One of the big challenges of the gluten-free diet is cost. Specialty gluten-free foods, such as cereal, bread, and pasta cost 2-3 times more than the same wheat-based products. 1-2
Good news! There are many ways to cut the cost of your gluten-free food bill. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Buy labeled gluten-free grains in packages and use them to make your own hot cereal and side dishes. It costs less than buying commercial hot cereal or packaged gluten-free rice (or other grain) mixes. 3
- Bake your own bread and baked goods with some of the labeled gluten-free flours.
Avoid buying gluten-free grains and flours in bulk (or from bulk bins) due to very likely cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains.
- Build your diet around naturally gluten-free foods found in your local grocery store such as:
- Buy root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, turnips and parsnips, that will stay fresh longer.
- Buy fruits and vegetables that are local and in season.
- Use more protein-rich beans, split peas, lentils and other legumes instead of meat which costs more.4 Buy dried beans and legumes instead of canned ones to cut costs and avoid extra packaging. Visit www.pulsecanada.com for a pdf resource: "Pulses: Cooking with Beans, Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas." This booklet contains cooking tips and 30 tasty recipes from appetizers to desserts -please note that some recipes contain gluten or wheat-based ingredients . Make substitutions, when necessary.
- Freeze homemade soups, stews and chili in batches. Label and date them.
- Shop at discount stores for cheap containers and kitchen utensils.
- Check out gluten-free books and cookbooks from your local library or borrow them from fellow support group members.
TAKE HOME MESSAGES:
- Cooking and baking from scratch is one of the best ways to save money (and be healthy)!
- Support groups and celiac-friendly websites can offer many different ways to save money, such as on-line coupons, free samples, and gluten-free recipe ideas.
HELPFUL COST-CUTTING WEBSITES:
www.befreeforme.com (offers coupons and samples to gluten and food allergy-free consumers)
www.freecycle.org ( "One person's trash is another person's treasure." A free exchange of goods)
https://www.nationalceliac.org/the-gluten-free-food-bank/ (Gluten Free Food Bank, National Celiac Association)
www.amazon.com (offers deals on gluten-free products)
www.glutenfreemall.com (offers a wide variety of gluten-free products and daily specials)
www.glutenfreesaver.com (discounted products, "Today's Deals")
https://www.verywell.com/how-to-eat-gluten-free-on-a-budget-562982 (How to Eat Gluten Free on A Budget)
- Stevens L, Rashid M. Gluten-free and regular foods: a cost comparison. Can J. Diet. Pract. Res. 2008, 69:147-50.
- Lee AR, Ng DL, Green PHR. Economic burden of a gluten-free diet. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2007; 20:423-30.
- Lee AR, Ng DL, Dave E, Ciaccio EJ, Green PH. The effect of substituting alternative grains in the diet on the nutritional profile of the gluten-free diet. J. Hum. Nutr. Diet. 2009,22:359-63)
- Schuppan D, et al. Celiac disease; epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and nutritional management. Nutrition in Clinical Care, 2005,vol 8, no 2:54-69.
Revision Date: 8-23-12
Author: Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN and Diane McKiernan
Editors: Pam Cureton, RD, LDN and Rupa Mukherjee, MD