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Gluten Free, Going Broke
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Hi All,

So I have been officially diagnosed since July 3, was on gluten free before that after my blood work came back positive and then had to go back on gluten before my endoscopy. So I've overall had a few months of practice with the gluten free diet which is now my life. Anyway, I am going broke! I know eating my clean fruits and veggies and cooking is the way to go but for matters of convenience, gluten-free frozen pizza, gluten-free breaded chicken, cookies, granola bars are SO expensive! 

I have found Glutino sandwich bread which makes a big loaf and is AMAZING as well as a gluten free online convention that was doing sample packs for half the retail price, but is there something I'm missing??

Has anyone found cooking your own and freezing is more economical? Are there websites to order products that are much cheaper then regular supermarkets?  Suggestions? Thanks!!

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Just a tip.  You will find that all gluten-free processed foods are expensive and are higher in sugar than their counterparts so eat that stuff sparingly.  Buying frozen vegies are less expensive than fresh,, just watch for any added sauce.  Cooking in batches is a must.  Even when I make blueberry muffins I freeze them individually to have as a treat.  Make your own pizzas, it will be better than store bought.  Cruise over to the "What's for dinner" thread and see what the rest of us are eating.  It ranges from simple crock pot meals to spreads to die for.  

 

Colleen

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Sadly, the convenience foods are just going to be pricey, so the solution is to either make your own or reduce your consumption.  For the chicken, I like to grill extra chicken breasts and I cut them up and freeze them, they freeze well, just make sure to not overdo it when you reheat.  Lately I have been out and about a lot, so I have started bringing little packs of baby carrots instead of granola bars.  They are more filling, waaay cheaper, and last at room temp very well.  For pizza, making your own is definitely the way to go if you can.  Once you find a crust mix or ingredients you like, you can usually find bulk packs online for slightly cheaper.  If you don't want to make your own crusts, there are some premade pizza crusts you can buy which saves a little.

 

Cookies also freeze very well.  You can bake them first or freeze the dough.  Do that and it is at least a 50% savings over buying cookies.  Muffins and such freeze well, too.  Just find a good gluten-free all purpose flour blend (I use King Arthur Flour but there are lots of good ones) instead of buying a mix and that saves as well.  Buying gluten-free flour in large quantities helps on the cost, too.

 

When I was first diagnosed, I had been a stouffers lasagna and takeout kind of person, so I basically also had to learn how to cook, plan meals, and all that.  I think making the first transition to totally gluten-free is most important, but over time I highly recommend checking out food blogs and stuff, and honing your culinary skills one meal at a time.  I started with things I couldn't get at restaurants any longer, and over a year and a half later I am pretty much a pro home cook.  I don't even like eating out anymore because I cook it better at home, haha.  So just take it one step at a time, and you'll get to an easier place.  And every once in a while when you just want that quick, fattening frozen pizza, and that is okay, too. :)

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Money's been really tight for me lately. I stopped going to my local health food store (about the only place to find gluten-free foods where I live) and am saving a bundle. I eat whole foods all day and just have ice cream for my treat. For convenience sake I cook in large batches and freeze the leftovers in individual servings. So I'm not having sandwiches or bread of any type. No pizza. I don't even make pancakes or anything else out of gluten-free flour. I eat meat and potatoes and rice and veggies. I have Planter's cocktail peanuts for a snack. And at the end of the day the ice cream is my reward.

 

Sounds boring but I'm not suffering at all. I am saving money and calories. :)

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Making your own is definitely more economical!

 

Paying $41 for 25 pounds of gluten free oats and making your own granola will save you a ton over store bought gluten-free granola and lets you control the ingredients as well. Grinding flour is an awesome way to save money too. For example, my favorite bread is millet bread.

 

Millet flour is expensive but millet is cheap. So I ordered 25 pounds of certified gluten-free millet for around $34 and will be grinding my own millet flour. I grind it in my Vitamix and then use a flour sifter on it as well.

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Instead of doing frozen gluten-free waffles, I make my own whole grain waffles out of certified G.F. oats and whatever else I have on hand.

 

For stuff that isn't very practical to make, I just look for the best deal. For pasta, I do Meijer brand non-gmo corn pasta. It's $1.99 per pound.

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thank you all for the great suggestions! It's a good thing I like to cook! It seems like I just need to plan ahead a bit better! I am going to bake some gluten-free cookies this weekend and freeze them, look into some pizza crust and put my crockpot to good use! @blessedmommy I was wondering about the granola and if making my own would be more economical, thanks for the tip! what recipe do you use for your granola?

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You can just use a normal recipe and use the certified gluten free oats in place of regular. I don't make it as often as I would like so I'm not sure where my recipe that I used is at the moment. I definitely want to make it more though because the other day I bought KIND granola and OUCH! Like any other granola, that stuff is very expensive.

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I found using nuts for flour expensive, but soon learned my family needed much less food.  I think everyone's digestion worked a bit more efficiently.  I would certainly agree with making things from scratch.  My major concern is being in control of what goes into it.

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It's frustrating that with all the new products, made by the big brands, they still feel the need to charge almost double for packages that are smaller than the gluten filled counterparts!

 

When I first went gluten-free, I bought a lot of the gluten-free snacks and things, I think it was to feel 'normal' like I wasn't missing out.... I would make brownies or chocolate chip cookies with the betty crocker mixes all the time - ironically before I was gluten-free I didn't make the gluten filled versions that often!  I've definitely cut that back and now after a bad experience with Pamela's bread mix thanks to the inulin in it ( was so excited to make bread too). I've decided to make my own meals for lunches at work and generally avoid the processed stuff. Does anyone have a really good bread recipe for the breadmaker? Or a mix they recommend?  At least it will be a larger loaf than the tiny frozen ones for $5 :lol:

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. Does anyone have a really good bread recipe for the breadmaker? Or a mix they recommend?  At least it will be a larger loaf than the tiny frozen ones for $5 :lol:

 

 

Why don't you use the google function in the top right corner?  We have had several threads about that.  Here is one recent one:

 

http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/108686-save-making-bread-in-bread-maker-machine/

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Does anyone have a really good bread recipe for the breadmaker? Or a mix they recommend?  At least it will be a larger loaf than the tiny frozen ones for $5 :lol:

 

I don't make it in the breadmaker, but this is the recipe I like. I figured out that the cost of ingredients run me about $4 per loaf and it's super yummy! If you can have dairy, the ingredients might run you a bit less since dry milk powder is probably cheaper than soy milk powder. Also, you can buy almond meal for $5 a pound if you order online. My cost analysis is based on using almond meal that is $10.29 per pound.

 

http://www.thebakingbeauties.com/2014/01/gluten-free-millet-sandwich-bread.html

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i did find glutino sandwich bread mix (it is cheaper on amazon) it make a HUGE loaf! It is delicious too, I just toast it up. much better then pamelas and bobs red mill in my opinion! I also made my own granola because natural pb was on sale this week, it came out really great! I got gluten free oats on amazon for a lot cheaper too, also gluten free bisquick to keep in. 3 boxes for $12 can't beat that!

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I buy mostly whole foods that are on sale and freeze bulk or family packs of meat.  

 

For gluten-free flours, baking mixes, pasta, astronaut food (baby food in squeeze packets) and supplements I use Amazon's Subscribe and Save -- if you have five items each month you get an additional 15% off.  

 

Also get huge bags of Cocoa Pebbles for my kids at Walmart ... they have good buys on gluten-free pretzels too!

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i did buy large packs of chicken and beef at Costco. I head Walmart is really good for gluten-free! Have to check it out!

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Farmer's markets and buying in bulk save you lots of money. 

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I bought some gluten-free products to try today--I had $13 in coupons but oy!!  I did buy some cookies--2 of them--for $4--but I was craving something sweet.  I am saving them for after dinner tonight :D.  For the most part we eat meat, potatoes and veges for dinner so those costs haven't gone up.  Malt-O-Meal has a "healthy" line called MOM for cereal.  They have several gluten-free options and the cost isn't too much more.  Are regular Cocoa Pebbles gluten-free?  The MOM line has some that are like Cocoa Pebbles and they taste just like them.

 

I discovered that one of the grocery store chains here has a registered dietitian on staff and she will do store tours with you to help you learn to shop.  They have a really nice gluten-free section too.  I don't normally shop at that store but I will probably do a tour with her because some things I'm still not sure about.  They had some potato chips on sale, $2/bag, that appeared to be gluten-free but didn't say so on the package.  I'm pretty sure they were but I didn't get them.  She could give me a more educated opinion on them during a tour :D.

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I bought some gluten-free products to try today--I had $13 in coupons but oy!!  I did buy some cookies--2 of them--for $4--but I was craving something sweet.  I am saving them for after dinner tonight :D.  For the most part we eat meat, potatoes and veges for dinner so those costs haven't gone up.  Malt-O-Meal has a "healthy" line called MOM for cereal.  They have several gluten-free options and the cost isn't too much more.  Are regular Cocoa Pebbles gluten-free?  The MOM line has some that are like Cocoa Pebbles and they taste just like them.

 

I discovered that one of the grocery store chains here has a registered dietitian on staff and she will do store tours with you to help you learn to shop.  They have a really nice gluten-free section too.  I don't normally shop at that store but I will probably do a tour with her because some things I'm still not sure about.  They had some potato chips on sale, $2/bag, that appeared to be gluten-free but didn't say so on the package.  I'm pretty sure they were but I didn't get them.  She could give me a more educated opinion on them during a tour :D.

 

 

Lots of prepackaged and processed foods are gluten free.  Both Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles...all chex except Wheat Chex.  Frito Lay Chips. Pebbles, Cheetos and M&Ms got my teens through the transition....most important read labels - every time.  Label reading - like most things about removing gluten - become much easier with time.

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i did find glutino sandwich bread mix (it is cheaper on amazon) it make a HUGE loaf! It is delicious too, I just toast it up. much better then pamelas and bobs red mill in my opinion! I also made my own granola because natural pb was on sale this week, it came out really great! I got gluten free oats on amazon for a lot cheaper too, also gluten free bisquick to keep in. 3 boxes for $12 can't beat that!

 I really liked the gluten free pantry mix, but saw that it is now by Glutino, I tried a box and it did rise nicely but had a funny aftertaste/texture to me.... I have some Gluten Free For Me mix I haven't tried yet, waiting for my intestines to calm down from the pamelas.

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Another solution that I use is to go to my Amish salvage grocery stores. I find lots of gluten free stuff there for pennies on the dollar. I remember once I found Tinkyada pasta for 69 cents a bag. I think that I bought 20 bags of it!

 

Other times I have found Bob's Red Mill products for 99 cents a bag.

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I have been a health nut all of my life so going gluten free was not a big deal. I do miss my crunchy French bread and still do. Finding the products with trace gluten has been a real issue. Many of the pre made gluten free products are full of starch (not whole grain or whole seed).  Starches generally are not healthy as they can have a high glycemic index. Too much and you may find yourself as a prediabetic when you get older. 

 

Basically the ultimate fast foods are extremely healthy; fruit, nuts, veggies. They also happen to be very safe and washable to remove any gluten traces. 

 

For meals I like cooking enough for three meals. I cook 2-3 times a week and set back or freeze what i do not use. I then alternate so I eat the same meal after a two or three day break. 

 

It pays off big to plan your menu in advance so you can have pre thawed meats. This makes prep easier. A person can also make a roast and plan three totally different meals using the left over roast or other things from beans to veggies. For example a pork roast witll be roast the first night, BBQ pork the next night and green chili the third. It pays to think a menu through from one day to the next with a mind toward using leftovers. . Steamed vegetables are quick and a toaster oven will make quick work of roasted vegetables. A fried pork chop with roasted vegetables can be done in thirty minutes if a person gets with it and gets the vegetable in the toaster oven first . 

 

Generally really high end restaurants serve real food served simply. Great cooking does not require hours and frequently requires minutes if meals are pre planned and given a little forethought. A person can have extraordinary food on a budget. 

 

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