A gluten-free diet is imperative for healthy living. More so, it is essential for individuals with the celiac disease and even those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. As well, people without an official diagnosis follow it for various reasons. Regardless of how much people have taken it fully, it is not budget-friendly. So, if you are there wondering how you can work around gluten-free eating and not strain your budget, here are some tips for you.
Plan your Meals Well
Among the key factors to eating healthily is meal planning. Apart from minimizing waste, it helps you make a detailed shopping list where you buy only the items you need. You would, for example, create a spreadsheet that details all meals and snacks. You can also base them on fresh whole foods without the gluten-free mark-up of packaged products. With a copy of your meal plan for every week pinned where you can see it, it will help you to keep track as well as reminding you what you need to keep defrosted for dinner.
Eat Naturally Gluten-Free Foods
If you are eating gluten-free, the need for cheap spaghetti or other inexpensive gluten-containing food products will be minimal. If you, therefore, would love to break your budget completely, you must focus your shopping on foods that are naturally gluten-free rather than going for the processed grain products.
For such options, you will need to shop the perimeter of the shopping outlet. In short, try to buy fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs. These are among the most gluten-free products while in their unprocessed forms. They are also relatively cheap in most outlets.
Also, to save more on costs, consider buying your products, for example, milk and meat in bulk. In most stores, there are better deals for anyone who buys in bulk, often saving some coins. You can have a look at some of the stores including Shoprite, Checkers, Pick ‘n’ Pay, Africa Cash and Carry, and others at https://allcatalogues.co.za/supermarkets. The site will give you great ideas on shopping for gluten-free products with their vast catalogues and specials.
Use Mainstream Food Products if Possible
Among such products is gluten-free cereal. Of all the steps you can take, this is the easiest and does not take your time. Your options here include potato chips, corn chips, crackers, and rice crackers. If you want sweet snacks, you can also get some in the mainstream.
Also, some yogurt brands are sporting gluten-free labels. It is important though to check the ingredients carefully since not all will be safe for you. Other foods in the mainstream include some prepared rice mixes. Most of them are inexpensive alternatives to some specialty gluten-free foods like rusks, cookies, bread, and frozen foods.
If you are inclined to use only mainstream brands and avoid gluten-free specialty food products, you will realize you can save a lot.
Look Out for Gluten-Free Specialty Items Coupons
The other option that you could have for a gluten-free diet, yet on a tight budget is living easy. You could sign up for coupons on such products and use them when you need to buy them. Some sites specialize in gluten-free coupons and will come in handy for you. Some sites will allow you to sign up while others give you a chance of printing the coupons off the site directly without registering. Also, some manufacturers send mailing lists accompanied with special offers for their subscribers. Here, you can tap on as many options as are available and enjoy affordable food products for healthier eating.
Go for Farmers’ Markets and Stands for Fresh Products
More than often, our wallets cringe at the prices indicated on decent products at the supermarket. Since everyone can attest to this, the issue of early planning now comes in. You could visit a farmers’ stand or their usual marketplaces and buy naturally gluten-free products in bulk and at lower prices. If you plan better, then some can last you a whole winter until the next growing season is up.
Not to forget, the prevailing prices in the urban areas are far much higher than what we get in farmers’ markets and the upcountry. Greens, for example, are incredibly affordable while buying them directly from the farmer in their stand compared to buying them from the food store in town. Products like kale, collards, and mustard greens are way cheaper depending on the season, and you could bet on this.
What to Do While in the Store
While buying in a produce store, there are some guidelines to help you avoid gluten foods or help in getting cheap gluten-free ones. As listed below, it might help you the next time you go shopping;
For fruits and vegetables, consider:
- Buying seasonal vegetables and fruits where it is possible. They are often cheaper and full of flavor.
- Get fresh, frozen, or canned ones.
- For canned vegetables, go for the ones that are in water with no added salt. You should also try and get fruit in juice instead of syrup.
When buying meat:
- Go for cheaper cuts such as skirt, brisket, or shin if you are buying beef. If you are buying chicken, opt for thighs instead of breasts.
- Try and have two portions of fish per week, one oily and one white.
We all have leftovers. You are on a budget saving mission, and these tips will help:
- Ensure leftovers are not thrown away. You could pack them for lunch or freeze them and rush for them when you need to.
- Leftover cooked vegetables can be added to pasta dishes, savory muffins, or soups rather than going to waste.
- How about using your leftover roast chicken to make a risotto or stir-fry on Monday? Also, you can use it as a salad for lunch or sandwich filler for the next day.
- Overripe fruits can be used in baking. You can transform bruised bananas into banana bread or muffins and consume them as pudding, add them to packed lunches, or use as a snack.
Remember it is all about your body and how to eat and live healthily. It is, therefore, your important task to ensure what you are taking is fit. For a variety of gluten-free products at affordable prices, simplify your shopping by visiting verifiable outlets.