Gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, barley, rye and some other carbohydrates, isn’t necessarily bad for you. However, more and more people are now discovering that they have some form of gluten intolerance, ranging from a mild sensitivity to celiac disease. Symptoms range from mild abdominal pain and bloating to headaches, vomiting and joint pain. If you have one or more of these symptoms, don’t automatically assume you’re gluten intolerant. Since the symptoms are so varied, if you suspect you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, you should talk to your doctor before making any major dietary changes.

Once you have determined that you need to eliminate or reduce gluten from your diet, what next? Aren’t gluten-free products really expensive? Well, yes and no.

While it’s convenient that more and more large grocery store chains are now carrying gluten-free foods (frequently in a special gluten-free section of the store), these foods often come with a hefty price tag.  After we discovered my husband was gluten intolerant and I went grocery shopping for the first time, I nearly had a heart attack. $5.65 for a box of pasta? $6.00 for a box of cereal? $8.00 for a bag of pizza crust mix? No thank you!

However, never fear! There are ways to save on gluten-free products! True, you probably won’t often find them for as cheap as their gluten-filled counterparts (and if you do find them that cheap, stock up!), but with the right approach, you don’t have to bust your budget either. So if you are shopping for a gluten-free family member, here are some tips to help you save at the store.

  • Always read labels. Gluten is in a wide variety of foods, some of which will surprise you! It answers to a variety of names, including barley, germ, malt, rye, wheat. Other ingredients such as oats, coloring, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be okay, but you need to proceed with caution. A complete list of ingredients to avoid can be found at Celiac.com. It’s pretty extensive, so it may be helpful to print it out and keep it in your binder.  Once you know what to avoid, you don’t have to be afraid to shop in the “regular” area of the store.
  • Check to see if your favorite brand has a gluten-free version. As gluten-free diets are becoming more popular, major brands are starting to offer gluten-free options. Progresso, Chex, Hamburger Helper, Bisquick, Betty Crocker, and Nature Valley are just a few of the manufacturers who produce gluten-free products (which are labeled “Gluten Free” right on the front of the box). You can find these in the aisle right alongside their regular counterparts. And, as a bonus, your coupons will most often work on the gluten-free version just as well as the regular version.
  • Try specialty stores. While stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s tend to be pricier overall, since their specialty is…well, specialties, they are more apt to run sales or promotions on gluten- free products than Target or Kroger. They also have a wider variety of products from which to choose, and Whole Foods also has store coupons that can be stacked with manufacturer coupons!
This has been a guest post by Lauren from Brentwood, TN
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13 thoughts on “How to Save on Gluten Free Food”

  1. One thing to be careful about is that you can’t “stock up” on gluten free food like you can with regular. GF foods last for considerably less time than regular food, and most of it has already been frozen once so it’s not advisable to freeze it. Making your own food is really the best way to save money, but baking gluten free is a completely different process so you need to learn how to bake all over again, it’s much more than simply substituting rice flour. A good way to start is by buying mixes, and Bob’s Red Mill is a very high quality brand at a good price. Usually all you have to do is throw in a few basic ingredients like butter and eggs and you have fresh baked foods without much time and way less money than buying premade.

  2. Tami Perrin says:

    Great ideas! We have two Celiac daughters, so we’re always on the lookout for good deals. Amazon is another place I have found great deals. I buy their 25 lb. bags of pamela’s bread mix when they clearance it close to the expiration date and then freeze it. Make sure you’re a member of the Mom’s subscribe and save club that gives you an extra discount plus free 2-day shipping! Just make sure you cancel the subscription to the item once it’s delivered or the deliveries will continue! We also love URM (restaurant supply store). They have corn based spaghetti noodles that are gluten free and the same price as regular spaghetti. They also have many sauces, ie sweet and sour, and La choy soy sauce that is gluten free. You have to do some label reading, but they have a lot there.

  3. Tiffany Pate says:

    I have celiac. I have found that Smiths (Kroger) is cheaper, by $1 per loaf, on Rudi’s Raisin Bread than over Whole Foods here in Las Vegas. The Trader Joes here doesn’t really carry GF. Our Kroger carries a ton of it; but if I want something off-the-wall “special” then I go to whole foods. I use an already mixed flour, Namaste Brand; which is fantastic, but get at Whole Foods.

  4. angie says:

    If you have a Whole Foods in your area they are great to shop at for GF foods. The closest one to me is about a 35 minute drive but it’s worth it for my family. I have 2 members who are celiac so to shop there has been great. Between their weekly sales, instore coupons and manu coupons I have been able to catch some great deals.

    All it takes is remembering the names of the brand and emailing the company for coupons which they are always willing to help out. And instead of spending the $1 on processed cookies or crackers and skipping the printing of GF foods coupons it’s all been able to help me stay within my food budget.

  5. Have you tried using the regular Bisquik coupon with the gluten free because I noticed the UPC is different for the 2 boxes?

  6. Lois Bowers says:

    We live in Arizona, and our local Bashas’ Supermarkets carry alot of dietary needs foods, one of course are their gluten free products. They also have started labelling the foods in the isles with tags that indicate if a product is low sodium, GF, sugar free, etc., its really nice. Plus, they have a refrigerated section solely dedicated to GF…the prices on things like pastas are similar to their counterpart, the refrigerated items often go on sale. I’m not gluten intolerant, but my adult daughter is, so when I see items for sale I go for them or even new ones for her to try….I LOVE MY STORE…

  7. Jen Eiffert says:

    Hamburger Helper pulled the GF line a few months ago. There might be a few boxes out there but they changed from a dedicated facility to a shared facility with cross contamination.
    I love Trader Joes Brown Rice Pasta and for $1.99 a bag is the cheapest out there.

  8. I have also emaild the companies that put out the Gluten Free Foods and asked for coupons and they sent me some. :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    The best way to save is to make them yourself. With so many recipes online, it isn’t hard nowadays. (I’m just talking about bread, pizza crust, and snacks and such; I still buy gluten-free pasta;) )

  10. Anonymous says:

    For my gluten-free friends!

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