Many people are getting the news that they have a gluten allergy, and they immediately start to panic when looking at the cost of replacing the entire pantry with gluten-free foods.
First things first: It’s important to figure what you already have that is naturally gluten-free. Gluten is in a lot of foods these days, but not in everything.
Foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, oats, wild rice, meat, eggs, milk, etc... are naturally gluten-free unless contaminated with gluten. It’s mainly the breads and flours that you really need to watch out for.
You’ll have to start looking on the labels of everything you buy. If you buy a lot of processed foods like cookies, cake mixes, and breads, you’ll more than likely have to donate them to your local food pantry to make room for gluten-free items.
A positive thing about having a gluten allergy: It will push you into eating a healthier raw/whole food diet.
So now that we know we’ll have to do some restocking of the pantry, how can we save money? Here are 10 ways to save money on gluten-free foods:
1. Plan out your meals ahead of time. Meal planning is a huge way to save and eat those naturally gluten-free foods like meats, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, etc… If you know what you’re making ahead of time, there’s no last-minute rush or purchasing.
2. Shop the sales. By meal planning, you can plan ahead and then shop the sales cycles to get the best deals. Stock up when the price is the best, and get enough to last you until the next sale.
3. Shop seasonally and local for fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, and good for you. By shopping locally and in season, you’ll be doing something good for your health and saving money.
4. Shop online at sites like Vitacost.com or Amazon.com. Both offer great deals on gluten-free items.
5. Look for those regular items that are gluten-free, like Chex corn cereals. The more naturally gluten-free foods you can find, the better.
6. Use coupons wherever possible. Fiind your favorite products/companies, and sign up for their email lists and/or follow them on social channels. If they decide to send out coupons, you’ll get notified. You can even email them to see if they have coupons they could send you.
7. Shop at Aldi. Aldi is a discount grocery store that has been carrying a lot more gluten-free foods. In addition to this, they also have great prices on other foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat.
8. Check out the wholesale clubs. Wholesale clubs like Costco are now carrying more and more gluten-free foods, and this is a great way to save on your produce. Costco now carry’s Udi’s gluten-free bread at a discount, as well as gluten-free grains like Quinoa.
9. Avoid as many of the processed gluten-free products as possible. Some of the most expensive gluten-free items are the ones that come prepacked in a nice box. That box of gluten-free brownies may be tempting, but they aren’t necessarily healthy and they are more expensive than the other items in your cart.
10. Cook from scratch as much as possible. Try to focus on getting whole foods to make more of your meals from scratch, and make your own gluten-free breads and such at home. Here’s a list of 10 gluten-free whole grains you can start using in your cooking.
Do you have a gluten allergy? How do you save on your food purchases?
Crystal Collins, a Savings.com DealPro, is an Atlanta local, adventurer, a health advocate and thrifty as can be. Check her out on her blog at NaturalThrifty.com.
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Image Credit: Crystal Collins of NaturalThrifty.com