Living Gluten-Free On A Budget
Healthy eating and being gluten-free does not have to be costly. Here are 12 tips that will help you make healthy delicious gluten-free meals for your family without breaking the bank.
Plan your weekly menu; last minute shopping and going through the gluten-free aisles can put you quickly over the budget.
Focus on naturally gluten-free foods; this means avoiding processed specialty products. Most food that is not processed is naturally gluten-free
Prepare meals from produce that is season. They are generally lower in price
This is an important one! Fill your pantry with basics and buy in bulk. Items like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, quinoa, gluten-free flours, maple syrup, nuts, organic tomato sauce, frozen organic vegetables, potatoes, onions, cheese, rice and pasta. I buy many of my items online. By having a full pantry, you will be able to make last minute meal at any time. Read more on essential ingredients in your pantry. What to look for when shopping gluten-free, and essential ingredients in your pantry
Make your snacks, such as energy bars, dips and cookies; these cost a fraction of the price when you make them from scratch. Set a day in the week and make them all at once. Most of the snacks, dips and cookies can be stored up to a week. Here are some idea
Make soups, stews and chillies. A large pot will take you a long way, and they are easy to make and cost effective. Whether you are using fresh ingredients or using up leftovers from your refrigerator, you can create a hearty pot of soup, stew or chili. Click here for our best soup and stew recipes
Pasta, although gluten-free pasta tends to be a bit more, I recommend adding a side of vegetables, which not only will make a healthier meal but is also cost effective. Adding carrots, broccoli, squash or peas, or any in-season vegetable is a good choice, just add your favourite sauce. Sometimes I toss my pasta with some garlic, parsley and olive oil which tastes delicious on its own and does not require too much sauce.
Make your gluten-free stock. Store bought ones tend to be costly, all you need is some chicken or beef bones from your butcher, onions, carrots, celery and bay leaf, simmer for few hours then strain, and you will have a tasty stock. I freeze mine in small freezer bags and use as needed. I do not add salt or spices because it may affect the flavour of my recipe that I am making.
One of the most cost-effective foods are potatoes, once again buy in bulk. You can make soups, stews, snacks, baked fries, shepherds pie just add some leftover meat with peas and carrots and top with mashed potatoes, stuffed baked potatoes with leftovers just add some cheese on top and of course mashed potatoes, use yogurt and add some chopped green onions yum!
And the all time favourite rice. Whether you use white or brown, basmati or jasmine BUY IN BULK ~ huge saving. Rice can be utilized with just about any leftovers just add some peas, carrots, sliced cabbage, ginger, garlic, sautéed onions, red peppers, scrambled eggs and you will have super delish fried rice, no need for frying just toss it all together. Rice can also be used for puddings, risotto, salads and in soups instead of noodles.
And lastly herbs and spices. I use these a lot because they add flavour to wholesome naturally gluten-free foods, there is no need to cover healthy foods with salty gravies or bad fats just add herbs and spices and splash of extra virgin olive oil. I grow my basic herbs, which I highly recommend not only because of freshness but also because of cost. Easy to grow herbs are oregano, chives, rosemary, parsley, thyme and mint.
When it comes to organic foods choose wisely, not all produce has to be organic, for me, these are a must; apples, lettuce, kale, spinach, tomatoes, grapes and all berries. For the balance as budget allows