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Living Gluten-Free: 4 Budget-Friendly Tips from a Mom

Changing from a regular diet to a gluten-free one can be challenging – and expensive! We spoke with Adele Ledet, a new GIG Generation GF support group leader in Atlanta and a mom of three kids, about her money-saving ideas when shopping and cooking gluten-free. Her oldest son has sensitivities to gluten and other foods, so she switched her whole family to a gluten-free and vegan diet. Here are some of her favorite budget-friendly tips.

1. Buy and Eat Fewer Grain-Based Products

Adele points out that there is a two-to-five-dollar increase in cost when buying gluten-free grain products over whole wheat grain products.

"When grocery shopping, pay attention to the amount of gluten-free grain-based products that you are purchasing. It can get pricey. Instead of feeding your child bread and pasta daily. Switch it up,” says Adele, adding, “If you have a big family and you're on a tight budget, it may be better to make your own bread and freeze leftovers.”

Adele also recommends adding more fresh fruits and veggies, all naturally gluten-free.

2. Get Creative with Staples

A big fan of “hearty and nutritious” beans and rice, Adele recommends buying dried beans for the cost savings. She also likes using the same food in a variety of ways.

"If I make a large pot of lentils on a Monday, I will pair it with brown jasmine rice and salad. On Tuesday, I will make lentil patties and stuff them into taco shells or gluten-free soft tortillas and add lettuce, taco sauce, and guacamole or avocado slices. On Wednesday, I will pan fry the lentil patties and make burgers or wraps,” says Adele. She also suggests turning lentils into a meatless meatloaf and serving it with gluten-free noodles and spaghetti sauce with vegetables.

Editor’s Note: Look for gluten-free lentils that are either labeled gluten-free in accordance with FDA regulations or are third-party certified as gluten-free. We can only vouch for GFCO-certified gluten-free products.

3. Try New Recipes

Adele believes in trying new recipes as a way to support the goal of eating gluten-free on a budget.

"There are so many resources now on gluten-free eating,” she says. “Don't be afraid to test recipes. If they do not come out to your liking, try tweaking it for next time. Don't be discouraged and keep it simple."

4. Plan Your Meals

“Plan your weekly menu ahead of time, and estimate what the items will cost so that you can stay within your budget,” Adele recommends.

When shopping for groceries, buying on impulse can result in sticker shock at the cash register. If you go into a store with a plan and a list, you’ll have a better chance of staying on track with your budget and get more out of the food you buy.

Take it from a mom: You’ll save money – and time – if you choose less pricey, naturally gluten-free foods and plan out your meals and shopping. Throw in some creativity, and you’ll be eating nutritious meals that are delicious, too!

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