In Episode 10 learn easy tips for how to eat gluten-free on the cheap! This complete audio guide teaches you budget-friendly tips for a gluten-free diet, including inexpensive meal ideas, how to save money at the store, and tips for serving a mixed diet family. Join Melissa Erdelac as she shares how to enjoy tasty foods you’ll love without breaking the bank!
Recipes and Resources Mentioned
- 40 Easy and Cheap Gluten-Free Meals On A Budget
- 65 Kid-Friendly Gluten-Free Recipes for Families
- Soft Gluten-Free Bread
- Frugal Gluten-Free Cooking Cookbook
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Hey everyone. I’m Melissa Erdelac, host of the Gluten-Free Recipe Challenge podcast and creator behind the gluten-free website, MamaGourmand. Here we take beloved recipes you thought you’d never enjoy again and transform them into easy copycat versions, just as good as the originals.
Okay, so today we’re gonna talk about one of my favorite topics because nothing really excites me more than a deal. The happy jets are turned on in full force.
The number one complaint about transitioning to a gluten-free diet is it’s so freaking expensive.
Well, maybe that’s the number two complaint. The number one complaint is the bread tastes like shit. Unfortunately, the bread does taste like shit, but only if you buy it. I have a homemade recipe to cross that complaint off your list.
Today we’re gonna tackle the number two complaint because it’s actually not expensive to eat gluten free. You just kind of have to know how to work the system. And I’m going to teach you some easy money saving hacks.
Today we’ll tackle the basics about how I save money, feeding our family of six gluten-free meals and the traps to avoid. But if you’re just looking for some straight up cheap meal ideas, my whole recipe website, MamaGourmand, and my gluten-free cookbook, Frugal Gluten-Free Cooking, which you can get it off at Amazon are based totally around naturally gluten-free ingredients that are affordable and available at your local grocery store. No matter if you live in a food metropolis or just like a dead zone, you can get ’em all at whatever grocery store you have.
Okay, so let’s get into it. My number one trick is to meal plan, and I do not mean whipping out spreadsheet charts or anything crazy. It’s as simple as before you go to the grocery store, I grocery shop once a week, before you go write a list of what you’re going to make that week. If you have five dinners that you need, then write down five meal ideas. Get the ingredients and make that shit.
Don’t be tempted to do the every night, oh, what am I gonna have for dinner? And run into the store and look around. That’s where you end up spending a lot more money than necessary. If you plan ahead, if you have all the ingredients, something’s going to tell you, I don’t wanna waste all that food that’s in my fridge, and you are going to make it.
Also when you’re meal planning, don’t be crazy ambitious. You know you’re not gonna wanna make dinner, so plan for meals like that. Meals that are easy that you could throw together, that you’re not gonna be like, who was this person that planned this insanely extravagant meal? Let’s be realistic here. You’re not gonna wanna cook, plan for it.
My number two tip is feed everyone in your house the same meal. I have, my husband, myself, and then four kids, I am the only one in my house that has to eat gluten free, but everyone eats the same meal.
So lowest common denominator is me. Everyone gets the gluten free meal because I have to eat it and I’m not going to make separate things. And this doesn’t mean that I sit there, enjoy my bombass meal while everyone’s disgruntled eating something they don’t want to eat. I just find recipes that naturally appeal to everyone.
Things like stir fries or, stuffed potatoes or casserole or sheet pan meals. These are things everyone in our family loves and that are naturally gluten free. So look for recipe ideas like that. The only time I am eating something slightly different is if we have something on like a bun or bread and I can’t eat that.
That’s when I go to my frozen bakery, which is where I make ahead a bunch of gluten-free breads and biscuits and buns and stuff, and I’ll just pull one of those out from me while they get the whatever store bought one. And I just do that because it’s cheaper for me to use one of those than to buy gluten-free breads and everything for everyone else.
This kind of brings me to my next tip . Make the foods you use and are expensive to buy, like sandwich bread, pancakes, muffins, biscuits, things like this. These are really expensive to buy, and actually they’re not good at all. But what I do is I will just make a recipe of it, I wrap up each individually, put it in a Ziploc freezer bag, and freeze them. And then when I need something, like on Saturday mornings, my husband’s making pancakes and I wanna have pancakes. I will pull some gluten-free pancakes out of the freezer.
If we’re having pasta night and I want a gluten-free breadstick, I’ll pull that out of the freezer. I make biscuits, muffins. I have pita bread in there. What else? I have tortillas. I make the recipes that I know are going to taste a lot better and make me happier. The key is just wrap ’em all up individually, so if you’re storing them for a long time, that they stay fresh better.
The other option, if you’re like, that sounds like too much work, I’m not that person. You can also use alternative ideas for substituting bread, like lettuce wrap for sandwiches. If we’re having sloppy joe’s or something like that, a lot of times I’ll just make a baked potato and serve it on a potato.
Another really cheap and easy thing to make is gluten-free cornbread. You can slice that up, freeze it, and use that for a substitute too. Some other options would be serving things over rice, using corn tortillas.
Or sometimes I’ll make loaded french fries, so if I don’t wanna use bread, I’ll just take some frozen french fries, bake those, and then I serve whatever we’re having over those because I could literally eat my weight in french fries and I will think of any excuse to eat them.
Okay, next. I would stay away from any recipes that use pre-made mixes because first of all, they’re more expensive, and second of all, they have a lot of gluten containing ingredients. Instead of getting ingredients that have hard to decipher ingredient labels and that stress you out at the grocery store, just use whole foods for recipes, like fruits, vegetables, affordable cuts of meats, grains that you know that are gluten free, canned goods, not like canned soups or anything, but like canned vegetables, things like that.
These kind of reflect all the recipes on my site. I just use standard ingredients and simple homemade recipes so you know they’re gluten free. And all these ingredients are a lot cheaper than buying these semi- prepared mixes.
The other great thing about using easy homemade recipes is if you have something that you want to turn into a gluten-free meal idea, it’s a lot easier to swap out just gluten-free flour for regular flour or corn starch for a thickening, instead of finding a replacement for these seasoned packets or canned soup or anything like that.
Okay. Lastly, so you can’t avoid it. There are some expensive gluten-free things you have to buy. My gluten-free flour that I always recommend, Cup4Cup is pretty expensive. I think it’s maybe $12 a bag on Amazon. This is though the one expensive thing I buy. I buy gluten-free flour and I buy certified gluten-free oats, which are more pricey than regular oats, but not too bad.
But there are ways you can save money on these things. For instance, I use Amazon’s subscribe and save, so it gives me a little bit of a price break and it’s just delivered to my house once a week or once every two weeks, depending on how much baking I do.
For Vitacost, sometimes I get my flour from there, and if I have a coupon code, I’ll just buy it in bulk and that will give you like a huge savings across the board, like 20% off. So you can sign up for their emailing list and look for those coupon codes.
But I subscribe to the thought, if you’re saving money in all these other places, and there’s this one product, like in my case, this gluten-free flour that makes everything taste like how I was used to having, and also can replicate that gluten- full taste for my family, it’s worth spending a couple extra dollars on. I’ve tried all the gluten free flours , in my opinion, this one works best for me, so I spend the extra money on it.
Other than these tips, I also have a couple resources for you on my website, I have my top 40 cheapest gluten-free meal ideas that are all put together in one nice little neat package for you and I will link to that post on the show notes. It has dinners, it has snacks, and it has breakfast.
And then also if you have kids, I also have my best kid friendly, gluten-free meals, and these are a great idea for making one meal, everyone enjoying it and not having to buy separate ingredients or make separate things.
So thanks for listening to the Gluten-Free Recipe Challenge. You can find all the resources that I talked about and the recipes I mentioned on my show notes page, and just click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you’re listening on, or you could go to my recipe website, which is mamagourmand.com, and click on the podcast tab.
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