One of the biggest complaints about going gluten free is the cost. Gluten free foods are usually more expensive than their wheat flour counterparts. Gluten free pretzels are at least a few more bucks than regular ones. Same goes for cookies, bread, bagels, waffles...you name it.
But are gluten free diets always more expensive? Does a gluten free diet absolutely have to leave you with less money in your wallet at the end of the month?
No...but only if you know what to shop for.
The easiest way to eat an inexpensive gluten free diet is to buy lots of fresh vegetables, especially green ones, like broccoli, kale, asparagus, spinach, green beans, etc….
If at every meal, including breakfast (be it in an omelette or juice) if you fill up on veggies, getting most of your calories from them, you won’t be spending any more money than you would on a regular gluten-filled diet. You may even save money.
The perfect lunch or dinner consists of lots of low-starch veggies and Miracle Noodles, which is gluten-free and only costs less than $3 per serving. Compare that to spending $10-$20 for a regular, gluten-filled, carb-coma inducing pasta meal. Even imported regular high-starch pasta is more expensive than Miracle Noodles. Just make sure you eat enough healthy fat also to keep you full. Remember, because Miracle Noodles contain fiber, they will also give you a feeling of satiety.
Lean, wild, pasture-raised and organic meats and fish are all gluten-free. These items are usually expensive but because they are gluten-free they aren’t costing you any more than a non gluten-free diet. If you eat very small portions of meat/fish, say, the size of one fist, a pound of humanely-raised meat or fish can be split up into several portions.
Nuts and seeds are gluten free as well. A handful of walnuts, almonds or cashews can keep you going in between your major meals for several hours. You can also combine nuts and seeds with a half-serving of fruit, another gluten-free option. Half an organic Granny Smith apple with some nuts packs a nutrient-dense gluten-free caloric punch.
If you must eat bread, this might be the one item you’ll have to be willing to pay a little extra for. Beware, though of gluten-free breads that have their primary ingredients as corn or potato starch and include maltodextrin. These breads usually have very little fiber and get digested too quickly, leaving you craving more and more high-starch foods. (For more on gluten free breads, read this.)
Learn to make and bake your own bread using almond or coconut flour to save lots of money. Almond flour is high in protein.
If you buy lots of gluten-free snacks, yes, you will end up spending far more money than you would. But if you eat at least 2 meals a day (breakfast and lunch) that are packed with lots of low-starch vegetables, healthy fats like avocado, olive oil and nuts or seeds, you can eat a lighter dinner consisting of a salad or soup (like our Miso Marvellous Instant Noodle Soup) and a little snack of cheese, yet another gluten-free food that won’t break the bank.
Eating nutrient dense foods at every meal and snack will curb cravings for salty or sweet foods. Even if it’s gluten-free, remember, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy...for your body and your wallet.