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How do you do Gluten Free on a budget?

(3 Posts)
AntiJamDidi Thu 21-Nov-13 22:33:52

My 5yo niece has suspected Coeliacs, they are waiting for the results from the blood test but want to start the gluten free asap so she can stop feeling so poorly.

The problem is the cost of the gf foods, and the things she's tried so far she doesn't like. Sis and her partner are on low incomes so have a pretty tight food budget.

So I said I'd ask on here if anybody has any ideas for managing to feed a 5yo a gluten free diet without it blowing the family food budget. They would like to eat as a family most nights, as they do now, without having to cook separate meals for dn. They also obviously don't want to deprive her of treats when her siblings are having treats, so need some ideas for that as well, again as cheap as possible.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give us.

Charmingbaker Thu 21-Nov-13 23:06:16

Firstly they shouldn't go gluten free until diagnosis is confirmed. Sometimes an endoscopy will be needed to confirm diagnosis (I have 2 coeliac DC, 1 was confirmed on bloods alone, 1 needed bloods and an endoscopy to confirm diagnosis). As soon as you stop consuming gluten the gut starts healing itself, so an endoscopy done after going GF could give a false result. Although it is difficult to keep giving gluten until diagnosis it is important they do.
If coeliacs is confirmed your niece will be entitled to some prescription food (bread, pasta, flour, crackers) free of charge.
The best way to keep costs down is to avoid the free from isles as much as possible. Much of the GF processed food is expensive and not always that great.
Cook from scratch using naturally gluten free foods. Rice, potatoes, most pulses, meat, fish, fruit and veg are all GF.
Most recipes can be converted to GF relatively easily (eg I just have to use GF flour when making cottage/fish pie, use GF soy sauce in some dishes, use GF pasta for bolognese)
Supermarkets do their own ranges of GF pastas and flour which can be cheaper than other brands.
Cakes and biscuits are much cheaper to make yourself and taste much better than shop bought ones.
Taking snacks with you when you go out will save you
money. You can't always rely on picking up a cheaptreat/snack when out and about.
We have a popcorn machine which the kids love and makes a cheap healthy snack.

AntiJamDidi Fri 22-Nov-13 00:10:38

Thank you CharmingBaker. I will pass all that information on to my sister, it looks very helpful to me. I don't think she realised she might get some food on prescription if it's confirmed as coeliac, that will be helpful. She also wasn't told that she might need an endoscopy, the hospital seemed to think it was ok for them to cut out gluten straight away, so I'll get her to check with them, we don't want to affect a diagnosis.

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