It’s 2015, and by now everyone knows what “gluten free” is. There are varying reasons for people going gluten free—anything from Celiac and gluten sensitivity, to autoimmune diseases, to just not eating gluten for fun.
I fit in somewhere between the gluten sensitivity and Celiac category. Being gluten free isn’t too hard, especially in New York City. My only major complaint about being gluten free is that all gf products are so expensive.
So here’s how to avoid some of those crazy price tags:
Make Oats Your Best Friend
There is some debate over whether oats are certified “Celiac friendly,” but I’ve found regular Quaker Oats to work fine for me. If you’ve tested positive for Celiac, I’d opt for some dedicated “Gluten Free” oats (I love GF Harvest’s oats). Recipes with oats are endless, and a medium size (18-oz.) canister of Quaker Oats only costs $4-5.
With that one container of oats, you can feed yourself a classic oatmeal breakfast 13 times (if you follow the ½ cup serving size). Personally, I like to jazz mine up with peanut butter (always crunchy), fruit, or trail mix. For on-the-go breakfast, overnight oats are the perfect solution. They beat having to pay $7 for a gluten free muffin or bagel any day of the week.
- Basic Overnight Oats Recipe
- Overnight Chocolate Chia Oat Pudding
- Overnight Chilled Plum-Oatmeal Pudding
Cook Up Some Veggie Burgers
You can put basically any grain, bean, or vegetable in a veggie burger. Since they’re highly customizable, fairly straightforward to make, and keep well in the freezer, veggie burgers are definitely a go-to gluten free food.
Basic recipes, like black bean quinoa burgers, are easy to make gluten free if you just substitute the breadcrumbs for gluten free breadcrumbs, or just omit them all together. I like to top my veggie burgers with avocado slices or salsa for an extra kick.
Here are more of my favorite recipes:
Prepare Your Own Sauces
Another way to save lots of money is by making your own sauces. One of my favorite sauces to jazz up anything from a veggie burger to grilled chicken or roasted veggies is a basic Thai peanut sauce (just peanut butter + chili paste). Using a few ingredients from your pantry beats a $10 sauce any day.
Check out these killer sauces:
Gluten Free Pasta = Your Savior
My next gluten free money saving tip is to find your holy grail brand of gluten free pasta. Everyone likes different tastes and textures, so explore a few brands and settle on the right one for you.
An average box costs $5, which you can get a few meals out of. Some people scoff at the idea of gluten free pasta, but if you find the right kind at the right price it’s a slam dunk. Or if you want to go super healthy, you can opt for a veggie-based noodle, made from veggies already in your fridge.
Now, here’s a major money-saving tip that is less about an actual food item, and more about your approach to shopping for gluten free goods. When I first went gfree, I would buy almost every gluten free cookie, dessert, bread, or muffin I saw.
I would stock up on all these gluten free pantry items and then wouldn’t get around to eating them until they were stale or had gone bad.
Gluten free items have an inherently shorter shelf life than glutinous things, so only buy as much as you know you can eat. Before you get to the store, go through your fridge and freezer and think about what you really need.
Finally, don’t forget to TREAT YO SELF. Being on a budget 100% of the time 24/7 sucks. So branch out 5% of the time and find a really amazing gluten free dessert or breakfast food that you love.
If you’ve never tried GinnyBakes or Van’s Gluten Free Waffles, get to the store ASAP. They’re not “cheap,” but they’re delicious splurge-worthy treats. And with all the money you’ve been saving following these tips, you’ve definitely earned it.
Want to know what else is gluten free?