Beginning a gluten-free diet can be overwhelming, but it does not have to be expensive. In fact, it could even save you money. You won’t be eating most processed foods and snacks, so that’s should significantly impact your budget in a good way.
Nutritious and gluten-free foods are readily available at grocery store these days. Most people following a gluten-free diet will be shopping for fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, eggs, beans and legumes, nuts and lean protein.
Here are some tips to help you shop within a budget.
Plan ahead. Plan meals ahead of time. Stick to your list. Check your grocery store’s weekly advertisements and sales for coupons. Check to see if you grocery store has a phone app. This can be helpful as your planning your meals and shopping in the store.
Avoid waste. Find creative ways and recipes to use all the ingredients that you purchase. Make ahead and freeze meals for later use.
Combo purchasing. It’s helpful to keep in hand fresh seasonal produce as well as frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. That way you’ll always have a supply of gluten-free produce.
Plant-based proteins. As an alternative to meat, which can be costly unless on sale, use plant based proteins such as beans and lentils. These are full of proteins as well as budget-friendly.
Eggs. Eggs are another low-cost, high-quality protein.
Non-marinated meat. When purchasing fresh chicken, meat or fish, look for products that have not been pre-marinated or prepared in any way. This can reduce the cost of these foods as well as the likelihood of gluten appearing in other ingredients.
Bulk buy. Buy and cook in bulk. Saving and freezing leftovers for future meals can save time and money.
Experiment. Step out of your comfort cooking and tasting zone and experiment with whole grains such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat and wild rice. When you find some that you like, buy these in bulk too. Typically, buying these grains in bulk will be mores cost effective than purchasing them in smaller quantities.
Include family. Encourage everyone in your family to help support your gluten-free commitment by trying your gluten-free foods and recipes. Many times, they won’t even taste the difference. Let them know that purchasing gluten as well as gluten-free versions of foods can add up. Let them know that cooking separate meals will not always be possible.
Tax-deductions. People with diagnosed celiac disease may be eligible to receive tax deductions for gluten-free food purchases. Check with your doctor, insurance company and tax accountant to learn if you are eligible.
Note what works. Keep track of foods, prices, and recipes of what you like and what works for your budget, cooking and family needs. Replicate these purchases and recipes and experiment as time and budget allows. Remember to try new recipes and ingredients. You may surprise yourself by finding new tastes and textures that you like and may otherwise not have tried.