Vegan on a Budget

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Nutrition, Vegan
Tags: , , ,

Since I began my whole foods/plant based diet I have gotten many questions from people who want to know more about what I’m doing, how I do it, and why. The one question I’ve gotten more than any is “Don’t you spend a lot of money at the grocery store for this diet?” The answer to this question isn’t a simple one. While organic and vegan foods are typically more expensive than less healthy or processed foods, there are ways to have a plant based diet and still stay on a budget. Here are a few ways to cut costs while eating right.

1) Have a plan and a list before you go shopping. One of the biggest reasons people spend too much at the store is impulse shopping and not being prepared.

2) Avoid meat substitutes. Tofu, and imitation burgers and meats, while better for you than their animal counterpart, are still processed foods that can contain high levels of sodium, oils and are generally fairly expensive.

3) Buy whole foods. There are many companies that offer vegan or vegetarian products that are frozen or boxed up, similar to frozen dinners and prepared meals. Usually these are loaded with sodium and preservatives, and tend to be way more expensive than it would be to prepare the food yourself.

4) If your grocery store has a bulk foods section, USE IT! You can find tons of foods in these sections that are not available most places. They are loaded with raw nuts, seeds, beans, and flours that will become staples in your diet. There is a store by my house called Earthfare that has one, and all Whole Foods have one also. Buying by the pound can be much more cost effective than purchasing pre-packaged items.

5) Buying organic is ideal, however more expensive than non-organic counterparts. You can save yourself $30 – $40 by opting for non organic items for the time being.

These are just a few ways to cut costs while staying on a clean, vegan diet. Do what works best for you. Set a budget and stick to it.

Here is a list of the foods I purchased on my latest trip to the grocery store. I shop at Trader Joe’s, but you can find these foods at most grocery stores.

- 3 cartons of hemp milk – $8.87

- can of organic black beans – $1.19

- whole wheat couscous – $1.99

- brown rice – $3.29

- raw almond butter – $4.99

- raw sunflower seeds – $1.99

- raw almonds – $4.49

- 8 organic apples – $2.49

- 5 tomatoes – $2.99

- 4 organic avocados – $3.79

- 2 bags of frozen strawberries – $3.38

- 5 organic bananas – $1.45

- dried cranberries – $1.99

- plantain chips – $ 1.69

- baby portabella mushrooms – $1.99

- 3 bell peppers – $3.79

- organic salad mix – $2.49

- organic baby spinach – $2.49

- 4 whole portabella mushrooms – $2.49

- organic baby carrots – $1.69

- 2 KIND bars – $2.98

- organic tempeh – $1.69

- organic raw agave nectar – $3.29

- whole wheat tortillas – $1.99

- brown rice protein – $14.99

The total is $84.47 for this week. I buy mostly organic, so I could have saved myself around $15 if I would have opted for non-organic.

Thats it. Make a list, stick to it, and save money. Good luck.

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