(Closed) Gluten free on a budget

posted 6 years ago in Food
Post # 2
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I am not gluten free but I have had roommates who are….rice was a cheap staple in thier diet. They also ate a good amount of protien (eggs, chicken) so they felt full without eating many of the typical wheat starches.

Post # 3
3728 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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beetee123:  I totally understand your concern. I got celiac when I was 21 and dead broke– like $10k a year while in college/grad school broke. Here are a few tips–

1) Do you have a Trader Joe’s? If so, their rice pasta is cheap ($2 a bag), as in their Girlfriend oatmeal ($4 a pound). I couldn’t survive without it. If you don’t, Wegman’s is a great option.

2) Don’t try to change your old recipes to be gluten free. Instead cook naturally gluten free food. It is way, way less disappointing and way cheaper. In a typical week, we make:

a)sweet potato risotto

b) black bean, tomatos, peppers, avacados, and cheese in corn tortillas

c) rice pasta with spinach, cheese, and tomato sauce

d) grilled chicken (marinated with lemon juice and pepper), grilled tomatoes, and grilled sweet peppers

e) homemade mac and cheese (rice pasta, 1 1/2 packages of shredded cheese, dash of milk, paprika)

f) meatloaf (ground turkey, sage, crushed tortilla chips, egg)

g) baked potatoes with brocoli and cheese.

As far as fake flours– figure out if you need gluten (the thing to make it chewy) or not. If you are making a floured piece of chicken or fish, masa flour (in the mexican section) is super cheap and works excellent. If you are breading something to fry, masa, egg, and crushed tortilla chips work great.

We skip sandwiches for lunch and instead do leftovers. Way cheaper and tastes so much better.

If you are really broke, black beans and cheese with tortilla chips is a great nacho meal.


If you post some food you normally eat (and hit the reply button to this so I see the notification), I would be happy to send modifications to make it Girlfriend and cheap 🙂

Post # 5
2742 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Disney

Beans and rice with andouline sausage bell pepper and tomatoes with jalapenos topped with cheese

Veggie packets with grilled meat

Yoghurt and fruit

Eggs and fruit



I try to stick with less of the replacement foods and more of the foods that are naturally gluten free.

Post # 7
139 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Cadillac mountain

I have a very sensitve corn allergy that cross reacts with gluten. 


I don’t try to replace baked goods, I feel like thats where a lot of the expense comes in. We basically follow a modified paleo diet (we add what safe cheese I have).

I also like to take left overs or make ahead meals to work, some of my favorites are:

Mason jar salads http://www.organizeyourselfskinny.com/2014/03/17/the-ultimate-mason-jar-salad-tutorial-and-recipe-round-up/

Tacos! I make a roast in the crock pot with salsa & hot sauce, and then keep it in the fridge. I do lettuce wraps instead of a grain based shell

I also do the same idea with shredded chicken

I do individual portions of soup that I made in a big batch & freeze in mason jars so I have single servings & they are easy to heat up

Post # 8
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Antique Rose Emporium

Stay away from anything labeled gluten free. I found that just omitting that kind of stuff entirely was easier than having to get the pricey gf version of everything and being disappointed that it wasn’t the “real” thing. I eat brown rice as my main grain bc even quinoa is questionable and I am highly, highly sensitive.

youll learn to value your health more than convenience or a fast fix…truly it changed my life and forced me to look at what I was Doug to myself!!

Post # 9
3728 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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beetee123:  One thing you might want to consider is doing dips for lunches (veggies and hummus, carrots and almond butter). They don’t require a microwave.  I have never found bread to be a cost efficient– the loaves are so much smaller and they go bad really quickly. 

For snacks, I normally grab a tupperware of tortilla chips, rice chex, or nuts. There are Girlfriend granola bars (I like Kind and Larabars), but they aren’t cheap and aren’t that great. 

One other unsolicited piece of advice about your SO not eating Girlfriend. I totally understand not wanting to make him go Girlfriend just because of you– I was the same way. However, my now-DH’s office mate has a wife who got diagnosed as severe celiac 10 years ago. What he told my DH is that if you want to make a marriage/co-habitation work, you are going to need to be Girlfriend while at home (with the exception of beer). Gluten crumbs get everywhere– in the toaster, in your pans, in your sponges… In the begining it is no big deal, but as you get healther, that little bit of gluten is enough to make you sick. It just won’t work out– he will be making you so sick so often that eventually you will have to cut out the gluten at home. And if you have a kid with celiac, it is really, really hard to have a parent with a different set of rules. 

I now see DH’s coworker’s point and every single household that I have talked to that has one celiac and one non-celiac (about 8), they are off gluten at home. The non-celiacs go full on gluten mode out of the house, but it isn’t worth it at home. So it is something to be aware of going forward.

Post # 10
1197 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Fiance is gluten-free.  Thankfully, he doesn’t eat a lot of bread, but what bread he does eat we get from Costco.  FI eats mainly meat, potatoes, rice and a LOT of quinoa.  He orders salads when we go out.  

Post # 11
1160 posts
Bumble bee

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beetee123:  potato based salads are good for lunches, or left overs of whatever Girlfriend thing I had the night before. I also keep all of my Girlfriend bread in the freezer, it goes off so fast. I then either have it toasted or make sandwiches with frozen bread in the morning and it’s defrosted by lunch time but it’s saved me a ton of wasted bread!

Post # 12
1988 posts
Buzzing bee

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beetee123:  for breading.. Cornstarch is pretty good. I make edam cheese balls and bread them with an egg and cornstarch. Then fry them. Sooooo good!

Also, the best chicken tenders I’ve eaten in my life are the ones I bread with coconut flakes! I buy the organic ones that come in a green bag (I’ll see if I can find name) and they last quite a long time if used for breading. Just under $3 the bag and they are awesome!

Also cornstarch as a sauce thickener is the cheapest option I think?


Post # 13
1988 posts
Buzzing bee

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beetee123:  bean salad. Egg salad. Tomato and tuna salad. lettuce wraps with the egg salad. Yum!

When I am working on the road I use those salads . I keep a cool box in my trunk with some Ice packs and water bottles

snacks : hummus. Super easy to make and CHEAP! With baby carrots 

Rice cakes! They are cheap, I buy the salted ones and eat them with baby bell cheeses.

ham and cheese rolls. Easy to make

rice cakes (non salted) with cream cheese and jam for a sweet snack

Nature Valleys nut bars. They have some gluten free ones and Walgreens usually has them on sale at least once a month lol

ice cream for a sweet treat. Or chocolate.

Angie’s kettle corn (I buy big bag at Costco)

And once in a while when in the mood for junk I grab Tostitos with a disgustingly fatty mix I make that in my mind is a pasta free lasagna. Soooo good! Lol All the ingredients of lasagna but the pasta. In a bowl and dip the chips in it. This was my savior at the beginning when diagnosed to keep the calorie intake high as I had started training for a half Ironman. At the beginning it was very hard as I did not know any other celiac and half of the brands I now buy were not available back then where I live. I also spent an insane amount of money in food that I could not get down my throat. Not because I was expecting the same flavor as with gluten containing foods but because I happened to grab some of the worst products in the market. yuck.

Also, i bake my own cookies and cakes instead of spending a fortune buying pre made stuff. yes, the flour is expensive. But just two months ago I discovered Amazon Prime was my friend and now I buy in bulk and I get three packages for what I used to get only 2 and I still pay a little less!



Post # 14
1549 posts
Bumble bee

As others have said, I think the key is not trying to replicate all your favourite gluten filled foods. 

Detoxinista is my absolute favourite page for healthy gf recipes (it’s not all gf, but most is!). Everything I’ve tried is amazing and always SO-approved…even when he’s incredibly skeptical. 

As for not having access to a microwave, buy a thermos! You can get proper bowl sized ones that will keep your food hot until lunch. 

Or you can get creative and turn your hot dinners into cold lunches. If you have chicken, quinoa and veggies for dinner, shred the leftover chicken and throw it all together as a salad. 

Post # 15
354 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Try buying dry goods (pasta, tortillas, rice, etc) on amazon.

But really, probably the cheapest way to do it is to not  buy the fancy Girlfriend free foods (though certainly you will want them as a treat sometimes!) and instead focus on naturally-GF foods – proteins, veggies, fruits, rice, beans, cheese, etc. I eat a lot of salads, frozen veggies, etc. I like to have a few Girlfriend frozen meals (Amy’s, Udi’s) on hand when I’m really lazy, but I try to make a lot of casseroles and things that can make leftovers. Pinterest is actually a great recipe resource!


365crockpot also has a lot of great Girlfriend crockpot recipes!

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