There are so many ways to eat inexpensively as a vegan that I really have never understood why this is an issue with some people. When you think about it meat, cheese and dairy are often looked at as luxury commodities throughout the world and are generally considered the foods of the affluent. People of modest means generally eat foods like rice, beans, potatoes, bananas and apples so this criticism of the vegan diet’s high cost has no merit in the real world. I have put together some basic suggestions to help you manage your weekly grocery bills while on a vegan diet.
Make your own foods Premade store bought vegan foods cost more because of their short shelf life, whereas standard American diet (SAD) foods are generally prepackaged to last for years with many preservatives so they are usually less expensive to buy.
Rice and anything makes a great meal
Serve a bowl of rice with any of the following for a hearty meal.
- Sautéed or steamed green peppers or asparagus. Add onions.
- Sautéed or steamed asparagus.
- Mixed with black beans and corn with a side salad.
- Mushrooms cooked in a vegetable broth with sliced vidalia onions.
- Mixed with a fresh tomato sauce.
Potatoes are a great way to fill up You can saute them, steam them or bake them. They are one of the most versatile vegetables to work with. I make a dish where I steam them along with onions. I arrange the plate with the potatoes, onions, throw some corn and sliced avocado on top with some pico de gallo and it tastes amazing. This is a pretty cheap meal that always satisfies your hunger.
Elvis Knows Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are great and low cost.
Smoothies are relatively cheap if you use the right ingredients. The base of your smoothies should be bananas. You don’t need 12 ingredients! You can use one or two bananas, add any type of berry and some leafy greens. That’s it. You can use water as your base to save money and add an apple to sweeten it up even more. Dates also work well as a smoothie sweetener.
Frozen vegetables are great because there is little waste if you don’t get to them in time. Foods like peas, spinach, green beans, broccoli, snow peas etc work well for steaming or sautéing and are less expensive in general.
Beans, Beans, Beans Buy your beans dried and save big time over canned. Sure there is a little extra work in soaking and boiling them, but there are health advantages too. Less salt for one and can linings are generally made of BPA (Bisphenol-A) which is a synthetic estrogen that can interrupt endocrine function in humans. BPA leaches into the beans and has been linked to infertility, early puberty, cancers, diabetes and a whole host of bad stuff. I generally soak and cook enough beans for a few meals and keep them in a Glass-Lock BPA free container.
Smart Phone Help Get an app that tells you what fruits and vegetables are in season. When produce is in season it is plentiful and generally cheaper too.
Avoid precut veggies and fruit. They cost too much. Get a good knife and master it!
Local farmers markets are great places for good prices. Go at the end of the day and haggle a bit.
Say No To Juicing Stay away from juicing because it is expensive in comparison to blending. With blending you obviously use the whole fruit and vegetable and thus more goes into your belly! Juicing has amazing benefits but none of them involve saving you money.
Pass on the Superfoods If it’s labeled superfood then keep walking. The term superfood is a marketing term to mean additional $$$. Sure they can be great additions every now and then, but when your on a budget it is best to stay away. You can greatly improve your health and well-being with just simple fruits and vegetables alone.
Get a few vegan cookbooks that are centered around eating cheaply. Books like Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson are great resources to help you get started in your new lifestyle. They will give you a base of recipes that over time will help you construct your own meals.
Try to shoot for a base of 10 low cost vegan meals that you can make well. It might take some time, but you need these in your go to recipe arsenal. These recipes come in handy when your arriving home late and your starving and need to whip something up quickly.
So there ya go, some simple solutions for enjoying a healthy vegan diet on a budget. Next time someone tells you that eating fruits and vegetables is expensive, send them the link to this article!
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