This post is going to give you 7 cheap gluten free meals that are easy weeknight gluten free dinners for a family of 4 (with leftovers) that will cost you well under $100.
7 Cheap Gluten Free Meals when your on a Budget
As a family of multiple food allergies/intolerances that lived on one income for a very long time, I know how to make my dollar stretch when I need to. It’s not always easy and sometimes it means a lot more work for me, but when your families health is at stake, you do what needs to be done.
Recently, I was asked to participate in a panel discussion by GIG. I served on their Board of Trustees. If you are not familiar with them, please go check out their website. GIG is a non-profit helping the gluten free community for many years. They are also the company that does the gluten free certification.
The panel topic was ‘Navigating the Money Challenges of Eating Gluten Free’. I was excited to be picked for this topic. I had been talking about this recently and helping others through my blog with recipes and tips for years.
There was a fun challenge with this panel. We were each given a $100 gift card and had to see how we would use it and how far we could stretch it.
I knew immediately I would go straight for what families need the most, easy weeknight dinners that are gluten free and dairy free.
In this post you will find all my tips and tell you how to eat gluten free on a budget. I will also share with you the 7 meals I made and how much I paid for each meal.
This blog post is going to have a lot of information, so grab a gluten free snack and get comfy.
Is it more expensive to eat gluten free?
Yes, it typically is more expensive due to the higher cost of items, smaller amount per dollar and upcharges for gluten free buns/crusts when eating out.
If you eat just naturally gluten free foods then the cost isn’t go to be that much different. But, the reality is that it does cost more.
Anything packaged will be more if it is gluten free. So, pasta, crackers, cookies, pretzels, and bread- it all costs more. One of the reasons the cost is higher is because everything needs to be certified gluten free. The cost of that is often included in the price.
Additionally, the cost of gluten free grains is much higher than regular processed wheat.
Eating out can also cost more. A gluten free bun and pizza crust always has an upcharge.
How do I eat gluten free and dairy free on a budget?
There are a few key tips on staying on budget. As the years go on you learn how to master this and you find creative ways to save money.
- Try to eat as much naturally gluten free food as possible. Fruit, yogurts, chia pudding, oatmeal (if you can tolerate oats), egg, potatoes, lettuce wrapped items, meat and veggies, etc.
- Buy in bulk. Check your local Costco for gluten free items, it’s always cheaper. When buying items like flour, I buy the biggest amount available in bulk from Betterbatter.org and use the coupon code: LIVINGFREELYGF to get 30% off. Always do a google search for a coupon before ordering!
- Check discount stores. Places like Grocery Outlet carry a lot of gluten free items. I have found things like Mikey’s pizza crusts for $1.99 when they are over $7 at Sprouts! If you find an item your family loves and will eat fast, buy them up!
- Cook in bulk. When I’m making something, I like to double it and freeze half for an easy weeknight meal. I will make chili, spaghetti sauce, lasagna, pancakes, waffles and double it, then freeze half.
- Bake in bulk. My chocolate chip cookie recipe makes 5 dozen cookies. I bake 1 dozen and freeze the rest. I do this with bread, biscuits and dinner rolls too.
- Meal plan! Without a meal plan you will always spend money that you don’t want to spend. I create a meal plan every 2 weeks and rotate out our favorite meals. I add in some meals that help clean out the fridge, like pizza, vegetable soup, garlic pasta. I often have to shop at several different stores to get everything we need. I like to rotate each week, so that I am not over spending. For ex: week 1 I will shop at Trader Joes, week 2: Costco, week 3: Target or Walmart week 4: Sprouts or Whole Foods.
How can I go gluten-free cheaply?
Make sure you always have quick gluten free meals for your busy nights. Set yourself up for success! If you know that your kids have a game after school and you won’t be home to cook then prep something in the Instant Pot or Crock Pot and have it ready for when you get home.
So, that is the majority of my secret sauce. If you can only do 1-2 of these items, then start with a solid meal plan and baking and cooking in bulk. It makes such a difference!
Below you will find my 7 cheap and easy weeknight gluten free dinners that are budget friendly to help you get started.
These easy weeknight dinners that are gluten free and dairy free have been my go-to’s for many years. Some of them are newer. When I want to stretch my dollars I tend to go for vegan meals or I use meats that are on sale. If I see a good deal then I will buy a lot and freeze it.
I went to 2 stores to shop. My favorite store for saving money is Trader Joe’s. There were 2 items that Trader Joes did not carry and I went to Sprouts for them.
My total spent was $88.99 and I did buy many organic options. I try to buy organic whenever possible. I’m positive if I would not have bought organic I could have shaved this down to $80 or less.
This recipe takes less than 20 minutes.
The cost of this recipe is around $8-$10 depending on where you buy your ingredients. This includes a side vegetable.
We use Banza pasta because it holds up really well, has a good amount of protein and is free of all of our allergens.
If I have chicken or shrimp to use up then I will add it. I have even made some sausages and served them on the side.
Grab the recipe HERE
This recipe is a family favorite. My kids love it. I also add a bag of frozen green beans and I need to update that on the blog post. This is hearty, delicious and easy to make.
My cost for this recipe was about $15. That was with organic products and grass fed beef.
Grab the recipe HERE
Homemade pizza is a very budget friendly dinner and there are never any complaints! I love using up ingredients in the fridge.
My estimated cost for the pizza was about $12 and I stretched it into 2 pizzas. I used vegan cheese and uncured pepperoni.
This recipe is great for a simple one pan dinner. You can use steak, chicken, or even portabella mushrooms. I love it with just the peppers too.
Serve it in tortillas, or make a delicious salad out of it.
Grab the recipe HERE.
This is sooo good! I use Follow Your Heart vegan feta for this recipe and I like to top it with some vegan parmesan and fresh basil if I have it on hand (totally not necessary). It’s super easy to make too.
We use Banza pasta because it is one of our favorites.
The cost of this recipe was about $12, with the feta being the most expensive ingredient.
Get the recipe HERE.
I serve this delicious Butter Chicken over rice and I make a vegetable to go with it. We enjoy broccoli or green beans.
The cost of this was $15 with the chicken being the most expensive ingredient.
Get the recipe HERE
Your family won’t miss the meat with this recipe. Using lentils gives you a ton of fiber and protein while cutting the cost.
I like to use canned lentils for convenience, but if you are looking to cut costs, then you can pressure cook your dry lentils ahead of time. You can buy a large bag for $2 and freeze the leftover beans to use at a later time.
Grab the recipe HERE
I know being gluten free and having a family can be stressful and incredibly intimidating at first. Especially when there are other allergens to avoid as well. Hopefully these tips and recipes can help your family. Comment below what recipe you are going to make first, or any tips you use that I missed.
Want more easy weeknight dinners that are gluten free and dairy free? I’ve got you covered…
Check out all of our dinner recipes HERE