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Suggestions for making a GF/DF diet affordable

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    Suggestions for making a GF/DF diet affordable

    For those of you follow a GF/DF diet, please share your wisdom. Our grocery budget is insane, and, frankly, we can’t afford it to be as high as it is. I don’t buy special GF prepared food other than 1 loaf of bread, 1 bag of pretzels, and 1 bag of flour a week. I make most of our food from scratch and we buy a 1/4 cow and 1/2 hog once a year. I try to do lots of naturally GF starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice. Each of my kids will eat one of those starches, so I try to have each type available at every meal. We do a decent amount of fresh fruits (only the cheaper or sales ones) and mostly frozen vegetables. Please help! I only have three kids and nearly 1/3 of my husband’s take home pay is going to food.
    2021-2022
    DS1 (7) - MP2
    DD (6) - MP1
    DS2 (3) - SCA
    +5 little souls in Heaven+

    #2
    Originally posted by Jweishaar View Post
    For those of you follow a GF/DF diet, please share your wisdom. Our grocery budget is insane, and, frankly, we can’t afford it to be as high as it is. I don’t buy special GF prepared food other than 1 loaf of bread, 1 bag of pretzels, and 1 bag of flour a week. I make most of our food from scratch and we buy a 1/4 cow and 1/2 hog once a year. I try to do lots of naturally GF starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice. Each of my kids will eat one of those starches, so I try to have each type available at every meal. We do a decent amount of fresh fruits (only the cheaper or sales ones) and mostly frozen vegetables. Please help! I only have three kids and nearly 1/3 of my husband’s take home pay is going to food.
    Honestly, my best advice would be to limit substitutes.

    Meal planning is your friend here. What are your children's favorite meals? Gather a list -- 10 or so, then 'inventory' them. Are they GF? DF? How could you change them? What items will you need to make them compliant with dietary restrictions?

    I've been GF for about 18m now, and I think I may have had 2 sandwiches with GF bread in that time. Instead, I do lettuce wraps, corn tortillas (be careful to read labels here) or rice cakes.

    Aldi has a lot of GF items at a reasonable price. I tend to order most of my GF items from Thrive Market, stocking up when they are on sale.

    Why don't you share some of the meals that work well in your family, and we all can brainstorm about how to modify them for dietary concerns.

    Plans for 2021-22

    Year 11 of homeschooling with MP

    DD1 - 26 - Small Business owner with 2 locations
    DD2 - 15 - 10th grade - HLS Cottage School/MPOA/True North Academy/Vita Beata - equestrian
    DS3 - 13 -6A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
    DS4 - 13 - 6A Cottage School -soccer -auditory processing disorder
    DD5 - 9 - 4A, Cottage School/MPOA -equestrian
    DS6 - 7 - MPK - first time at the Cottage School this fall!

    Comment


      #3
      Great tips from Dianna --

      Also, ... garden! We grow many types of greens, peppers from plants, onions, herbs, and other staples for pennies. If you can fish or hunt, that helps too.

      When we need to shop, we shop at Aldi.

      Instead of bread ($4-5/loaf), we try to alternate with "ants on a log" (PB on celery with raisins; family favorite), PB on rice cakes, homemade pancakes, or gf bread in a bread maker.

      Another tip that you may already do: Switch to water. Both of our children start with a big jug of 96 oz. water. We have all-but-eliminated juice and other drinks.

      We automate breakfast most mornings by scooping into a bowl a serving from a large bin of our own "instant oatmeal" mix of bulk gf oats, walnuts, raisins, and spices. We rarely use sugar/honey/syrup any more, so that saves quite a bit and seems to keep cravings down.

      Just some random ideas --

      Comment


        #4
        I think these random ideas are great! I love crowdsourcing with my friends here.

        Can we talk peppers? Are they easy to grow? I mean, could a mom who hasn't ever gardened before grow a couple of pepper plants? (not green ones, because I don't like them!)
        Plans for 2021-22

        Year 11 of homeschooling with MP

        DD1 - 26 - Small Business owner with 2 locations
        DD2 - 15 - 10th grade - HLS Cottage School/MPOA/True North Academy/Vita Beata - equestrian
        DS3 - 13 -6A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
        DS4 - 13 - 6A Cottage School -soccer -auditory processing disorder
        DD5 - 9 - 4A, Cottage School/MPOA -equestrian
        DS6 - 7 - MPK - first time at the Cottage School this fall!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by DiannaKennedy View Post
          I think these random ideas are great! I love crowdsourcing with my friends here.

          Can we talk peppers? Are they easy to grow? I mean, could a mom who hasn't ever gardened before grow a couple of pepper plants? (not green ones, because I don't like them!)
          Yes! For ease, find pepper plants, rather than starting from seed. Our local person sells strong, healthy pepper plants for $2 a piece. Choose orange, red, or yellow, rather than green, or let the green keep growing and they may change to the color you like. We do little more than this: Plant them in a deep container in full sun, water them, and watch them grow. We have an abundance of multicolored peppers annually -- far more reward per plant than the $2!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Jweishaar View Post
            For those of you follow a GF/DF diet, please share your wisdom. Our grocery budget is insane, and, frankly, we can’t afford it to be as high as it is. I don’t buy special GF prepared food other than 1 loaf of bread, 1 bag of pretzels, and 1 bag of flour a week. I make most of our food from scratch and we buy a 1/4 cow and 1/2 hog once a year. I try to do lots of naturally GF starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice. Each of my kids will eat one of those starches, so I try to have each type available at every meal. We do a decent amount of fresh fruits (only the cheaper or sales ones) and mostly frozen vegetables. Please help! I only have three kids and nearly 1/3 of my husband’s take home pay is going to food.
            What ages do you have? It sounds like there might be some other food issues involved?
            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            2021-2022
            DS18: Almost done!
            DS17: MP, MPOA
            DS15: MP, MPOA
            DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
            DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
            DD9: SC3
            DD6: MPK

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jen1134 View Post

              What ages do you have? It sounds like there might be some other food issues involved?
              I have newly 3 and 7yo boys and a nearly 6yo girl who all eat like horses. But you’re right, there are a lot of pickiness issues, mostly with my youngest, but everyone is also picky about different things which makes it extra challenging. My oldest will eat most things other than sweet potatoes and carrots and he’s hit or miss on soups. Oh, and will only eat rice if he’s really hungry. My daughter is pickier, but not terrible. She also is reluctant on rice and won’t touch potatoes with a 10 foot pole (she doesn’t even like French fries!) but loves sweet potatoes and carrots. She also has an intensely strong aversion to foods touching. Those two ate everything I put in front of them the first few years and then decided to be picky. My youngest is super picky, but he’s actually come a long way in the last handful of months. He finally started eating some meat; mostly beef and pork...he still refuses chicken and won’t eat eggs. He’ll usually eat rice and plain gluten free noodles but won’t eat potatoes, carrots, or sweet potatoes. He does eat most fruits and a limited selection of veggies. Oh, and he loves strong things like pickles and straight salsa. He mostly survived on fruit and pancakes his first couple years.

              I try not to cater to pickiness and only cook one meal and the big kids have to try at least one bite of everything I serve. I do usually have at least something on hand to include on the 3yo plate if I know he won’t eat what I’m serving and I often give the older two a choice of starch if I have some leftovers in the fridge.
              2021-2022
              DS1 (7) - MP2
              DD (6) - MP1
              DS2 (3) - SCA
              +5 little souls in Heaven+

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
                Great tips from Dianna --

                Also, ... garden! We grow many types of greens, peppers from plants, onions, herbs, and other staples for pennies. If you can fish or hunt, that helps too.

                When we need to shop, we shop at Aldi.

                Instead of bread ($4-5/loaf), we try to alternate with "ants on a log" (PB on celery with raisins; family favorite), PB on rice cakes, homemade pancakes, or gf bread in a bread maker.

                Another tip that you may already do: Switch to water. Both of our children start with a big jug of 96 oz. water. We have all-but-eliminated juice and other drinks.

                We automate breakfast most mornings by scooping into a bowl a serving from a large bin of our own "instant oatmeal" mix of bulk gf oats, walnuts, raisins, and spices. We rarely use sugar/honey/syrup any more, so that saves quite a bit and seems to keep cravings down.

                Just some random ideas --
                How I miss my garden as we’re buried in snow and ice! We do spend a lot less on produce in the warmer months. My husband is a city slicker from Chicago so no hunting skills here. He does like to fish, but hasn’t actually gone since we moved and had kids. We do water except for two small glasses of OJ or non-dairy milk a day...I worry about them not getting enough calcium without any dairy.

                I hadn’t even thought of syrup. We use a ton and it’s definitely pricey. I’ve tried the rice cakes and ants on a log but my younger two won’t eat the crunchy texture. I do make a big batch of pancakes and waffles on the weekend and the leftovers usually provide lunches with peanut butter for most of the week.
                2021-2022
                DS1 (7) - MP2
                DD (6) - MP1
                DS2 (3) - SCA
                +5 little souls in Heaven+

                Comment


                  #9
                  Maybe consider assigning a kitchen helper as a chore? They're not too young to help prep meals. The youngest can mix and stir and por ingredients. Maybe more involvement in the kitchen will reduce food pickiness?

                  SOmething else to consider is snacks. Do they just disappear? Are your kids just constantly grazing? Nix that out. My kids get one snack a day and we eat it all together. My oldest will sneak food and binge eat, picture an entire box of french's fried onions going missing.

                  Another thing to consider is food waste. It's the sneaky culprit in lots of high grocery bills. Either food being scraped off into the trash or food spoilage. Look at both of those. If lots of food is being scraped off, consider small portions. Then re-invent that food in the next two days....hello burritos!

                  A last thing to consider is number of trips to the store. Reduce that to once a week. I pretty much shop once a month and only need to swing in for milk and bananas (okay and ice cream) every week. Forgot to get more pickles on your monthly run? Bummer, wait until your next big run. Everytime you're in the store, stuff just jumps in your cart. Cutting down on trips to the store will save loads.
                  DS12- Simply Classical mash-up of SC Spelling 1, intensive reading remediation, and MPOA 4th grade math.
                  DD10- Classic Core 4th Grade w/ 5th grade literature
                  DD8- Classic Core 2nd Grade

                  We've completed:
                  Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade
                  Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5/6

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Jweishaar View Post

                    ...he still refuses chicken and won’t eat eggs. He’ll usually eat rice and plain gluten free noodles but won’t eat potatoes, carrots, or sweet potatoes. He does eat most fruits and a limited selection of veggies. Oh, and he loves strong things like pickles and straight salsa.

                    We are not GF, but due to severe food allergies, we were dairy and egg-free for 11 years (still have peanuts and tree-nuts to deal with); and I understand how this makes the grocery bill climb.

                    Once my kids passed food challenges on dairy and eggs, our allergist said we had to ensure that they eat those on a regular basis. It took a year to get my younger children to eat eggs (and they still aren't sold on dairy) and, at age 8, they are still my pickiest eaters.

                    Could you learn to can and preserve? If your kids love salsa and pickles, it's not difficult to learn to grow, prepare, and can these things and save buying from the store. My kids have been willing to try new things simply because they did participate in the growing and preparation of food. There are numerous tutorials online. And you're not spending $3 for a jar of pickles.

                    We also don't allow grazing in our house. A meal is a shared event. My kids are older than yours (and we have all girls who get a kick out of eating off Grandmother's china), but as they understand the community aspect of sharing a meal, they have become less likely to refuse what's on the plate.

                    My husband and I take turns preparing meals through the week; we noticed over time that when we showed sincere verbal appreciation for "what's for dinner", the kids were less resistant to try it. My husband also has taken to "hiding" ingredients in pasta sauces and then asking the kids "What was the recipe?" They have been amazed at what they have eaten and genuinely enjoyed.
                    Laura H.

                    DD: 15, special-needs: language processing issues (modified 7/8M Core), aspiring illustrator, our "Meg"
                    DD: 13 (8M with SFL & NBO Fall 2021), aspiring pediatric nurse, our "Jo"
                    DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Beth"
                    DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Amy"

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by MarmeeLaura View Post
                      We also don't allow grazing in our house. A meal is a shared event. My kids are older than yours (and we have all girls who get a kick out of eating off Grandmother's china), but as they understand the community aspect of sharing a meal, they have become less likely to refuse what's on the plate.
                      I love this!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Colomama View Post
                        Maybe consider assigning a kitchen helper as a chore? They're not too young to help prep meals. The youngest can mix and stir and por ingredients. Maybe more involvement in the kitchen will reduce food pickiness?

                        SOmething else to consider is snacks. Do they just disappear? Are your kids just constantly grazing? Nix that out. My kids get one snack a day and we eat it all together. My oldest will sneak food and binge eat, picture an entire box of french's fried onions going missing.

                        Another thing to consider is food waste. It's the sneaky culprit in lots of high grocery bills. Either food being scraped off into the trash or food spoilage. Look at both of those. If lots of food is being scraped off, consider small portions. Then re-invent that food in the next two days....hello burritos!

                        A last thing to consider is number of trips to the store. Reduce that to once a week. I pretty much shop once a month and only need to swing in for milk and bananas (okay and ice cream) every week. Forgot to get more pickles on your monthly run? Bummer, wait until your next big run. Everytime you're in the store, stuff just jumps in your cart. Cutting down on trips to the store will save loads.
                        Thanks for the suggestions! My husband is actually the biggest culprit for running into the store frequently. We really need to get into the habit of sitting down together to look at the grocery budget more frequently throughout the month. I should try to involve the kids more. I’m better about that in the summer when we’re pulling in lots of fresh things from the garden. Right now I just let them play while I chop stuff to throw in the oven or a pot. Although my daughter is getting pretty good at making our Sunday pancakes with me

                        One thing we have done well from the beginning is to limit snacking. The youngest gets an afternoon banana if he asks for it, but the rest of us don’t snack except in the summer when people have been running hard outside all day.

                        Good idea on the small portions. I do that with the toddler but I have noticed more food going in the trash from the big kids’ plates.
                        2021-2022
                        DS1 (7) - MP2
                        DD (6) - MP1
                        DS2 (3) - SCA
                        +5 little souls in Heaven+

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by MarmeeLaura View Post


                          We are not GF, but due to severe food allergies, we were dairy and egg-free for 11 years (still have peanuts and tree-nuts to deal with); and I understand how this makes the grocery bill climb.

                          Once my kids passed food challenges on dairy and eggs, our allergist said we had to ensure that they eat those on a regular basis. It took a year to get my younger children to eat eggs (and they still aren't sold on dairy) and, at age 8, they are still my pickiest eaters.

                          Could you learn to can and preserve? If your kids love salsa and pickles, it's not difficult to learn to grow, prepare, and can these things and save buying from the store. My kids have been willing to try new things simply because they did participate in the growing and preparation of food. There are numerous tutorials online. And you're not spending $3 for a jar of pickles.

                          We also don't allow grazing in our house. A meal is a shared event. My kids are older than yours (and we have all girls who get a kick out of eating off Grandmother's china), but as they understand the community aspect of sharing a meal, they have become less likely to refuse what's on the plate.

                          My husband and I take turns preparing meals through the week; we noticed over time that when we showed sincere verbal appreciation for "what's for dinner", the kids were less resistant to try it. My husband also has taken to "hiding" ingredients in pasta sauces and then asking the kids "What was the recipe?" They have been amazed at what they have eaten and genuinely enjoyed.
                          I love the meal as a shared event! A wise mom told me early on to keep a closed kitchen, meaning no one is getting food outside of formal meal or snack times. I try to serve hearty meals and we don’t snack for the most part.

                          I’m amazed every year at what my kids will eat straight from the garden. The same peppers my son wouldn’t touch inside are happily picked and eaten in the backyard. Do you have any suggestions for a good canning book? We usually do lots of refrigerator pickles, but all my long term preservation to date has been in the freezer. I had a really bad miscarriage last spring that took the better part of the year to recover from, so the garden really suffered last year and all I managed to put up was some greens, pesto, and dried herbs. I’m really hoping to get a lot more put up this year. And we have 7 more blueberry bushes and a bunch of raspberries and blackberries on order for this year
                          2021-2022
                          DS1 (7) - MP2
                          DD (6) - MP1
                          DS2 (3) - SCA
                          +5 little souls in Heaven+

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I just want to say thank you for all the helpful advice. I know everyone is busy, and I appreciate the suggestions. This forum really is a special place on the internet.
                            2021-2022
                            DS1 (7) - MP2
                            DD (6) - MP1
                            DS2 (3) - SCA
                            +5 little souls in Heaven+

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jweishaar View Post

                              Do you have any suggestions for a good canning book? We usually do lots of refrigerator pickles, but all my long term preservation to date has been in the freezer. I had a really bad miscarriage last spring that took the better part of the year to recover from, so the garden really suffered last year and all I managed to put up was some greens, pesto, and dried herbs. I’m really hoping to get a lot more put up this year. And we have 7 more blueberry bushes and a bunch of raspberries and blackberries on order for this year
                              First, I am sorry you had a miscarriage last spring. I hope that you enjoy planning your garden for next year. We love to grow herbs, too, and they are a great help in expanding the kids' taste palate.

                              Here is a link to the guide that I have from Ball Canning; you can purchase a used copy for less than $10 with shipping:
                              Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving: Altrista Consumr Products: 0797190001428: Amazon.com: Books
                              it is the 2004 edition, however, and there are those that suggest you really should have the most up-to-date guide when canning.

                              At Amazon, I found this 2021 publication from the USDA about canning (also under $10):
                              Amazon.com: COMPLETE GUIDE TO HOME CANNING: Principles of Home Canning Fruit and Fruit Products, Tomatoes, Vegetables, Poultry, Red Meats, and Seafood, Fermented Food and Pickled Vegetables, Jams and Jellies (9798649439770): U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Books


                              Laura H.

                              DD: 15, special-needs: language processing issues (modified 7/8M Core), aspiring illustrator, our "Meg"
                              DD: 13 (8M with SFL & NBO Fall 2021), aspiring pediatric nurse, our "Jo"
                              DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Beth"
                              DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Amy"

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