When N was first diagnosed, gluten free grocery shopping felt super intimidating. Shopping with a toddler can be challenging on a good day, let alone shopping with a toddler and reading every single label. Thank goodness we found a solution! Here are my tips for shopping gluten free:
Have a good working knowledge of reading labels BEFORE you go.
One great resource for this is The National Celiac Association’s ROCK website resources page. They have an entire section dedicated to allowed vs not allowed foods in addition to a step by step guide to reading labels. https://raisingourceliackids.org/resources/
Create a meal plan for the week.
I sit down once a week and create a menu for the upcoming week. I plan all dinners and then add additional items for lunches and snacks. Stick to your menu! It will save you time and money. Recently, we moved all snacks, drinks and pantry items to Costco so that our weekly grocery pickup contained less items and cost less money.
Speaking of money, create a budget before you shop.
Gluten-free speciality item’s get expensive and I can easily increase our grocery bill with impulse buys. What works best for us is meal planning, and sticking to it!
Utilize an online grocery ordering platform
I much prefer reading labels from the comfort of my own home! We use Walmart Grocery Pickup. To do this, you download the Walmart Grocery app (Get $10 off your first order here), select your store, and begin adding items to your cart. Each item has pictures of the packaging and lists allergy information. Additionally, Under the “Departments” tab, they have a section called “Diet Shop” and then select “Gluten Free.” Always double check anything before purchasing and consuming though, even if it is in this section! Walmart grocery pickup is a free service at the moment.
Stock up when there are sales.
We often supplement our weekly groceries with gluten free items from Target and Costco when they are on sale. We have a deep freezer in our garage to easily store additional frozen items. Target offers the “Target Circle” app and will occasionally have gluten free brands such as Udi’s on for limited periods of time. When this happens, I stock up on gluten free hamburger and hot dog buns and keep them in the deep freezer for later. Shopping gluten free is much less expensive when you purchase things on sale vs. at the time you need them.
And most importantly, know that if you feel overwhelmed, that is normal! It is an enormous learning curve. With each trip, you will gain confidence and develop some “go to” gluten free items and meals.
What tips do you have for gluten free grocery shopping? Let us know in the comments!