Tips for Going Vegan On A Tight Budget

When Savvy Vegetarian was posed the question “Can two people go vegan with only $299 a month?” here are the tips they gave in response……

  • Buy all your food as close as possible to it’s natural, unprocessed state. Frozen or canned veg and fruit is sometimes an exception, but go for fresh whenever possible.
  • For protein, focus on beans, lentils and split peas, with whole grains, nuts and seeds in small amounts.
  • Eat whole grains such as brown rice, barley, buckwheat, millet, oats rather than store bought breads – way cheaper and more nutritious.
  • Buy dried beans or lentils, cook them in big batches, and freeze what you don’t use for future meals. Most big grocery stores have some bulk foods, and you can also find what you need in the grocery aisles.
  • If you can afford to, and have the time, you can make your own yeast bread, pizza, pancakes, quick breads, muffins, or cookies, much cheaper and better than store bought. However, compared to a bowl of brown rice, any of those are much more expensive for the ingredients and energy used to cook them.
  • Choose fresh fruit and vegetables over prepared convenience foods. Focus on buying the lowest cost and in-season items. For example, fresh spinach is sometimes pricey, but cabbage never is. Carrots, celery, peppers, potatoes, parsley, bananas, apples, oranges are usually the most reasonably priced. Other fruit and vegetables may be low cost when it’s in season and plentiful, e.g, avocados, asparagus, grapes, mangos, strawberries, peaches.
  • Make sure you eat something green everyday, even if it’s just parsley in your soup. Also something yellow, orange or red. And something raw.
  • With an inexpensive coffee grinder, you can grind your own spices.
  • Instead of expensive veggie spreads, use vegetable oil in your baking, have a small amount of nut butter or hummus on your toast..
  • Skip soy based dairy substitutes. They’re expensive, high in calories, and loaded with ingredients nobody should eat (read labels).
  • If you can get to a farmer’s market, you might be able to find fresh local produce at reasonable prices. Sometimes not.
  • You can save significant amounts buying in bulk or stocking up on sale items, but you have to plan carefully to take advantage of it.
  • If you can find a food buying club in your area, it’s a good way to get bulk or case lot foods cheaper, and split them with others in the group.
  • Buy bulk herbs and make your own teas. There’s good nutrition in herbal teas!
  • If you can, grow some of your own food. You don’t need fancy equipment, and seeds are still relatively cheap, especially if you can get them in bulk.

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