A complaint that I often hear from people who start eating low FODMAP is that food became so much more expensive. When you eat low FODMAP, you sometimes have to buy products that are more expensive, such as lactose-free dairy products, gluten-free products and other dietary foods. Next to that, you suddenly have to make everything from scratch and you can’t quickly make a meal with ready-made foods. But despite all this, eating low FODMAP doesn’t have to be expensive. In this blog, I share the things I do to eat low FODMAP on a budget.
1. Check your pantry before doing groceries
A mistake that I often make, is going to the supermarket without checking what I still have in my pantry. The result is that I come home with lots of canned veggies, gluten-free flour and many more things that I still had that my pantry. This often costs me 10 euro’s extra and I didn’t even need it. Next to that, it is very handy to use the things that you still have in your pantry to make up your meal plan for the next week. You create the meals you are going to eat with the products you already have in your pantry. Like this, you already have part of the ingredients at home and you only need to buy the rest of the ingredients.
2. Make a meal plan for the week and buy all your groceries at once
This is my favourite way to save money. There were times when I never made a meal plan and went to the supermarket every two days. That really costs a lot of money. Every time I went to the supermarket I found things that I also “needed” and I always bought more than I actually needed. Now, I always make a meal plan in the weekend for the entire week. I try to pick recipes that have similar ingredients, for example, two meals that use the same veggies, so I don’t have to buy too many different products. On Saturday, I buy all my groceries for the entire week. Usually, I go to the supermarket one more time in the middle of the week to buy a few fresh ingredients, such as fruit or vegetables. I usually spend 50-60 euros for the two of us and maybe a few euros more during the week, but this really saves me a lot of money.
3. Eat the same thing twice
I always feel like eating the same thing twice in a week is kind of not done. For me, it always felt very boring and not creative to do this, but of course, that is nonsense. If you make a tasty and healthy meal, why not eat it twice? Cook a large portion and keep half of it in a box in the fridge. You can even choose not to eat it the next day, but one day after. So you don’t have to eat the same thing two days in a row. Or you can freeze it and eat it next week. The good thing is that you can buy the ingredients in bulk and you only have to cook once, but you can eat from it two days. Win-win!
4. Check for special savings programs
In one of the supermarkets in the Netherlands, we have something very cool. Every week, the supermarket has products that you can buy with a discount. But if you subscribe to their personal discount program, you get an email every week with 6 discounts that are based on the things that you have bought previously. I often get offers for 25% discount on gluten-free products from a brand that I often buy or on meats that I buy regularly. These products are generally more expensive and 25% off is a lot. When I get a nice discount, I always buy products in bulk. It is really worth checking if you can find similar programs for your supermarket.
5. Buy discounted products in bulk and freeze them
Related to point four: always check the discounts in the supermarket and buy products that you use a lot in bulk if there is a nice discount. Also, make sure that you have the option to freeze things. I often buy meat in bulk when there is a good discount, such as 1+1 for free. I usually put one package of meat in the fridge to eat that week and the rest goes into the freezer. If you buy more expensive products at a discount you can save a lot.
6. Look for the cheapest versions of dietary products
Dietary products are often the most expensive things on your grocery list. Products such as lactose-free yoghurt, lactose-free milk and gluten-free bread generally cost a lot more than normal milk or bread. But the prices can differ a lot per store and per brand. In the beginning, we only used to have unsweetened almond milk from the brand Alpro in the Netherlands, which costs you €2,40 per package. But now Albert Heijn also has their own brand almond milk for €1,42 and Aldi sells almond milk for €1,29. So it can make a huge difference where you buy your products. If you find out where you can buy the cheapest dietary products, you can save a lot of money.
7. Cook simple meals
It really isn’t necessary to use expensive dietary products in every meal if you are cooking low FODMAP. With discounted meat or fish, a few kinds of vegetables (fresh, canned or frozen) and rice or potatoes, you can also cook a delicious meal. In the next months, I am going to give some more attention to the category low budget recipes on my blog (because I hardly have any low budget recipes yet) to give you inspiration for low budget low FODMAP meals!
I hope that you found these tips for eating low FODMAP on a budget useful. What is your favourite tip to cook low budget?
Together we go for a calm belly!
Subscribe to the Karlijn's Kitchen e-mail newsletter for more tips and recipes and receive the ebook 10 things I wish I had known when I started the FODMAP diet for free!