fact, generally gluten-free. That said some people following a gluten-free diet may still be uncomfortable with these chocolates. So before buying these fun-shaped Reese’s make sure you confirm your valentine is okay with getting them as a gluten-free Valentine’s day gift. Learn more about gluten-free Reese’s here.
If you’re trying to maintain the element of surprise with your GF Valentine’s Day Gift, a sneaky way to go about this might be to send them this post and see if there’s anything they absolutely do not want you to get them! Or asking one of their friends to get confirmation!
One other gluten-free Valentine’s Day gift to cover are M&Ms. The debate on whether or not M&Ms are gluten-free is hot in the gluten-free community. But the answer doesn’t lie with a bunch of strangers on the internet, it lies in looking at the label.
Let’s break down the M and M Valentine’s day candy label to check for gluten. When checking these M&M’s for gluten we start by looking for a gluten-free claim for certification. Unfortunately, these candies don’t contain a gluten-free claim. Now for many, you might choose to stop here, however, just because there is not gluten-free statement does not mean the M&M’s aren’t safe.
Continuing through the CANS acronym, we now check for an allergen statement. This is a statement that notifies you if the product contains wheat. This not to be confused with an allergen advisory – more on this in my FREE label-reading class, sign up here. In this case, there is no warning for wheat.
Now we check for NOT safe ingredients on the label. These ingredients would be those that obviously have gluten. To easily remember which ingredients these are, remember the BROW acronym which stands for Barley, Rye, Oats (sometimes), and Wheat. When checking, we don’t see any of these ingredients so we can move to the next step.
The next step is to check for suspicious ingredients. Now suspicious ingredients are any ingredients that could hide gluten in an unmarked package. Now if these ingredients were derived from wheat, they would have to be listed in the allergen statement. But that doesn’t protect us from barley and rye. So we still need to check on these ingredients to make sure they are safe.
In this case, Valentines’s M&Ms contain natural flavors, which on rare occasions could be derived from barley or rye. And if you’re not sure what ingredients can hide gluten in the USA, check out my FREE label-reading class where I cover all of that! You can get the class with this link.
Now just because the product has one of the suspicious ingredients we’re checking for, doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. But it does mean we need more information.
So I contacted Mars Wrigley, the manufacturer of M&M, to make sure the natural flavors were in fact, gluten-free. They stated that any gluten in their products will be clearly identified and that they do not hide gluten in ingredients like Natural Flavors.
All of this is why Valentine’s Chocolate M and Ms are gluten-free. That said some people following a gluten-free diet may still be uncomfortable with these chocolates. So before buying these, make sure you confirm your valentine is okay with getting them as a gluten-free Valentine’s day gift.
Making dinner for your partner is another romantic way to share your love. Since you are choosing the recipes and doing the cooking, you can be sure that all the food is gluten-free. A meal shows a heart-felt effort to make a special time for your loved one and enjoying the dinner together gives you time to talk and spend time with one another. Here are some ideas for gluten-free homemade dinners…
One fun gluten-free Valentine’s Day Gift is to make gluten-free heart shaped pizzas with your valentine. These Heart-Shaped Pizzas by Jen Sikora are a fun option.
That said, be sure to use gluten-free pre-made dough or an easy homemade gluten-free crust as her recipe isn’t inherently gluten-free.
Serve with a Side Salad (lettuce, carrot, tomato, onion, parmesan cheese, GF raspberry vinaigrette dressing) – a perfect meal to show your love with a food that’s close to many people’s hearts!
Another gift that doesn’t contain gluten that you can give for Valentine’s Day is a gluten-free pasta dinner. Like this Spaghetti Bolognese by Grits and Groceries.
Serve with your valentine’s fave steamed vegetables, and maybe even some gluten-free garlic knots?
If you or your Valentine is in the Celiac Crash Course, you could also cook along to a celiac dietitian-led cooking demo on how to make gluten-free pasta dishes free from cross-contact.
Another options is to make an all Strawberry themed dinner as a gluten-free Valentine’s date. From the appetizers to the dessert, strawberries are a fun them to enjoy during this holiday.
Want some strawberry recipe ideas? I’ve got a TON of gluten-free strawberry recipes in this blog post for you to pick and choose from.
Another fun idea for a gluten-free Valentine’s day celebration is to do breakfast for dinner. Make heart-shaped pancakes, waffles, and serve them with strawberries, heart shaped gluten-free sprinkles and more.
If you’re in the Celiac Crash Course, there’s an entire video on how to prevent cross-contact when cooking breakfast foods to help you or your Valentine out!
If you’ve got a seafood lover as a Valentine, make this delicious gluten-free Baked Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon by Downshiftology. Serve it with plain white rice and your valentine’s favorite gluten-free veggies.
Be sure that as you’re cooking, that you’re managing any cross-contact with gluten in your kitchen.
This can be tricky if you’ve not learned how to do this yet. If that’s the case, maybe offer to do a cross-contact cooking demo date with your partner. The Celiac Crash Course has an entire library of cooking classes you can both follow along to for guidance.
Another great gluten-free Valentine’s Day gift to give are homemade desserts. These can be made and gifted, or you can bake with your loved one for a special memory-making experience that yields sweet results for both your relationship and your taste buds! Here are some easy homemade gluten-free Valentine’s day dessert recipes to try this year:
Just like with dinner, make sure that as you prepare a gluten-free valentine’s day dessert to gift your loved one, that you are preventing cross-contact.
Perhaps one of the best gluten-free gifts for Valentine’s Day is the gift of unwavering support. If you’ve got a Valentine with celiac, go the extra mile by showing that you want to learn how to keep them safe.
Do this by setting up a baking date for valentines day where your loved one can teach you how to cook safe food them. This can be a huge way to show that you care and want to learn how to keep them safe.
If you need help with this, I’ve also got a Cookie Cross-Contact Cooking Demo you can bake along to that will show you how to keep your gluten-free loved one safe while baking for them! Learn about it here!
You can personalize your Valentine’s Day celebration by adding even more special touches! For example:
Be creative and show your loved one how much you care!
Although you may at first be apprehensive about giving a gluten-free Valentine’s day gift, remember gifts come in many forms.
If you or someone you love has celiac, the holiday can actually be safe, relaxing, and enjoyable! Give gluten-free candy and self-care items as gifts, make a gluten-free homemade dinner, bake gluten-free dessert for or with your partner, or have a gluten-free popcorn bar with a romantic movie.
No matter if you or your partner has celiac, with some thought and heart-felt sentiments, you can make this Valentine’s day safe, special, and memorable for you and your loved one!