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peasoup

On A Tight Budget

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I'm at uni and on a really tight budget, I'm legume intolerant as well as gluten-free so I can't make cheap meals with beans like I used to do (mum thinks that may have been the problem - I ate them aaall the time). Any tips on how to eat as cheaply as possible?

Thanks

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Guest cassidy

I would stay away from most of the processed gluten-free foods like bread. Those things are very expensive. The one splurge I would keep is Tinkyada pasta (if you like pasta). If you make a casserole with a bag of pasta and add any meat and veggies that you like then you could get several meals out of it which makes it cheaper and makes it so you don't have to cook at every meal.

Also, I buy things in different stores. If Walmart has a store brand of something that is gluten-free, I get it there. If my grocery store has store brand of something else gluten-free, I get that there. I only buy stuff at the health food store that I can't buy anywhere else. I don't know where you live but we have fruit & veggie stands and their prices are very inexpensive. I pull over on the side of the road and load up on that stuff.

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I'm at uni and on a really tight budget, I'm legume intolerant as well as gluten-free so I can't make cheap meals with beans like I used to do (mum thinks that may have been the problem - I ate them aaall the time). Any tips on how to eat as cheaply as possible?

Thanks

We shop at a variety of stores as well. Marc's has been a blessing for getting fruits and veggies...many of them organic and at incredible prices. We also stick to whole foods as much as possible and I try to make big batches of foods to be frozen for later meals and snacks. Cabbage rolls, meatballs, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, stews, chili....I make a big batch of each when beef or turkey goes on sale. The chili wouldn't be an option for you, but the cabbage rolls, spaghetti sauce and other things would. You could can your own foods by keeping glass jars (Mayo and such) and just buying lids to seal them again with your own favorites. That way, you can keep them at room temp if needed before using them. We do the same with soups. My aunt is supposed to show me how to can leftover turkey. She also cans her own herbs for future use. It's great to be able to store things at room temp and have them available for cooking in a situation that doesn't allow you much refrigeration.

When I buy chicken, I get it with the skin on and use the skin and bones to make broth. It saves quite a bit on buying the gluten-free chicken stocks. Just cook it with some fresh herbs, celery leaves and stalks, onion and whatever other ingredients you like to give it flavor. When making soup, you can throw in other veggies, potatoes, rice, pasta....whatever you're in the mood for or have the most of.

I bake and cook from scratch as much as possible. There are so many sites with gluten-free recipes...it's amazing what you can do on a tight budget. It's all a matter of using every part of your food. Even when juicing, I use the extracted pulp for salads, soups and sides. It adds tons of flavor and goes a lot farther.

And if you have time....shop sales. Most stores offer on-line access or flyers for current sales. I buy whatever I can on sale and make extra portions. This is especially true for meat and fish which can be frozen easily.

For quick meals, Thai Kitchen has some gluten-free rice noodle bowls which may work. I have found those at Marc's for 99 cents per meal (though the price is usually 1.79).

Stay away from the "junk" foods whenever possible. It may seem cheap, but junk foods are not nutrient dense and so you'll be hungry more often and go through more food that way. Foods that are nutrient dense (whole foods) may seem more expensive but will stretch much farther in the long run.

And for those who have a yard available....grow your own fruits and veggies. For $15, you can get several bushes as well as a bundle of strawberry plants and then have a constantly expanding source of fresh fruits over the years.

For indoors, you can purchase a chia herb garden for under $20 and grow herbs indoors for cooking. Just find a windowsill and keep them watered. I grow cilantro, basil and parsley this way and it has really saved us on buying herbs (not to mention that meals are much tastier with fresh ingredients). Plus, having plants in the house adds to the decor.

Make EVERYTHING that you buy work for you as much as possible. HTH


Vicky

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Ah, the constant struggle to feed America's college kids. Please know that you are not alone and many of us have gone through that phase. I had several older individuals who understood what I was going through during college and grad school. At least once a week I was taken out to lunch or offered to come over for a home-cooked meal. If you have people like this close to you talk to them about your situation, they WILL understand and try to accomodate your dietary needs. If you are anywhere close to NE Iowa I'll feed you on a regular basis.

Also, look into a local food pantry. I know what you are thinking, that is only for the needy. Well, guess what, you are trying very hard to get a degree plus balance a difficult and costly diet on a strict budget. Translation, you are in need! Some food pantries give out food and others sell at a very low cost. You will not have a very good food selection in regards to your dietary needs, but canned fruits, veggies, and meats plus rice you will be able to get for sure.

The other suggestions about sales, buying in bulk, and canning food are good bits of advice as well. There IS help out there, you just have to be a little humble and ask for it.

Good Luck!

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Check with the local Celiac support group and ask if any of the members can help. I'm sure you will get offers to visit for homecooked meals. If you are anywhere near Irvine, CA I will be more than happy to help feed you on a regular basis.


Phyllis

Gluten Free - 30 years

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I'm at uni and on a really tight budget, I'm legume intolerant as well as gluten-free so I can't make cheap meals with beans like I used to do (mum thinks that may have been the problem - I ate them aaall the time). Any tips on how to eat as cheaply as possible?

Thanks

Dear peasoup,

I too, am a poor college student. I understand where you are coming from. There are ways to eat gluten-free and legume free without going broke. As others on the forum mentioned, the special breads and the like are very expensive. The good news is, I have some tips I would like to share that have been a great deal of help to me.

[*]Wal-Mart's Great Value brand has numerous items labeled gluten-free. Their canned veggies, fruits, and frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts all are g.f.

[*]Wal-Mart's Great Value Brand also has a g.f. soy sauce!

[*]All of Lea and Perrins products such as their Worchestershire sauce are g.f.

[*]Heinz ketchup is allowed! (Not the organic one, though).

[*]Fresh meats and seafood are usually safe.

[*]Fresh fruit and veggies.

[*]Frozen veggies ( I really like the Steam Fresh ones that came out).

[*]Ore-Ida French Fries.

[*]Jif Peanut Butter is safe.

[*]Dinty Moore Beef Stew is safe.

[*]Go to the Chinese Market to get rice paper wrappers and rice pasta. Also, go there to get ginger root and Asian veggies instead of the regular supermarket.

[*]For the love of God use coupons!

[*]Check circulars online and from the mail to see what is on sale where to get the best deal.

[*]Don't buy but what you absolutely have to at the healthfood store. The only things I buy there are bread and crackers, unless I can afford to splurge on Glutino Bars or Pamela's Chocolate Chip cookies.

[*]Some items you can get cheaper online. There are a number of places online that have items cheaper than in the stores.

[*]For cake mix, the Chocolate Emporium has the best price. It is $3.29 per box. You do have to buy at least $15 worth, but that is actually a good deal when you can afford it.

[*]The Gluten-free pantry, amazon .com, and The Gluten-Free Market all have some specialty items at reasonable prices.

[*]All ortega products are g.f.

[*]All Classico red and white pasta sauces are g.f.

[*]Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles are currently g.f.

I hope this helps!

Sincerely,

NoGluGirl


Jin

Strawberry Allergy, mold allergy, dustmites allergy, ragweed allergy, dust allergy, food dye allergy - 1985

Asthma - 1994

Ovarian Cyst - May 1999

Anemia - 2000

4 More Ovarian Cysts - March 2000

Bloodwork for Celiac - November 2000 negative

Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, Intercolisis, Gastric Emptying Study - May and June 2001 negative biopsy

Fibromyalgia - June 2001

IBS - June 2001

Gallbladder Removal - July 28, 2003 after doctor said the tests showed nothing, so it was not gallbladder disease. It was very inflamed and irritated and nearly ruptured the surgeon told me at my 10 day post-op check-up.

Thyroid Disease - August 2004

Celiac Disease - March 2007 Current Dr. refers to me as Celiac, as she says blood tests are often inaccurate.

Official Purple Glittery Bat Keeper, District Attorney, and Chinese Restaurant Owner of The Silver Dragon of Rachelville

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Are you in an apartment or a dorm? Do you have a fridge, a microwave, and a crockpot? Throwing a chunk of beef into a crockpot with some raw veggies and letting it cook all day is cheap and quick. You can make 2-4 meals that way, just fridge or freeze leftovers in single-serving comtainers.


Dessa

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you." Numbers 6:24-25

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peasoup- I can't do legumes (or gluten) either which makes it hard because pb&j is so cheap. Are you in an apt or dorm? If I was in a dorm and there was no common kitchen, I would get a crockpot (I'm sure they're against the rules, but you're special :P ) and I would stock up on rice, veggies and meats (if you have a little fridge).

Also, if you are in the dorms, you should talk to the head of dining services. I know the university I went now accoomodates gluten-free diets at one of the dining halls.

Also, as suggested before Tinkyada pasta is GOOOOOOD and not to expensive so get some of that with sauce for a cheap meal.


***************************

Beverly

Gluten free since 2005

In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer.

Albert Careb

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I totally know where you are coming from.. i too am a college student with celiac disease/DH. one of the leaders in my support group gave me info that certainly helped adjust to college newly dx!!! this info is helpeful for anyone who is in college, or parents who have children who are school aged. I dont know if everyone is aware.. but celiacs are protected under the 504 Disability Act. My college gave me a freezer for my dorm room (i live in an apt style dorm) to keep all the food i have to bring from home-- a reg freezer/fridge wouldnt accomodate 4 girls!!! i shared this info with a fellow celiac i met in a class and who lived down the hall from me- she also got a freezer. it takes som navigation around the site, but all the info is very very helpful!!!!!!!!! :D

www.celiacdisease.net

good luck!! hope this helps a lot of people!! :)

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i dont know if you have a trader's joes in the area but they have much cheaper gluten free pasta that is brown rice. its 1.99 here in boston which is much cheaper than tinkyada and tastes the same. they also have other stuff that is gluten-free and seems cheaper than wholefoods.


Diagnosed in March 2006 after being in the hospital due to pancreatitis due to undiagnosed celiac

years of being told i had IBS, taking numerous IBS medications (since the age of fifteen)

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Thanks, I think non pre-prepared food is the way to go, I just need to get organised and not expect to be able to grab something to eat in 2 minutes (like I used to as I ran out the door with a pb sandwich), I do have a kitchen so I just need to get my act together with cooking. I'll keep an eye open for the sales too, that's a really good idea, take advantage of everything I can get!

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