We all know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck…
Eating a healthy diet on a tight budget sounds tough. Trying to eat a healthy VEGAN diet on a tight budget sounds even tougher.
But don’t worry, it’s A LOOOOOT easier than it looks.
With some careful planning, you can feed yourself well AND save some cash.
And you don’t have to be the asshole that kills Babe, either :)…..
Let’s get started.
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1. Decide On Your Weekly Budget
Grocery shopping for a vegan diet doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
How much do you usually spend on groceries now?
You can still spend that amount or less.
Be realistic about how much you’ll need every week; you don’t want to starve. But you can still live within your means.
I aim for something between $25 and $50 per week. It’s definitely doable.
2. Organize Your Shopping List Based on Your Budget
You might not think that this post is the kind of post to be using business terms…
…but guess what?
I’m going to anyway :).
Organizing your vegan shopping list is all about the R.O.I., or Return on Investment.
(I love that term, I’ve been using the hell out of it lately.)
You’ve got to spend the right amount of money in the right places so you get the most bang for your buck.
Grains, beans, legumes, and starches (like potatoes)
Fruits and vegetables
Snacks and convenience items
Your list can be longer and more specific depending on your budget and what you like to eat.
I like to think of it like this: you focus on the staples in your diet and you supplement with everything else.
Since the grains, beans and legumes are the best sources of protein, you want to invest most of your money here.
Supplement with fruits and vegetables, then fill in the rest with your snacks and other items.
3. I Hope You Like Potatoes and Rice
Carbs get a bad wrap. We’re taught to avoid them like the plague because “pasta and bread makes you fat” or something.
Don’t quote me on that.
But it’s not the carbs that fuck with our bodies, it’s everything we DO to the carbs. We eat a lot of refined starches and grains nowadays.
So, with that being said, shop gluten free whenever possible, and look for stuff made with Einkorn wheatif you can. It’s got a higher percentage of protein than red meat and it’s richer in most nutrients, too.
Anyway, getting back on track, don’t shy away from those grains; they should be a massive part of your diet. Quinoa, oats and whole grains are great sources of protein.
Don’t hate on potatoes, either. They taste great, they’re filling and they’re inexpensive. They’re also great for you.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A.
They’re actually great for your health AND your wallet. Invest, invest, invest.
4. Shop for Seasonal Produce
Don’t you love mangoes?
I sure do. But damn, when they are out of season, they are EXPENSIVE.
This is the case with most fruits and vegetables. If it ain’t growin’ local, it’s gotta come from somewhere else.
These expenses, as well as the storage cost, become part of the retail price.
That means YOU’RE payin’ for it.
But when those costs go down for the retailer, they go down for the consumer, too.
Plus, when the produce is local, the wholesaler can harvest more of it for less.
That means you can buy more of it for less.
Also, because the produce is close by, there’s no rush to harvest it.
When produce comes from somewhere else, it’s usually picked before it’s had time to ripen completely.
It’s then thrown into a heat source to “ripen” before it’s sold to you in a store. This usually causes a weird or watery taste in the fruit, and it tends to mold much quicker.
So if it seems like the fruit you’ve bought doesn’t taste right, there’s a good chance it’s gone through this process.
You also can’t be sure that it hasn’t come in contact with contaminants during its journey.
It’s too hard to regulate proper conditions while traveling.
They do wash the produce before they sell it to you, but there’s no guarantee that your food isn’t contaminated.
Mmmmmm, pesticides :).
Local produce has time to ripen before it’s picked and sold, so it tastes better.
What does this mean for you? Well, better flavor means better nutritional value. You also reduce the number of contaminants you are exposed to.