WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Frugal gluten free advice needed

Posted September 21, 2012



One our fellow blog readers has just been diagnosed with gluten intolerance and needs your advice on how to eat gluten free on a budget. I know she would welcome any suggestions you have!

Here is Nicole's e-mail:

"I have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Can you offer advice on where to purchase products (other than Trader Joe's and Harris Teeter) and are coupons available for such products? I have learned that these products are quite expensive."

Trader Joe's. Whole Foods and Harris Teeter are definitely places you can find GF products, but I also have heard of folks ordering online as well. is one of the sites I have heard that offers sales on GF products. Does anyone here have experience ordering GF foods from Amazon?

You can call or e-mail the manufacturer's of the GF products you like directly to request coupons. Make sure you Like those companies on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and sign up for any e-mail newsletters the companies offer so you don't miss any coupons.

Click HERE for an article on with a number of good tips for eating gluten free on a budget.

Click HERE for another lengthy article with a ton of suggestions for eating gluten free without breaking the bank.

Please offer any other suggestions you all have!




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  • pete1k Sep 22, 2012

    Oh yeah, one more thing. When in doubt, call the manufacturer on your cell phone from the supermarket. They are helpful when you just cannot understand the jargon on a label. I'm told anything on the front of a product box can be a lie, however the label on the back is gospel.
    And my experience (as an uncle with many GF relatives) reminds me to always bring reading glasses to the store to read the "mice type" on the labels.

  • pete1k Sep 22, 2012

    Walmart has a surprising number of Gluten-free foods at reasonable prices. I have also noticed Kroger discounts many of the GF foods in their natural foods section. For GF grains Whole Foods is good (albeit expensive) but the bulk foods section is a good way to "sample" a small amount of a food to see it is edible for your family.

  • trublondmom715 Sep 22, 2012

    My daughter and I have been on a GF diet for about a month now. I initially just stuck with a basic diet...meat, veggies, fruit, dairy while I searched for sources for great recipes. It's a process to go GF, so give yourself time to adjust. I wasn't impressed with the Bob's Red Mill Products like I thought I would be so I'm opting to make my own blend of GF flour now for baking. I purchased a GREAT book, Gluten Free on a Shoestring that is full of great recipes. Rice Krispie treats are gf and are my go to snack treat now. Trader Joe now makes a gf brownie mix that's under 4.00 that is good also. We are using the Rudi's bread for when we want toast but we don't use it everyday. I love Tinkayada rice noodles for spaghetti and Target carries those for around 2.00 per pkg. Gluten isn't just in breads though...lots of sauces have it in there too so you have to read labels and avoid modified food starch products and things with a breaded coating too.

  • kdawg Sep 22, 2012

    Unfortunately there aren't many budget-friendly GF foods, regardless of grocery. Things have gotten better, but it's not great. The demand is so low, stores really make customers pay a premium to stock these items, and/or the manufacturers know customers have no other choice, so they are able to jack up the price. I think the largest selection of GF products is at Earth Fare in Brier Creek. Whole Foods is probably next. Neither is terribly cheap, and you'll definitely want to avoid specialty organic/health food stores which are the most expensive by far. The refrigerated sections of some Food Lions and Lowe's Foods are now carrying GF breads and other select items at a decent price. Udi's seems to be the best quality to me. I find the most cost-friendly GF items to be bread, chips/corn tortillas, cereals (chex brands), waffles, nut thins, rice cakes, some cookies, and of course the non-processed fruits, veggies, meats, etc. That's what I always seem to come home with.

  • Dr D Sep 22, 2012

    I spy, with my little eye, two mentions of Paleo! I've been gradually making that transition most of this year, and it has been life changing. Have been trying new recipes every weekend, and have some faves now. Lost weight without trying, even after cutting back cardio exercise to once or twice weekly. Anyone interested in exchanging tips/recipes/fave books/links/food sources?

    Earthbound Farm will e-mail a link for $0.75 printable coupon weekly for any of their organic products if you sign up for "Organic Step Forward" on their website, and HT has the EB Farm salads on sale regularly.

    For non-organic produce, Aldi has amazing prices!

  • Oxymoron02 Sep 22, 2012

    Kroger has gotten on the GF bandwagon, if you're not inclined (or geographically close enough) to shop at TJs or HT.

    Eating GF doesn't HAVE to be expensive. The easiest, and cheapest, way to go GF is to just give up the foods that contain gluten. Consider a Paleo diet. Fruits and veg don't have to be expensive if you eat what's in season, which is largely what will be on sale.

    If you have to have your GF pasta and bread, I would recommend contacting the manufacturer and asking for coupons. Ask friends and family to do the same. Be sure to follow companies that have a GF line on Facebook and Twitter. Register at their websites and sign up for their emails.

  • jdouglas13 Sep 22, 2012

    Let me start by saying I am NOT very knowledgeable about a gluten free diet. However, I am an accomplished baker, and the King Arthur Flour site (, which I trust implicitly, has gluten-free bread recipes and flours needed to make gluten free bread. An easy way to do this is to mix the dough in a bread machine, and then bake it off in a regular loaf pan in the oven. I have a Panasonic bread machine that I love, model #SD-YD250, about $119 at Amazon, that can make a 2 lb loaf. I think you can probably save quite a bit of money making your own, and can customize the bread to your specific needs, which is great. KAF also has a Bakers' Hotline where you can call and get all kinds of help with baking. Hope that helps!

  • Amomoftwo Sep 22, 2012

    My daughter ate a gluten-free diet for two years while recovering from a parasite contracted while living in Costa Rica...After our first trip to WF, I researched and found that many of the foods we ate were GF or another choice could be found to be subsituted. HT has a 26 pg list of gluten free foods and Lowe's has a 9 page list~both on their website...Heinz, Kozy Shack, Chobani, Ore-Ida,Prego, Hormel,Ken's and more. I agree with thekeslings, save on everything else and splurge of bread...Udi's does offer a $1 off coupon on their website.

  • mrskathy Sep 22, 2012

    big lots actually have some of the GF bread mixes, flour, etc. at a good price right now.
    about half of price of Harris Teeter.

  • thekeslings Sep 22, 2012

    Sorry... my post should start.. At the time our son was diagnosed