How to eat grain free while on a tight budget

The economy is failing. Prices for everything, including food, are skyrocketing to levels as never before. Jobs are being shipped to other countries, leaving many people out of work and on public assistance. It can be very difficult to eat a grain free diet when the grain and sugar laden crap is so cheap. You want to try the recipes I post, but many of the items are just too expensive. So, you go back to the crap even though you don’t want to, because you just can’t afford these ingredients.

Again. I have you covered. I have always been, with the exception of about 6 months, on a tight budget and I am telling you that you can buy a few key grain and sugar free ingredients while on a tight budget, and still make all these goodies. All it takes is a little research and planning. And some great recipes by yours truly.

First, realize that you do not need a lot of fancy ingredients to make grain and sugar free goodies. The basics of any recipe in grain free baking are:

  1. Any kind of nut or seed flour
  2. A small amount of coconut flour
  3. Eggs
  4. Oil or butter (Preferably coconut oil)
  5. Baking soda
  6. Salt
  7. A sweetener of some kind
  8. Flavorings

Sometimes, you may need a nut butter to firm up the recipe, especially if you are making bread. Or, you may need some cocoa powder and some stevia sweetened chocolate chips once in a while. Granted, stevia sweetened chocolate chips are a luxury that I use in a lot of my recipes, only because I don’t want to make my own chocolate chips. However, if that is something you want to try, there are several good recipes online that you can try. Making your own chocolate can save quite a bit of money in the long run. All you need is cocoa powder, coconut oil, vanilla, and stevia.

Second, you can make a lot of your ingredients from scratch to save money. My post, “Quick and Easy Pecan Butter“, shows you how you can make various nut butters to save a lot of money. Last night, I made a little bit of coconut butter and then worked on walnut butter. Both of those took a bit longer than the pecan butter, but neither of them took longer than 5 minutes, and the end result was still the same.

Look, you do not need to pay $12-$15 per 8 oz jar of anything when you can make anything you need at home. I do recommend though to get one of those Ninja Master Prep blender systems, because it works a lot faster and lot more efficiently than a food processor or blender. (The above link is NOT an affiliate link. I am just showing you what I am talking about and how much it usually costs.) This can cut your processing time in half or more.

Third, remember what I have been saying all along–cheap substitutes can be used if you cannot afford the more expensive nuts. Sunflower seeds run about $2-$4 per pound, while cashews are closer to about $12 per pound. For the majority of your baking, you can use sunflower seeds in a 1:1 ratio, while adding maybe a teaspoon or two more of liquid. Delicate items, such as cakes or cupcakes, cashews are preferable because of the lighter taste and texture. So go ahead and splurge on a pound of cashews, if you can, and save it for special occasions. I’m telling you though, sunflower seeds can be used for a variety of items, so if you are on a tight budget, this is the first change to make.

Last, a word on sweeteners. I only use Stevia (except for the gingersnap cookies, where I used a bit of molasses) in my baking, period. This is one place where I do splurge, because of how long it can last and of the health benefits. The granulated stevia blend that I use has the brand name “Pyure”, and it is a blend of erythritol, stevia leaf extract, and natural flavors. It converts on a half to one ratio to most sweeteners, and does not have the bitter taste that most stevia products have, and is by far the best stevia sweetener I have used for recipes. (So if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you would only use 1/2 cup of stevia blend.) It comes in a 16 oz bag, and costs roughly $7 per bag at Walmart. I have made at least 7 batches of baked goods with it and I still have 2/3 of the bag left. It goes about as far as a 2 or 3 pound bag of sugar.

Liquid stevia comes in a 2 oz bottle, but since it is pure extract with a bit of flavoring, it doesn’t take much to sweeten an entire recipe. (Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 tsp) The current bottle I have has lasted me about 2 months with daily use in my coffee, and it is nearly empty. The bottle can cost around $13 at the co-op, but I can get it online at Vitacost for about $9-$10 per bottle.

The point with Stevia that I am trying to make is that the only place you may need to splurge for baking grain and sugar free is the stevia. Considering that most sweeteners are subsidized and cheap, yet harmful to health, it would make sense that you would have to pay a bit more for stevia. However, this is changing rapidly, as more people are starting to demand stevia sweetened items. Stevia used to cost a lot more and only exist in specialty shops, with the quality not near as good as it is now.

The takeaway I want to leave you with is this: know where to splurge and where to cut back, and you can create many wonderful baked goods on a budget. It doesn’t take a lot of time to make your own flour or nut butter, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Plan out what you want to make, see if you can substitute for cheaper ingredients, and go from there.