If you’re following a gluten-free diet, then we’re sure you’ve had to stand in a supermarket for a long time, picking between different options, unsure about which one would be right for you.
During that time, you may have also had to deal with shopping on a budget. That can be tricky at the best of times, but when you’re compensating for dietary requirements too, it can be even more difficult.
Thankfully, there are some great ways that you can save money while shopping for food, while also bearing your dietary requirements in mind. We’ve got some of our best tips here in this article, so read on to find out more.
Foods to avoid
The easiest way to shop when eating gluten-free is to avoid things in the supermarket. Unfortunately, this can also be the most costly way. If you don’t take your time and compare your options, you’re likely to walk away with the more expensive option. The reason for this is that the store wants you to buy that option – they’ll typically display it at eye level, with a brightly colored price sticker on the shelf below it.
However, there is a good way to use your brain to avoid sections of food in the supermarket. All supermarkets are designed in a fairly consistent way, and when you’ve got the map in your mind, you can avoid whole aisles, saving your wallet and your diet.
Here’s the basic trick: avoid aisles containing mostly gluten-containing food. For example, you can be sure that the aisle containing baked goods will be a gluten-heavy aisle. By simply striking that article off your route, you can avoid the gluten-free options there. Typically, those ones are the most expensive.
In turn, we would suggest instead going to the ‘free-from’ section of your supermarket. This section will have gluten-free food, as well as meat-free, and nut-free for people with alternate dietary requirements. This section will typically have gluten-free options that are a better value since they have more room to display them. For example, a supermarket will likely store a name-brand loaf of gluten-free bread next to the regular bread, while reserving the store-brand gluten-free bread for the ‘free-from’ section of the supermarket.
This might sound like a very specific tip, but we assure you that once you’ve noticed this, you’ll also notice the savings.
Foods to choose
We would suggest choosing ingredients, rather than processed and pre-packaged food. This is a good general food tip, as well as a tip for people following a gluten-free diet.
The reason that we would suggest is that when you buy a pre-packaged gluten-free meal, you’re really paying for the convenience and not the quality. If you were to pick up a sack of rice flour, for example, and make your own tortillas at home, we’re sure you’d notice a saving and a huge uptick in quality.
Don’t be afraid to try out alternative flours and sauces in an ethnic section of your supermarket. A number of cultures around the world simply avoided gluten since it was hard to grow gluten-containing crops, so alternative flours, spices, and ingredients can be a deeply worthwhile thing to try out.
Balancing quality and cost
Finding the balance between quality and cost is difficult because the ideal balance point seems to be different for every single thing on your shopping list.
For example, the gap in quality between the cheapest tinned, chopped tomatoes and the most expensive isn’t likely to be that great. However, the gulf in quality between the cheapest butter and the more expensive options is large indeed – the product can be diluted with a number of additives to increase the cost to the consumer while decreasing quality at the same time.
We would suggest running through your grocery shopping list and considering which items are more or less likely to be particularly high or low quality. This can be a great way to save money. For example, you’ll be able to save money by buying lower-quality tinned pulses – they’re typically all the same despite the price inflation.
We hope that you’ve been able to learn a few things about saving money while grocery shopping with a gluten-free diet. While it can be a tricky mess to solve, it truly doesn’t need to be! Whatever you buy next, we hope that you can use our tips to save a little cash.
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