Food allergies can be difficult to navigate. Not only can they be the cause for great stress and anxiety, but they also require a great deal of planning and responsibility. Additionally, many people find that food allergies can require expensive groceries and specially made items that can really rack up that grocery bill. However, there are some ways to keep your food expenses modest – even with food allergies.
Keep it Simple
With so many food alternative options out there these days, it may be tempting to jump right into making that gluten-free, dairy-free mac and cheese. However, most of these fancy alternatives are needlessly expensive. Instead, try and focus on all the delicious foods that you can still eat safely, and save those fancy imitations for special occasions. While it may take some getting used to and could require some restriction, your bank account will ultimately thank you.
Not All Substitutes are Created Equal
Finding out you – or someone you love – has food allergies comes along with a whole host of emotions. And while giving up your favorite foods may pale in fear of going into anaphylactic shock, anyone who has dealt with food allergies long term knows how difficult that can be. This is where food substitutes and imitations come in handy. However, while these substitutes may seem like the easy fix, many of them are not so great and ridiculously overpriced. It is important to really do your research when it comes to food substitutes. While a perfect fake cheese may be worth the investment, there are too many not-so-great options charging that same high price.
This may seem obvious, but it may be an entirely new concept for families who have never dealt with food allergies before. When it comes to allergy-safe food, all too often, the prices are sky-high. However, there are occasional incidents where the products go on sale. During these times, it is always smart to stock up. Buy 12 bags of cookies instead of 4 and let that one shopping trip last longer. Additionally, certain allergy-safe companies will allow you to purchase bulk orders from them directly. While this may not fit everybody, those looking to feed entire families may find this to be the safest and cheapest option.
Make it From Scratch.
Fancy mixes and pre-made ingredients can be ridiculously expensive, and while they may help you save some time, they can really rack up that shopping bill. Given this, for those looking to cut back on the expenses, cooking from scratch can be a cheaper option. Obviously, it is not an option equipped for everyone, as gluten-free baking from scratch can become quite a hassle. Still, for those with the ability to invest a little more time, it can be a great way to cut back on expenses and still enjoy your favorite foods.
Mix it Up
It’s easy to fall into a pattern of eating the same foods every day but having food allergies doesn’t mean you have to replace your old favorites with allergy-free imitations. Instead, perhaps it is time to take a look at all the wonderful options you never even noticed before. Instead of copying what you have lost with expensive substitutes, try to find new favorites that won’t make you feel guilty every time you swipe your card.
If you are trying to stay on a budget, it is important to have a meal plan. If you know exactly what you are looking for before even walking into the supermarket, then you are less likely to spend money on expensive ingredients that you don’t really need. Many people reject this idea because of how time-consuming it can be, but the truth is that this is something that can be done in just one sitting a week and can really help you keep your grocery bill lower.
Do Not Double Up
Unless something is on sale, then do not double up on your products. One of the biggest issues with food products is that they expire. To ensure that you use up your entire pantry and don’t get stuck with 2 half-full bottles of ketchup that are both about to go bad, make sure that your pantry is empty before buying a replacement. Additionally, plan your meals according to the food that you already have. If your pantry is stuffed with gluten-free pizza crusts that expire in a week, then move up pizza night to ensure that those delicious crusts don’t go to waste.
All too often, we are the reason behind our sky-high grocery bills. Allergy-safe food is clearly more expensive than regular options, but the correct planning and organization can help ensure that our bills don’t get out of hand. While these tips may require a little more effort on our part and most definitely require better time management, following them can help keep our grocery bills low and our bank accounts happy.