I hear it from clients all the time, “the gluten free diet is expensive.” And, while, there is certainly some truth to that for a minority of products, there are a multitude of ways to stay on budget, while still eating safely and I am excited to share them with you!
About Selena De Vries, RD
- Selena is a Registered Dietitian living with celiac disease who helps individuals that struggle with digestion find food freedom. At Healthbean Nutrition, Selena understands that celiac disease not only effects our physical health but also effects our emotional health. As such, Selena uses an integrative approach in the management of digestive health conditions. She offers free group support for those with celiac disease/gluten sensitivity as well as offering nutrition coaching for digestive health conditions. Services are offered both online and in the beautiful Okanagan valley.
The first budget-saving strategy we are going to cover is gluten-free cereal. Gluten-free cereal is expensive, a processed food and does not need to be an ‘everyday’ food. Certainly, eating it once in a while, is no big deal. However, it shouldn’t be a staple food in the house as there are many other more nutritious GF options. Let’s explore the alternative options.
When I costed the ingredients below, I used a common breakfast cereal that I see frequently in client food journals. I purposefully left out the brand name.
As a general reference, when I am looking at the nutrition facts of a cereal, I commonly look at two things -fiber and added sources of sugar. So, if fiber is low, the rest of the nutrition facts of the product are typically not great. If sugar is high, the rest of the nutrition facts of the product are also, typically, not great.
Daily Goals for Fiber and Limits for Added Sugars:
- Fiber Goals/Day: Minimum of 25g/day for a Women, 30-38g/day for Men
- Added Sugar Limits/Day: No more than 20-35g in a day
GF Cereal Fiber Goals and Limit for Added Sugar:
- Fiber Goals/serving of GF cereal: at least 4g of fiber/ONE serving
- Added Sugar Limit/serving of GF cereal: no more than 6g sugar/ONE serving
All product costing below came from the Real Canadian Superstore, Amazon.ca, Well.ca, Prana.Bio and/or Walmart and made use of sales/coupons, if available.
Common GF breakfast:
1.5 cups common GF cereal (brand name purposefully not mentioned) with 1 cup lactose free milk
- Fiber: 2g (not good)
- Added sugar: 16g (really not good!)
- Total Cost/person = $1.20
- Feeding a family of 4, 5 days/week = $24
- Cost/year: $1248
Swap It For:
Ingredients: 1/3 cup raw, Only Oats large flake gluten free oats + 2 TBP Bob’s Red Mill gluten free ground flax seeds + 100g (~1/2 cup) Yoplait whole milk plain yogurt + ~1/3 cup water, ~1/2 cup chopped apple + cinnamon (pantry staple, not included in pricing)
Prepare: The night before, mix the oats, flax, yogurt, water, apple, and cinnamon together in a jar or bowl. In the morning, warm up or eat cold. If you prefer, you can add the apple, fresh, in the morning.
- Fiber: 11g
- Added sugar: 0g
- Total cost/person = $0.96
- Feeding a family of 4, 5 days/week = $19.20
- Cost/year: $998.40
- Cost savings/year: $321.60
2. Chia Pudding:
Ingredients: PranaBio 2 TBP gluten free chia seeds + 1/2 cup Natura unsweetened soymilk + 2 TBP water + 1 small banana + 1-2 TBP Hershey’s mini dark chocolate chipits
Prepare: Mix it all together 1-2 hours before you plan to eat it, or the night before. The chia seeds will absorb all of the liquid changing it a ”pudding” like consistency. If you don’t like the texture of soft banana, add it, fresh, in the morning.
- Fiber: 10g
- Added Sugar: 4-7g
- Total cost/person = $0.93
- Feeding a family of 4, 5 days/week = $18.60
- Cost/year: $967.20
- Cost savings/year: $352.80
3. Grab and Go Breakfast Bowl:
This is quick option for busy morning. All you would need to do is boil eggs ahead of time.
Ingredients: 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 fuji apple, 2 TBP Kraft natural peanut butter
Prepare: In a container, put salt and pepper on the eggs, cut apple into slices and dip into peanut butter.
- Fiber: 6g
- Added Sugar: 0g
- Total cost/person = $0.77
- Feeding a family of 4, 5 days/week = $15.40
- Cost/year: $800.80
- Cost savings/year: $447.20
4. Berry Rise and Shine Smoothie:
Another great busy morning option. Make your morning even faster by blending the night before, storing it in the fridge overnight in a drinkable container (like a jar) and giving it a shake as you walk out the door.
Ingredients: 1 small banana, 1/2 cup President’s Choice four berry frozen berry blend, 1/2 cup President’s Choice plain yogurt, 1 TBP Bob’s Red Mill gluten free ground flax seeds, water to thin smoothie to desired texture.
Prepare: Put all ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Fiber: 8g
- Added Sugar: 0g
- Total cost/person = $1.05
- Feeding a family of 4, 5 days/week = $21
- Cost/year: $1092
- Cost savings/year: $156
5. Yogurt Parfait
Ingredients: 3/4 cup President’s Choice plain yogurt, 1/2 fuji apple, chopped, 2 TBP Kraft natural peanut butter, 2 TBP Bob’s Red Mill gluten free ground flax seed
Prepare: Mix the natural peanut butter with the yogurt. Top with chopped apple and ground flax seed. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a dollop of honey, if desired.
- Fiber: 8g
- Added Sugar: 0g
- Total cost/person = $1.14
- Feeding a family of 4, 5 days/week = $22.80
- Cost/year: $1185.60
- Cost savings/year: $62.40
Gluten-free cereal (even the somewhat healthier, more expensive kinds) should be a ‘sometimes’ food and not an ‘everyday’ food. They shouldn’t make the grocery list every week.
For the majority of people, if you learn two simple strategies, you can save yourself money and improve the health of you and your families diet. The two strategies are:
- Food skills – knowledge of how to prepare meals with single ingredient foods
- Meal planning
I hope this motivates you to get into the kitchen!
Living in the Okanagan or anywhere in British Columbia? View Selena’s services or book an appointment!
- “I contacted Selena when I still wasn’t feeling well a year after my celiac diagnosis. I’d read so much on the Internet I thought I knew everything I needed to know. I was wrong.
- Selena has important advice on how to do GF properly (it’s not as straightforward as I thought) and for regaining your health. She is organized, punctual, and professional. And she has celiac disease herself , so she gets it.
- I think a lot of us, by the time we’re diagnosed, have had more than our share of health care practitioners and may not want to bother with a dietitian.
- Selena played a crucial role in my recovery, and I would highly recommend her, whether you’re newly diagnosed or just trying to feel better.”
- ~ Charlene (long-distance celiac disease client)
- HEALTHBEAN NUTRITION specializes in digestive health. We deliver easy to digest, bite-size pieces of information so our clients can, finally, achieve the healthy & happy digestive system they’ve been striving for. Learn more ...
- HEALTHBEAN PHILOSOPHY– Selena employs elimination diets and/or a specific diets in accordance with her clients’ conditions, and only when deemed necessary. She reserves advice about the gluten-free diet for those who require it – not those choosing to follow the diet as a lifestyle choice. Expect clear, concise instructions on the appropriate diet for you and, maybe even some myth busting! Learn more …
Selena knows first-hand how her undiagnosed celiac disease affected her physical and emotional health. After telling her that, “Well, you have celiac disease,” her MD suggested she, “google the diet,” and out the door she went. Sound familiar?
That’s why Selena established Healthbean Nutrition. She is dedicating her education, personal insights and her own recovery to helping her fellow celiacs make this enormous lifestyle transition – and find joy in eating again! Learn more …
Selena’s Road to Diagnosis
- “When I was going through university, I was exhausted, ALL the time. I had to drag myself out to hang out with friends, and if I had it my way I would have spent most days in bed sleeping. It was not unknown for me to sleep 12-16 hours a day. Call me crazy, but I related it all to the busy-ness of school. I was even checked for anemia at one point (common with celiacs) and I was ‘fine.’
- The symptoms continued through school and the brain fog was undeniable. I distinctly remember during my dietetic internship (like a medical residency except everything is nutrition based) at Kelowna General Hospital sitting in the office, charting on a patient and, literally, feeling like my brain was so fuzzy that I could barely keep my eyes from nodding off. It was awful.
- Another thing I didn’t pay much attention to, was bowels. I was always constipated. Never the other way around. Never. And, I also remember mentioning this to my gastroenterologist just before the endoscopy and he said ‘oh, well with your very low antibody levels and constipation, there is a very low chance that you are actually celiac but we will proceed with the endoscopy since you’re prepped and ready to go.’
- The piece of paper I received after the endoscopy said to follow up with my GP. I did follow up with my GP and the report came back positive for celiac disease. My GP said “well, you’re celiac. But, you’re a dietitian, right, so this should be easy for you!”
- Perhaps I had a leg up in the nutrition part of it, but I think we all know that the gluten free diet is not a walk in the park. And, although, I am so appreciative of the medical care I received, it did open my eyes to the lack of knowledge within the medical community when it came to celiac disease and the lack of support offered to individuals with celiac disease.
That’s how Healthbean Nutrition was born!
- *Information and perspectives posted on The Celiac Scene are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. Always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. Healthbean Nutrition does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.