Monday, April 22, 2013

Food Plan- Dairy, Gluten and Nut free

Quite often when the topic of budgeting comes up people look wide eyed when I mention that we are Gluten free (2 out o5 of us), dairy free and nut free on a budget of 400-$500 a month living on the East Coast in a major metropolitan area. That including cleaning and toiletries (of which we have minimal costs)

I keep wondering if I am exaggerating that,so I thought I would put it to the test.  I have a plan to post my menus and $ spent on food. I do have a quite extensive food pantry that I have build over the years, but I don't rely on it that heavily. However if you have an empty pantry your food costs will be a bit more than mine, as I have spices, and staples on hand. Also I thought it might be helpful for people to see how we eat and useful to myself to see the dates I buy or plant items as a record for next year :)

We eat nearly no "processed" food. That is- not much I haven't processed my self. I currently shop at Trader Joes, Costco, Amazon and Farmers Markets. We eat only free range meat and eggs and no dairy. I FINALLY get to have my OWN garden this year and have a big one planned. So that should help a bit. But the way I do this is to buy in bulk on sale. Amazon has a subscribe and save program that is now getting more complicated, but if you have  a certain amount of items come each month you can get 15% off.

I also can. This last year we were told of an Amish Auction and were able to can quite a bit of food. I typically can Applesauce, but last year we did Applesauce, salsa, tomatoes, Potatoes and a few other things. I hope to go picking strawberries when they are finally ripe and put up my own jam. Our "treat food"is popcorn, fruit leather (deeply on sale or homemade) and baked goods I make from scratch.

I used to make my own bread, but since we have a GF child I can't do the white flour in the house and the wheat eaters don't prefer the GF bread. I found my best deal for Organic bread at Trader Joes for 2.99. The non-organic is 2.29 and that difference is worth it to me.
I plan to get into more details in future posts, but if you are struggling, I just want you to know that there are ways to eat healthy wherever you are. You need to keep an eye out for good bulk prices, buy food in season and be able to process them in a way to keep them for as long as you can.
I hope to have a sample menu of ours up in the next day or two!


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