People make the vegetarian switch for different reasons. Some people don’t want to harm animals, while others simply want to live a healthier lifestyle. Becoming a vegetarian is often thought to be an expensive life choice, but this is a common misconception. Not only are vegetarians often healthier, but their wallets are happier too.
The thing that most people fear is that they won’t get enough sustenance on a vegetarian diet. Believe it or not, there are many plant-based protein sources, as well as foods that keep you full. Instead of shelling out money for expensive meats or dairy products (dairy consumption varies depending on the type of vegetarian a person is), a common grocery list includes things like beans, rice, almond milk, oats, and an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables.
While organic produce is healthier, you don’t always have to spend money on these expensive produce items. Fresh fruits and veggies are the way to go because frozen items are full of preservatives and chemicals that can create toxic build up in the body. When you eat vegetarian meals, as opposed to the meat-based counterparts, you are giving your body the essential nutrients it needs.
A 2015 study, which was conducted by the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, found that vegetarians actually saved an average of $750-$1,000 per year. That’s a nice chunk of change that you’re saving. Think of it this way: 1lb of rib-eye may cost about $7.50 per pound, whereas a can of organic beans may cost $1.50. That slowly starts to add up.
The best way to save money on a vegetarian diet is to buy produce that is in season. Buying produce out of season will often times be more expensive because there isn’t an abundance of the product. Another way to save money is to use all of the food you buy at the grocery store. Don’t let that produce go to waste! An easy way to do this is to meal prep on the weekend so you have meals for the week. Vegetarian meals will keep longer!
Making the vegetarian switch cold turkey can be a little daunting, so start out slow and don’t throw out every food item in your house. Start by only eating meat a couple days a week. A big step that you can take is to order vegetarian meals when you go out to eat. You’ll notice that a lot of vegetarian food you learn to cook tastes better than a lot of vegetarian meals at restaurants. This means you’ll eat more homemade meals, which can also save you money. Eventually, you won’t be thinking about meat because of how healthy you’ll feel.