Gluten-free products are cost-prohibitive. It’s inexpensive to eat gluten-free if you buy whole foods like rice, eggs, potatoes, meats, fruits, and vegetables. But if you want pre-packaged snacks and treats like crackers or granola bars, you’ll be paying more than twice per box compared to wheat-based products. The best way to have your cake and eat it too is to shop at ALDI or Asian markets.
The above photo is from a display at an ALDI in St. Louis, Missouri. Normally, their gluten-free products are spread throughout the store, marked so they’re easy to find. This ALDI is trying a new approach with all their GF products in a large, separate end cap. Check out their offerings — everything is under $5 per box or bag. More importantly, their GF products are tasty. They’re not the best on the market, but they are above-average in taste and texture. I got this grocery cart full of GF products and other household necessities (pictured below) for $180. In my area, this same cart full of food would have cost me around $300 at my mid-range grocer.
If there is no ALDI near you, your best bet is your local Asian supermarket. I can get 16 ounces of rice flour there for $.99, compared to the $4.99 I pay for 24 ounces of it at my local mid-range supermarket. All the products at the Asian market in my neighborhood have ingredient, allergy, and nutrition information stickers in English on each bag or box. Many products are marked if they’ve been prepared on shared equipment as well. Read labels carefully to decide if a product is safe for you.
We have discovered some delicious GF snacks at our Asian markets that neither ALDI nor any other area grocers carry, like these adorable sweet rice crackers pictured below (it’s basically a cookie, y’all). They come in packages of two, so they’re perfect for my daughter’s lunch box.
What grocer is your favorite for GF products?
P.S. ALDI did not pay me to write this blog; I’m an actual fan.
‘Tis a lesson you should heed — If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.
It’s been a year, and I’m still working on making some of my favorite wheat-based foods into GF successes. The disaster pictured above was my attempt at making healthy (ish) gluten free chocolate mug cakes. As you can see, it was an enormous fail. A flop. Nobody likes to waste food, but I realized a long time ago I have to embrace my cooking mistakes. If I can’t laugh at them, clean up, move on, and try again, I will spend too much time wallowing in disappointment.
I love to try new recipes or tweaks on old favorites when I have guests over, which my husband says is crazy! Stick with what I know to impress the guests, right? But I just can’t resist. I recently made nom nom paleo’s strawberry banana ice cream for a dinner party. It was a hit! On the other hand, I made a pasta primavera for a potluck with a brand of corn/quinoa pasta I hadn’t tried before — liveGfree — it was horrible. It broke and melded to the sauce, becoming a sloppy mess. (I need to learn to stick with Tinkyada, the best brand of GF pasta on the market. And no, they are not paying me to say that).
Don’t give up. We all have made huge mistakes, especially when we go gluten free. It takes time to adapt your favorite recipes, the ones your grandma made for you, into GF successes. But you can do it!
Unless it’s bread. If it’s bread, just give up now and keep your sanity.
P.S. The liveGfree corn/quinoa pasta is awful, yes, but ALDI still ties as my favorite go-to grocery store for GF shopping. The only store as good as ALDI is my local Asian market.
Hi, we’re Shannon and Jackie, neighbors and friends who cook for fun and function: both Jackie and Shannon’s daughter Aury can’t eat gluten. Aury has Celiac Disease (www.celiac.org) and Jackie has a gluten sensitivity. Both are real gastrointestinal disorders, and their diet is not a weight-loss fad but a necessary way of life.
Both of us were hobby home cooks before the gluten issues: we loved making food. When we found out we’d have to drastically change the way we cook, it was devastating. Shannon was a weekly bread maker, and she had to give that up. Cooking without gluten seemed overwhelming at first, but after a while, both of us learned how to have fun with food despite the changes we had to make.
As we learned how to cook and eat without gluten, we realized a lot of the blogs and free information out there was missing pointers that we had to learn the hard way. We hope to fill in all the holes, so the rest of you don’t have to make the mistakes: we made them for you!
If you have ideas for blog posts, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.