Food For Thought
Gluten free without spending a fortune
By: Leanne Ely
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 a 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 their forced to go gluten-free is dealing with the fact that (oh the humanity!) 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 fixins!
Do you have any other tricks for living the gluten-free life on the cheap? Let us know on our Facebook page!