How often do we get to the money hungry till in a supermarket to find that we’ve spent more and got less than anticipated? It doesn’t matter whether you’re struggling to cater for food allergies or not, the cost of everyday food is rising….and many of us are feeling the pinch.
Catering for those with true food allergies increases costs both in direct and indirect ways. Not only do the special, allergy free alternative ingredients we must buy cost the earth…but we have to visit three, four or even five shops or supermarkets weekly to hunt down the ingredients we need to provide a balanced and safe diet. Add in to the mix that it takes longer to read through every ingredient on every packet every time we shop, and that adapting recipes takes time, effort and lots of failures until we have it right, and you start to get the picture that everyday life with food allergies takes it toll on families.
Don’t let these things get you down, however, as there are time saving strategies that WILL help you manage your time effectively and reduce the burden of catering and shopping for food allergies.
I’ve put together a list of suggestions to help.
- Plan your meals in advance. Maybe stick a weekly planner on the fridge door?
- Use your weekly menu as the basis for your shopping list
- Only buy what you are going to be able to use. Some speciality ingredients are already costly – the last thing you want is to be throwing out of date items away
- Consider online supermarket shopping – let someone else take the strain
- Look at cheaper alternatives – we have recently found Aldi cold meats are tasty, free from the added milk protein other supermarkets pump in to their cold sliced meats…and they are far cheaper than the other main stores
- Buy in bulk to take advantages of special offers and to reduce the number of shopping trips – if you have the storage space at home
- Look at online specialist shops for key ingredients you may find hard to source elsewhere, and get them delivered direct – again in bulk where possible
- Avoid too many allergy free convenience foods. Not only are they super expensive, but often they aren’t especially tasty either. We’ve lost track of the number of new products we’ve tried out to find all three boys think they’re yuk and feed the bin!
- Make much more than you need and freeze portions to take out when you need a quick meal. This works especially well with pasta sauces, any dish involving minced beef, soups, casseroles, cakes, biscuits, lasagne and meatballs to name just a few
If even one of these ideas works for you, if you regularly cook smart and shop wisely, you will see the benefits straight away. Don’t be a victim to the burden of food allergies. Get smart and leave yourself time to do the fun stuff!