According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, only 8% of American children, and 3% to 4% of the general population, suffer from a food allergy. That’s the good news. The bad news is that almost 40% of children with allergies experience severe reactions, many of which are expected to last into adulthood.
If you or someone in your household has a food allergy, you know how important it is to shop with care. But, that care comes at a cost – many allergy-friendly foods are more expensive than their counterparts. Don’t let your allergy concerns drive you to the poorhouse. Combat high grocery bills with the following tips.
1. Embrace Customer Loyalty Programs
Participate in your grocery store’s customer loyalty program and swipe your customer card whenever you check out. This enables your grocer to electronically tracks purchases and send out targeted coupons. It’s a great way to save on the brands and products you already buy; plus, you’re likely to receive additional coupons as you check out. It’s tempting to throw these in your wallet and forget about them, but because they’re based on your purchase history, the savings they offer can really add up.
2. Research the Internet
Take a minute to look up the websites of your favorite allergy-friendly brands, such as Rudi’s, Amy’s, or SoDelicious. Sometimes brands offer special deals or coupons on their websites, and many offer the opportunity to sign up for newsletters so you can be notified when specials take place.
If you’re on social media, be sure to like and follow your favorite brands there, too. Brands frequently offer special deals to friends and followers that can’t be found elsewhere.
3. Stock up During Sales
While shopping, keep an eye out for discounts on allergy-friendly products. If you see a deal on something your household uses a lot of (gluten-free cereal, for example) pick up more than you would typically purchase. That said, this only works for products that can be stored or frozen without risking spoilage. When buying perishable items, only purchase what your family can reasonably use before it goes bad.
4. Read Labels Carefully
If you buy a shirt that doesn’t fit, all you have to do is return it. That’s not necessarily true when it comes to food. It would be a shame to spend a lot of money on groceries, only to find out that many of your purchase are contaminated with allergens. Read labels carefully and save yourself cash on the front end by staying away from products you won’t be able to use. If you’re unsure about a particular product, leave it on the shelf until you have the chance to research its ingredients more carefully.
5. Confirm Allergies With a Doctor
According to a study by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, more than half of the study participants outgrew their peanut allergies. And, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, roughly 80% of children outgrow their dairy allergies. During your child’s next routine check up, ask your doctor to test your child to see whether he or she has outgrown his or her allergy. If so, you can resume your normal grocery shopping habits.
6. Adjust Your Diet
Believe it or not, the easiest way to save money on allergy-friendly foods is to clean up your diet. I’m allergic to gluten, which seems like it’s in everything, so my solution has been to undertake a completely fresh gluten-free diet. I avoid prepared or processed foods and stick to a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and naturally gluten-free grains. This substantially cuts the cost of grocery shopping.
Dealing with a food allergy certainly isn’t easy, but it can be done without breaking the bank or forfeiting all your favorite foods. Consider purchasing a juicer to whip up fresh and interesting dishes for your household. A juicer is great for smoothies, soups, fresh breads, and of course, fresh juices, allowing you to craft creative allergy-free options that even kids are sure to love.