How To: Eat Plant-Based on a Budget
Do you want to eat plant-based but you’re afraid you won’t be successful on a budget? I understand. I’ve been there. Quite frankly, I’m still on a budget. It can be overwhelming. What do I buy? Where do I shop? But most of all, is it going to break the bank? The answer is NO it won’t, it doesn’t have to cost a lot.
The first thing I have to tell you is that you do not need to buy the so-called superfoods, protein supplements, or fancy products and powders. Rather, focus on whole plant foods and, luckily, those can be the cheapest products in the market. Here are the tips I used to thrive on a plant-based diet without harming my bank account.
Tips for eating plant-based on a budget:
Cook your meals at home.
Eating out even here and there can be very expensive, stick to eating at home as much as possible.
Shop at your local farmer’s market or discount grocer.
Depending on your location, your local farmer’s market can have much cheaper produce than your grocery store. Don’t be shy about shopping around to learn where you can find the cheapest items.
Buy in bulk.
Let’s be honest. Oatmeal, brown rice and beans and/or lentils are amongst the cheapest items in a grocery store. Buying these products in bulk is even cheaper.
Shop in season.
While it can be tempting to buy produce out of season, stick to the fruits that grow naturally during the time of year you are shopping. It will be a lot more affordable and the produce tastes much better.
Check the frozen section.
Sometimes frozen fruits and vegetables are more affordable than fresh. They keep longer, too! Pro-tip: If you find a great deal on fresh bananas or berries, buy a little more than usual and once they are ripe, rinse and slice them before put the in the freezer to save for later.
Consider eating nuts and seeds as a topping rather than a snack.
Nuts and seeds can be a little pricey and they last a lot longer when eaten sparingly/ as toppings.
Center your meals around whole grains, beans and legumes and Dark leafy greens topped with seeds.
Whole grains & beans/legumes are cheapest foods in the biz. Dark leafy greens tend to be foods with the most nutrition per calorie.
When choosing produce look for foods high in nutrition per calorie.
i.e. sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and red cabbage.
Plant-Based Pantry & Grocery List SUggestions [Budget-Friendly]
Whole grains: brown rice, whole grain pasta, rolled or quick oats, corn or whole wheat tortillas, buckwheat, yellow quinoa (quinoa tends to be a little more on the expensive side, but can sometimes be found discounted. The yellow variety is cheaper than the red variety).
Beans/Legumes: black beans, chickpeas, lentils (there are many varieties to choose from!), tofu, tempeh, white beans, kidney beans, etc.
Fruit: bananas, apples, oranges, frozen (or fresh!) fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or mango, any other seasonal varieties.
Vegetables: sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkins and/or squash, red cabbage, dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula, chard, bok choy, etc.), tomatoes, carrots, corn, brussels sprouts, lettuce varieties, fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, etc.), frozen peas, red bell peppers, beets—remember you can eat their greens as well.
Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts (I usually eat 1-2 per week for the selenium), and remember to choose the unsalted variety of each item.
Spices and seasonings: ground cinnamon, black pepper, salt, curry powder, paprika, powdered turmeric, dried oregano, dried basil, dried rosemary, dried thyme.
Do you need ideas on what plant-based meals to make? See my recipes here.
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