In the past few months, I've made the transition to a gluten-free diet for health reasons. Now that I'm a little more used to it, I wanted to share what I've learned about how to shop and save on gluten-free products. Each day this week, I'll share some tips about finding and saving on GF products.
Our local Target just added a grocery section–it was quite the community happening–as we're in the suburbs but don't have a SuperTarget, Super Walmart, or Sam's Club for many miles. While I have yet to check the dairy, meat, and frozen food prices against the grocery stores, I have been very happy with what I see on the pantry shelves, which includes a large selection of organic and specialty foods, including gluten-free products.
I started in the baking aisle and was pleased to find everything from the Betty Crocker GF cake and cookie mixes to Pamela's Baking Mix and other brands that were new to me (Namaste Foods and Cherrybrook Farms). In the cracker aisle, I found several GF options, plenty of Glutino cookies and pretzels, as well as KinniKritter Cookies. Target also carried the Annie's Mac & Cheese with rice pasta and many options of brown rice pasta in the pasta aisle.
While the prices at Target seemed similar to those at the grocery store, they still seem high to me. As I mentioned in Frugal Strategies for Special Diets, making your own is key to saving money no matter how you're eating. Rather than pay a lot for a gluten-free cake mix, it costs less to buy specialty flour and use your own ingredients. I've also learned to stretch those expensive GF treats–by saving them for myself and feeding the rest of the family the “regular” version, it doesn't cost as much. I wasn't one to buy cookies before I went GF, and I'm not starting now. When I stick to simple sweets like fresh summer fruits, popsicles, etc. I get my dessert fix and spend even less.
I'll be sharing some more stores over the next few days, but tell me–where do you buy your gluten-free or other specialty foods?