Cooking for yourself at uni is hard enough as it is. If you also suffer from an intolerance to gluten or Coeliac disease, it can seem like a nightmare. Here are some top tips for making gluten free eating slightly easier on a student budget:
Free from brands
Ever stood staring in disbelief at the price labels on GF products at Tesco or Asda? Morrisons’ free from section both online and in store is your best friend, much cheaper and offering a huge range. Or at least it was, until Aldi started stocking Genius bread, pasta cake mixes and other student essentials.
On a budget
Having said this, the easiest way to save your cash is to avoid targeted brands of bread and pasta altogether. Stock your cupboards with cheap, naturally gluten free options like rice and potatoes to serve with chillis, casseroles, fish and meat. Chunky soups and stews made in a slow cooker will fill you up so much more than tins, so you won’t be craving that slice of bread and butter.
It’s easier than you’d think to make your own sauces from scratch rather than buying them in extortionate packets. Tinned tomatoes, crème fraîche, cheese, a few jars of spices, and a bag of corn flour are all you need to recreate most of your favourite sauces at home. The extra washing up will be worth it.
Leftovers make the easiest lunches. Let the food cool down, pop it into a tupperware and pick it up from the fridge in the morning. My favourites are beansprout stir fries, soups kept in a thermos, curries, or salads stored in jars.
Staying on campus for lectures for hours at a time can be exhausting, and if you’re still hungry after lunch the temptation to buy crisps or chocolate bars from the shops is all too real.
The best snack I’ve found is Aldi’s Hike bar, their alternative to Nakd or Trek. The bars are gluten free, fruit- and protein-filled and just 60p. They make you feel genuinely full and give you that extra boost to make it through your lecture without nodding off. (I swear Aldi isn’t paying me to write this article.)
Fruit pieces, nuts or lightly salted popcorn are healthy but delicious, and I’d highly recommend investing in a blender to make smoothies out of frozen fruit, oats, peanut butter or protein powder.
On the Approved Food site, you can buy food that has gone past its ‘display until’ date but is still completely tasty and safe. They have a whole gluten free section with snacks, flours and cereals.
It’s a great idea to shop around supermarkets’ bargain sections for food that’s about to go off, which you can freeze when you get home until you need it.
The Gluten Free Student Cookbook blog is extremely helpful to quickly check on your phone while you’re shopping or during uni when you’re daydreaming about food.
Not many people know about Kindle Cloud Reader, a free app which lets you read any eBook on your laptop. Even fewer people know that if you search for cookbooks on the Kindle Store and refine your search to see the lowest prices first, there are hundreds of cookbooks to download completely free. You’re welcome.