Disclaimer: please check all products for allergies before purchasing. This is just my experience of food shopping and to offer inspiration.
Hi and welcome back.
Today I thought I would share a blog post I would have loved to have seen when I was first diagnosed as a coeliac and had to follow a gluten free diet. You can read my story here. When I was fist diagnosed, I thought I could only eat from the Free From section in the supermarkets. My diet became very restricted and the cost soon mounted up. Over time, I have learnt to create gluten free recipes from items you can find in the other areas of the supermarkets. You can find my How to Make: series here. I hope this post helps you to see gluten free living is possible without breaking the bank. I hope you enjoy. C. -x-
Come Shopping with Me
Recently, I have started to use meal planning to cut my food shopping spending, and so keeping to budget, and I am finding it works well. If you would like a blog post on how I meal plan, please let me know. You can find my How to Make: series here which I hope will give you an idea on recipes. Other places I go for inspiration are Pinterest and Instagram and you can check out my social media pages in the links below. Once I have checked my cupboards on what food I currently have and come up with inspiration for recipes, I write a list.
Planning the food shop
My food shop list follows is often written on a scrap piece of paper which I divide into 4 main categories; dairy/ fridge, vegetables, freezer and dry ingredients. When I am shopping, I am working really hard to keep to my list; the temptation in supermarkets is often overwhelming. When I was first diagnosed, I would just buy from the Free From Aisle of the local supermarket. Over time, I have learnt to check packaging and cook a lot more from scratch such as my Easy Tomato Sauce so I don’t have to buy the more expensive pre-prepared versions. I recently read an article that suggested to start your food shop by getting cupboard ingredients, then coming back to vegetables, then dairy then freezer. While I see the advantages (i.e. less likely chance of your ice cream melting before you pay) I tried it out and found I picked up so many more items that were “off list” because I kept walking past them. Instead, I follow the flow of the supermarket and ignore aisles which I know I don’t need. There are times though where I definitely wish I could purchase blinkers to stop the desire to buy yet more bags of nachos; anyone else feel the same?
Items used from my store cupboard for these recipes include:
- Gluten free pasta.
- Packet rice.
- Salt, Pepper and spices (chilli).
- Gluten free flour, caster sugar, vanilla and baking ingredients.
How I shop
For my food shop, I tend to shop in Aldi/ Lidl for the majority of my food shop as they have good quality fruit, vegetables and main ingredients I can cook with for our meals. This set-up isn’t perfect because there are times I still end up in the larger chain Supermarkets such as Tesco or Sainsbury’s for the gluten free items. Luckily for me, that is often only: bread, pasta and the odd cake for a treat though that is becoming less with Aldi/Lidl starting to stock more gluten free items . When I am food shopping, I find the larger supermarket is opposite the road to Aldi/Lidl so this set up works well. Also, by going to Aldi/Lidl first, I find I am more exhausted so by the time I am in the Free From Aisles I am getting tired and just want to get in and out as quickly as possible. As a result, I am less likely to be tempted by all the gluten free produce available. There are times I have made do without the items because I can’t stand the hassle.
What I bought and how I will use it
For today, I shopped in Lidl and this is what I managed to pick up. My meals for the week include:
- Breakfasts: yogurt (use up), toast or waffles (pre-baked and frozen).
- Lunches: Pea and Broccoli Soup, leftovers or sandwiches.
- Dinners: Creamy Chilli Chicken, Pasta Carbonara, Chilli or frittata.
NB: the BBQ sauce and crisps were for my other half who is not a coeliac so please check before purchasing.
Total cost came to under £20.
The recipes are linked: Pasta Carbonara, waffles and fritatta are coming to my blog soon so stay tuned.
As you can see, I managed to get the large bulk of ingredients from Lidl and only had to pick up gluten free bread from Sainsbury’s. These meals will see us through Monday – Saturday evening which is when I meal plan for. The weekends tend to be less rigid and we often meet up with family and friends for meals so I like to have options. I also use the weekends to meal prep as I often do my food shop on a Saturday morning. For this week, I will spend Sunday afternoon baking my waffles and cupcakes for treats and create the pea and broccoli soup which I also freeze. If we are short on time, I will cook the chilli using my slow cooker.
I hope this helps you get inspired to meal plan and use Pinterest to find new recipes. My Pinterest account has a range of gluten free recipes and ideas for you to try to get you started, click here. Newsletter is now live! Don’t forget to subscribe so you do not miss out on any future blog posts.