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Tips For Switching A Household Of 6 To Gluten-Free
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For our overall health (and possible gluten issues) I want to switch our household to a gluten free lifestyle. Do you have tips on how to do this on a limited budget?

We have four boys (not even teenagers and oh my they eat!) and we go through a lot of bread and pasta items. Obviously with it being winter fresh fruits and veggies are more expensive so that is why we've been eating more of the starch items. I know from experience that the gluten-free items have a different taste.

How do I satisfy all the palates of our home and make sure we are staying within a budget and gluten-free? Do you have any sample shopping lists you can share of things you buy on a regular basis. Besides glutenfreegirl.com what are some other websites that show how to cook/bake/eat gluten-free?

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I have been serving my family a lot of potatoes since I went gluten free..that would be a great starch to replace all the bread and pasta... trying to replace alot of your favorites with gluten free options like crackers and bread can be expensive so I have been cooking with a lot of whole foods (meats, vegetables, potatoes, rice..) and keeping it simple. I can make potatoes so many ways that it has seemed to keep everyone happy and its budget friendly. Another small move we have made is to buy potato chips that are gluten free on their own like Utz or corn tortilla chips because they are just regularly price - not high priced because it was specially made gluten free. And instead of buying cheerios we have switched to chex.. just some small changes.

Hope thats helpful and welcome! :D

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Thank you! It does help. My husband is so set in his ways though that he may be my biggest road block than the grocery store. He doesn't understand the amount of pain I'm in.

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Thank you! It does help. My husband is so set in his ways though that he may be my biggest road block than the grocery store. He doesn't understand the amount of pain I'm in.

Be sure to let him see it!!! Don't hold anything back ...well, maybe one thing :rolleyes::D

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Our family is going through this right now. There are 3 health food stores in our town, and we are able to find everything we need. I've been gluten-free, milk & dairy free, and no egg whites, yeast, maltodextrin or msg since 2000. What I've found is to S-T-R-E-T-C-H whatever you're making in any way you can. Adding bits of water to things like mustard, salad dressing, ketchup, sauces, etc. helps. Eating fruits and vegetables used to be the solution, but today broccoli is $2.99 a lb., asparagus is $4.99 a lb., and even spinach is $1.79 a bunch, which is amazing, so we've got to be more creative than ever.

Since those 3 health food stores are within walking distance from my home, I keep track of which products are the cheapest where, and still it's a real challenge. Mushrooms are healthy but somewhat expensive, so I stretch them by sauteeing them with garlic, green onions and scallions, water chestnuts, peeled cucumbers, celery, red bell peppers, green chiles, or sometimes whatever is the cheapest. Yesterday, big red bell peppers were 3 for $1.00, which I also thought was amazing, in the opposite way. Rice is pretty inexpensive, and adding green onions, cheaper green vegetables, zucchini, corn, etc. to it works well. I bought vegetable broth once for $4.00 but now I make my own by boiling any vegetables I have in a large pan of water, and adding Kitchen Bouguet, which is a soup extender that my mother taught me about years ago. It's so much cheaper and gives a good beef flavor (I am vegan, so don't eat meat).

There is only one cheese that I can use, and it's Vegan Gourmet Mozarella, at $4.49 a package. The yeast-free bread is $7.49. Soy hot dogs cost $2.99 so that's reasonable, and they're good on corn tortillas. Hey, that's how I stretch some things, is to roll them in a slightly sauteed corn tortilla or a cold piece of romaine lettuce instead of a gluten-free bread, which doesn't agree with me because of the potato flours they so often use. Reading labels to avoid casein & whey in cheese and other products is essential, along with whatever intolerances you have. Sure wish I had a magnifying glass at all times though, because some of the print is so small. I do a lot of cooking at home, and that seems to help. I'm very leery of eating out because you never know what is going on.

Soy Delicious ice cream is great, and I also cut up corn tortillas and make my own corn chips. I add spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce to crushed nuts and use that as a dip with the chips. Walden Farms makes a broad array of salad dressings, pancake syrups, jams, toppings, etc. with no carbs, no calories, no protein. Check them out if you have a chance. Also, Mexican markets and Asian markets sometimes have much cheaper produce because they sell in volume. Seaweed wraps are about $2.99 a package and taste great with vegetables inside. La Choy makes gluten-free soy sauce.

I suggest taking several large boxes and filling them with everything gluten-free and milk & dairy free you can find in your cupboards first. Then purchase whatever is missing to round out a couple of weeks of eating, or at least one week, because success is all in the planning. When you have the foods there you will be more and more likely to stick to the diet and really enjoy eating. Write out all the foods you like that are gluten free and milk and dairy free, then plan your breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Put the foods where they're convenient to reach. Limit your utensils and pans to as few as possible. Cook as many foods at once as you can, cross-referencing the ingredients for use in more than one dish. Sample as you go along. Eat every couple of hours. Drink lots of water. Play music as you're cooking. Talk to your family and get them involved. Keep a routine schedule of preparing, serving and eating. Ask for feedback. Try new foods. Check as often as possible to see what the prices are. Good luck!

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It's just the two of us and we still have regular bread in the house. My husband is 63 years old and doesn't eat a lot of bread but when he wants a sandwich or toast he will not eat gluten free. There are a few other things he won't give up either. I don't mind *much* because he's very careful not to cross contaminate but there have a few times I'd love to take his biscuit from him!! :wub:

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I also cook for a family of 6 and we have made the transition to being totally gluten-free over the past few years. I am the only Celiac in my family but kept getting sick from cross contamination from sharing a kitchen.

We have drastically decreased our amount of gluten-free processed foods as well and that has helped a ton.

We eat whatever we can that is in season (right now in the upper Midwest, lots of squash!!) Also, potatoes, meats (lots of chicken), vegetables, fruits, rice. Lots of eggs, omelettes, etc. My kids love Chebe rolls. Most Mexican and Indian dishes can easily (and cheaply) be made gluten-free. We also eat a ton more fish than we used to. My kiddos actually like Tilapia and I've found a ton to do with it on Pinterest. There are tons and tons of cheap and easy gluten-free recipes for families on there as well.

It will get easier with time...

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A few more things I forgot: sweet potato fries and chips!

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Dunno where you're from but in atlantic canada root vegetables and cabbage are super cheap in winter. Potatoes, turnip, parsnips, onions, squash, carrots, green or purple cabbage, local apples. Always buy the veggies that are on sale. If you have time you can shop daily or near daily and use the reduced price produce at your local store, since it usually has to be eaten that day. But sometimes it doesn't, depending on the store. Check it every time you shop.

Oranges can get cheap this time of year. Bananas too. Been finding blueberries at a good price too, oddly enough.

If I were on a really tight budget for food I'd stick with leftovers for lunches, not sandwiches, as the bread is twice the price. Can also save on cooking time too.

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I'm from San Diego County, California, and I, too, shop each day, but today broccoli was $1.49 a pound, and lettuce was $1.69 each. Since I can only eat fruits and vegetables, I have an orange juice with fresh pineapple smoothie each day, using one whole pineapple & one can of frozen orange juice. That's $5.00 for one person, right there. Mushrooms are $3.00 or more per pound, and I agree with you, by looking around you will discover cheaper prices the more aware you become. Today I found an extra large jar of minced garlic at $4.99, which would have much costlier elsewhere. What a challenge this is, but what a wonderful way to live, because this morning, since strictly adhering to this diet, I laughed and thought, "I feel as though I could do gymnastics today!" And I'm 68. I'm still stretching every food in every way I can. Good luck and best wishes.

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Cut out all of the empty treats and only buy what is nourishing. Make everything from scratch. Have everyone available help with meal prep. I freeze produce in the summer for our winter use. I also pressure can. Buy in bulk after being really sure it won't be cross contaminated.

Diana

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I guess we're lucky in that we didn't eat a lot of bread before daughter was diagnosed. So she didn't miss it all that much. I really only came up with two kinds of gluten-free bread I could bake that tasted good. One was Foccacia. You can use it for sandwiches, pizza, even leave off the savory toppings then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, add nuts, and if you want, drizzle it with icing. The other is zucchini bread and that recipe is in the recipe section on this website (not on the forum itself). I used to send that for my daughter's lunch quite often.

Agree on the potatoes. You can use them a variety of ways. Daughter is on the South Beach diet now so can't eat these things but... I would make mashed potatoes and then top them with a meat gravy. Either hamburger with lots of chopped onions and celery, or chicken, usually with canned chicken (can get coupons for that) or turkey gravy, again usually using canned turkey. I often get the canned meats at Costco. To make the gravy, brown your beef or add your cooked chicken or turkey to a large skillet. You can even use leftovers for this. Then add some sweet rice flour. You can get this for cheap in the Asian section if your store has such a section. I never really measure this but probably something like 1 T. for 4 servings. Cook it through for a minute then slowly add enough broth to make a gravy. Make sure that your broth is gluten-free. I often add parsley and some black pepper to the gravy.

You can make a Shepards/Cottage pie by starting with a base of cooked meat and gravy with vegetables. Cook all of these prior. Or you can used canned or frozen veg. Top with mashed potatoes and heat through in the oven until potatoes are beginning to brown. It helps to put a little butter or margarine on top. From there you can add a little cheese to the top or even mix some cheese into your mashed potatoes.

We loved Tater Tot Casserole but most cream soups are not gluten-free. So I made this using gravy or tomato sauce with a dab of ketchup added. The tomato stuff is better for ground beef than chicken or turkey, IMO. Add some green beans or corn to your meat.

Soups and stews are filling this time of year. I start with carrots, celery, onions and of course potatoes. Add whatever meat you have and then some tomato sauce or broth. Can thicken a bit if you want by whizzing a bit of it with an immersion blender then adding back in or by adding a small amount of instant mashed potato flakes.

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes is a favorite in our house. Of course you'll need something to add as a filler. I use gluten-free oats which are expensive but you only need a little. You can also use leftover gluten-free bread crumbs, crushed gluten-free Chex cereal or crushed gluten-free crackers. We love these with mashed potatoes.

A stuffed baked potato is another favorite meal.

Daughter loves sweet potatoes and they're easy to do in the microwave. I just serve with salt and butter.

Rice is another cheap and filling add on to a meal. You can use brown or white. You can add it to soup, make porcupine meatballs, use it for Spanish rice, add peas and Parmesan cheese, cheese and broccoli or some other veggie.

Beans are really cheap and filling. They provide both protein and carbs and they are what I eat almost daily. Dried beans are especially cheap. I can often find them for around a dollar or slightly more for a pound. A pound should be enough for a meal and you might even have leftovers. These days because they are usually so fresh in the stores they cook a lot more quickly than they used to. I use the quick soak method. Wash and pick over the beans. Add water to about 2" above the beans that are in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover and let sit for an hour. Then change out the water. Add the same amount of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to low, cover and cook until tender. This can take as little as 45 minutes, depending on what kind you cook. The smaller the bean, the quicker they cook. I find that I have to shave some time off of what it says on the package or they'll get mushy. Add tomatoes, salt or whatever other seasonings after they cook.

You can get gluten-free pasta. My husband is Italian and he didn't even notice a difference. It does cost a little more than regular pasta so we tend to eat more rice than we do pasta. But daughter prefers the pasta. One way to lessen the amount you use is to put it in a soup with lots of beans and other veggies. I find that if they see the pasta it is satisfying to them.

Popcorn makes the best snack! And it's super cheap if you pan pop it. One of my daughter's favorite lunches to take to school was a bag of leftover popcorn, an apple or some applesauce, baby carrots or carrot sticks and a piece of cheese. Easy, simple, and cheap!

Eggs are also a cheap source of protein. You can hard boil them, devil them, scramble them with a variety of things, even potatoes!

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Welda- don't soy hot dogs have gluten in them???

Depends on the brand. Some may, others may not.

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No way! What brand of soy hot dogs are gluten free????!!! (I'm really excited) :)

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No way! What brand of soy hot dogs are gluten free????!!! (I'm really excited) :)

LightLife Smart Dogs--7 grams of protein

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Welda, I just checked and they are not gluten free...made with wheat...

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Welda, I just checked and they are not gluten free...made with wheat...

My Lightlife Smart Dogs show the following ingredients:  water, soy protein isolate, soybean oil, evaporated cane syrup, pea protein isolate, tapioca starch, salt, potassium chloride, Baker's Yeast Estract, carageenan, dried garlic, natural flavor (from plant sources), natural smoke flavor, xanthan gum, fermented rice flour, guar gum, oleoresin, paprika (color).  Contains: SOY

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My Lightlife Smart Dogs show the following ingredients: water, soy protein isolate, soybean oil, evaporated cane syrup, pea protein isolate, tapioca starch, salt, potassium chloride, Baker's Yeast Estract, carageenan, dried garlic, natural flavor (from plant sources), natural smoke flavor, xanthan gum, fermented rice flour, guar gum, oleoresin, paprika (color). Contains: SOY

Looks like the Jumbo have a different set of ingredients & that must be what Welda gets.

These are the regular dogs

http://www.lightlife.com/Vegan-Food-Vegetarian-Diet/Veggie-Hot-Dogs

Water, soy protein isolate, vital wheat gluten, evaporated cane syrup, salt, potassium chloride, yeast extract, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat), carrageenan, dried garlic, natural smoke flavor, natural flavor (from plant sources), xanthan gum, fermented rice flour, guar gum, oleoresin paprika (color).

Contains: Soy, wheat.

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Looks like the Jumbo have a different set of ingredients & that must be what Welda gets.

These are the regular dogs

http://www.lightlife.com/Vegan-Food-Vegetarian-Diet/Veggie-Hot-Dogs

Water, soy protein isolate, vital wheat gluten, evaporated cane syrup, salt, potassium chloride, yeast extract, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat), carrageenan, dried garlic, natural smoke flavor, natural flavor (from plant sources), xanthan gum, fermented rice flour, guar gum, oleoresin paprika (color).

Contains: Soy, wheat.

No, I also get the regular, and I thought maybe it was the Jumbo that had the wheat.  I live in Escondido, CA, and get them at Trader Joe's.  I live 30 miles north of Escondido.  Hope you all can find the ones with soy--they are great!

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