Going Gluten-Free Without Emptying Your Wallet

With over 3 million people diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and several thousand more opting to also be on a gluten-free for a variety of reasons, it is no wonder that there is much buzz about the “gluten-free” world. The good news is that the supermarkets are stocked these days with a huge variety of gluten-free foods. One no longer has to rely on specialty markets alone to find gluten-free varieties of everyday favorites.

The bad news is that these foods still come with a hefty price tag when compared to the regular variety of these same items. In fact, research shows that the sale of gluten-free foods has increased by 63% between 2011-2014 alone. These numbers for expected to continue to grow in the coming years, as more and more companies join the bandwagon of alternative allergy free food options.  So what is someone with a gluten allergy supposed to do when it comes to watching their wallet? 

When you have a gluten allergy you have no choice but to try to follow a gluten-free diet. But looking at the prices for so many of these products, one has to stop and think how they can possibly maximize what they buy, shop safely, enjoy what they eat and remain symptom-free. The reason for the higher price points is often due to the concept of supply and demand, where the need for allergen-free products are not as high as the regular items.

Specialty ingredients that are used in place of wheat also add to the increased cost of those items. Lastly, many of the products come from smaller companies who cannot yet bring their own costs down, thus costing more on the consumer end.  

While trying to shop wisely and stick to your budget can both be overwhelming, with proper planning it can be done.

Take a look at some easy ways to spend less, eat more and be gluten-free:

  • Choose naturally gluten-free carbohydrates - While there are many products marketed to those with gluten allergies, why not opt for those cheaper carbohydrates that are naturally gluten-free. This list includes rice, corn, potatoes and gluten-free oats. All of these items are safe to eat and often come with a much lower price tag.
  • Choose naturally gluten-free foods - When planning your diet be sure to focus on foods that are gluten-free in general. This might include adding more foods like fruits, vegetables, tofu, beans, eggs, poultry, low-fat dairy, and nuts. Using these as staples in your diet will keep the spending down while offering a wide variety of tasty and nutritious foods. 
  • Become your own chef - Rather than running to a specialty bakery or gluten-free store, try your hand at making your own foods. Quite often it is cheaper to spend some time in the kitchen making your own loaves of bread, muffins, soups and other dishes.  
  • Contact companies - Quite often the gluten-free manufacturers are happy to send out coupons or samples to those in need of specialty products. Check out their websites or send an email, and you will be surprised how often you can find coupons or samples sent your way.
  • Stock your freezer - Many gluten free products are stored in the freezer and have a longer shelf life when kept there. Additionally, if you cook or bake at home, keeping it in the freezer allows you to always have gluten-free options on hand. By always having food at your fingertips right in the freezer you will also save money on impulse purchases at a higher price point. 
  • Know your prices - With so many mainstream stores carrying gluten-free items it is easier than ever to shop around. With more companies on board, there are many more options and many new opportunities to be cost conscious about what you purchase.  
  • Everyone goes gluten-free - To avoid waste it is also often helpful to have your whole family eating gluten-free. This will allow you to plan one meal for everyone, and avoid throwing away leftovers. This also may help you to cut down on buying two or more versions of the same product, ones for those with the allergy and ones for those without.  

So in the end, with a little planning, you can eat gluten-free without breaking the bank.

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