Our society has become more aware of a number of food allergies and sensitivities. It is such a good thing that we have realized that food can either help or harm you, and not each person is alike. However, avoiding certain food triggers can sometimes be expensive and confusing. Whether a food will tend to send you running to the emergency room or to the bathroom, below are some ways to cut your grocery bill while still managing your dietary restrictions.
Make The Most Of Produce
For many people with food allergies, produce is a big part of their grocery list. Stretch your dollar by making sure your produce is produced in season, when it is cheaper and more nutritious. You can also check out your local farmer’s market for your produce and find prices much cheaper than at the grocery store, while also supporting small farmsteads! Out of season, head for frozen produce, which is often more nutrient-dense than the fresh produce available at that time, and can be stored for long periods of time without worry. When you get home, do your due diligence in storing your produce, keeping in fresh and crisp as long as possible. And when it does start to get overripe, don’t toss it out! Into a smoothie or stew it goes!
Make Your Own Foods
Even allergen-free foods that have been boxed or prepackaged will often have a label that states they were made in a facility with allergens. When you make your own meals and snacks from scratch, you are fully in control of the ingredients. Also, when it comes to baked goods, the gluten-free market is extensive – but expensive. You will blow your budget on a cart full of gluten-free goodies. Research your flour types and learn to bake for yourself. Gluten-free flours are more expensive, but they are significantly cheaper than buying premade items.
Shop In New Ways
While most grocery stores are trying to provide more healthful or allergen-friendly food items, there is only so much room on a shelf, and conventional foods are always going to take priority. To fill this gap, new food product delivery services have emerged. Thrive Market has great reviews and plenty others have created ways to offer a wide range of healthy foods at a fraction of the price. Sometimes they deliver to your door, sometimes you have to go to a pick-up point. Some are centered around bulk buying, some use a membership system. All of them offer way more food options for people with dietary restrictions, and often at a sharp discount from those same items in a grocery store.
A bag of frozen peas is a bag of frozen peas. Crackers are crackers. As long as it doesn’t mess with your dietary restrictions, buy the store-brand over the name-brand as frequently as you can. Many times, they are produced in the same facilities and simply labeled differently at the end. Some might notice a taste difference in certain items, but at least give it a try. You might even like the generic item better!
Stick To Your List
Whether you shop in person or online, you will save tremendous money by going in with a plan. Make a list of items you need and stick to that list. Grocery store aisles are full of shiny new brands and products, catering to those with food allergies or sensitivities. We are thankful more companies are taking notice! But those items will affect your bottom line at checkout. Maybe try out just one or two new items each time you shop, particularly if you’re using a shopping service that carries more options than in the store. Rein it in after that!