When I first started to eat gluten-free, grocery shopping became a very tedious, time consuming task. I dreaded it. I compiled a very large 3-ring binder full of foods that were safe for me to eat. I had my list of companies that clearly label gluten, but what about store brands? I typically do all my shopping at Meijer, but occasionally will shop at Wal-Mart, Kroger or Giant Eagle. Meijer has a great list of all of their GF store brand items. It is nice to have the choice of buying the store brand to try and save a little money. One thing that the gluten-free diet isn’t is cheap. Kroger has some great info on the gluten-free diet and their Private Label gluten-free list. They also have a list of available gluten-free specialty items offered in their stores (I am sure that this can vary by store, but you may be able to have them get something specific for your location). They have really come a long way in making it easier to shop at a mainstream grocery store. Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand labels their products now. It is so nice to turn over a package and see “gluten-free” staring right back up at you! It really makes shopping so much less stressful. Giant Eagle does offer some gluten-free specialty products and deli meats. I don’t usually buy meat from the deli due to cross contamination risk. I do occasionally buy some of their specialty items, especially the Chebe bread mixes when I need them.
When I can’t get the specialty items I am looking for in the mainstream grocery stores, I will venture over to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Raisin Rack. Trader Joe’s has a gluten-free list. They have some great pancakes, waffles and pastas. They are nicely priced for gluten-free foods too. Whole Foods has great lists for special diets. Their Whole Foods Bakehouse frozen pie crusts are amazing and even my picky glutenoid relatives were amazed. They are a little on the pricey side, but it is nice to have options out there. Raisin Rack is an amazing store. They have the largest gluten-free specialty food selection in the state of Ohio and some surrounding states. They will order in products upon request (loved the GF Conte’s Ravioli). I am going to work on them for this Rustic Crust pizza crust very soon. I do some shopping online, mostly at Amazon.com for items in bulk. This is where I buy my Pamela’s bread mix and pancake & baking mix. I buy in bulk and signed up for the subscription service. This makes the mixes between $3 and $4/each. Very reasonable and if you are going to be using them a lot, well worth the cost. Also, you always get free shipping when using the subscription service through Amazon.
So, since I started the gluten-free diet 2 and a half years ago, grocery shopping has become much easier and much less stressful. Part of it is the experience, part of it is better availability of products and the growing knowledge and incidence of Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet.