Looking for tips on how to make gluten free work on a budget? Here are a few tips, and a recipe for inexpensive, tasty, cornmeal pancakes.
So, you’re on a budget, making every dollar stretch and just making it work, when suddenly you’re hit with a diagnosis of Celiac Disease and you need to go gluten free. You cruise the gluten free aisle of your grocery store and contemplate selling your car so you can afford to buy bread. How do you make gluten free work when you’re already on a tight budget? Here are a couple of tips and a recipe that most will be able to afford to make.
Buy Naturally Gluten Free Foods
Food that don’t contain wheat, rye, barley or spelt or ingredients made with these grains are naturally gluten free. (You can find out the Other Names for Gluten by Clicking HERE)
You already buy many of them. Fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, cheddar cheese, rice and grits are all naturally gluten free. A more complete list of gluten free foods can be found HERE.
Sandwiches seem to be a regular part of the North American diet. They’re usually an easy meal if you’re on a budget. Unfortunately, gluten free bread isn’t as inexpensive as that giant loaf of white gluten-filled bread and so sandwiches disappear from the menu. Instead of bread sandwiches, try using an inexpensive, naturally gluten free corn tortilla to hold your sandwich filling (Always read labels!! Very rarely corn tortillas will contain wheat. They’re usually marketed as “soft” corn tortillas). Try a “naked” sandwich with no bread at all (this works best for burgers or meat), Make egg or tuna salad and use it as a vegetable dip. Or make a “bowl” using rice as a base and putting your sandwich fillings on top.
Trade in that Pasta
That amazing dinner dollar stretcher, gluten-filled pasta, is no longer an option on a gluten free diet. Gluten free pasta isn’t as expensive as it once was, but it’s still pricier than its gluten filled counterpart. Thankfully, there are a few budget friendly gluten free starch options to include in your diet. Rice, potatoes, grits and polenta (boiled cornmeal) are all inexpensive and can be used in casseroles and stir fries to stretch meat and vegetables. (My rice bake recipe is here, and you can check out this post for how to make Polenta). If you absolutely need pasta, check out Asian grocers in your area. You can usually buy rice noodles for much less than gluten free pasta in the grocery store.
Have Ice Cream for Dessert
Packaged gluten free baked goods can be pricey. If you need something sweet, grab some gluten free ice cream or chocolate. (Read labels!!)
Learn a Couple of Easy, Inexpensive Gluten Free Recipes
Like this cornmeal pancake recipe. This one goes over well in our house, especially if I add some mini chocolate chips. They taste like a sweet corn muffin and make a great breakfast or snack (or lunch, or dinner, we’re pretty relaxed around here). Cornmeal is cheap. And this recipe includes only things most people already have in the house, no expensive specialty flours.
- 1⅓ cup cornmeal
- 2 T sugar
- 1 T Baking powder
- 2 T butter OR 2 T vegetable oil and ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Wisk all ingredients together until batter is smooth.
- Preheat a skillet to 325F or a frying pan over medium heat.
- Grease skillet and pour batter by ⅓ cupfuls.
- Cook pancakes until the edges are firm and the top is bubbly.
- Gently flip pancakes and cook the other side until golden.
- Remove from the skillet and serve with syrup or honey.