If your child follows a gluten free diet, you’ll know how expensive it can be. Even though you realise it’s essential for their health, your Mum CFO brain has likely wondered how you can provide gluten free goodies for your family without spending a small fortune each week.
Is it possible or only a fantasy?
As a Nutritionist who’s followed a gluten free diet for 20 years, I’m here to tell you with confidence that there are ways you can save money AND provide your family with nourishing gluten free options.
Here are my top 3 nutritionist-approved tips for saving money when eating gluten free.
- Bulk Food Stores
Buying staple gluten free items (e.g., flours, pasta, quinoa, treats) from your local bulk food store can save you a packet. These shops buy their items in bulk, which means they avoid expensive packaging and pay less to their supplier because they’re buying in mega quantities. Fortunately, most bulk food stores pass these savings along to their customers, which is excellent for Mum CFOs with gluten free children.
As an added bonus, bulk food stores allow you to buy in quantities that suit you and your lifestyle. This is good news if you’re trying a new gluten free item and are unsure if your little one is actually going to like it. Shopping at a bulk food store could mean the difference between spending $7.00 on a new range of gluten free biscuits, which your child may or may not like, or 70c to buy 1 or 2 pieces to see what they think. Bargain – and less wastage!
- Make Your Own
When you compare the cost of buying a gluten free pancake mix vs making a gluten free pancake batter from scratch – hands down the winner is doing it yourself. Yes, it takes a smidge more energy and planning, but the savings are huge if you’re willing. It’s also the ideal opportunity to teach your gluten free child how to cook; a valuable life lesson they need to learn in order to become a healthy and savvy member of society. Whether you make 1, 2 or all of the gluten free snacks your family consumes each week, I assure you the savings will be worth it.
Remember that bulk food store? If you buy core items from them, your savings could be even bigger.
- Think Outside The Box
You’re a smart Mum CFO, which means you already think outside of the box when it comes to money. Now it’s time to do the same when it comes to buying gluten free foods. It’s essential you learn to look beyond the packaging and not only search for items labelled ‘gluten free’. Many of the boxes and packets that declare they are ‘gluten free’ do so purely for marketing purposes. It also puts them in the speciality food category, which means stores can hike up the price (yep, speciality = expensive). You need to know the foods which are naturally free from gluten, so you can decide for yourself (rather than letting the supermarkets decide for you) if the food is suitable for your family.
Naturally, gluten free foods, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, cheese, yoghurt, don’t need to be labelled gluten free. Unless they’ve been processed into a new form, e.g. beef mince that’s sold as rissoles or fish that’s sold in battered form, you can be confident the item is as nature intended – gluten free.
Even though having a gluten free diet may cost a little more, it’s important to remember that your child did not choose this way of eating to frustrate you. Being gluten sensitive or having coeliac disease is a medical condition, and eating gluten free could mean the difference between your child being full of energy, or you needing to spend money on medical bills because their body is struggling to deal with a cheaper, gluten-containing diet that doesn’t agree with their constitution. From experience, I assure you that choosing the gluten free route is actually the easier and more economical option in the long term.