I wrote about this a bit more at length in the other forum, but yeah, the title pretty much sums it up. I'm looking to put our family (three kids - ages 6, 6, and 14 months) on a vegetarian AND GF/CF meal plan. And I want to be able to do it affordably, and without using a bunch of soy / processed alternatives. Am I totally crazy, or might it be doable? What are some good resources?
My family does not have those dietary restrictions, but I know people who have done it/are doing it. I think the guidelines for making the diet as inexpensive as possible would be the same as for any diet - stick to whole foods rather than processed ($0.99 bag of carrots vs. $5.00 bag of GF pretzels), coupon if there are coupons for what you eat (Whole Foods has them), shop sales and stock up, keep ingredients for quick favorites in the pantry to minimize eating out, bake from scratch if you can, garden if you can, etc.
Like I said, my family is pescatarian/omnivorous, so we don't have those restrictions, but there are some pretty strong preferences there. I keep recipes on Pinterest to try and put keepers in my recipe book or stack of index cards I can look through when making up meal plans. I also aim for fruit and vegetables in season or buy frozen.
Also, even though we do not eat vegan/GF, I like a few sites that have good recipes in those genres. These might be a starting point for you:
Fat Free Vegan - She has a daughter, so she regularly posts about what her daughter liked/didn't like:
http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/tag/gluten-free (Recipes tagged GF)
http://www.theppk.com/category/recipe/gluten-free/ (Recipes tagged GF)
Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"
I would suggest that you look at a lot of Indian vegetarian recipes & avoid/delete the dairy, rice & breads.
You can use potatoes & garbanzo bean flour (besan) instead, I guess. Use vegetable oil instead of ghee.
Three words: Honey Baked Lentils, the awesomest cheap and easy main dish ever! Just use GF soy sauce.
Beans are cheap, even if you don't have time to cook dry beans and use canned beans. (Rinse off the liquid they're canned in to reduce gas.) They're also starchy enough to fill you up without bread, pasta, or other gluten foods. I have many other bean recipes on my site.
Mama to a boy EnviroKid 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby !
I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more.
-pasta (I do wheat, but you can do what works for you)
-Alf's puffed cereal
-fresh fruit (kiwi and bananas are cheap
-potato chips (not the healthiest but vegetarian none the less)
-natural peanut butter
that is the stuff I get from normal store... most is inexpensive except maple syrup ($5-$7) and the peanut butter (about $5)
We are gluten, dairy, and cane sugar free. (Well, a bit of parmesan and mozzarella, but our daughter can't do dairy so most of what I make is dF with us sprinkling some cheese on top of pasta, etc.)
I feed my family of 4 on $700 a month. I cannot afford much organic on that budget. I buy as much as I can from amazon's "subscribe and save" and costco. I shop at Trader Joe's, Sprouts, and Whole Foods (only a few items there as they are so expensive.) If you live somewhere with inexpensive local organic farms, that would be a good idea. Can you start your own garden? If you had your own chickens you could eat their eggs. (That's what we do.) I grow micro-greens for our hens which saves money and I think we get more eggs. I also give them organic corn and soy free commercial feed that I buy via a local co-op.
The cane sugar allergy makes it almost impossible to eat any processed foods. I can't just pick up a gluten free something to throw in the oven because it probably has cane sugar. And, I really like that.
We do eat corn pasta because rice has been found to have aresenic and/or lead so we stopped doing rice and rice pasta. However, you can julienne zucchini for a good pasta substitute.
It's all about finding recipes you like that work for your dietary restrictions then finding the ingredients wherever they are cheapest. If you have any specific questions that I can answer, please let me know.