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How to Live Gluten-Free on a Budget

gluten-free on a budgetThere's a lot of talk lately about food budgets, food prices, and stretching a dollar especially when it comes to eating a gluten-free diet which at times, can be expensive. Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects at least 1 in 133 Americans. Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms.

Like many of us who are struggling to balance our budgets living gluten-free, here are 10  tips and tricks to stretch the green and keep it tasty!

1. Buy pantry items on sale. Beans. Rice. Canned tomatoes. Canned pumpkin. Gluten-free pasta. Stock up when you can and buy in bulk. 

2. Eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. Cut down on meat and browse the Vegetarian and Vegan Index for some budget-friendly inspiration. Shop at the local Farmers' markets for seasonal inspiration and budget friendly prices.

3. Make your own snacks instead of buying pre-packaged. You can make twice as much hummus for less than half the price. Try making your own snack chips out of stale corn tortillas and brown rice tortillas.

4. Use more potatoes. They're amazingly versatile, easy and cheap! You can make a warming and filling soup for very little money or make it the center of a meal rather than a side dish.

5. Eat breakfast for dinner. Try making an omelet with eggs and left over blue corn chips and call it a Blue Chip Fritatta. Try pancakes, Pumpkin Waffles, or a simple Fried Egg and Pesto on Toast. Find more brunch, quiche and egg recipes here.

6. Pasta, Pasta, Pasta! Even though gluten-free pasta runs a tad more expensive than regular grocery store spaghetti, you can often buy in bulk and save.

7. Soup’s On! If you are cooking for a family, a pot of soup can be a lifesaver! If you make it a slow cooker, you save energy costs (Did you know that using a slow cooker to make a meal uses the same amount of energy as a light bulb?). Find more soup recipes here that are wallet friendly that the whole family will love.  

8. Make your own broth- don't bother buying expensive gluten-free broths. Make your own with water, toss in some old celery sticks, a couple of bendy carrots, a piece of onion, some garlic and herbs and salt to taste. Gluten free broth for half the price!

9. Remix leftovers. Don't just reheat  leftovers in the microwave. Get creative with leftover rice, quinoa, stews and chili. Combine leftover veggies and chicken for soup. Throw in leftover salad greens, toss in some carrots, or add a scoop of rice.

10. Be your own advocate. Not everyone reacts to gluten the same way. Share any recipe you have, write down foods that work and that give you trouble and don’t get discouraged! Shop sales, read labels, and get cooking!

Information adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess Recipes.