Allergy free eating is not cheap. But that is okay; there are ways to make it more affordable. By eliminating your food allergens you will invariably start cooking more whole foods and less processed food. Processed food is expensive, so you will cut out that expense. But you are also cutting out food that is chuck full of sodium, additives, gmo’s and so much more non-food food.
Since allergy free cooking is not cheap, eating all organic is out of the question for a lot of us. Oh, how I would love to eat all organic produce, meat and poultry! But I digress. So how does one grocery shop for allergy free foods without breaking the bank? Here is how I do it.
I am fortunate to live in a large metropolitan area where I have access to a variety of stores. That being said, I shop many different grocery stores.
First up, Trader Joe’s. I head to this store maybe every 6 weeks or so. This is where I buy our rice milk. When I first went dairy free, I taste tested all rice milks and found Trader Joe’s to be the best tasting. It is also the most affordable. Since it is shelf stable, I buy a lot at once. I store the milk in my basement keeping only one or two in the refrigerator at a time. Until recently I bought our vanilla flavored coconut milk there as well. While it is delicious, I just discovered that to buy a national brand name of vanilla coconut milk at my local grocery store was just as tasty and is about a dollar cheaper. So I now buy that on a weekly basis at my local grocer.
I buy our gluten free pasta at Trader Joe’s as well. I purchase brown rice penne and rotini as well corn penne and spaghetti noodles. They taste wonderful and are by far the most affordable prices I have seen. Other things I purchase at Trader Joe’s are quinoa, strawberry jam, gluten free waffles, brown rice, sunflower seeds, banana chips, sunflower seed and almond butter, and occasionally, coconut yogurt and chocolate chips. (Their chocolate chips do contain soy).
For other “specialty” foods I head to Whole Foods. Here I buy Mindful Mayo, Daiya Cheese, dairy and soy free yogurt, hemp milk, dairy and soy free sour cream, coconut aminos, chocolate chips, Ener-G egg replacer, palm shortening, King Arthur All Purpose Gluten Free Blend, xanthan gum, and a variety of gluten free flours and starches. I only shop here every 6-8 weeks.
Now this may seem odd if you are new to allergy free cooking, but I do purchase food online. It seemed really strange to me at first, but some things are the most affordable that way. Foods I buy online are gluten free oats, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and powdered rice milk.
Coconut sugar is my new food love and I purchase it at a little health food shop near a business I frequent. I only go there if I am at the other business so I do not get there often. But I have found that this little store is more affordable than even online for this product.
That wraps up “special foods.” Come back for Part 2 of Allergy Free Grocery Shopping!
Edited 7/16/14: I very seldom use rice milk anymore. We have switched to coconut milk and almond milk. I have found coconut milk to be the least expensive at my local grocer and almond milk is most affordable at Aldi. Coconut sugar can now be found at my local grocery store as well as at Trader Joe’s where it is more affordable.
Also shared at Gluten Free Friday.