Fiona is the editor of Plantpuree, a website that celebrates vegan living. With over 20 years in diet & fitness, fashion, and beauty, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to her work and writing on veganism.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
With the surge in energy prices and the cost of living crisis that is currently gripping many parts of the world, more and more people are looking to save money where they can. If you are looking to make your plant-based diet more affordable or you are curious about how to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle without breaking the bank then you’re in luck! A study in the Lancet highlights by adopting a vegan, or plant based diet may save you up to one third of your weekly food bill!1 In short, vegan budget meals make sense!
In this post, we’ll explore some tips for making your plant-based diet less expensive. We’ll also share some tips for affordable grocery shopping. So read on for helpful advice on how to make going vegan easier – and more affordable – for you!
Table of Contents
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet.
A plant-based diet focuses on plants for food and can be vegetarian or vegan. Unless you are vegan it can also include dairy and eggs, as long as the focus is on plants.
Some people choose a plant-based diet for health reasons, while others do it for environmental or ethical reasons. As well as lower food bills, according to Harvard Health, a plant-based diet has health and environmental benefits such as: 2
1. Plant-based diets are typically high in fiber, which can help with weight loss, constipation and other digestive issues.
2. They are also low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Additionally, plant-based diets are often rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which can boost immunity and protect against chronic diseases.
4. Finally, studies indicate that a plant-based diet is typically more environmentally sustainable than one that includes meat and animal products because it requires less land, water and energy to produce the food and could reduce gas emissions by up to 30%.3,4,5
How to Keep Costs Down
A plant-based diet can be a healthy and affordable way to eat, but it requires some careful planning.
1. Cupboard items with a long shelf life are often affordable staples that can be used in many different recipes. These include items such as dried beans, lentils, rice, pasta, noodles, quinoa, peanut butter and oats.
Canned goods such as tomatoes, coconut milk, and vegetables can also be great additions to your cupboard, as can frozen vegetables and fruits which are often cheaper.
2. Another budget-friendly tip is to take advantage of seasonal produce. By eating fruits and vegetables that are in season, you’ll not only get the best flavor and quality, but you’ll also avoid paying premium prices for out-of-season produce.
3. Fresh vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and onions are cheap and versatile, while leafy greens such as kale, spinach and cabbage are also relatively affordable. Fruits such as bananas, apples and oranges are typically cheaper than more exotic options.
4. Don’t be afraid to experiment with less expensive plant-based proteins like tofu and tempeh. These products can be a great way to add variety to your diet without breaking the bank. When it comes to protein, legumes and lentils are also good plant-based sources that can be incorporated into a variety of dishes.
5. Remember that leftovers are your friend. Cook once and eat twice (or more!) by batch cooking recipes and storing the extra food in the freezer for future meals.
How to Cook Simple, Cheap Plant-Based Meals
Cooking delicious and nutritious plant-based meals doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. With a few simple ingredients, you can create satisfying dishes that are perfect for weeknight dinners or impressing guests. One of the best things about plant-based cooking is that it is highly adaptable – you can use whatever fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans you have on hand.
1. For example, a simple stir-fry can be made with almost any combination of veggies, and served over rice, quinoa, or noodles– and also takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook.
2. There are also many quick and easy plant-based recipes that can be made in under 20 minutes, for example, vegan porridges such as Congee, Kasha and Polenta.
3. Another cheap, quick and easy option is a bean and vegetable soup or stew. Simply sauté some onions and garlic with tomatoes and spices, add in your preferred beans and veggies, and top with some fresh herbs.
4. A great way to save money is to plan around simple recipes that use whole, unprocessed ingredients. Beans, rice, and lentils are all inexpensive staples that can be easily dressed up with spices and other seasonings and used in soups, casseroles and burgers.
5. In addition, frozen fruits and vegetables are often just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, and they can be used to create satisfying smoothies, soups, and stir-fries.6
Tips for Grocery Shopping on a Budget
For many people, grocery shopping can be a real challenge, especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget. However, there are a few simple tips that can help you save money at the grocery store.
1. Write a meal plan for the week and if you can use similar ingredients – all the better!
2. Shop your cupboards first. Before you write your meal plan and shopping list – make a note of what you already have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer.
- What do you need to use up?
- What have you got that could be substituted in any of the meals you are thinking of making?
- What could you make with what you have?
3. Make a list of the items you need before you go shopping and stick to it! This will help you to avoid impulse purchases and wasting money.
4. Investigate the tinned and frozen aisles. According to the UK consumer group Which, both canned and frozen vegetables and fruits are often cheaper and contain more nutrients than fresh produce.7
5. Do not buy pre-chopped vegetables or fruits – they are extremely expensive.
6. Check the price per kilogram/litre etc carefully – it’s not always cheaper to buy larger sizes or in bulk.
7. Shop around – different stores have different prices for the same items. See if your local asian store sells fresh produce – it’s often much cheaper than the supermarket and the produce is usually fresher, too.
8. Ditch the brands. Yes, the big brands are often more expensive than the supermarket’s own version of a product. But did you know that they are also often made in the same factories and with the same ingredients? Give the supermarket own-brands a try – you might be surprised at how good they are!
9. Check out ‘reduced to clear’ sections in supermarkets – you can often find some real bargains!
10. Avoid ‘buy one get one free’ or other such offers if you know that you won’t use both items before they go off. The same goes for ‘3 for 2’ type offers – only buy them if you will actually use all three items.
11. Do not go shopping when you are hungry – for obvious reasons!
To sum up, cooking plant-based meals doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. With a little bit of research, you can easily find recipes that fit both your budget and your nutritional needs. By focusing on simple, staple ingredients, you can create delicious and nutritious meals that are perfect for weeknight dinners or impressing guests. And with a little planning, eating a plant-based diet can be healthy, affordable, and delicious!
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Sources: ‘How To Make a Plant-Based Diet Affordable’