Budget free from food

My mother has some specific dietary requirements and some of the free from foods can be quite expensive. I was wondering what is the best way to find good quality, but low cost free from foods? She can't have anything with cows milk, egg whites and red meat fat in. I also have some food issues, I'm allergic to coconut.

I'm financially responsible for her right now and have to admit that budgeting for food is not my strong point. I've already been given some tips on how to learn to budget for food but would love a bit of advice on buying allergy related foods. I'm currently getting bits from Waitrose, Morrisons and Holland and Barrets but it isn't cheap.

I have got my hands on some good allergy cookbooks along with some vegan ones which will help with main meals. It's the various convenience foods and snacks I'm struggling with. Mother is normally quite savvy but she has been so unwell that she hasn't been able to help that much.


  • CRANKY40CRANKY40 Forumite
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    Your mum's free from list seems to fit with vegan stuff. Maybe look for some cheap vegan snack recipes. I used to make a Nigella (domestic goddess book) banana muffin recipe that didn't involve eggs and could be used with dairy free spread. That could be one to google if your mum likes bananas.
  • MandM90MandM90 Forumite
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    I find Vitalite the best spread in terms of balancing taste with cost effectiveness. Especially when on offer.

    We don't buy fake cheese but instead will sub for other things. So on pasta a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and extra salt adds that fatty salty element cheese would, and a dollop of hummus on a baked potato instead of cheese (sounds strange but it really works!)

    I would have a look at the recipe site Budget Bytes under vegan - lots of great recipes and they focus on whole foods which are cheaper, and generally healthier, than 'fake' counterparts.
  • PipneyJanePipneyJane Forumite
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    If you bake, one tablespoon of soy flour plus two tablespoons of water will substitute quite nicely for an egg. Instead of cornflour you can use soy flour but that does make the cake a little bit more crumbly.

    I'm assuming your mother is under a dietitian at the local hospital? If not, do ask your GP to refer you. The dietitians will have menu/recipe leaflets and can refer you to online sources for recipes, which can make a big difference.


    - Pip

    PS: Again for baking, 1/3 cup of oil substitutes quite nicely for 100g butter and won't give you a greasy cake.
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  • joedenisejoedenise Forumite
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    For budget vegan recipes I would take a look at Jack Monroe's website https://www.cookingonabootstrap.com. There are loads of recipes which would probably be good for your mother and yourself. Definitely work a look.
  • purpleivypurpleivy Forumite
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    I would try and cook things that would be 'free from' naturally on the whole. Will she have soy/oat/almond milk? That would mean you could make a milk pud or custard.
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  • sillyvixensillyvixen Forumite
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    MandM90 wrote: »
    and a dollop of hummus on a baked potato instead of cheese (sounds strange but it really works!)

    mix it with grated carrot and a bit of sweetcorn or left over red pepper!! Amazing my favorite potato topping or sandwich filling.
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