Here are 6 practical tips and resources to help you save money on the extraordinarily high costs of gluten-free foods. Plan ahead and you really can save on your monthly gluten-free food costs- and at the same time eat delicious, healthy gluten-free foods.
Time Required: Varies
Focus on cooking with foods that are naturally gluten-free
Fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, meats, poultry and fish are all healthy, delicious, gluten-free foods. Focus on planning a gluten-free menu based on these naturally gluten-free foods. Pound for pound these foods offer a lot of nutritional value for the buck, compared to refined, processed gluten-free products.
Make your own gluten-free foods rather than buying expensive, processed products
Savings can be substantial when you make your own gluten-free foods, especially breads and snack foods. Another advantage in making homemade gluten-free foods is better flavor and healthier ingredients.
Gluten-Free Bread Recipes
Gluten-Free Snack Recipes
Make your own gluten-free mixes
It is convenient to keep a few packages of commercial gluten-free mixes on hand. But you can save a lot of money by making your own mixes. Measure, mix, package and refrigerator or freeze and you have created your own fresh convenience mixes. Along with saving money, when you make your own gluten-free flour mixes, you can customize them to your own tastes and nutritional needs.
Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Mix Recipes
Buy gluten-free ingredients in bulk
Join forces with other gluten-free families and friends to lower costs. Websites like amazon.com and Shop Gluten Free Grocers sell gluten-free foods in multi-pack cartons, including pastas and flours. Amazon's Shop Gluten-Free Groceries website offers free shipping on orders over $25. Bob's Red Mill sells 25 pound bags of several of their gluten-free products, including tapioca flour and all purpose gluten-free baking mix. They also sell 4 bag cartons at discounted prices.
Find gluten-free products, grocers and online merchants
- Join a local support organization. You'll meet other people, who like you, are battling the high costs of gluten-free foods- join forces, buy in bulk and save money.
Nancy Lapid, About.com Guide to Celiac Disease recently blogged about a website that offers printable coupons for gluten-free products.
- Once a month prepare your favorite gluten free convenience mixes. I like to make 3 pound bags of all purpose baking mixes. This amount generally lasts for several weeks. Use it to make homemade breads, pancakes, waffles, cookies and pizza crust. Making mixes ahead of time is SO much more convenient than making mixes every time you need a gluten-free flour blend for a recipe.
- Once a week bake your favorite gluten-free breads, wrap them up and freeze. Remember, making homemade gluten-free bread is like mixing a cake batter. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat. Pour in a bread pan, let rise and bake. Homemade gluten-free bread is faster and easier than making traditional wheat-based yeast breads. So don't shudder at the thought of making gluten-free bread every week. It requires less time than you think! The savings, not to mention superior taste and texture make it worth the minimal effort!
- Make gluten-free cookie batter and refrigerate or freeze to use as needed. There is really no need to buy expensive, ready-made mixes. Mixing and storing cookie dough, like making bread is faster and easier than you may think.
- Make and freeze gluten-free pizza and pie crusts, which become economical convenience foods, ready when you need them. Use a food processor and this task is very fast and again, much easier than you imagined.
- Develop a dependable gluten-free recipe file. This will save you not only money, but time and disappointment. I have a constantly growing "favorites" recipe file- my "go to" recipes that I know work and taste great. This not only saves money, it's healthier.
What You Need:
- Dependable, favorite gluten-free recipes
- Gluten-free raw ingredients- purchased in bulk if possible
- Homemade gluten-free flour blend mixes
- Shop with a grocery list and don't shop when you're hungry!
- Consult with an accountant to see if you can deduct a portion of your food costs