THE BLOG
07/29/2013 10:01 pm ET

The Best Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Vegetarian Food Items, Tried and Tested!

Years ago, being a vegetarian, vegan or any other speciality diet, was without a doubt a challenge. Finding food items, let alone great tasting ones, was often very hard. Particularly if you weren't in a major city or an area where such things could be easily found.

Fast forward to the present, and thanks in part to the internet, unique eats for any diet or needs are everywhere -- and even better than before. Whole sections of even traditional grocery markets and stores are now dedicated to all of the above, while a new crop of startups and companies in the speciality diet category have launched.

In fact it goes beyond special needs diets to those electively chosen, such as raw food. Offline stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are incredible sources with a lot of options, and those who may not be in a market or city where its the case, there are plenty of sources now also online.

Some of the items are so good you wouldn't even notice they weren't the real deal, especially vegan and vegetarian. For gluten-free eaters this is particularly exciting, as food options have been limited in the past. Trader Joe's gluten-free granola is a favorite including for those who may not be on the GF diet. It comes in a few flavors and can be eaten with yogurt, as a cereal and all kinds of other ways - including standalone as an awesome snack.

A lot of GF eaters love Udi's breads, which give the bread experience without compromising the diet. 2Brothers2Sister's pizza crust is absolutely incredible. It arrives fresh made - you can cook it as traditional pizza crust, use it with other dishes, freeze it. Just awesome.

For vegan and vegetarian diets, Amy's has a bunch of great tasting options that are frozen to make meals easy (especially for those with hectic schedules). Almost any of the bowls from the brand are great, as well as the Indian and Thai options. You'll also find veggie burgers, meatballs and more. Yves also has some good veggie diet food items. The corn dogs from the brand are a favorite.

Meal replacement shakes are also available, for athletes or others who might use as part of their diet. One of the best we've tried is Kate Farms' Komplete shakes, which are soy-free, dairy-free, GMO-free, organic, vegan and pack 21 superfoods -- all with three flavors that are quite awesome.

Raw eaters are also able to find much more available when it comes to great food. Go Raw lemon cookies are top rated, while Better Oats hot cereal is also well known. Sunfoods olives are notoriously incredible.

What's great is that the good eating doesn't stop here. You can find new great products and brands for low sodium, lactose-free, and food allergy diets as well.