The obstacle that prevents dietary change is not the consumption of different foods; rather, it is the notion that eating healthier is expensive. If you compare the price of a salad or vegan entrée to a combo meal at a fast-food restaurant, it is clear that it costs more to eat out if you are eating plant-based. That reality isn’t the same for buying plant-based groceries, though. In fact, you can save a lot of money on groceries by switching to a plant-based diet, provided you do it right.
It’s easy to associate plant-based eating with higher grocery bills. This is because people associate veganism or vegetarianism with Whole Foods, Sprouts, or other health food stores. It is our duty to let you in on a little secret: every grocery store has plant-based foods. From your local ethnic market to Ralphs or Winco stores, you can buy affordable foods from the essential plant-based food groups: vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. In fact, if you are only buying within those four food groups, it is very easy to grocery shop without spending your entire paycheck. We have some great tips to help you shop smarter and healthier, all while saving you money. You can do this!
Find The Market With The Best Prices
The closest market to your home isn’t always the most affordable place to shop. It is often worth it to drive a couple extra miles to a grocery store that is kinder to your wallet. Produce can be expensive at health food stores, while ethnic markets and Trader Joes, for instance, offer great prices on the same items.
Buy Dried Legumes Instead Of Canned Varieties
It’s easy to grab a can of black beans or chickpeas, and it’s even easier to cook with them. Legumes are staples in the world of plant-based eating, but you can spend a lot on canned varieties. Not to mention, canned legumes are often loaded with sodium and other preservatives. Opt for dried beans when you can because you get more bang for you buck, and they are free of preservatives. You can always soak the dried legumes overnight or make them in a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
It’s All About Budget-Friendly Proteins
Fake meats are all the rage in this modern age, but the truth of the matter is that they are overly processed and expensive. Some Beyond Meat products or fake meats will cost a lot more than a bag of lentils or quinoa, which extend to several meals. The same goes for dried legumes (see the above tip). Add chickpeas to your salad instead of using mock chicken. Additionally, many vegetables are excellent sources of protein. Click here for some of the best plant protein options.
Try To Only Shop Once A Week
It is best to make a meal plan or gather a collection of potential recipes you’d like to make for the week. This allows you to stock up on items until your next trip. If you have to continually go back to the store, you will most likely spend more money than you need to.
Superfoods Are Great, But Don’t Focus On Them
When we refer to “superfoods,” we are talking about green powders, wheatgrass shots, acai packs, maca powder, and goji berries. All of those foods have their place, but not in your house if you are on a budget. Those items will lead to an extremely high grocery bill that you simply can’t stomach. Many fruits and vegetables contain similar nutrients and health properties to those trendy superfoods. Instead of acai packs, get a large bag of mixed frozen fruit. Add kale or spinach to your smoothies instead of green powders or spirulina. Cut back on these foods and it’ll save you lots!
Make Affordable Recipes
Cheap or affordable meals do not have boring or bland flavors. These meals are all about making frugal foods the stars of your dishes. There are many budget-friendly foods that can be transformed into delicious entrees. You can make lentil stew, black bean and sweet potato chili, vegetable stir-fry, or spiced chickpea tacos.
Don’t Panic If You Can’t Buy Organic
While it is a nice thought to only purchase organic produce, it can’t always be done from a budgetary standpoint. Our main advice: buy organic when it’s feasible to do so. Try your best to buy organic when it comes to the dirty dozen/clean 15 recommendations, but don’t feel guilty or bad if you can’t.