Parents who are looking for variety and alternatives for their children’s GFCFSFEF diets in Malaysia now have many choices.
We are all familiar with the following brands- Orgran, Bob’s Red Mill and Freedom Foods. There’s a choice of GFCF bread, cakes, cookies and pancake premixes, pasta, breakfast cereals and packaged cookies.
Orgran’s No Egg is the only egg replacer brand I have found in Malaysia. Orgran Gluten Substitute may be an alternative for certain recipes that require Xantham Gum, an ingredient that isn’t commonly found in Malaysia.
Orgran, Bob’s Red Mill and Freedom Foods are commonly found in Village Grocers (Bangsar Village 1, Mont Kiara etc) Body Basics in BSC Bangsar Shopping Centre, Cold Storage and some Vitacare Pharmacies (LG, The Gardens Mid Valley)
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Hearty Wholegrain Bread is my favourite GFCF bread, tastes just like it came from a Swiss bakery. However my girls prefer Bob’s GF Homemade Wonderful Bread.
Orgran’s bread pre-mixes are the easiest to make, even for people who are not familiar with baking. GF breads tastes better when toasted.
Casalare is a new brand in Malaysia. It is a range of GFCF premixes for breads, pancakes, batter and pizza base. I just bought the buckwheat pancake mix, we’ll see how it turns out. I also have a waffle iron, I’ve used GFCF pancake mixes and it makes lovely waffles.
Melinda’s is an Australian brand of Gluten Free premixes with interesting flavours and recipes. Some of these pre-mixes may not be casein-free or soy-free so please check the labels.
Some children are able to tolerate small amounts of soy after a few months on a strict soy-free diet. For those who are on Corn-Free diets, Orgran’s uses a lot of corn in their products. I prefer Bob’s GF All-Purpose Baking Flour. However, Orgran’s Gluten-Free Flour contains rice and corn flour, which makes wonderfully crispy pisang goreng, fritters and cokodok.
San Remo also has gluten-free spaghetti, much nicer than Orgran GF pastas. Over time you’ll find which brands you prefer. Take note that most packaged GFCF cookies, GFCF cookies and cakes premixes usually have high sugar content, some include preservatives, artificial flavourings and colorings. Remember, just because it’s GFCF doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
I found all these brands in Village Grocer, Bangsar Village 1. My shopping is limited to certain areas of KL that I frequent. For parents in other neighbourhoods or cities, if you know of a shop near you with GFCF foodstuffs, please email me directly so I can share it with others.
If you have a Cold Storage, Village Grocer or Vitacare nearby, you can ask the store manager to order these products in for you. If they carry it in their KL stores, they can surely bring it to other cities in Malaysia. Otherwise, call up the main distributors to check if they have a local reseller in your city.
Please learn to read labels, bear in mind your child’s dietary restrictions. I have learnt from experience not to buy packaged foods in bulk, my girls always end up refusing them the moment I buy more than 2 packets of anything! These are imported specialist foods, so they are definitely not cheap.
Most parent new to the GFCF diet tend to overbuy pre-mixes and packaged foods, I know because I was one of them. Remember, we don’t need to buy 5 types of pasta, 3 types of breakfast cereal and 4 types of packaged cookies. Especially if your children are not too fussy about food.
And I especially do not recommend buying 10 boxes of GF spaghetti, emptying out the whole shelf! Not only was it expensive, her child refused to eat anymore of that pasta and she was left with 7 boxes of it. You know who you are:-)
However, over time I learnt that doing the GFCF diet for our kids gets easier and there’s less anxiety. I did a weekly menu listing down what to cook and serve for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This way, I don’t panic about what to feed my girls and I don’t waste money. I can plan ahead and make fresh foods that can be refrigerated then reheated easily. I can make sure that the majority of my children’s diet is from fresh foods rather than packaged processed foods. This is an old old menu that’s still stuck on my kitchen wall btw. I was reminded when my 2nd daughter was on a tomato free diet in order to reduce the amount of salicylates. And we were rotating between 3 different types of rice then and experimenting with different nut butters. The good old days…..
I still prefer to make my own GFCF cookies and biscuits, so I know how much sugar I can control and there are no added preservatives. However my attempts at making GFCF bread from scratch has been a disaster, so I’ll stick to Bob’s bread mixes for now.
Do take note that packaged and processed foods should be consumed in moderation. These are alternative choices for convenience and variety, it does not replace a healthy gluten-free and casein-free diet. Home-cooked foods made with fresh produce and a whole lotta love is definitely the best.