Friday, March 20, 2015

Food Allergies: On a Budget

One of the toughest parts of having food allergies is fitting special foods into our (tight) budget. My 3 year old and I both eat dairy and gluten free, and he is peanut free too. So shopping and meal planning involves lots of label reading and creativity. Life would be so much easier if he wasn't so picky too.

So how do we afford our allergies?

Meal Plan: We go to the store with a list and try to stick to it. Our dinners are pretty basic, meat, starch, veggies. Meals like tacos, pot roast, salads, and chicken with rice require little substitution to fit our restrictions, so we rotate them in a lot.
Discount Stores: Aldi's carries fresh fruit and veggies priced at a fraction of the regular stores. Plus they have the G-Free line that has amazing gluten free bread. (No toasting required!) If you're lucky enough to have a "seconds," salvage, or bent and dent store nearby, utilize it. We find great deals at our local bent and dent store every week, things like gluten free baking mixes for $1 or dairy free ice cream pints for 50 cents.
(Recent discount store buys.  Spent $4 on what's shown)

Coupons: It's rare to find coupons for specialty foods in the weekend paper, but ones for products like Chex or Prego are often offered. Plus, if you write to companies or join their mailing lists, they will occasionally send coupons out.

Buy Straight from the Source: Look for a CSA in your area or farmers willing to sell directly to you. We buy a quarter of beef once and year, and the price works out cheaper per pound than buying at the store.

What are your best tips for handling allergies on a budget?

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