Gluten Free Without Breaking the Bank

Here’s a fun fact anybody who follows a gluten free diet is well aware of: living gluten free is expensive. It just is. No matter which way you slice it, a life free of beloved wheat, rye and barley is not only more difficult but it absolutely kills your wallet.

Since most of us gluten free folks try to minimize our meals out as to avoid cross-contamination and accidental “glutening”, we find ourselves frantically searching the aisles of our local grocery store for gluten free ingredients to prepare our own meals at home. And as the cashier rings us up at the check-out line, we sigh and take out our debit cards, nostalgic for the days of buy-one get-one-free loaves of bread and crackers that cost less than $5 per box.

So what can we do about it? What can we eat that keeps us healthy and doesn’t break the bank?

First, start with the basics: meat, fruits and veggies. All three of these things are naturally gluten free, and staples of a healthy diet anyway! Sure, it may cost a little more to purchase fruit than a box of Oreos, but in the long run your body will thank you and you won’t find yourself getting sick anymore. Meat is a staple of gluten free living in our household. We always have chicken, ground beef and shrimp in the freezer, ready at a moment’s notice for a night of grilling or homemade tacos! (With corn tortillas, of course!)

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You know what else is naturally gluten free? Nuts, eggs and cheese. Looking for a quick snack but not willing to splurge on a $6 box of gluten free crackers? No problem; buy yourself a bag of nuts. Grab yourself some fresh cheese and pop a few cubes whenever you need a snack. Cook up some scrambled eggs in the morning for a quick and delicious gluten free breakfast.

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For those times when you are really craving some delicious carbs, don’t shy away from using coupons! The sting of a $5 bag of bread or $6 box of muffins (4 per pack) won’t hurt quite as much when you can save a buck or two by simply using a coupon. Sign up for emails and promotions from some of the best gluten free companies out there like Rudis, Udi, and Glutino all offer coupons for email subscribers!

Grab a big bag of gluten free flour and prep your favorite snacks from scratch! There are some awesome gluten free flours out there, but many have a price tag to match. (Cup 4 Cup, I’m talking about you) I’ve had some of my best luck with brands like Pamela’s and Bob’s Red Mill. These can easily be substituted for regular flour in almost any recipe and don’t carry the hefty price tag that others do. Not sure what to whip up? Check out Pinterest for some fantastic gluten free recipe inspiration or start following a few gluten free blogs online.
When you really want some delicious processed gluten free food (and let’s face it, we all crave it from time to time), try shopping online. Vitacost.com regularly offers some amazing deals on gluten free products and every order over $50 ships for free. Do yourself a favor and get yourself an Amazon Prime account and enjoy the benefits of free 2-day shipping every time you order some gluten free goodies.

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I won’t sugar coat it for you: you absolutely will spend more money living a gluten free lifestyle. Your friend’s hamburger will almost inevitably cost lot less than the salad you ordered because nothing else on the menu was gluten free. So cook at home as much as you can, saving you the frustration of pricey gluten free menus or places where you might get accidently glutened. And try some of these money saving tricks next time you hit up your local grocery store!

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Fry That Chicken! (Gluten-Free Style)

We live in Mississippi. The home of excessive humidity, a ridiculous love of SEC Football, and (you guessed it) fried food. Living in a fried food Mecca isn’t exactly easy when you’re gluten-free, but we make it work. And since I am still a Yankee at heart, it never really bothers me. My husband on the other hand, was born and raised on some good Southern-style cooking. Can you say, extra gluten please.

Since he’s only recently been living the gluten-free life, he still misses “gluten-filled” foods. Fried chicken being one of his favorites. For weeks now he has been begging me to make some at the house. Finally, I gave in.

Keep in mind that neither of us had ever made fried chicken before – gluten-filled or gluten-free. So this was a completely new venture for us!

We adapted our recipe from Gluten Freek (Gluten Free Guy) because it was not just gluten-free, but also an easy recipe to follow for fried chicken newbies like us!

We used Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour, but otherwise followed the instructions pretty closely. With the exception of Peanut Oil for frying. The hubby insisted on good old fashioned Crisco. So we rolled with it. Healthy, I know. 😉

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The hardest part for us was the frying. Since we were frying novices, we had a hard time figuring out when the chicken was fully cooked and had to keep removing it from the pan, cutting into it to see if it was cooked yet and adding it back to the grease for longer. This resulted in some of the crunchy fried goodness being lost during the frying process, which was definitely a bummer, but we were learning after all!

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Once we were finished, we had an enormous amount of fried chicken! So much, in fact, that we invited the in-laws over for dinner to help us eat! Neither of them are Gluten-Free, but they absolutely LOVED the chicken – and insisted it tasted just like the real thing. Lucky for us, there were leftovers so we had chicken again for dinner last night too!

I’m sure we’ll be trying this recipe again soon. In the meantime, do you have any tips or tricks for gluten-free fried chicken?