A Celiac’s Guide to Shopping Gluten Free, Healthy and Cheap at Aldi

When you’re trying to eat healthy and cheap, follow a gluten free diet without going broke or save money on groceries, finding a grocery store that’s affordable and high quality is a must. Recently, I've discovered that Aldi seems to check both boxes - especially if you have celiac disease and need to eat gluten free.

I’d never even seen an Aldi before I moved to Mankato, Minnesota for grad school. With no Sprouts Farmers Markets (my previous grocery store soul mate) nearby, I was eager to see if Aldi was as awesome and affordable as I kept hearing. Well, over eight months have passed, and I’ve shopped at Aldi nearly every week. So, I thought I’d share all the tips and tricks I’ve learned about shopping at Aldi thus far.

A Celiac’s Guide to Shopping Gluten Free, Healthy and Cheap at Aldi

Ready to get the most out of your local Aldi - especially if you need to eat gluten free? Keep reading to find out how!

(And as an FYI, this post isn’t sponsored. I’m just really enjoying shopping at Aldi and hope to help other college students, celiacs or anyone else who lives near an Aldi learn how to eat healthy on a budget!). 

1. Know your store, and bring the proper shopping secret weapons. 

Like any other store or restaurant chain, the quality and variety of products found at Aldi will vary by location. I am extremely lucky that my local Aldi was renovated shortly after I moved to Mankato, increasing its size and the number of different products it can stock. If you’re lucky enough to live near multiple Aldi locations, you might want to scope out each of them and see which best fits your needs. 

Before you go shopping at Aldi for the first time, you should also know a few quick facts. First of all, don't expect any fancy display designs or carefully styled shelves. Most of the products are displayed in the cardboard containers they were shipped in...but since I'm buying what's in the shelves and not the shelves themselves (though some people do just buy the whole container of a product!), this decorating quirk doesn't bother me.

A Celiac’s Guide to Shopping Gluten Free, Healthy and Cheap at Aldi

You should also be sure to bring a quarter with you since Aldi customers need to insert a quarter to unlock a shopping cart. (And don’t worry - you do get your quarter back when the cart is properly returned!). Along with a quarter, bring your own shopping bags and prepare to do your own bagging. For the sake of efficiency, Aldi's cashiers just place items back in an empty cart for you to bag later. (I don’t think I’ve ever waited longer than 5 minutes in line...but shopping in the morning helps me avoid the rush too). 

2. Shop seasonally, and take advantage of sales. 

I’ve shared some tricks and tips for eating healthy on a budget before, but Aldi makes it even easier for me to spend $35 or less a week on all my food for the week. I am definitely guilty of shelling out two dollars a pop for avocados during the off-season (the addiction is real), but I do try to shop seasonally, which helps my grocery bills be even lower. 

A Celiac’s Guide to Shopping Gluten Free, Healthy and Cheap at Aldi

For instance, this last fall, I switched from eating a lot of summer squashes and zucchini to enjoying spaghetti squash and acorn squash. A few weeks, Aldi was selling whole spaghetti squashes for 99 cents each (not per pound!), which slashed my usual grocery costs even lower. Like other grocery stores, Aldi releases a new online and printed flyer with deals each week (usually on Tuesday), and I try to load up on items when they’re on sale. (Let’s not even talk about how many avocados I bought when they were 44 cents each). 

3. If you need to eat gluten free, check out Aldi’s LiveGFree line...and look forward to May. 

Besides the price, my favorite part about Aldi is definitely their gluten free line. All of the LiveGFree products are certified gluten free (although many do contain eggs and milk, as an FYI for people also avoiding those allergens). So far, I’ve tried their cinnamon raisin bagels (thick, chewy and sweet without tasting sugary), pretzels (crunchy and salty goodness) and various granola bars (the Very Berry is my favorite flavor so far). 

A Celiac’s Guide to Shopping Gluten Free, Healthy and Cheap at Aldi

Other LiveGFree items include sandwich bread, tortillas, cookies, baking mixes, bread crumbs, and frozen items like pizza, chicken nuggets and sandwiches. Aldi also offers seasonal gluten free products for a limited time (like gluten free stuffing and fried onions during Thanksgiving). If you have celiac disease and live near an Aldi, keep your eyes peeled for even more special gluten free products in May (in honor of Celiac Awareness Month). I’ve yet to try any myself, but I’ve heard good things about the gluten free General Tso’s Chicken and the cheesecake sampler available in some Aldi stores during May. 

4. Stock up on cheaper versions of pantry and fridge staples. 

Want to eat healthy without going broke? Then pay attention to how Aldi's cooking staples compare in price to those of other brands or other stores, and stock up on cheaper foods. For instance, coconut milk, white rice (for grinding into flour), canned beans and pumpkin, cereal and frozen fruit and vegetables are some of the items I can consistently buy for less at Aldi than Hy-vee, Cubs Foods or Walmart (the main other grocery stores in my town). 

A Celiac’s Guide to Shopping Gluten Free, Healthy and Cheap at Aldi

If you are eating a gluten free diet for celiac disease like me, I do recommend looking for a “Gluten Free” label on some pantry and fridge staples (like condiments or grains, which may have a higher chance of containing wheat). As I’ve written before, some celiacs are comfortable eating foods that aren’t labeled gluten free but don’t appear to have any wheat-containing ingredients, and I respect that decision. For my own piece of mind, though, I do prefer seeing “gluten free” on the products I buy, and most of the products at Aldi are clearly labeled when they are naturally gluten free, contain or may contain wheat, etc. 

5. Don’t forget to check the specialty item aisle! 

Once you’ve loaded up your cart with everything you need, you might want to spend a couple minutes perusing Aldi’s specialty item aisle (depending on how strictly you want to stick to your list and budget). This aisle contains items that Aldi is only selling for a limited time (such as seasonal items like Valentine’s Day chocolate) and/or selling for a reduced price. 

While most of these items contain gluten and are anything but healthy, I’ve discovered some real gems. A couple months ago, Aldi was selling limited edition flavors of the Live GFree granola bars for only $1.99 a four-bar box. (The pineapple and mango flavor, and the cinnamon raisin flavors were both winners). I’ve also found boxes of gluten free bean-based pasta from Explore Cuisine on sale, plus plenty of other items I considered buying but eventually turned down (like sweet potato chips and pre-cooked quinoa and sauce meals).

A Celiac’s Guide to Shopping Gluten Free, Healthy and Cheap at Aldi

It can be challenging to eat healthy on a budget. Add in dietary restrictions like being gluten free for celiac disease, and grocery shopping without going broke can feel even more challenging. However, as I shared in my previous post about how to eat cheap and healthy, taking advantage of sales, seasonal produce and affordable grocery stores like Aldi can make a big difference in your bottom line.

And if your allergy friendly and affordable meals are also vibrant and delicious (like I hope the meals I share on my Instagram always are)? Well, that’s just a bonus! 

Have you ever shopped at Aldi? What’s your favorite tip for saving money on groceries? Tell me in the comments! 


  1. When you said secret weapons I thought you meant apps that let you scan and find out if something is GF. Do you use those? I'm one of the archaic types who still has a flip phone, but the apps are making me think about switching.

    1. Hi Angelica. Personally, I don't use those kind of apps. I find it just as easy (and less prone to technological glitching) to check each item for gluten (looking for a gluten free symbol, reading the allergy warning and the ingredients, etc), but I know some people use those apps and find them helpful. I'd say it all depends on personal preference!

  2. Thank you for your articles that you have shared with us. Hopefully you can give the article a good benefit to us. Gluten Free Store - Naturessoulshop.com

  3. Are the canned fruit and vegetables (tomatoes) gf? I don't recall seeing a GF label on them so I have not tried them yet.

  4. The general detection window in oral fluids is 5 to 48 hours. If someone has used a substance often and/or for a long period, the detection window is much shorter. The best way to pass a mouth swab drug test is to start detoxing as soon as possible and to test yourself beforehand. Of course, this only works if you know exactly when you’re getting tested. However, perhaps you just had a weekend of partying and you want to be more safe and sorry. This is why it’s a good idea to test yourself.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts