Last updated on October 20th, 2022
Gluten-free food is expensive, but gluten avoidance is vital for people with celiac disease. Read on for tips on saving money on a gluten-free diet. You’ll probably notice that many of these choices are better for your overall health and less harmful for the environment.
Relevant Read: How to Go Gluten Free: Plan Your First Shopping Trip
Before You Shop
Do your research:
Look for coupons and promotions online and in stores. Shop sales and, if you have the space, stock up on items you know you’ll use over time. Gluten-free food manufacturers often share promotions and coupons in their newsletter, so consider joining some of their mailing lists.
Make a plan:
Plan your meals around what you already have on hand. This will reduce food waste and discourage you from buying more food than you need. Base meals on what’s in season and on sale. Create a list for the grocery store and stick to it.
Another way to stretch your budget is eating less meat. Plan Meatless Monday dinners or go vegetarian for the whole day. Once you get that down, add another meatless-main meal to your week. You could also simply reduce the serving size of meat. Consider using meat as a garnish rather than the star of the meal.
Think about what fruits and vegetables are in season. Besides tasting better and retaining more of their nutrients, in-season produce often costs less than food harvested far away and shipped to the store. Another option is utilizing frozen produce. Fruits and vegetables are usually frozen soon after harvest, so they retain much of their nutritional benefits.
At the Store
Loyalty is a great quality, but not necessary for your brand relationships. Try something different when it’s on sale. Compare the taste and quality of generic brands to those of national brands.
Making your own food is usually more economical than cooking with prepared ingredients. Consider the cost of a bag of rice versus a microwavable pouch, or the price of dry beans compared to canned. Most meals cooked from scratch are less expensive and healthier than their premade counterparts.
Pass on empty calories, and purchase nutrient-rich food.
Follow your list:
Remember that list you made during meal-planning? Stick to it. If you find a great deal on something, know how you’ll use the product, or make a note of it and come back if you come up with a meal plan. Don’t make a purchase just because the price is right—it will always go on sale again. Also, it should go without saying: avoid going to the store hungry.
Cook in batches:
Prepare large batches of whole grains then freeze portions for convenience. This works for beans and soup too.
Double a recipe, then freeze left-over portions in lieu of packaged frozen meals. For example, burritos and casseroles typically freeze well.
Reduce food waste:
One of the first gluten-free baking tips I received is to refrigerate gluten-free flours, since they go rancid more quickly than wheat flour. Refrigerate or freeze gluten-free baked goods as well.
Save and use leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Even if there’s not enough for an entire meal, leftovers easily incorporate into omelets, salads, pilafs, and stir fries.
Save vegetable scraps in the freezer, and when you collect enough make vegetable stock. If you eat meat save bones for stock.
Decide what you value more: the price of convenience or the time it will take to prepare food yourself. This balance is different for everyone, and may vary week to week depending on what you have going on in your life. For example, some people may have the time and motivation to cook in batches, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Pick where you want to spend your time and energy. Start with one or two of these ideas and see what works best for you.