How to Make the Holidays Gluten-Free on a Budget

The extra money we spend on cooking, entertaining and gift-giving around the holiday season can be challenging. Here are a few tips to help you eat gluten-free and save money around (what can be) the most expensive time of the year!

Carrying a healthy bag. Cropped image of beautiful young woman in apron holding paper shopping bag full of fresh vegetables and smiling while standing in front of wooden background

Buy in bulk.
Eliminate the risk of cross contamination before you buy in large quantities. Buy gluten-free baking ingredients in larger quantities to save money over the long term. Then do your own gluten-free baking at home.

Buy locally grown food
Shopping at farmers’ markets and selecting ingredients that are grown locally and in-season means you won’t pay the extra transportation/shipping costs. It also means supporting local farmers, sustainability and the environment. Your food will be fresher, tastier and will contain fewer chemicals typically used to preserve food longer.

Eat whole foods that are naturally gluten-free.
Eat more fruits and vegetables (they are economical) and use them for making your own pure and nutrition-packed soups, salads, stews, juices and smoothies. Choose clean, non-processed meats, poultry, eggs, lentils, quinoa, nuts and seeds. Avoid packaged and processed foods that are not only unhealthy, but also more expensive than natural, whole foods.

Homemade is best made.
Eating out can be expensive and allergy-free menu options often cost more. Try healthful new recipes. Make your lunch for work and bring homemade snacks to movies, special events and outings.

Use those leftovers.
Before the industrial revolution, left overs, were not wasted, right down to the fruit peels. Transform leftovers into tasty stews, soups, sauces and casseroles. Turn chicken into chopped chicken salad and blend produce into delicious vegetable and fruit smoothies. You can also make your own jams, spreads and dips from your leftovers.

Try before you buy.
Attend consumer shows in health and wellness, then sample away. Try out new products before you potentially waste money on them. Take the free packaged samples home, as well as coupons, and even door prizes. Keep your coupons clipped to your grocery list so you don’t forget about them or keep them in your car where you can see them. Contact companies you trust once in a while and ask them to send you coupons to try their products. These few dollars it costs to attend a show can go a long way.

Gift certificates for food are the best.
For family and friends who ask you what kind of gift you’d like, request a gift certificate to your favorite health store. It’s a win-win situation and far better than getting that odd gift you can’t make use of. This can also apply to birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Lisa Cantkier is a passionate holistic nutritionist and a lifelong celiac who is committed to helping others live well with food allergies/intolerances and special diets. For more information, visit

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