Gluten-Free on a budget!

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's not what you buy, but how you buy it. Make a list. One of my BIG mistakes are running to the store three times a week because we forget something, not sticking to a list and not making a monthly menu.
22 helpfully tips
1. Plan your meals
It sounds simple, but it’s one that is often ignored. Sit down before you do your grocery run. Know what you are going to make for each meal including snacks. Find out what’s on sale before you make your meal plan. Stick to the list when you shop!
2. Develop a file of recipies,
go to GF recipes. Many people report that, when they are short on time, that’s when they are likely to make extravagant purchases. Take the thinking and guess work out of meal planning by looking through your file. You can even write down the estimated cost of the meal.
3. Eat foods that are naturally gluten free found at the regular grocery store. Corn tortillas are cheap and have many uses look here bread alteratives
Pre made mixes are expensive "think outside of the box"
4. Eat whole foods. Whether you are GF or not, it is healthier not to eat packaged, processed foods. Just because a product is marked gluten free doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Processed GF products often lack nutrients. Limit these to a couple times per week or less.
5. Eat foods that are in season. This means they had to travel less far to reach your grocery store, therefore they will be cheaper.
6. Grow your own. Learn how to can and/or jar the extras.
7. Make a soup. Soups are filling, and they are a great way to use up items in the fridge.
8. Eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. Eliminating meat from two dinners per week will save you quite a bit of money.
9. Eat breakfast for dinner.
10. Get creative. For thickening sauces or gravy, substitute equal amounts of cornstarch for flour. Mashed potato flakes also make a great, inexpensive thickener and binder in place of breadcrumbs. Xanthan gum is used in many gluten-free recipes to serve as the “glue” to hold the product together; use 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin to replace 1tsp. xanthum gum in some recipes such as cookies. Cornmeal or crushed potato chips can be substituted when a recipe calls for a coating or crunchy topping.
11. Buy in bulk.
12. Create or join a bulk buying group. Ask around at your local support group, Gluten free foods ROCK will be starting one in 2010
13. Cook ahead and freeze meals in individual or family-size servings. If you are not someone that cooks and you are watching your budget, it makes sense to learn.
14. Invest in a good vacuum food sealer. This will help keep leftovers fresh for longer = less waste.
15. Bake 2-3 times per month. Things like pizza crusts, bread, and pie crusts will freeze well if wrapped properly.
16. Make GF cookie dough from scratch and freeze in a roll. Cut and bake what you need. This will curb your desire to buy an expensive mix.
17. Start a GF dinner swap (like a holiday cookie swap). Get a few families to cook up a large quantity of GF meals and swap them for variety! Gluten FREE foods ROCK will be starting a GF swap in 2010
Join a food co-op. Co-ops are groups who use their purchasing power to get lower prices. If you are in PA, check out the co-op at Selene Whole Foods Co-op , which is open to non-members.
19. Make your own blend of GF flours ahead of time and store in an air tight container.
20. Track your purchases. Seeing it in black and white can be very revealing.
21. Consult with your employer’s human resources department. Do they offer a flexible spending account (FSA) benefit? These accounts hold your money pre-tax for medical purchases. If so, will the FSA recognize gluten free food (and related shipping charges)? Get it in writing! If your employer doesn't offer this benefit, ask them to look into it. This will save you about 30%.
22. If you are not using an FSA and you spend a lot of money on medical expenses, consult with your accountant. Are a portion of your GF food purchases tax deductible? Shipping charges often can be reimbursed from this account, as can mileage to and from specialty stores. I am currently researching" GF food purchases tax deductble"
if anyone has any information. Please share. I'm hoping to deduct our gluten free food on our taxes next year.


Lisa Curcio said...

Excellent tips! Thanks so much for sharing.

Carol Conway-Fleisher said...

Thank you so much for the tips. I was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy-not to mention my husband is unemployed. I have really been stressing about how to be gluten free on a tight budget. This really helps. Thanks :)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Great tips here. The most economical way to be gluten free is eat real food (think perimeter of the grocery store with meat, fruit, veggies, and dairy) and very rarely buy gf processed foods. So many great foods and dishes/recipes are naturally gluten free or gluten free easily (gfe) as I say. If you focus on those, eating gluten free doesn't mean spending any more money than someone who is not on a gf diet.


Related Posts with Thumbnails