My daughter and I have been gluten free for almost a year now, and I just wondered what a reasonable gluten free budget for the family looks like. We are a family of 7, and I don’t do gluten free for everyone else (although would like to someday if budget allowed it), just myself and my daughter. I have been discouraged, feeling like there is no way to stay in my normal grocery budget, I always seem about 100.00 over when we are eating gluten free (plus I’m dairy free too so rice milk or flax milk is expensive, I get two half gallons each month). I’m just wondering if you could give me ballpark figures for your budgets to see if I’m way off, or overspending. Maybe there are other things I could do more cheaply for the gluten free things. Thanks so much, Adrienne
i can’t give you exact figures, but we are having hard time being gluten free for me and mostly dairy free for the rest of the fam…and we are a fam of 7 also. i usually spend $250 a week and really really struggle to stay within that…
We are a gluten/dairy free family of 6, and we spend about $700 a month for groceries. It is a terrible struggle to stay within the budget; and we aren’t buying any prepared gluten free foods. I have a large garden and can alot of what we eat for a year during the summer. I finally found a grinder that can handle our alternative flours, so I will start buying the grains in bulk for that. I have learned how to can my own beef and chicken, buying it on sale in order to afford it.
Wow, those make me feel better and yet more discouraged:) Our budget is about 350.00 a month for groceries and household items, and your figures so far show what it would be for my whole family to be gluten free/dairy free, which is something I feel needs done at some point. We all have tummy troubles, some have reflux, allergies, etc. We aren’t allowed to have chickens in our city, which would be so great because we eat a lot of eggs to substitute for other foods. Gardening hasn’t been my strong point, some years are good, others cost more just to water to keep things alive than it would to buy them! I buy processed gluten free foods (rice cakes, some crackers for snacks and Rice Chex that we use sparingly), and haven’t jumped into baking with any flours, it’s just too expensive and overwhelming if you make a mistake. Thanks for the numbers, and if anyone else wants to jump in that would be great.
We are not completely gluten/dairy free but do rotate out grains as we can and don’t do much dairy (mainly, we love cheese and can’t bring ourselves to give it up). A big money saver was making pancakes using a flour recipe combo of rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch (these flours are cheap from the Asian market and they work well for pancakes, but wouldn’t hold together well for more dense cooking because its a “light” gluten free combo). We invested in a Vitamix which has saved us much money for the long haul in making our own almond milk, dairy free ice creams (adding raw cashews for creaminess), grinding some grains (popcorn kernels into cornmeal and uncooked garbonzo beans into flour). We buy expensive GF or Ezekiel bread, but keep it in the freezer until ready to use so it doesn’t mold, and because GF breads are more dense it takes less of it to fill you up. Do you have a Trader Joe’s near you? Their polenta and their brown rice pasta is reasonably priced. Also, I started buying their organic popcorn kernels for a good pricecccc and we make our popcorn (much cheaper and healthier than microwave and its gluten free). I hear that polenta is easy and inexpensive to make from cornmeal, but haven’t tried it. We eat lots of brown rice, corn tortillas, quinoa, and either sweet potatoes or white potatoes. We do have a Costco membership which costs $50/year, but buy our quinoa, brown rice, rice milk, soy milk, almond butter, organic spinach, organic carrots, maple syrup, bananas, large bags of frozen fruits, and gas there to save $$$. For a family of 4 (dc are only 5 and 3), we spend around $500/month….that includes eating some regular “SAD” cheaper options, not all gluten free, and a small selection of processed food. Before I started buying lots of fresh fruits and veggies, more expensive bread, some organic, some GF, nitrate free deli meats, uncured bacon, dairy free milk substitutes, local unfiltered honey, maple syrup, and such we were spending closer to $400/month. In that budget, we try to eat a couple meals/week meat free (searching for more filling healthy meat free meal options to rotate in my menu planning) and dh takes leftovers from dinner for work the next day. We eat out about 2-3x/month which is in a separate budget slot. Also, the kids drink calcium enriched OJ in the am instead of milk, and drink water the rest of the day unless I make a green smoothie with fruit and spinach.
I always feel guilty that I spend so much when we have so little, but the truth is that our food budget almost tripled when we all went GF/DF. Sigh. =) We are not eating fancy, either.
When we were eating gluten-free, I typically spent $80-$100 per week for our family of 4. When we started the GAPS Diet, my grocery budget went up to $550 per month! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! That’s one of the mains reasons we’re taking a break!
We still have not added wheat back into our diet, but when we do, I will be soaking and sprouting to break down and pre-digest gluten. I found my son was able to tolerate wheat when it was prepared this way, and I was able to eat it too without a tummy ache later.
Our biggest food expenses are: grass-fed beef ($4.80/lb from a local rancher), raw milk ($9/gallon from a local dairy), raw cheese ($5.40/lb), soy-free eggs ($4.19/dozen), pastured chicken ($3.99/lb) and organic produce (which I try to order from our co-op to save even more money).
Food is SO stinkin’ expensive!!!!
Thanks for all the posts! ibkim2, I’ll look into Trader Joes since we just got one near us. Also, when you make your pancakes do you use xantham gum? That small bag is so expensive! Maybe I’ll do some price checking at Costco, we don’t have a membership because I’ve never needed large quantities of things there that I couldn’t get generic somewhere else. Our Walmart has quinoa, but maybe it would be cheaper in bulk at Costco. Thanks so much
Our Walmart just replaced the large bags of xanthan gum with individual pouches for $.44/pkg. I wish that they had both. =(
I don’t add xanthum gum to the pancakes, and I don’t like pancakes using GF flours mixes with the xanthum gum added because my experience is that it makes the pancakes too chewy. I haven’t used the rice flour mix with anything but pancakes, because I am certain it wouldn’t hold together without xanthum gum with anything more dense. The flour mix is 2 cups of white rice flour, 2/3 cup potato startch, and 1/3 cup tapioca starch (all of which are inexpensive at the Asian markets). Since I prefer whole grains to white rice flour usually, I put ground flax meal in as an egg substitute to add some extra nutrition.
I’m not sure how much quinoa is at Walmart, but our Costco has a 4lb bag for under $10. Before then, I was buying it in bulk at Whole Foods at $3.69/lb. Quinoa is a complete protein, loaded with multitudes of vitamins/nutrients, and I’m so glad my kids love it. I had to visit Costco before deciding on membership, because I had to go a see if I was really going to save more than the membership cost, and it does for us, but one reason is that is close by and we eat the things we save on often. I’ve found their name brand items and their processed foods to not be any cheaper than getting it on sale at the regular store.
Trader Joe’s also has some packaged GF things like brownie/pancake mixes, cookies, and crackers that are more expensive than non-GF items, but less expensive than what Whole Foods or the grocery store charges for those same GF items. We don’t buy those much though.
Let us know any tips/savings you discover as you continue along on this diet change.
Lyndsey D……you have a great handle on your budget for eating so well!!!! What is your secret?
I have a family of 6…my oldest 3 eat like adults…lol. I am GF and have 3 dc with allergies to various things. At the end of last year I tried to keep groceries to $250/2 week time period (some weeks we had to get by on much less). Did that for a several months. That was attainable with eating lots of beans and lentils, though not easily sustainable in the long run. If I can have $300-$350/2 weeks I am a very happy shopper.
We eat alot of meals from scratch, stretch meat with beans. In general, I don’t buy much GF stuff. I don’t buy GF bread often…it’s just too expensive. I will buy GF oats through Amazon’s subscribe and save program. It comes out cheaper than in store prices and is my breakfast most days. Snacks are fruit, yogurt (for those that can have it), nuts, veggies, hummus, roasted chickpeas. Lunch is salad or leftover soup for me. We still do alot of beans/lentils even at $300/2weeks, but now we also have a bit more lean proteins added in. I cook soup alot..usually twice a week…its inexpensive and makes for an easy breakfast or lunch for me.
I can relate to the stress of trying to keep within a tight grocery budget. There are times when the fridge is empty, times when you pull random odd things out of the cabinet to make a meal, times when your children are wanting more food than you have at the moment and that is all very stressful to a mama. Hugs to you ((amama5)).
I am slowly going g.f. for myself and “allergic” son and we also just got T.J.’s here in Louisville Ky. The brown rice pasta is $1.99 for a 16 oz bag and is by far better than any other gf pasta I’ve tried, ie..it actually tastes like pasta The best bread I’ve found so far is Udi’s which is about $2 cheaper at T.J’s than Whole Foods, still expensive of course but I don’t buy much of it. The Costco here is a pretty good source for us too although I feel a little gulity not buying local produce you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. Anyhow, the costco here has organic eggs, spinach, carrots, mixed greens and lots of organic grains. Although after reading Sally Fallons intro in her book “Nourishing Traditions” I’m trying not to buy cereals, our costco is beginning to stock a lot more GF in that area as well. My kids love grits which are cheap. Grits are not the healthiest I’m sure but they sure go great with poached eggs and are filling to keep them going til lunch time.
Hats off to those of you who are grinding your own grains, maybe I’ll get there some day.
As far as budget we spend about $150-$200 at the beginning of the month when the pantry is getting pretty bare but then it tapers down to about $100 per week.
Anybody out there from Louisville? Would love to find some families who are h.s.ing using C.M.
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