How to save money if you have food sensitivities
How to save money if you have to buy special diet foods.
Food sensitivities need not be expensive
Even though we are officially out of the recession, it is still necessary to economise, even with food. For those of us with food intolerances, the price of special diet foods can be an additional worry. Being intolerant of gluten and dairy foods myself, I have come up with some strategies, all tried and tested by myself, which I hope will help others.
Please note: if you suffer from life threatening intolerances and/or anaphylaxis, please read and apply my list of tips with caution. I do not want to give you the wrong advice.
1. Always buy the supermarket’s own gluten/ dairy free brand. It is cheaper and the quality is good enough to keep you going in the present economic climate. Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and various other big chains have their own ranges of ‘Free From’. They sell various types of bread: pitta, naan, baguettes, ciabatta, rolls, loaves; various bread, pastry and cake mixes; cakes; cereal; cereal bars; biscuits; milk; margarine.
2. When you buy the supermarket’s own brand bread, put what you don’t need immediately in the freezer when you get home. I recommend this because on a few occasions, I didn’t notice that the packet had a hairline crack and the bread went mouldy after a day in the bread bin. When you need the bread, it will defrost within half an hour.
3. The supermarket’s own brand products often do not contain gluten/ dairy . We all read labels automatically, but as a general rule, head for the supermarket’s own brand first as it could save time. For example the pasta sauces, which can be cooked in stews for instant flavour and vegetables.
4. If you prefer to eat organic food, as I do, try and order an organic box of vegetables/ fruit , but buy organic meat from the supermarket. I have found that is cheaper than either buying all organics from the supermarket or buying all from an organic farm. Also, the meat from the supermarket is ready prepared with the fat removed, and so saves time and waste.
5. Whatever type of meat you can afford to buy, choose mince or cubed meat, both of which are cheaper and more versatile than chops or joints. Mince can be made into shepherd’s pies and pasta bakes, cubed meat into stews or pies of whichever type you can tolerate.
6. If you do get an organic box , you can puree the vegetables you do not especially like. I am not fond of root vegetables and used to give or throw them away. But now I puree pumpkin, turnip, swede, fennel or celeriac, freeze the purees, and then later cook them in other dishes. Shepherd’s pie with pureed pumpkin is particularly delicious, and any of these purees go well in beef stew.
7. However, if you cannot afford organic food, don’t worry too much. Try and buy only organic meat, vegetables and fruit, because these are the most important foods. If you cannot afford those, stick to British grown, seasonal types, because these should be cheaper and more nutritious . In times to come, when the economy improves, you can buy more quality foods and strengthen your health again.
8. When you make a stew, shepherd’s pie, pasta bake etc., save the leftovers in the plastic boxes from takeaway meals and put them in the fridge or freezer. They are the perfect containers for leftovers. Then you can defrost and reheat them while still in the box, saving washing up and time. This is particularly useful if you have young children, because any smaller amount leftover can make the perfect sized meal for them and you can add cheese or whatever to make them more appealing.
9. When you have roast chicken or beef, you can save the cold meat for sandwiches the next day. You can also boil the chicken carcass up to make a base for soup, or to add to stew. It only takes a couple of hours and as long as you ventilate the kitchen well, your house shouldn’t smell too ‘chicken-y’.
10. Buy ready salted or plain crisps for snacks. They are least likely to contain wheat flour or milk powder, and if you buy the ones from the supermarket’s own cheapest brand range, they will only cost a few pence. Crisps are junk food anyway so why spend lots of money on quality brands?
I hope these tips help. I have found that even small alterations to my buying and eating habits have made significant differences to my finances.