4 Ways to $ave on a Gluten Free Diet
Going gluten-free last year threw our monthly grocery budget for a loop.
I had the art of feeding our family frugal, healthy, wholesome meals pretty much down to a science.
In a matter of weeks, the cost of feeding our family of six nearly doubled.
Six plus months into our gluten free lifestyle, cooking (and grocery shopping) is starting to make sense again.
Here are a few simple ways to keep the budget from climbing over the top if you’re eating wheat or gluten free:
- Think outside of the box and can. In other words, bake and cook from scratch. Gluten free mixes are SO expensive! It’s true that alternative flours aren’t cheap, but it’s still much cheaper to buy and use gluten free flours than to rely on pancake, muffin, cake, cookie, and other premade mixes.
Eating gluten or wheat free will automatically require that you stay away from canned soups (such as cream of chicken or mushroom soups), but don’t think that you have to upgrade to expensive gluten free varieties of these same foods. Learn to make your own sauces, gravies, spice mixes, and soups. They taste better and will literally save your budget!
- Spend where it counts and skimp elsewhere. Some gluten free products are going to cost more no matter what, so make allowance for the extra expense by skimping somewhere else: Eat out less. If you have to buy gluten free bread (it’s very difficult to make from scratch!), eat sandwiches once or twice a week instead of three or four times a week. Rely on gluten free hot cereal (such as grits or hot rice cereal) instead of the usual bowl of (costly) gluten-free cereal for breakfast. Decide where you have to spend extra and where you can get by on less.
- Consider investing in a grain mill. Gluten free flours are double and triple times the price of wheat flour. (I found that out the hard way when I first ordered a variety of gluten free flours from our food co-op!)
I toyed with the idea of grinding my own grains for several years but never wanted to make the intial investment of purchasing a mill. When I realized the savings of grinding gluten free grains versus buying the pricey flours, I was convinced!
If you’re gluten free and are game for a fun experiment, try grinding your own grains. I’m still on the learning curve in this area but am loving it. The savings are well worth it.
4. Be willing to accept a new ”normal” in your diet. Let’s just face it, life isn’t quite the same once you’ve cut a major food group out of your diet. Wheat and other gluten-containing grains are a huge part of the Standard American Diet. You won’t be able to eat “like everyone else”, or even how you’re used to eating.
What does this have to do with saving money? Plenty! Think about it: if you feel you have to eat like you always have eaten, you’ll be paying extra for all those fancy gluten free foods at the grocery store. You know, the cookies and the mixes and the pricey premade pretties that have that coveted “gluten free” label across the front of the box.
Refuse to feel deprived and embrace the challenge of creating a ”new normal” in your kitchen!
After months of experimenting with recipes (and finding more that I didn’t like than I did like), I’m discovering a marvelous thing: it IS possible to enjoy healthy, delicious, savory and decadent foods and still stay away from gluten (and, in our family’s case, cow’s milk and peanuts, as well). With a little creativity, an open mind, and a bucket load of patience, you can live well without wheat… and still stay with a budget.
I’d like to spend some time over the next few months unpacking some of these points, posting recipes, and sharing some of the short cuts and tips I’m learning through this crazy process of navigating multiple food allergies.
I’d love your input along the way!
This post is shared at Frugal Fridays.