Are you interested in adopting the vegan lifestyle but worried about the costs? Well, worry no more! Veganism does not have to be expensive, contrary to popular belief. In fact, with smart planning, everyday tips, food lists, easy recipes, and more, you can easily learn how to be vegan on a budget.
To help you start your vegan lifestyle, I’ll provide you with some ideas to help you start your journey while on a budget!
Prepare Your Own Meals
When it comes to sticking to a budget, dining at restaurants or diners can quickly eat away at your funds. After all, you’re not just paying for the food itself but also the service and convenience. If you’re looking to save money, it’s important to treat eating out as an occasional indulgence rather than a regular occurrence.
If you’re going out, try to prepare meals or snacks ahead of time and bring them with you in a lunch box. You’ll also have complete control over what goes into your meals and know they’re completely vegan! Consider cooking in large batches and storing the leftovers in meal-sized containers when preparing your own meals.
Budget-Friendly Vegan Foods
Being vegan on a budget is all about making the most of affordable yet different goods. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity, as these budget-friendly vegan foods can be the building blocks for a wide range of delicious meals:
- Pasta & noodles
- Dried or canned beans & lentils
- Soy Curls
- Seasonal produce
- Canned tomato products
Get creative in the kitchen and explore the incredible variety of dishes you can create with these humble ingredients.
Make Easy Substitutions
When it comes to transitioning to a vegan diet, you’ll be pleased to know that making substitutions for meat-based ingredients is both simple and satisfying. With a few easy swaps, you can transform your favorite dishes into delicious plant-based versions.
Legumes and pulses: Legumes and pulses are an excellent substitute for minced beef or lamb, and shepherd’s pie, bolognese, and chili taste just as wonderful when made with beans and lentils.
Soya mince: If you’re looking for a more meat-like texture, soya mince is a fantastic option. It is affordable, widely available, and can be found in high-protein varieties in many supermarkets. It can be seasoned and cooked to resemble ground meat, making it a versatile ingredient in dishes like tacos, stuffed peppers, or spaghetti bolognese.
TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein): TVP is another plant-based staple that can be used as a substitute for minced meat. It is a practical and affordable option, often found in health food stores and some supermarkets. TVP absorbs flavors well and can be rehydrated and incorporated into dishes like stews, curries, or even homemade veggie burgers.
Buy Seasonal Produce
When it comes to both taste and affordability, eating foods that are in season is a winning strategy. Seasonal produce, such as root vegetables and citrus fruits in winter, squash and figs in fall, or watermelon and nectarines in summer, not only delights your taste buds but also helps you save money.
Choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables also supports local and sustainable farmers. When you opt for in-season produce, you’re more likely to find locally grown options, which have a lower carbon footprint and support your local agricultural community. By making this conscious choice, you contribute to a more sustainable food system and help minimize the environmental impact of your grocery shopping.
Make a List and Stick To It
Making a list and checking it twice is a smart way to any grocery shopping! Lists can be incredibly helpful, especially if you often end up with unused food or tend to get swayed by impulse purchases. By planning your meals for the week ahead and creating a shopping list based on those plans, you can avoid overspending and ensure that you only buy what you need.
Buy In Bulk
When it comes to saving money on groceries, opting for big packages or family packs can be a game-changer. These larger sizes often offer better value for your money compared to smaller containers or bags. By purchasing in bulk, you can stretch your budget further and get more for less.
You may also go to bulk stores, where you can stock up on products like oats, rice, pasta, nuts, and seeds for a very low price since you’re not paying for excessive packaging or brand names.
Keep Your Recipes Simple
Who said simple had to be boring? When it comes to creating delicious and budget-friendly meals, starches can be your best friend. They serve as a satisfying base, while allowing you to experiment with a variety of simple yet flavorful ingredients and spices.
Imagine a hearty baked potato topped with a medley of beans and zesty salsa, or a comforting roasted pumpkin accompanied by creamy guacamole. And let’s not forget the joy of indulging in a bowl of homemade banana ice cream. The possibilities are endless, and the flavors are mouthwatering!
Start Meal Planning
One day a week, set aside some time to plan out your meals and snacks for the upcoming days. Take a look at the food you already have at home and see how you can repurpose it for multiple meals. Being mindful of utilizing what you already have can help reduce waste and save you money.
When planning your meals, it’s important to be realistic about portion sizes. Consider your family’s needs and preferences, and don’t forget to account for snacks as well. Involving your family in the planning process can bring in more ideas and ensure that everyone’s tastes and dietary requirements are considered.
Focusing on whole foods not only promotes better overall health but also helps keep your food costs low. Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, are often more affordable compared to processed and packaged foods. They provide a wealth of essential nutrients and can be the foundation of delicious and budget-friendly meals.
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