When you stand in front of the gluten-free baking mixes and specialty gluten-free foods staring back at you from the store shelves, you might wonder how you’re expected to afford not eating wheat. And with some gluten-free baking mixes nearing the ten-dollar mark, it’s a valid concern.
However, as you know, I am all about foregoing the boxes and eating real food, especially when pursuing a gluten-free lifestyle. Whether you’re going gluten-free because it’s trendy right now, or because you’re forced to due to gluten sensitivity, I know you’re looking for ways to do it without doubling your grocery bill.
Think outside the boxed mixes and consider the following tips for adopting a gluten-free diet on a budget:
• Make your own snacks. Just because a glossy package says “gluten-free” does not mean you have to buy it. Scrap the packages and make your own snacks. Hummus and veggies, nuts and cheese, fruit and berries – none of these delicious and nutritious snack items contain gluten!
• Stock up on staples. When you see sales on brands of gluten-free pasta and canned goods that you enjoy, stock up on them even if they aren’t in your meal plan for that week. You will use them at some point!
• Buy in bulk. Buy your special flours and pasta noodles in bulk and you’ll save yourself a fortune!
• Eat beans. Cook a batch of beans every week and add them to your salads and soups throughout the week as a cheap source of protein.
• Cook from scratch. Don’t buy the expensive gluten-free broths, make your own! Buy organic tomatoes and make your own sauce for chili, pasta, and soups. Cooking from scratch is trendy now. Hop on the bandwagon.
• Use potatoes. Potatoes are a great way to bulk up a pot of soup but did you know you can use the skins to hold hot sandwich fillings like meatballs, pulled pork, and sloppy joes? Buy organic potatoes, bake a few on the weekend and let your imagination take over through the week!
• Change your mind. One of the main problems people have when they’re forced to go gluten-free is dealing with the fact that (oh the inhumanity!) they will live without bread or baked goods. But guess what?
You can live without bread. I can assure you that. So instead of trying to find the best gluten-free alternative to your sandwich bread, look for alternatives to the sandwich like the aforementioned potato skin or even a big lettuce leaf for our fixin’s!
Do you have any other tricks for living a gluten-free life on the cheap? Let us know on our Facebook page!
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Where does one find beans that are not cross contaminated? Even dry beans and lentils tend to have bits of wheat mixed right in (and it’s awfully difficult to sort them out). I have been looking for years and contacting companies and it doesn’t sound promising right now. Do you have a resource for beans that are safe for celiacs? I would love to know! Thanks!
Hi Mab – I would suggest trying your local health food store or online.