Gluten-Free on a Budget

Published on

Eating gluten-free can be challenging – especially on a budget. The Center for Celiac Disease created a few quick tips to help you find the gluten-free food and ingredients your child needs to thrive.

Tip #1: Plan Ahead

When you're about to go food shopping, take a quick inventory of what you already have and what you need. Think about what you plan to make for your family in the next week. Do you have enough of all the ingredients you need? Are there any food staples (such as milk, bread or eggs) that you use all the time? Make a list of what you need so you will remember at the store and shop on a full stomach. You'll be less likely to impulse buy and bust your budget.

Tip #2: Use Coupons

There are tons of ways to get the food you want cheaper than the price listed on the shelf.

Consider these ideas:

  • Shop weekly circulars and advertisements for grocery stores near you to compare prices.
  • Comparison shop using apps on your phone such as Honey, Flipp and Grocery Pal.
  • Download electronic coupons onto your store savings cards for ACME, Giant, ShopRite, and Target.
  • Use online coupon sites such as Coupons.com, befreeforme.com and IBotta.
  • Check manufacturer's websites for coupons.
  • Buy in bulk online and look for free shipping deals from Amazon Prime, Gluten-Free Mail and more!

Tip #3: Buy in Season

When it comes to fresh foods, use the seasons to your advantage and buy fruits and veggies when they are in abundance.

  • In the summer, stock up on watermelon, berries, peaches, corn, cucumbers, squash, cantaloupe and tomatoes.
  • In the fall, buy apples, grapes, potatoes, pumpkins, pears, spinach and mushrooms. 
  • In the winter, look for oranges, lemons, grapefruit, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.
  • In the summer, get your fill of peas, lettuce, mango and asparagus.
  • Buy anytime: bananas and frozen foods

Tip #4: Buy cheap food staples

There are some inexpensive foods you can buy at any time and use in a variety of ways and recipes. Consider:

  • Beans and lentils can be added to tacos, nachos, soup, rice or used in dips
  • Eggs can be cooked in a variety of ways and used at any meal
  • Rice cereal can be used with milk at breakfast or made into bread crumbs for later meals
  • Rice can be added to casseroles, tacos and stir fries to bulk up portion sizes
  • Potatoes can be made in a variety of ways including fries, mashed, baked, hash and soup
  • Peanut butter/soy butter can be added to apples, rice cakes, sandwiches, waffles and crackers for quick meals and snacks
  • Canned tuna can be used in casseroles, pasta, sandwiches and salad to add protein to any meal

Tip #5: Look at the Unit Price

The price on the shelf is not always a good indicator of which product offers the best deal. Look at the unit price – the price for a single unit of the product, such as price per ounce, pound, quart or container. A 1 lb. pound of meat may be $3.10, but buying 1.5 pounds at $4 (or $2.66 per pound) is a better deal.

Tip #6: Buy in bulk for frequently-used items

If your family frequently eats certain foods, buying in bulk can save you tons. But, make sure you can use or freeze the larger quantity before it expires. Consider sharing bulk items (and the cost) with extended family or neighbors.

Tip #7: Higher price for convenience

While there is often a higher price for convenience, certain stores do offer free delivery or online coupons for discounted grocery delivery services. If you can't get out to the store, look for special deals for delivery such as booking a few days advance or being flexible with delivery times.

Additional Resources