Hi and welcome back.
I hope you are enjoying your 4 day week after the bank holiday and aren’t too busy swamped with work. It can’t just be me who feels like I need a another break as the first few days back are just mental – right? Today, I wanted to share my advice on doing the weekly/ monthly food shopping when you are gluten free. These tips also work well if you have a dairy allergy too. I am one of those rare few individuals that truly enjoys food shopping; I love going to the Supermarket and trying to find the best foods at a low price. It’s almost like a game I play with myself to keep me entertained; otherwise I would just go mad! I mean, food shopping isn’t exactly the most fun jobs when it comes to adult life. I hope they help you. I know when I was first diagnosed as a coeliac and needed to change my diet, I made a lot of mistakes when it came to my food shopping so I am hoping I can prevent you from making them too. I hope you enjoy. C. -x-
Tip Number 1: Stay away from the Free From Aisle
Now, this may sound a bit controversial considering I am a coeliac, and as such can’t enjoy the normal cakes, biscuits and products from the other aisles, but please hear me out. When I was first diagnosed, I would head straight to the Free From Aisle at my local supermarket and buy only products from there. (Please, if you have a severe allergy and can only shop from here, ignore this post). I would end up spending a fortune and that wasn’t just because gluten free products are at least twice the price of other products. I would buy a lot of packaged food ans my diet would be so restricted as a result. Now, I get the majority of my food shop from the other aisles and only go down the Free From Aisle if I need a certain product. I find this saves me money and I don’t buy the whole aisle’s produce with no idea on what I am going to do with it. This leads me nicely to my second tip.
Tip Number 2: Make a list and budget for your food shopping
Until recently, I will hold my hands up and admit I have been very guilty of not following this tip. I would walk in to the Supermarket without a list when I was hungry so more likely to spend on junk food anyway because a banana never looks as appealing as a chocolate biscuit bar. I would have no idea what I needed to buy and end up spending a fortune on food that would just go to waste. I have since learnt the importance of not wasting food, not only to help my budget but also to help our planet, and only go in with a list. If you are looking for more help on this topic, please check out my Food Shopping with me blog post where I share how I meal prep and shop. Now, I only go shopping with a list and a rough budget. I find it a great way to prevent unnecessary purchases – such as yet another pack of gluten free Oreo biscuits. Though seriously, who can resist them?
Tip Number 3: Learn to Cook from Scratch
This tip is something I am hoping to help you with in my How to Make: mini-series here on my blog. I realised very quickly that many products contain gluten – and I don’t just mean bread and cakes. A lot of store-bought sauces also contain gluten too. Which completely sucks if you are anything like me and have a mild addiction to pasta. I have pasta at least once a week and find it is my ultimate comfort food. One of the first recipes I perfected was my Gluten Free Easy Tomato Sauce which is perfect served simply with pasta or I use it as a base in gluten free Lasagne or Pasta Bakes. Learning to cook a range of meals that are gluten free from scratch has saved me so much money in the Free From Aisle as I am now buying fresh ingredients and not pre-made items. I often find a sense of pride to see friends and family digging into dishes I make. I hope you check out my other recipes on my blog. Let me know what gluten free recipes you would like to see.
Tip Number 4: One treat Item
I wouldn’t be being honest with you if I said that I don’t get hungry when food shopping. One thing I used to always enjoy was treating myself to one off list purchase when I was a student. I found it helped me keep to budget and I was more likely to buy the healthy options if I knew I had one treat item to look forward to. Being diagnosed as a coeliac hasn’t changed this. I now do the majority of my food shop in the main aisles of the Supermarket but can’t resist going to the Free From Aisles as I leave. This way, I am not tempted to buy all the cakes on display ; Gluten Free Angel Slices – need I say more? I also feel the Free From Aisles have an almost sense of belonging in them and where I am justified in picking up 3 boxes of cakes if desired.
Tip Number 5: Enjoy the shopping experience
Shopping gluten free, or any allergy free, can be difficult and challenging. It is disheartening to see so many aisles of food that you can’t enjoy simply because of your allergy. I felt very unhappy a lot when I was food shopping until I put these tips in place. You don’t need every item in the store and food shopping can be less overwhelming if you meal plan, know which items you need and you don’t wander aimlessly down each aisle until you find the items. I hope this blog post helped you. If you have any other tips, please let me know in the comments below.
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