Find a week of cheap gluten free meals + grocery list to help make it easy to nourish your body with wholesome ingredients without breaking the bank. Prepare them all, or mix and match your favorites for budget friendly gluten free meals the whole family will love!
Gluten Free on a Budget
Think healthy gluten free eating has to break the bank? Think again! Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to stick to your grocery budget, especially when you’re trying to accommodate food allergies and health conditions that require “specialty” ingredients. Sometimes, it seems like all that’s left are rice and beans…except beans aren’t always easily digested, and rice isn’t all that nourishing on its own.
I digress. The point is, I get it. Luckily, I’ve been in your shoes before, and I’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. That means that I’ve managed to navigate allll the grocery stores, choosing wholesome ingredients that help create satisfying meals full of flavor while also sticking to an affordable grocery budget! I’ve even gathered a full week of the absolute best cheap gluten free meals along with a complete grocery list and cost estimations so you can take the guesswork out of meal prep and feel confident knowing you’re nourishing your body while also enjoying your food and protecting your wallet.
Gluten free Pantry Staples for Cheap Easy Meals + Ingredients
Knowing which foods are and are not considered to be gluten free can be a bit tricky. With cross-contamination, added ingredients, and unfamiliar foods, navigating the grocery store can seem impossible, but I promise it’s not! For an in-depth guide on how to ensure foods are gluten free, take a look here. However, to keep things simple I gathered a list of my top 10 gluten free ingredient essentials that make it easy to prepare cheap meals without all the guesswork!
Top 10 Budget-Friendly Gluten Free
- Eggs – Full of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients, eggs are a great ingredient to keep on hand for breakfast recipes like Paleo Egg Wraps, quick stir-fries, or even baked goods if you want a sweet treat!
- Frozen Vegetables – Contrary to popular belief that frozen foods are less nutritious, frozen veggies are a great option for quick, budget-friendly meals! The produce is picked at the peak of its ripeness and frozen quickly, meaning it retains more nutrients than some of its fresh counterparts. Some of my favorite veg to buy frozen include spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans!
- BPA-Free Canned Low-Sodium Legumes – High in fiber and plant-based protein, legumes such as chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and navy beans are a great option for side dishes like Mexican Style One Pot Beans or to add to casseroles, tacos, and more!
- Canned Fish – A super easy protein source that requires no cooking, canned fish are an easy way to get in your Omegas while also saving some money. Plus, they’re super tasty when added to wraps, bowls, and more! I like to stock up on sardines, tuna, and salmon for those times when I need protein in a pinch.
Budget-Friendly Note: Not all canned fish or seafood is budget-friendly! For instance, canned crab is not cheap! For this reason, I stick with the canned fish varieties listed above.
- White Rice – A budget recipe staple that’s easy to digest, white rice has been used for centuries and is one of the most affordable foods you’ll find in the grocery store. Just make sure you opt for a pre-packaged variety that has been certified gluten free to avoid the chance of cross-contamination with other gluten-containing foods.
- Potatoes – Did you know that potatoes are considered to be one of the most satiating foods? (Source) Plus, they’re filled with vitamins, nutrients, and fiber and are super versatile so you never get tired of them! I like to keep both sweet potatoes and Russet potatoes on hand for recipes like sweet potato tots and oven roasted potatoes.
- Frozen Chicken Breast – Affordable, versatile, and delicious, chicken is a meal prep staple in my house and can be used for an endless variety of recipes like shredded chicken, chicken potato soup, chicken shawarma, and more! Just make sure it’s not in a solution and contains no added ingredients.
- Fruit – Sweet and satisfying, fruit is great to keep on hand for smoothies, salads, and even snacks. Citrus, apples, bananas, pears, and oranges are typically the cheapest, but their cost tends to vary from season to season. So, don’t be afraid to look around!
- Natural Peanut Butter – If you don’t have a peanut allergy, natural peanut butter is a non-negotiable pantry staple, in my opinion. After all, not only is it delicious, but it’s a great way to add healthy fats and protein to nearly any dish! Plop it in smoothies, schmear it on apples, mix it into stir-fries, and more! Just don’t forget to double-check the ingredient list to ensure that your peanut butter does not contain any added flavors or ingredients.
- Low-Lactose Cheese – If you can tolerate it, low-lactose cheese like hard cheddar or Parmesan is a great addition to keep on hand for easy snacking or added flavor in recipes such as cauliflower mac and cheese or egg and cheese casserole! If Tolerated (hard cheddar or Parmesan)
- Shelf-Stable Non-Dairy Milk/Coconut Milk – To prevent waste and save a few bucks, I recommend buying your non-dairy or coconut milk from a shelf-stable source instead of the refrigerated section. Then, you can stock up if there happens to be a sale, and you can rest assured knowing it won’t go bad before you get to it!
* Bonus Nutrient-Dense Food! Liver – I know, I know. Liver isn’t the most popular food out there, but hear me out! Not only is it one of the cheapest protein sources you’ll find, but it’s really not that bad, especially when mixed with other meat. Plus, it’s one of the most nutritious foods you’ll find! For instance, it’s loaded with vitamin B12, vitamin A, and iron. Read more about all the benefits of liver here!
Grain-Free Swap Tip: Swap any gluten-containing grain for homemade veggie rice or noodles using a head of cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, or sweet potato!
Tips for Meal Prepping on a Budget
Alright, now that you have my favorite budget-friendly ingredients, let’s talk about how to meal prep on a budget! You see, it’s not enough to just buy cheap foods, you also have to know what to do with them. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up buying more than you need and wasting food and money.
- Make A Menu. Start each week by planning ahead of time. Create a menu for all the meals you’ll eat throughout the week, and write down exactly what you’ll need for each meal.
- Use Coupons. Check your grocery store ad and sign up for any rewards programs that might be available at your local stores. Then, work to incorporate ingredients that are on sale into your meal plan.
- Keep It Simple. A common misconception when it comes to meal prep is that recipes need to be complicated and use a million ingredients, but this definitely isn’t true! Keep your meals as simple as possible using fresh produce and simple grains. Then, add flavor with spices, seasonings, and sauces you have on hand. This will help cut down costs without sacrificing flavor!
- Shop Seasonal. If you haven’t noticed, seasonal produce is usually cheaper, because it can be grown locally or closer to home. Plus, it contains more nutrients than foods that need to be transported and are eaten past their peak ripeness! Take a look at this seasonal produce guide to help navigate your food choices at your local grocery shops and farmer’s markets.
- Make Extras. More often than not, foods are cheaper when they’re purchased in large quantities. Therefore, making multiple servings of one recipe is a great way to reduce the cost of each meal. Plus, it makes meal prep a breeze!
A Full Week of Cheap Gluten Free Meals + Grocery List
Now that I’ve given you all my best tips for creating cheap easy meals, are you ready to find my favorite (soon to be yours, too) cheap meal prep ideas? I thought so! Take a look below to find breakfasts, main meals, and snacks you’ll love.
*Disclaimer: All cost estimations are based on the average price of ingredients and are liable to change, depending on where you live and the health of the economy.
Breakfast (Under $2)
Below are 3 budget-friendly breakfast ideas that are all under $2 per plate. Find the perfect fit for your diet, or try them all!
4 Ingredient Low Carb Pancakes – Grain-free, low-carb, sugar-free, and dairy-free, these pancakes are made with just 4 ingredients for a high-protein meal that’s truly magical! Enjoy them on their own, or add your favorite toppings for a kid-friendly breakfast.
Savory Quinoa Breakfast Bowl – Perfect for meal prep, these breakfast bowls are super versatile and can be made to fit all diet types from plant-based, to carnivore, vegetarian, and everything in between! Plus, they’re a great way to use up leftovers from the night before.
Superfood Overnight Oatmeal – Full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, overnight oatmeal will keep you full all morning long! Plus, they’re made in minutes and can be prepped ahead of time for easy meals all week long.
Main Meals ($2-3 per Plate)
Whether you’re looking for easy lunches to take to the office or a family friendly dinner, these main meals have you covered! Even better, each serving comes together for $3 or less.
Easy Asian Noodles Recipe – Sweet and Sour Noodles – A bit of a cheater’s recipe, these sweet and sour noodles use leftover ingredients and a homemade sweet and sour sauce to create incredible flavor in just 20 minutes!
Tuna Noodle Casserole (Dairy Free) – A classic dinnertime, staple, this dairy-free tuna noodle casserole comes together with just 7 ingredients for a gluten free comfort food the whole family will love!
Lasagna Noodle Soup (Gluten Free, Vegetarian) – Hearty, full of flavor, and loaded with veggies, this lasagna noodle soup can be made in the instant pot or on the stove top for a warm meal that is perfect for meal prep.
Keto Italian Chicken Meal Prep Casserole (Vegetarian Option) – Made with 7 ingredients, tender chicken, juicy tomatoes, spinach, and Italian seasoning comes together for a low-carb family-friendly meal!
Almond Flour Crusted Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (Paleo, Oven Option) – Everyone’s favorite food, chicken tenders are made even better with almond flour, turmeric, and spices for a grain-free, gluten-free, kid-friendly dinner option perfect for every occasion.
Mushroom Vegan Taco Meat (Nut Free, Grain Free) – This recipe is so “meaty” you’ll never believe it’s Vegan! Stocked full of veggies and Mexican flavors, it’s super tasty and ready in 30 minutes.
Bonus Snacks ($2-4 per Recipe)
Skip the processed foods and sugary sweets, and opt for these nutritious snacks that come together with just $4 or less!
Salt & Vinegar Air Fryer Kale Chips (Oven Baked Option) – Just like your favorite salt and vinegar chips, but so much better, these kale chips are gluten free, high in fiber, vegan, and delicious!
Buffalo Cauliflower (Vegan & Whole30 Option) – Full of flavor and perfect for dipping, these buffalo cauliflower bites are a crowd-pleasing option that can be made in the oven or air fryer in just 15 minutes!
Ready to get cooking? Download the grocery list below for everything you’ll need to create these cheap easy meals to nourish your body without breaking your bank account!
I hope you enjoy this week of cheap gluten free meals! If you need substitutions for any of the recipes or have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!