There's a common misconception that a vegan diet is more expensive than the standard American, omnivore diet. People are always surprised when I tell them it’s actually considerably cheaper – especially if you know how to shop smartly!
When comparing the prices of meat, eggs, and dairy to the prices of fruits, vegetables, legumes & grains, vegan foods are actually some of the cheapest & healthiest items in the grocery store. There are exceptions of course, including various meat and dairy alternatives (i.e. plant-based burgers, vegan cheese, etc.) While alternatives are awesome and taste amazing, they're not necessary for maintaining a well-balanced vegan diet. Plus, there are SO many amazing & delicious meals you can make from fresh produce.
If you’re interested in going vegan, or are a vegan now and would like to save some extra money, here are 12 easy ways you can shop vegan on a budget:
1. Create your meals with a focus on plant-based whole foods
When deciding what to make for dinner, focus on meals you can make with vegetables, whole grains, herbs, nuts, starches, and legumes. When you replace meat with plant-based protein options, your grocery bill can go down substantially!
2. Cook meals with minimal ingredients
If you’re looking to save money on your vegan meals, try to find recipes that require simple & minimal ingredients. When making more elaborate meals, you’re obviously going to spend more money on ingredients. You’d be surprised at how filling a simple and delicious plant-based meal can be!
3. Buy in bulk
How much you buy in one shopping trip can make a big difference. Also, if you shop at high end grocery stores such as Whole Foods, you may end up paying more. Look for produce and canned items at stores such as Aldi, Costco, Sam’s Club, or any store that sell in bulk. You get a lot more bang for your buck, and you'll end up saving more in the long run. This is especially true if you tend to cook for multiple people at a time!
4. Shop for frozen produce
Frozen vegetables are often much cheaper than fresh produce, and they’re just as good for you! Frozen veggies have been proven to retain majority of their nutrients and flavor, even after cooking. Plus, they last in the freezer almost forever!
5. Make your own meals
As much as I wish I could go to restaurants or order food to be delivered to my doorstep every day, it's expensive to eat out. Pre-made frozen dinners and restaurant options are not only pricier, but they also usually contain more salt and unnecessary ingredients. Cooking at home will save you a lot of money in the long run and will be healthier too!
Photo by Elena Cuellar