Grocery shopping was, at least initially, a huge struggle for me. Every single thing I bought or wanted to buy required that I read all the ingredients. I am continually frustrated by the fact that, although packaged foods are required to highlight their allergen information, they oftentimes do not explicitly state that they contain wheat or gluten. Therefore, I have to read every ingredient and try to decipher the “questionable food items” (re: caramel coloring or “seasonings”) for myself.
After spending many grocery store visits looking like I had some sort of eating disorder for spending an inordinate amount of time reading every food label of every food (and then reluctantly returning it to the shelf), I have finally come to realize that eating the whole foods is what’s really best for not only me, but anyone trying to eat healthier. Surprisingly, it is not any more expensive; but it is infinitely healthier.
In a typical trip to the grocery store, I usually seek out the least expensive, whole food vegetables first, and then build my meals from there (like they always say – shop the perimeter of the store!). First, I go for bananas, which arguably give you the most “bang for your buck.” I like to think of bananas as nature’s candy bar because they have their own wrapper, are easy to transport, and will fill you up pretty well after eating just one. I also really love to buy frozen fruits and vegetables. Living on my own and buying fresh produce is tough because it can go bad so quickly. Frozen vegetables and fruit, however, are actually arguably better for you (because they pick the produce at it’s peak and then freeze it, so it has more nutrients) and it will last for months. Some of my favorites are frozen corn, spinach, berries, and mangoes. Just be sure that you buy the frozen items that don’t have any added sugar or sodium. They usually will advertise that fact right on the package, but you can also look at the ingredients where it will list anything in addition to the vegetable or fruit.
Beyond that, canned food is actually pretty good too. While you should watch out for sodium, most of the naturally canned products that are gluten and diary free are not too bad for you, and will similarly keep longer. Moreover, they are way less expensive than fresh produce.
Even though grocery shopping can be a challenge (especially to those who are new to the gluten-free living scene), your initial investment of time will pay off! At a certain point you’ll find yourself sweeping through your local grocery store, swiftly picking up all the necessary items that will keep you going with delicious variety and freshness!
If you’re still having trouble and want to jump right into the gluten-free world, check out the new Triumph Dining 5th Edition Grocery Guide! Filled with all the essential products for healthy gluten-free living, this book will become more important than your own grocery list!