Ways to Stretch Your Gluten-Free Food Budget
Chances are good that you don’t have a limitless food budget, and you may be shocked at the cost of gluten-free groceries when you set out on your first solo trip to the grocery store, especially if you plan to purchase specialty gluten-free items such as bread and crackers. Here are some tips for wise spending when shopping for gluten-free groceries:
Plan your meals for the week before you go. Know what you need and use what you buy. This tip alone can save you a bundle!
Pair recipes that use similar ingredients. If using half a chicken or half a jar of pasta sauce, find a recipe that calls for the rest of that ingredient tomorrow.
Reclaim food that’s a little past its prime. For example, turn stale gluten-free crackers and bread into something else:
Make croutons by buttering the bread, cutting it into cubes, and broiling it until it’s very crispy. Store the croutons in the freezer and throw them in a salad anytime.
Pulverize the bread in a blender or food processor to make breadcrumbs to use as coatings, fillers in meatballs or meatloaf, or casserole toppings. Add extra seasoning for Italian or Cajun versions.
Use cracker crumbs as a coating for baked or fried chicken or pork chops.
Buy naturally gluten-free foods. Buy things that don’t have a label listing a ton of ingredients. Think fresh meats, dairy, fruit and veggies, and eggs.
Buy national brands. A food doesn’t need to be a specialty product to be gluten-free. Some examples of foods that are gluten-free and may not be labeled as such are tortilla chips, potato chips, popcorn, corn tortillas, many mainstream soups and sauces, hot dogs, and more.
A quick search on company websites or a good gluten-free shopping guide or app can point you to gluten-free products. Among the large companies that offer gluten-free options — and that issue coupons — are Betty Crocker, Boar’s Head, General Mills, Zatarains, Kraft, Frito Lay, Chex Cereals, Progresso, and Heinz.
Become a fan. Many companies let you in on special deals and coupons if you’re their fan on Facebook.
Use grocery store and grocery website loyalty programs. Join the store or site program for coupons, specials, and free shipping.
Explore ethnic groceries. Some people swear by Asian stores for cheap rice and rice noodles.
Buy nonfood items at nonfood stores. Save a bundle by getting things like shampoo, cleaning supplies, makeup, and toothpaste at a discount store like Target or Walmart or even a dollar store instead of the grocery store, where prices for these items are probably higher.