Gluten-Free Living: Ten Cost Saving Tips (and Five Essential Pantry Items)
My family’s grocery bills can be pretty high because we buy organic foods, nutritious gluten-free and dairy-free ingredients, and a few of the more expensive “super-foods”.
My husband and I are investing in our health now so we don’t have to pay for it later. We’re both self-employed so a day lost to the cold or flu is a day of lost income. We call it preventative healthcare.
There are lots of ways to save money if you’re living the gluten-free lifestyle. I asked some friends on facebook for their tips for saving money. These were the 10 tips that came up again and again.
Ten Cost Saving Tips for Gluten-Free Living
1. Pick 2 or 3 gluten-free flours instead of buying one of each.
2. Pair up with a friend or two and buy in bulk (online or locally through a co-op).
3. Shop locally and get to know your health food store employees; they’ll look out for you.
4. Limit the amount of processed and packaged gluten-free foods you purchase; not only will you save money, but you’ll also eat healthier.
5. Cook like your Grandmother or Great-Grandmother did – from scratch. A loaf of store bought gluten-free bread can be 7 dollars. I can make my own for 4 dollars.
6. Don’t try to mimic too many gluten-full foods. Instead eat whole foods that come in a peel instead of a package.
8. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and stick to the produce section. Not only will you avoid the costly packaged foods, you’ll also end up eating more fruits and veggies.
9. Eat out less often, especially since it can increase your chances of coming into contact with gluten.
10. Grow a garden or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You’ll get amazing seasonal and organic produce, and maybe even legumes or grains.
“Going gf is only expensive if you keep replacing gluten-full processed foods with gluten-free processed foods.”
Debi from Hunter’s Lyonesse
So now that you have some tips for saving money, you’ll need to do some gluten-free baking. Here are my essential pantry items for a standard gluten-free diet. Make sure that the items come from a certified gluten-free food processor.
FIVE Essential Pantry Items
As a blogger and recipe developer, I have a well-stocked pantry, but I wanted to narrow it down to five items that could get you started and that aren’t too costly.
1. Quinoa Flour – Quinoa flour has a stronger taste, but it’s so nutritionally dense that I can’t help but put it on my list. Balance out the flavors by using it with another gluten-free flour, like brown rice flour. If you can’t stand the flavor of quinoa, try buckwheat or garfava.
2. Brown Rice Flour – This flour has a very neutral flavor and is really easy to find. It goes well in many recipes and with many other gluten-free flours, perfect for the gluten-free newbie.
3. Psyllium husks – I use these in my recipes instead of xanthan gum or guar gum. Psyllium is an excellent source of fiber and so far it’s worked just as well as gums in all of the recipes I’ve tried it in. Find it at your health food store.
4. Arrowroot Flour – Although I try to limit my use of starches, you can’t deny their effectiveness in gluten-free baked goods. Arrowroot is the one of the better starches as it’s pretty easy to digest and a little more nutritious. It’s also a great thickener so you can use it in sauces and dressings.
5. Almond Flour or Pumpkin Seed Flour – These flours add so much flavor and nutrition to your baked goods. You can easily make your own by grinding raw almonds or pumpkin seeds. Lastly, they can be used in almost any gluten-free baked good.
One of our regular contributors just so happens to be an expert on the topic of saving money. Check out Adrienne’s cost saving tips for allergy-friendly living:
Savers might also use a coupon code when seeking discounts on gluten-free products.
What are your essential gluten-free pantry items? And how do you save money on gluten-free living?
Maggie is a co-founder of The Balanced Platter and is the author of She Let Them Eat Cake where she shares healthy, gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free recipes. She Let Them Eat Cake was born out of Maggie’s intense passion for feeding her friends and family nutritious and delicious food. Maggie has a Bachelor of Education and is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.