Vegan Diet on a Budget

In the past few years, veganism has become a staple for better health and environmental conservation, endorsed by celebrities such as Serena Williams, Beyonce, and Erykah Badu. However, for those without such luxurious budgets there are many misconceptions around the expense of the diet. Implementing a vegan diet into your lifestyle, whether permanent or intermittent, can be tailored to a wide variety of budgets, with the main essentials in veganism being grains, seeds, and legumes, often very affordable products. Transitioning into veganism mindfully can benefit both the body and the environment without breaking the bank.

1. Buy In Bulk 

    Buying basic vegan ingredients in bulk is an effective way to reduce a grocery bill, with nutritious items such as brown rice, quinoa, lentils, oats, and dried beans racking up the price per serving. Many of these essentials are non-perishable, so they are not quick to spoil and are very filling. In addition, canned products, such as vegetables, lentils, and fruits can also offer cooking help and ease the grocery budget. This does not only have to apply for shopping, but cooking as well. Pre-cooking and freezing meals offer a display of versatility, nutrients, and longevity that not only reduces the amount of money spent on groceries, but minimizes food waste as well. 

2. Purchase In Season

    Buying in-season fruits and vegetables plays a large role in reducing the cost and maximizing the benefits of fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are often sourced locally and have lower shipping cost, making them cheaper for the consumer. In addition, fewer shipping to local markets means more sustainable shopping. Farmer’s markets often offer a wide variety of in-season produce, including items that have a few blemishes, which can be bought in bulk for cheap.

3. Limit Vegan Substitutes

    Making vegan substitutes from scratch can be rather simple and much more affordable in comparison to the store bought counterparts. Black beans, mushrooms, canned jackfruit, and chickpeas are all effective substitutes in meat recipes, and are often inexpensive. Vegan substitutes are likely the biggest reason for the “veganism is expensive” argument, with many imitation products costing more than their real counterparts for less of the product. The Beyond Sausage by Beyond Meat retails for about 70% more than pork sausages at $10.30 per pound, exactly what to stay away from when shopping on a budget. Many recipes, such as burgers or even chicken wings, can be quickly and deliciously made at home with cheaper and more sustainable ingredients. 

4. Compare Grocery Stores 

    Some grocery stores carry more options for vegan items at a lower cost, which can make overall shopping more affordable. Oftentimes, Asian markets provide vegan necessities, such as coconut milk, tofu, miso, rice, and noodles, for a cheaper price and in bulk. While shopping at stores that offer speciality items, such as Whole Foods, it is easy to get lost in the selection and lose consideration for the price. Doing some research online at local stores can save money in the end.

5. Prepare Your Own Food

    As previously mentioned, there are easy vegan substitutes for every animal-based meal that can be completed with simple ingredients. From making vegan mayo to vegan shepherd’s pie, some research on recipes can go a long way when it comes to price. Many staple items are based around produce that is easily attainable and cheap, also giving you the benefit of knowing exactly what goes into your body and what changes you can make to satisfy your wallet and hunger. 

Sources: 

Bristol, Liam PritchettStaff Writer |, et al. “This Is How to Go Vegan When You Have a Tight Budget.” LIVEKINDLY, 10 Apr. 2020, www.livekindly.co/how-to-go-vegan-budget/.

“Which Is the Best Grocery Store for Vegans? (+Price Comparison!).” Serving Realness, 16 May 2020, servingrealness.com/best-vegan-grocery-store-pros-cons-price-comparison/.

“The 10 Best Vegan Meat Alternatives.” ProVeg US, 18 Nov. 2019, proveg.com/us/plant-based-food-and-lifestyle/vegan-alternatives/vegan-meat-alternatives/.

“Why Does Veganism Have an Expensive Reputation?” The Vegan Society, 27 Mar. 1970, www.vegansociety.com/news/blog/why-does-veganism-have-expensive-reputation.

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