How To Eat Vegan On a Budget (And Enjoy It)
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There’s a common misconception that a vegan diet is super expensive. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time someone said “I’d go vegan but it’s too expensive”, I’d be able to buy my weight in Beyond Beef patties.
Newsflash – it can actually be a lot cheaper to eat vegan, especially if you focus your diet around whole, plant foods. But like any lifestyle, it’s a expensive as you make it.
Sure, today’s meat and dairy substitutes still cost a little more than animal products, but you don’t need the latest fancy food to make healthy and satisfying vegan meals (although they are real tasty).
Whether you’re a student, parent with a large family, or simply looking to reduce your grocery bill, keep reading for tips on how to eat vegan on a budget!
Beginner’s Guide to eating vegan on a budget
Prepare your own meals
This step alone is guaranteed to save you money on a daily basis. Preparing your own meals at home can save a heap of money, especially as an average take away lunch can cost anywhere between $10-20 a pop. You don’t need to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen – all it takes is setting aside one hour a couple of times a week. Pop some Netflix or a podcast on, and cook away. Keep reading for some cheap vegan meal prep options!
Prioritize whole plant foods
Some of the cheapest foods on the planet are potatoes, rice, corn, beans, and oats, which are perfect bases for a satisfying vegan meal.
Structuring your meals around these cheap starches, embracing frozen vegetables and shopping for in-season produce is the perfect formula for eating a vegan diet on a budget. Tinned jackfruit or firm tofu are cheap options for ‘beefing’ up your meals.
Buy and cook in bulk
Bulk is best when it comes to eating vegan on a budget. Buying the above pantry staples in bulk will save you a lot of money in the long run, and cooking in bulk will save you time.
Failing to plan meals ahead of time is a common mistake new vegans make, as getting caught without food on hand can mean reaching for expensive vegan snacks.
Easy meals to cook in bulk (and freeze if necessary) include soups, pastas, salads, or curries.
CONDIMENTS ARE KING
Condiments are the perfect way to spice up any meal, especially if your palate is new to eating whole plant foods. Good quality hummus, salsa, soy sauce, and barbecue sauce are cheap pantry essentials to always have on hand.
Know your Stores
Yes, Coles, Aldi, and Woolworths are great for cheap essentials, however it’s worth doing your research for specialty stores near you. Check out Asian supermarkets for great deals on tofu, Asian greens, or miso paste for example, or Indian stores for bulk spices or dahl. Seriously, I’ll never buy cinnamon at a mainstream supermarket again!
Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean you need to buy it
When I first went vegan, I fell into the trap of seeing every vegan treat as a novelty I just had to have – because, you know, how long will it be until I see a vegan muffin again?! With vegan-friendly goodies available at nearly every café and supermarket these days, there’s no need to ‘fomo purchase’. If you want to eat vegan on a budget, save those raw treats for special occasions.
Don’t buy into the Instagram hype
I know this might come as a shock, but not every meal needs to be Instagram-worthy. Sure, there are a ton of lovely looking foodie feeds out there, and they are great inspiration if you’re looking to mix things up in the kitchen. However, you don’t need that acai, maca or organic cacao powder to make a healthy, satisfying meal. It might help to unfollow some of these foodspiration accounts if you find yourself splurging on exotic ingredients or wasting food because you never actually getting around to trying that recipe.
How to eat vegan on a budget? KEEP IT SIMPLE
It really comes down to keeping it super simple. Cooking and enjoying tasty vegan food without spending a lot of money is possible by following general grocery budgeting tips and building a collection of quick meals you enjoy.
What are your tips for going vegan on a budget? Share them in the comments below!