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Gluten free on the cheap?

DyneSalcarDyneSalcar Member Posts: 45 Member Member Posts: 45 Member
in Recipes
My husband and I recently went gluten free in an attempt to solve his years of digestive pain. His pain went away almost overnight once we made the change, but my grocery trips have gotten significantly more expensive. I'd love to see your favorite recipes and ideas for making gluten free feel more normal without the expensive gluten free processed foods.

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  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,306 Member Member Posts: 39,306 Member
    What are you buying that is significantly more expensive? Potatoes and other root vegetables, rice, quinoa, corn, etc are all good replacements for wheat/grain sides and whatnot.
  • g2renewg2renew Member Posts: 125 Member Member Posts: 125 Member
    DyneSalcar wrote: »
    My husband and I recently went gluten free in an attempt to solve his years of digestive pain. His pain went away almost overnight once we made the change, but my grocery trips have gotten significantly more expensive. I'd love to see your favorite recipes and ideas for making gluten free feel more normal without the expensive gluten free processed foods.

    My family finds we do better when limiting our gluten containing foods, too. Some of the 'more substanial' veg, like sweet potatoes and wild rice, can help with the satisfaction factor. Cauliflower and winter squash are also good. For example: spaghetti squash does not taste like spaghetti, but it adds that 'oomph' to the taste of the meal.

    You mention 'processed' foods. Perhaps work towards eliminating these and eating whole foods instead. In spite of the higher cost per unit, the higher nutritional value keeps us more satisfied. This keeps my overall food budget about the same, and I am happier physically and mentally having less of the processed items in my diet.

    But, I have not found anything to replace bread or pasta for anywhere close to the cost of prepared bread and pasta. Since we do not have celiac disease, only an intolerance for gluten, we do eat these items when the desire for them is strong. I have found that it does not make a significant change in our health to eat bread on occasions when eating out and/or making a pasta salad once every week or so. If he has not been diagnosed with celiac, you can experiment with amounts and frequency to determine where his tolerance level is. Being pain free may be worth the added cost.

  • whoami67whoami67 Member Posts: 286 Member Member Posts: 286 Member
    I do buy gluten free pasta ($2.99/bag), sometimes gf bread (I think $4.99, ridiculously overpriced), and I have a bag of gf all purpose flour ($5ish for a small bag, but it lasts a long time since I don't use it much) in the cupboard. But I can't think of anything else I buy that I wouldn't buy if I weren't gluten free.

    Meat/poultry/fish of all types is gluten free. Potatoes, rice, corn and legumes are gluten free. Vegetables and fruit are gluten free. An astonishing variety of chips and other junk food are gluten free - many are corn based instead.

    If you're looking for cake or cookies, you're probably better off baking them yourself. Brownies are probably the easiest gluten free baked good to make. Get a bag of Pamela's all purpose flour (or Trader Joe's) and stir up a batch using any recipe.

    What are you buying? It'd be easier to give you a recipe if I knew what items you're wasting money on. As a general rule, 98% of all gluten free items sold in stores are horrible tasting and overpriced. They're also usually easily made better tasting at home much more cheaply.

  • kwaymire2kwaymire2 Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    I love my Arbonne protein powder. its gluten free and vegan. And I make my breakfast pancakes with it. I put some oats in that but you could totally make it without. its 2 scoops of protein, an egg, little bit of almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda. It will be a thick batter. Then you can top with berries or banana like I did. It's so good!
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,744 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,744 Member
    kwaymire2 wrote: »
    I love my Arbonne protein powder. its gluten free and vegan. And I make my breakfast pancakes with it. I put some oats in that but you could totally make it without. its 2 scoops of protein, an egg, little bit of almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda. It will be a thick batter. Then you can top with berries or banana like I did. It's so good!

    It's $79 for 30 servings. Most people would not consider this an affordable option.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 2,571 Member Member Posts: 2,571 Member
    kwaymire2 wrote: »
    I love my Arbonne protein powder. its gluten free and vegan. And I make my breakfast pancakes with it. I put some oats in that but you could totally make it without. its 2 scoops of protein, an egg, little bit of almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda. It will be a thick batter. Then you can top with berries or banana like I did. It's so good!

    It's $79 for 30 servings. Most people would not consider this an affordable option.

    But it's a nice MLM plug!

    I found out I was Celiac in my early 50s. I buy like one loaf of bread a week, if that, and nearly everything else isn't processed. We've also cut out cow dairy and most meat, so our bills are roughly the same, if not a hair cheaper.

    I buy a lot of produce and cook most of my meals. It helps a lot to make a huge meal on the weekend and eat it leftover a few times. Meal planning is key.

    Try a new recipe a week. There are tons of Gluten Free (GF) sites online now. I like to try a new recipe every other week or so. I used to do it every week, but my wife and adult daughter have their favorites established now. Copymethat is a great place to store recipes that you find you like. It's a Chrome app and you can store your own personal recipe collection there and add a new recipe with a click using Chrome.

    Here's a few splurges that ARE worth it on rare occasion.

    BeFree Pita Bread
    Any Canyon Bakehouse Bread
    Capputo GF Flour (the only flour I use for yeast raised breads)
    Mikey's Burrito Wraps
    Schar Crackers (tastes like Ritz)
    Schar Hot Dog buns are good but only if you use half (too big for one)

    Not much else, IMHO, is really all that worth it. Plan your meals around produce, salads, soups and meat and vegetables.

    There's literally a site called glutenfreeonashoestring that's really good.
    edited May 20
  • acpgeeacpgee Member Posts: 5,936 Member Member Posts: 5,936 Member
    As others have said for starchy sides, potatoes, rice, lentils or other beans, polenta or grits, rice noodles (asian supermarket if your regular grocer doesn't have it).

    If yuu crave an inexpensive and easy gluten free flat bread, google "socca recipe" for a French classic made with chick pea flour (Indian grocer if your regular supermarket doesn't have it).

    If you are craving cookies try Italian amaretti, or Dutch bitterkoekjes which are essentially macaroons made with ground almonds, egg white and sugar. Coconut macaroons are gluten free too, being ground coconut, egg whites and sugar.

    For beer, Tsing Tao brand from China happens to be gluten free and is priced liked other imported beers and cheaper than the ones marketed as being gluten free.
  • moonangel12moonangel12 Member, Premium Posts: 971 Member Member, Premium Posts: 971 Member
    I have been gluten free for 9 years... not tested for celiacs because I was already GF (exclusively breastfed daughter with severe allergies so MY diet was drastically overhauled) and it wasn’t worth adding it back in just for a test (that being said, if he plans on getting tested do it NOW, while there is still stuff enough in his system to show up). I do have gluten ataxia though - one slice of toast messes me up for a week+.

    I have found it’s best to find alternatives rather than subs. As a whole, GF baked goods are pretty disappointing :lol: but they are getting better! Mission GF tortillas are the best I have found premade, but they are fragile and $1 each 🙄. Lately I have been making sweet potato/cassava tortillas that are absolutely fantastic! Corn starch to thicken soups and sauces. Rice and potatoes. Potatoes and rice. Throw in some corn chips and there ya go! It will take some time to retrain your brain but eventually you get used to it. We just don’t eat much bread. It used to be a meal staple but now? Nope. UDi’s from Costco is the only one I have found worthy of eating untoasted, but it is crazy high calorie.

    Oh, and gluten free Oreos! I haven’t had a real one in a decade for a direct comparison, but I was stoked when I got some a couple weeks ago!
  • acpgeeacpgee Member Posts: 5,936 Member Member Posts: 5,936 Member
    I might need to qualify my comment on Tsing Tao beer. I am not absolutely sure it is gluten free, but a friend who is Coeliac says the gluten levels are so low he can drink a couple without upsetting his digestive system.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 2,571 Member Member Posts: 2,571 Member
    acpgee wrote: »
    I might need to qualify my comment on Tsing Tao beer. I am not absolutely sure it is gluten free, but a friend who is Coeliac says the gluten levels are so low he can drink a couple without upsetting his digestive system.

    Daura Damm makes a good GF beer but it's not cheap. When I go out, I get hard cider. About the same price as a beer out. Julian Black and Blue Cider from Austin is amazing. It's like 24 oz. Might be more. One is perfect.

    Just a few more tips. If you're going to eat processed food, Aldi's is the best place to shop. Trader Joe's is decent too. It will save you money. But learning to cook is better.

    Also, if you buy GF bread, since it is a treat and expensive, keep in the fridge. Nothing more revolting than spending $5 on a loaf of bread and have it spoil/mold. I keep it in the fridge. I even save the heels for meatballs and the crust in French Onion Soup (or croutons or breading).
    edited May 20
  • carnerbunolecarnerbunole Member Posts: 7 Member Member Posts: 7 Member
    Yeahh!!!!!!! Jim on the hous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





  • acpgeeacpgee Member Posts: 5,936 Member Member Posts: 5,936 Member
    Thinking of some gluten free desserts. Creme brulee, creme caramel, pavlova, Eton mess, fruit jellies, ice cream, sorbet and granita come to mind.
  • tcunbelievertcunbeliever Member Posts: 8,060 Member Member Posts: 8,060 Member
    Avoiding anything labeled gluten free is usually cheaper than being in the gluten free section of the grocery...rice noodles and soba noodles are typically in the asian section and made without wheat...beyond that, all the same great ideas here, dried food like rice and beans are cheaper than prepared ones in cans or foil packages...fresh meats are going to be cheapest whenever your local store marks them down, or stock up and freeze whatever is on sale any given week...in my area the best produce is at farmers markets, but sometimes costco or other stores have great deals too...budget shopping can also mean only buying what you absolutely need, so planning meals ahead based on what's already in the house and only buying the fill in items you need to complete the menu.
  • theswandarktheswandark Member Posts: 65 Member Member Posts: 65 Member
    Homemade almond flour crackers are my favorites!
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