Gluten-free eating for less
This is a guest post by Charlotte from Looking After Your Pennies who blogs about frugal eco-friendly lifestyle and ways to make your money go that bit further.
I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease back in November of 2013. I’d just returned from a family holiday with my parents and sister in Tenerife. The week had been spent eating all the food at the all-inclusive resort.
The next day I was walking around Tesco and my doctor called me and told me that the results of my endoscopy showed that I had coeliac disease.
I remember standing in Tesco and thinking that I had no idea whether any of my usual foods were safe for me anymore.
But I learned quickly! And soon I was back to being a savvy shopper and cooking on a budget. To help you, here are my top tips:
Check what you’ve already got
I’ll wager that many of the foods and ingredients that you’ve already got at home are still fine for you to eat. Particularly things like herbs and spices.
The only thing to watch out for here is cross-contamination. Sugar might be gluten-free but if you stuck that flour-covered spoon in it when baking last week then it’s no longer safe.
But don’t throw anything away. Feed to your partner and kids until it is all used up. Then you can get a new one and go back to sharing.
Look for the yellow labels
Supermarkets always overstock on the allergen-free foods, so be sure to snatch up those deals when they get yellow labeled.
You can quite often find gluten bread that has been reduced, so buy it cheap and stick it in the freezer for when you need it. I find that by doing this I have a near-constant supply of reduced bread.
Go naturally gluten-free
Do you know what foods are naturally gluten-free? The answer is most of them. Vegetables, meats, cheese, fruit, rice, the list goes on. If they haven’t been processed too much then likely they are fine.
You just need to get a bit creative in the kitchen to find meals that are less dependent on those gluten-based carbs.
Become a whizz in the kitchen
I’ve yet to find a meal that I cannot recreate at home without gluten. When I first received my diagnosis, I was upset because all I could think about was what I couldn’t eat.
That is not an issue anymore. If there is something I fancy then I resolve to make it at home instead. And it nearly always turns out to be cheaper than if I’d bought it at the shop or restaurant.
From cakes to KFC, I recreated them all. There are loads of recipes online to help you out and if you buy gluten-free ingredients in bulk then you’ll reduce the cost even more. Plus, you can eat “KFC” every day for a week.
Gluten-free food is expensive
Yes, it is! I have a whole rant about restaurants charging me extra for gluten-free versions of their meals. Ask me about it one day!
But in your home, you can find ways to keep the costs down and eat all your favourite foods. Good luck!