How to eat gluten-free on a budget
One of the biggest challenges of eating gluten-free can be the cost of food. However, there are ways to stay on a budget and stick to the diet at the same time.
A loaf of gluten-free bread can cost two or three time more than regular white or wheat bread. In addition, the size of the gluten-free package tends to be smaller, so you are paying more money for less food. Whether you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you have to learn how to eat gluten-free on a budget.
Learn to eat gluten-free on a budget
It can be challenging to follow a gluten-free diet on a strict budget. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research found a significant cost difference between gluten-free and regular products. Nevertheless, you can learn to cook economically and figure out how to purchase the right ingredients. This diet plan does not have to destroy your monthly food budget.
1. Focus on naturally gluten-free items
The gluten-free versions of baked goods, bread and other processed foods are more expensive. However, you want to focus on naturally gluten-free products such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Rice and beans are inexpensive and free from gluten.
2. Sign up for gluten-free coupons and samples
It is more difficult to find gluten-free coupons and samples, but there are sites that offer savings. You may need to sign up for email lists to get exclusive coupons and deals. However, you can use an extra email address that you set up just for these purposes, so your inbox is not flooded with information.
3. Become familiar with Asian markets
Although you still need to read labels, many Asian markets have inexpensive rice products that are gluten-free. You may have small, family-owned Asian or other ethnic grocery stores in your area that can help you save money on your food. Keep in mind that most soy sauce is not gluten-free, so you want to make sure you are not buying the wrong one.
4. Cook and bake more at home
Processed foods tend to be the most expensive gluten-free options. Gluten-free cakes, cookies, bread and other items can cost two or three times more than the regular versions. One way to save money on this diet is to cook and bake more at home. You may be too busy to do this regularly on weekdays, but you can cook ahead on the weekends and freeze the leftovers.
5. Shop at alternative locations
Many consumers on the gluten-free diet report that they have found cheaper products at Big Lots and Aldi. If you have to eat gluten-free on a budget, then shopping at alternative locations instead of your regular grocery store can help you save money. Even stores like Walmart have started to offer more gluten-free options. The selection may vary, but you can find great deals. In addition to reading every label carefully, you also have to pay attention to expiration dates.
You can eat gluten-free on a budget
You may have to experiment more in the kitchen, learn to bake or shop at new locations, but you can learn to eat gluten-free on a budget. This diet takes effort and planning, but you can figure out how to manage it.