How To: Gluten Free on a Budget

People always say to me, “Gluten free is so expensive. How do you remain gluten free without killing the bank account?”

Very easily. My gluten-free diet isn’t made up of the “gluten-free” bells and whistles and overly processed foods. I don’t buy packages of cookies on a daily basis that say, “Gluten-Free Cookies.” They are expensive. And oh by the way, most of them are not very easy for me to digest.

But still, I do have some ways to go gluten free on a budget.

Source: organize.com via Rhonda on Pinterest

 

My Top 4 Ways to Go Gluten Free on a Budget
  1. As I mentioned, I stay away from refined, processed gluten-free products that are way overpriced. Focus on all the foods that are naturally gluten free. These include items like fresh vegetables, fruits, most dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, meat, poultry and many items that “rim” the grocery store. I pay attention to the ones that are also in season (ie. buying apples in fall vs. mangoes). Bonus: these also have nil sugar.
  2. Make it yourself. I follow primarily a 90/10 diet, meaning that 90% of the time I eat clean and healthy. 10% I am totally human…cookies, cupcakes, dessert, fro yo and more. But 9 times out of 10, I will make or bake it myself. You will pay a pretty penny for all the gluten-free desserts. Even a small bag of cookies could run you $4-$6. Use the Internet or your own creative abilities and make it yourself. I put plenty of desserts on my site. And there are a plethora of other sites that do, too.
  3. Buy in bulk. I talk about this one a lot because when you buy in bulk you can save a ton of money, and many bulk foods are unprocessed. I buy various foods in bulk. I do a lot of dry goods, which is why I’ve been focusing so much on kitchen organization lately. Get yourself some great bulk-food containers, and store your dry goods. When you are buying from bins, though, just be sure they haven’t been cross-contaminated with anything if you have Celiac. It can definitely be a problem for some. I also buy in bulk at places like Costco. I buy huge bags of frozen vegetables (plain, no sauce) and other items of the like. I steam or cook up much of this on Sunday evening to have for the week. Now you’re not only saving money, but also time! To buy in bulk you could also shop at a co-op or via Amazon.com (which is where I get many of my gluten-free supplements).
  4. I coupon, but not quite “extremely.” And I am signed up for Gluten Free Deals. I watch for any and all gluten-free coupons/ads. These items are on sale all the time! And if I see something like my Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter on sale like this (see picture) at Whole Foods, I will tend to buy more than one. Stock up if you can!

Most of the time, these 4 tips are all you really need to know to eat healthy and gluten free.

And if these tips don’t work one time for a gluten-free item you must have? Just pay full price! At least you will still feel well. At the end of the day, your health and well being is more important than an extra buck or two!

Question: What are your best tips for gluten free on a budget?!

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Comments

  1. says

    We make tons of variations of “bowls” with quinoa, beans (made from dried beans bought in bulk) and veggies. The combinations are endless, the quinoa and beans have ample protein, it’s a healthy meal and cheap!

  2. says

    Our budget is pretty shoestring so we avoid those overpriced fancy cookies most of the time too. I find most of those foods end up being a disappointment taste wise anyway ;-) If I’m going to splurge and spend the extra money I’ll buy some awesome gluten free flours and baking supplies and make my own cakes or cookies at home, way more flavor that way.

    I do like the Walden Farms gluten free barbecue sauces though, so I’ll gladly hand over a few extra dollars for that when I’m in the mood for some barbecued chicken!

    • says

      I LOVE this, Loretta! I do the *exact* same thing. Xanthan gum is not cheap! Besides, when you make it yourself you know exactly what’s in it! I’ve never tried Walden Farms. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. says

    Great tips Sarah! I’m finding the more whole (i.e. unprocessed) foods I eat, the easier it becomes avoid the gluten free versions of foods I really shouldn’t be eating anyways. #4 is a key tip also. My wife is a devout couponer. That said, she isn’t extreme. Takes 10-15 minutes to clip a week. The savings are enormous if you look in the right places, even for gluten-free foods. I love seeing our receipt and we’ve saved $10-15 (sometimes more) per shopping trip. When I see that, I am astonished people would blow off eating healthier because they don’t want to take the time to clip a few coupons. That’s a hell of a return for 10-15 minutes!

    • says

      Thanks, Joe! And yeah….I can easily save $10-15 each time with just a little here-and-there clipping! I never think my grocery bills are any more expensive than the typical person’s bill, and that makes me excited!

  4. says

    One way I teach to my classes on Thriving on a Food Stamp budget is to always think about a weekly menu. That way you can cook once and feed thrice. I love to make a big pot of garbanzo beans, roast a chicken and sweet potatoes on weekends.
    Then turn the chicken into a pot pie, tacos, soup and stirfry, adding the ‘banzo beans and sweets for additional protein and fiber. So many ways to mix together whole foods.
    But first you have to have some basic cooking skills. Invest in a class if you are unsure of your knife, baking or cooking abilities, you reap the benefits daily.

    • says

      I could not agree more, Jean! This is perfect! I do a Sunday Bake Fest…I blog and Tweet about it all the time. Great ideas…thank you so much for stopping by and giving these awesome thoughts!

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