We are on a self imposed tight budget. Not just with food, but in all aspects of spending. The less money we spend, the less time we have to commit to making it. Sticking to a budget whilst catering for celiac disease and associated food intolerances makes food shopping even more like hard work. Specialty gluten free foods are expensive and are much smaller in volume, however as a newly diagnosed celiac it can be difficult not to buy any of these specialty gluten free foods. With the diagnosis of celiac disease and each additional food intolerance we have had to re-think our approach to food shopping. For quite a while it felt that our food budget was spiraling out of control, completely at the mercy of overpriced gluten free foods. We have slowly regained control through methodical planning and by learning to cook, celiac style. Establishing a plan and setting a budget allows us to remain in control, purchase all we need without overspending, and waste less time shopping.
An unexpected positive byproduct of tackling our shopping budget has provided me with a new sense of dominance over celiac disease. By purchasing raw ingredients, and cooking the majority of our meals from scratch I know exactly what is in them. This removes any niggling worries about cross contamination, or unease waiting for the possible onset of symptoms, which means I can relax and actually enjoy the meal.
This isn’t rocket science, but it does require some discipline, forward planning and preparation. By way of demonstration this is how we do it. This is one week of grocery purchases, the cost and the meals we subsequently made (and ate).
Things to Consider
Set your parameters prior to setting foot in the grocery store. These are ours:
- Buying food for 2 adults, for 7 days.
- All products purchased must be gluten free, lactose free, completely grain free and safe from any manufacturing cross contamination.
- Write a 7 day meal plan, making sure you have all of the ingredients.
- Set a realistic budget.
- Write a comprehensive shopping list.
Gluten Free Groceries Shopping List
These are the groceries we purchased for one weeks eating.
Fruit & Nuts
- 1 x Large Watermelon
- 2.12kg Bananas
- 6 Nectarines
- 3 Medium Wax Free Lemons
- 1 x Pineapple
- 3 x 180g Unsweetened Dates
- 3 x 150g Walnuts
- 1 x 200g Soft Apricots
- 1 x 170g Hazelnut Butter
- 2 x 35g Nakd Raw Fruit Bars
- 2 x Cauliflower
- 2 x Broccoli
- 1kg Butternut Squash
- 600g Mushrooms
- 300g Carrots
- 1 x Cucumber
- 700g Red Onions
- 700g Parsnips
- 600g Courgettes (Zucchini)
- 1kg of Sweet Potatoes
- 2 x 160g Spinach
- 1 x 160g Mixed Salad Leaves
- 1 x 200g Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 x 150g Red Peppers
- 200g Back Bacon
- 300g Turkey Mince
- 600g Diced Turkey
- 2 Line Caught Cod Loins
- 2 x 185g Tuna
- 2 x 125g Mackerel Fillets
- 300g Chicken Strips (left over from last weeks trip)
- 300ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 x 92g Tikka Curry Powder
- 280g Sun Dried Tomatoes
- 3 x 150g Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 x 310g Tomato Puree
- Box 4 x 50g Coconut Cream
- 1 x 200g Unsweetened Coconut
- 6 Free Range Eggs
- Box Blueberry Tea
The products we purchase vary from one week to the next, however the budget range will remain the same regardless of any variation.
Our Gluten Free Budget
Gluten Free Meals We Cook
Based on the meal plan, and the food products we had in stock, these are the meals we made from the purchased groceries.
Gluten Free Breakfast
- 3 x fresh watermelon, banana with hazelnut butter, dates, apricots and walnuts.
- 2 x scrambled or poached egg with bacon, mushrooms and diced sweet potato hash.
- 2 x vegetable omelette.
- All served with fresh black coffee.
Gluten Free Lunch
- 2 x salads, mackerel fillet with spinach, tomato, cucumber, sun-dried tomato & olive.
- 2 x salads, tuna with spinach, tomato, cucumber, sun-dried tomato & olive.
- 1 x salad, chicken tikka with spinach, tomato, cucumber, sun-dried tomato & olive.
- 2 x sweet potato, vegetable and spinach patties with side salad.
- All with black tea, coffee or water and followed by some fruit & nuts.
Gluten Free Dinners
- 2 x diced turkey and vegetable cottage pie with parsnip and cauliflower topping.
- 2 x turkey mince meatballs in tomato sauce on cauliflower rice.
- 1 x turkey mince and vegetable lasagna with sweet potato layers and spinach and sheeps cheese topping.
- 1 x oven baked cod loin, spiced sweet potato wedges with spinach, tomato, cucumber, sun-dried tomato & olive side salad.
- 1 x chicken & vegetable coconut curry with cauliflower rice.
Gluten Free Desserts
- 5 x coconut cream and raspberry cheesecake.
- 2 x fresh fruit salad topped with honey, chopped nuts or coconut cream.
Gluten Free Shopping Tips
- Before you go shopping decide on a budget range that works for you and stick to it.
- Plan your meals and snacks for the week and buy only what you need.
- Write a shopping list, including the current prices of each item. This will give allow you to compile a shopping list that is within your budget.
- Add up the price of each item as you put it in the trolley. Enabling you to keep a track of your spending.
- Stick to your list, don’t go down aisles unnecessarily. Looking down the bread and cake aisles will bring nothing but sadness!
- Avoid specialty processed gluten free foods as much as possible. They are expensive with smaller portions, and will quickly consume a large percentage of your budget.
- Where possible purchase foods that are naturally gluten free.
- Cook as much as you can. This will remove the need to purchase processed gluten free ready foods. Foods that are naturally gluten free are generally cheaper, making it easier to shop within budget. Not only will you feel the wealth benefits, but cooking more will provide you with a sense of greater control over celiac disease, by decreasing your reliance on the availability and prevalence of specialty gluten free foods.
This is what works for us, do you have any gluten free shopping hacks?