10 Gluten Free Pantry Essentials That Won't Break the Bank

I’ve been eating gluten free for about 4 years. I’m not celiac or allergic, but for me eating gluten free causes extreme fatigue and chronic joint pain. I’m talking sleeping all night, waking up exhausted and in so much pain I’m nauseous, barely staying awake until 1 in the afternoon, sleeping until 5 or 6, spending the evening groggy, and crashing out again by 9. I could barely function and had no life.

After doing some research, I learned that gluten could be causing or at least contributing to my symptoms. I also knew that buying specialty “gluten free” products would be expensive.  Gluten free bread costs $5 a loaf or more, and gluten free cookies can cost $4 or more per package. As we try to keep our expenses low, I wanted to find a way to eat healthy for me but not spend an arm and a leg doing it. So today I’m sharing some of the gluten free items I keep on hand that won’t explode your grocery budget.

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Gluten Free Pantry Essentials

gluten free

  1. Rice. You can use rice in place of noodles in many dishes. It also makes a great side for many meals. Rice is also cheap to buy. I usually spend about $15 for a 50 pound bag.
  2. Spaghetti squash or gluten free noodles. Spaghetti squash is the best! It’s easy to make and can be used anywhere you would use noodles. I don’t buy a lot of “gluten free” items, but noodles generally cost about $2 a box. Plus my husband prefers noodles to squash or rice, so it keeps him happy.
  3. Quinoa. This grain is super good for you. I like to use it in place of noodles for pasta salad. I also mix it with chickpeas, cranberries, and mayonnaise for a yummy lunch salad.
  4. Lettuce leaves. One of the aspects of gluten free eating that was hard for me was lunches. I love salad, but not every day for lunch. The larger leaves of romaine or iceberg lettuce make excellent wrap sandwiches. Fill with ham and cheese, tuna salad, chicken salad, or whatever sandwich fixings make you happy. Then simply roll up. You can keep them closed with a toothpick so they don’t come unrolled in your lunch box.
  5. Gluten free flour blend. Okay, this is one item I will spend a little extra on. I like this one. I prefer to get the kind that’s ready for baking. Not all gluten free flours are a straight up substitute for regular flour. Though it does cost a little, it’s still less than buying gluten free baked goods. Plus I can control exactly what goes into my baked goods.gluten free
  6. Healthy snacks. Snacks are a little tough when you can’t eat gluten. Pretzels, crackers, and many other foods are out. Chips can be okay as long as you check the ingredients, and so can some candies, but they’re not the healthiest choice. I like to keep items like apples, fresh berries, organic baby carrots, bell pepper slices, celery sticks, string cheese or cheese slices, and hummus on hand, just to name a few. They’re much healthier choices anyway, and if you look for fresh items that are in season, you’ll spend less.
  7. Rice cakes. This is another great snack idea. I’ve also put peanut butter and jelly on rice cakes. It’s close to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the expensive bread!
  8. Corn tortillas. I use them for tacos, fajitas, in enchiladas, or anywhere you would normally use a flour tortilla. (Speaking of which, check out these amazing sour cream enchiladas!)
  9. Instant oatmeal. Oatmeal is a great way to add a little extra protein to your morning smoothie. I also use instant oats in my loaded breakfast bars. And of course, oatmeal is a classic for breakfast.gluten free
  10. Cheerios. Honey nut cheerios are my favorite breakfast cereal. They also go into my breakfast bars. Plus I don’t like to cook when my husband’s working, so sometimes I’ll sneak a bowl for dinner. I know, it sounds lazy. But hey, I’m a busy person and I hate to cook for just myself.

What gluten free items do you keep on hand? Let us know in the comments below! Then read more:

Sour Cream Enchiladas

Amazing Avocado Chicken Salad

10 thoughts on “10 Gluten Free Pantry Essentials

  1. Nice list. I would however check into how baby carrots are processed, you might want to use regular size from now on. I loved because they were easy and fun but knowing what I know now about them, I will not buy. Happy research.

    1. I should have specified that I buy only organic baby carrots. I did do some research though, and was surprised at what I found. Thank you!

  2. This post made me so hungry while I was reading it! My parents cooked rice and quinoa a lot when I was growing up. I always felt like quinoa is a superfood! And spaghetti squash sounds amazing right now! I can definitely see how all of these are essentials for any pantry!

    1. My mom made spaghetti squash a lot when I was a kid, mostly in place of noodles for spaghetti. When I got older, I was amazed at how veersatile it is. I think I need to head to the grocery store!

  3. Great list! I’m not gluten free, but I’ve been wanting to try eating less gluten anyway. This is helpful because I have a better idea of how to start. Thanks!

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