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    • Cyclamen
    • By Cyclamen 2nd Apr 17, 8:30 AM
    • 455Posts
    • 455Thanks
    Free from food on a budget
    • #1
    • 2nd Apr 17, 8:30 AM
    Free from food on a budget 2nd Apr 17 at 8:30 AM
    Hello Folks

    I have been lactose intolerant/milk free for a long time and I am confident with how to shop for it. Yes it increases the shopping bill a bit but it's been affordable.

    After my GP's advice I have tried going wheat free. Two weeks in and I feel a huge amount better but I'm finding the whole shopping process very expensive and very hit and miss.

    Genius bread may be free from but it tasted like mashed potato.. not for me. I realise there will be a fair amount of trial and error as i find things that work for me but its working out very expensive. I am amazed by the price of 'wraps' which i use for lunch and even bread.

    I'm at a loss with a nice noodle option tried amoy rice noodles a while back and they fell apart in stirfry. A good wheat free pasta and flour are also top of my list.

    I have chronic ill health/disability and no one to shop for me so I use tesco's online. (With the occasional Iceland shop for fish and veggies).
    I am limited to what I can cook for myself. My carers make tea and when I can I join in.

    diet restrictions: wheat and dairy free, no alcohol, no beef/lamb/onion/garlic/hot spices so this has ruled out most ready meals. Nuts are a problem too not allergy But I can't snack on them.

    So please can anyone share any tips, ideas or products that will make this all a bit more affordable without tasting hideous?

    Official MoneySavingExpert insert Tue 19 Mar:

    If you're gluten-free, wheat-free or have coeliac disease, the cost of free-from food adds up, but if you know where to look in the same supermarket, you could make big savings without compromising on ingredients. See MSE Rhiannon's Don't overpay in the free-from aisle blog for help on spotting hidden bargains. The blog is from 23 May 2017, so some of the figures may not be current, but the principle still stands.

    Big thanks to Cyclamen for starting this thread!
    This Forum tip was included in's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Hannah; 19-03-2019 at 3:47 PM.
Page 2
    • Corona
    • By Corona 21st Apr 17, 10:34 PM
    • 872 Posts
    • 803 Thanks
    Thanks Curl

    Last night i tried free from pasta (tesco brand) and it was really nice, my husband is happy eating it too which is a bonus to save cooking separately although harder on the budget.
    Originally posted by Cyclamen
    I have this pasta and my husband has ordinary (much cheaper) pasta. It's just become part of our routine - to put on 2 pans of water and now we're used to it.

    The other thing I wanted to say about pasta was that, many years ago, I used to share a house with someone with coeliac disease and she had a pasta maker (maybe something to ask for as a present?) and made her own (I think most often she used gram flour - sorry I don't have the recipe, but you can probably fnd one?) I think she used to freeze surplus and then cook it from frozen.

    Might be useful to find some good recipe books - I've got "the complete Wheat Free CookBook" by Gibson & Templeton - they've got quite a few recipes for things like scones and cakes (one of my favourites is scones made with mashed potato & barley flour!)

    Good luck.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 21st Apr 17, 10:45 PM
    • 65,998 Posts
    • 387,626 Thanks
    I don't understand any of this "funny stuff" diet/food/problems ... so forgive me if I suggest something that "any moron knows you can't eat"

    All I can understand is: can't eat bread, flour, pasta... don't like spicy stuff.

    I'd be looking at plain rice to replace noodles - even for stir fries.

    Crustless quiches could be a quick meal solution too, or omelettes/frittata ...same basic thing, different trendy names

    Cheeseburger (without any bread) slapped on a plate with some chips would go down a treat too Or form mince into sausage shapes and call it sausages....

    Stuffed peppers (rice/veggies) are a meal .... sorry, but I have to mention chips again ... or you could bung a salad on the side.

    Even roast chicken/beef with gravy and vegetables would be a proper meal.

    Maybe your cooking needs to be more 1960s/70s than 80s/90s - before all this stir fry and pasta-eating became 'popular'.

    If spuds are OK, there's cheese/potato pie - and loads of jacket spuds with all sorts of toppings.
    • Gnocchi
    • By Gnocchi 27th Jun 17, 12:06 AM
    • 616 Posts
    • 1,123 Thanks
    Couscous will be out because made with semolina from durum wheat, but what about quinoa ? Seeds of Change do organic quinoa and rice pouches which are microwaveable and I've seen them on offer for 1.50 lately.

    What about soup ? Some of the Amy's Kitchen ones are gluten free.

    How about corn on the cob ? Tinned sweetcorn ? Tinned salmon ?

    Sausages : Musk's does gluten free Newmarket pork sausages. Docherty's does frozen gluten free cocktail sausages.

    Young's does gluten free fish fingers.
    Last edited by Gnocchi; 27-06-2017 at 12:09 AM.
    • homeed
    • By homeed 28th Jun 17, 6:53 AM
    • 12 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    GF alternatives
    I also have a lot of allergies, though luckily milk isnt one of them at the moment. I find eating out very stressful as most restaurants and cafes have no idea when it comes to allergies. Here is what I have found helps.

    The carers that are good at cooking, get them to do a big stockpot of a meat based stew. Have that for one dinner and then freeze small "topper" portions that you can microwave. You can add rice later on. That way you can have a portion when your carers are not there.

    For myself. I have found that baked beans in sauce (all varieties I have tried) not good for my system. Though getting plain beans in water, whether chick peas, butter beans, red kidney beans, etc I do not have a reaction to them. Though I have to keep away from the "East End" brand for some reason, as this particular brand always causes stomach problems, no matter whether they are chick peas or tinned tomatoes, it must be something to do with their production line, I also keep away from Heinz.

    You said you have to keep away from lamb and beef - is this because of the fat content. Lamb hearts are a tasty alternative in a slow cooker. You can also get reduced beef mince. You may liked mashed liver in GF gravy (or make pate) - I personally dislike liver. If you can use eggs, go for duck eggs as a treat - you would have to ask your carer to get them from your local butcher.

    I also have to do all my shopping online and alternate between tesco and Asda for variety. I also have tried Sainsbury's as they have a much wider range of gluten free foods then either Asda or Tesco. I also do a twice yearly shop online with uk I find this is a good way of getting good quality and mainly cheaper then Tesco for things like quinoa, cocoa powder, flax seeds, figs, dates etc.

    Products you may want to try out are vermicilli (instead of noodles), tinned coconut milk instead of normal milk in recipes, turkey rashes (lean alternative to bacon) (Tesco, i believe),

    Snacks wise, get the carers to make energy bars, these can but dont have to include oats. Basically energy bars are dates, figs, raisans, mixed with ground nuts and/or chai seeds. Add a little juice to moisten and form in balls half the size of ping pong balls and refridgerate up to 3 days in sealed container.

    Another option is stewed fruit, once fruit is stewed, use juice as a herbal tea. You can then bake the stewed fruit with a crumble topping from GF flour and it makes a dessert.

    Have a roast chicken one day, followed by Xin Xim the next from the left overs.

    Egg and spinach muffins - make a batch of 12 and freeze for savoury snacks. Dry toasted pumpkinseeds or sesame seeds are a nice snacks too, I ligthly salt mine after cooking.

    Try adding some fennel seeds when you are boiling potatoes, gives a different taste.Try using red lentils instead of meat in some of your dishes. Look at a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi.

    I have lots more ideas, but think this list is long enough already.
    • fredandwilma
    • By fredandwilma 29th Jun 17, 7:46 AM
    • 1,217 Posts
    • 1,661 Thanks
    Hi all,

    Have you tried Quinoa?

    Quinoa is a versatile grain that can be used to enhance taste and texture in various dishes, (according to the label).

    You can add it to soups and stews, salads, replace pasta or rice with Quinoa, or add it whole to whole grain breads which will add texture and nuttiness to the bread.

    1.29 a pack in Aldi.

    For a snack, try Sesame Snaps, (75p in Waitrose).

    Be careful with these though, if you are diabetic too. They have a high sugar content and they are very moreish. You can't win them all?
    Fred - Where's your get up and go?

    Barney - It just got up and went.

    Carpe diem
    • medsdemon
    • By medsdemon 4th Jul 17, 8:21 PM
    • 745 Posts
    • 6,098 Thanks
    My husband has been GF for approx 10 years and let me tell you the products have improved tenfold since then.

    All the GF pastas are great and we both eat it so we just cook one meal and no faffing. The price has come down for that.

    Bread wise we like M&S and Schar ciabatta rolls ( as have already been mentioned. If you're lucky many supermarkets reduce there fresh bread and
    we manage to pick up a variety regularly and freeze it.

    Obv rice is GF and Quinoa and you could try making polenta too ( polenta is great for adding coatings to things and for making cakes with). Try making batches of GF gnocchi that you can freeze and then take out enough for a meal. I like to cook them then fry them and add them to a dish with a free from pesto and lots of fresh basil or make a rich tomato sauce.

    Baked potatoes are also great as an easy go to with houmous and salad ( or whatever takes your fancy)

    And risotto would also be a good choice ( use the vegan Parmesan cheese like stuff on top).

    Or paella.

    Or homemade soups

    The best rice noodles are the proper Asian brands and don't forget to add tamari sauce ( like a gf soy sauce ) and coconut milk to the list from the Asian aisle.

    Once you get into the swing it's okay, don't worry. My meals often have to cater for a GF diet and a vegan and that is probably about the equivalent to yours.

    Ooh and don't forget pizzas. There are lots of recipes online making them with various bases like polenta and cauliflower. In fact it's not bad made with gf flour either.

    Hope some of that is useful.
    Grocery challenge October: 228.28/250.00 NSD 4 ( not completed)
    Grocery challenge November : 291.65/300.00 NSD 10
    Grocery challenge December : 0/240.00 NSD
    • aethelflaed
    • By aethelflaed 23rd May 18, 9:57 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Have you tried using hing (asafoetida) instead of onions and garlic? You don't need much (1/2tsp tops) and it gives an onion-y garlic-y taste without actually being either. It works well in hummus and has the added benefit of reducing windiness caused by beans and pulses You can get it in Oriental and Indian supermarkets and Waitrose and Tesco stock it now too.

    You could try looking for some Hare Krishna recipes, as they are meat, egg, onion and garlic free and you can usually just sub in almond or other dairy free milk for the milk and oil or marg instead of ghee.
    • pelirocco
    • By pelirocco 23rd May 18, 10:26 PM
    • 7,705 Posts
    • 8,629 Thanks
    Thanks Rhemmings

    we do tend to cook from ingredients rather than ready meals.. but need alternatives for the staples such as bread, pasta, noodles.

    I think we will look into making some of our own 'ready meals' for me.. I am hoping this is short lived but it does appear to be making a huge difference.
    Originally posted by Cyclamen

    Rice , or lentils ? I try and avoid bread ,you get used to not having after a while
    Vuja De - the feeling you'll be here later
    • faerielight
    • By faerielight 29th May 18, 9:17 AM
    • 1,761 Posts
    • 3,193 Thanks
    Asda's own brand GH pasta is the best I've tried, taste and texture similar to regulart. Also, I actually like Tesco and Asda's own value soy mink better than the more expensive Alpro
    Many thanks to all who contribute on MSE
    • MrsStepford
    • By MrsStepford 5th Jul 18, 5:39 PM
    • 161 Posts
    • 358 Thanks
    My husband has a gluten thang and a lot of the gluten free stuff is packed with additives and I've even seen packages of gluten free food marked Not Suitable For Coeliacs. Duh.

    Barilla gluten free pasta is the best IMO, tastes just like proper pasta. Genius breadoften has holes in it so we gave up on that. MrStepford likes the Genius gluten free pitta bread instead.

    Marks and Spencer wheat free cheese crackers and chocolate chip cookies are seriously yummy but I'm unsure whether they are suitable for coeliacs.

    Holland and Barrett ships via courier and does Zero noodles made from konjac which are low carb, gluten free etc. Kikkoman does a gluten free soy sauce btw.

    Goodfellas frozen gluten free pizza is miles better than the own brands. We get it from ASDA and Sainsbury's.

    Have you tried the A2 milk ? Can you have soya milk ? Morrisons and ASDA do 1 litre organic unsweetened tetrapaks for 1
    • mike stone
    • By mike stone 10th Nov 18, 7:10 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    mike stone

    If you contact Marks & Spencers they have a FreeCatalogue that lists all Glutin Free items that you can buy in their Food Halls.


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