Keep your health on track without letting your grocery budget soar out of control with these practical tips for eating gluten free on a budget.
You’ve made the decision to go gluten free. Then it hits you: What am I going to eat? One trip to the gluten-free aisle of the grocery store, and you’re hit with another big question mark: What can I afford to eat?!
After years of experience cooking gluten free on a budget, these are 4 simple tips that will help you stick to your commitment to your health and your budget.
I’ve found a few tricks for making eating gluten free completely affordable.
The gluten free craze may seem like just another passing healthy living fad. For those of us that have committed ourselves to a gluten free lifestyle, though, I know it isn’t a decision that comes lightly.
It means giving up many of the foods that you’ve enjoyed since childhood, passing up favorite foods and sometimes feeling a little awkward at social gatherings, and seeing your grocery bill rising and wondering how you’ll keep up with an already tight budget.
Despite all these new challenges, we’re desperate enough to for the hope of improved health that we’re willing to face all those new struggles.
That level of commitment is way more than just a fad.
For me, as soon as I saw the immediate improvement to my health after going gluten free, I was hooked!
How to Go Gluten Free on a Budget
Whether you’ve made the decision to start cooking gluten free for yourself or a family member, the health struggles you’re facing are enough to worry about, let alone having to worry about a rising grocery budget.
I hope these simple tips for cooking gluten free on a budget will be a help and encouragement to you!
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1. Focus on Real Foods
I think what it all comes down to both for our health and our budgets, is eating whole real foods.
When we’re healing from health issues involving food sensitivities or allergies, the last thing we need is processed fake foods, even if they are gluten free.
Avoid boxed gluten free alternatives like gluten free granola bars, cereals, and crackers to save money. I find I eat much healthier when I take this approach too!
Anything labeled “gluten free” that comes from a grocery store is going to be hard on the budget.
Instead, start with a real food, and prepare it in a way that is simple and seems tasty to you.
As gluten provides a lot of the carbohydrates for the typical American diet, look for whole food replacements that don’t break the bank like beans, peas, sweet potatoes, and fruit.
2. Use Frugal Flours
One of the best ways to stretch your grocery budget is to cook your favorite gluten free foods from scratch. Gluten free granola bars at $5.45 a box are not going to go far when feeding a growing family!
There is a huge variety of gluten free flours available. From almond and rice to coconut, sunflower seeds, and black beans, almost anything can be turned into flour. However, there is also a wide variety of prices when it comes to gluten free flours.
For example, rice flour, oat flour, lentil flour, and bean flour tend to be much more affordable than almond, coconut flour, or a gluten free baking mix.
My family grinds our own flour from rice, lentils, and beans in our Wondermill Grainmill. Even if you don’t grind your own, you can still get these frugal flours already ground for about half as much as grain-free alternatives.
3. Find Favorite Recipes
Despite the savings from cooking from scratch, one of the biggest expenses in gluten free cooking can actually be all the failed recipes.
Our family does have a few frugal favorite recipes that we’ve found online. Though, I must admit, finding these has come through many trials and even more error!
They incorporate our favorite frugal flours (see #2), and they’re the tried and true recipes we know we enjoy.
Here are a few of my favorite gluten free recipes on a Budget:
4. Splurge Smart
We recently had a bout of sickness where it just wasn’t possible for us to make our own gluten free foods. For a short week, we had to rely upon store bought gluten free crackers to get us through.
There are also times where nothing sounds better than a box of gluten free Annie’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
In those times, it’s important to know where you can find the best price on your favorite gluten free convenience foods.
For instance, that box of Annie’s I mentioned is $2.80 on Amazon, $2.98 on Azure Standard, or a whopping $3.45 at my local grocery store!
Keeping a grocery price list can really help you find the best prices on any groceries you buy, especially gluten free specialty items. You can download my free printable price list here.