Let me ask you this first, can you put a price on your health?
Many people ask me if it is expensive being on a plant based diet. For me, my health and well-being is very important so I am happy to pay whatever amount it takes so that I can feed my body a whole variety of nutritious foods. I am always up for trying out new recipes so you’ll find me browsing around the health aisle of the supermarket a lot sourcing out new ingredients to stock up my kitchen cupboards with. That’s the part that makes my plant based diet expensive.
You can easily make your plant-based shopping list cheap if you want to, if you’re college student let’s say. I understand that not everyone wants to splash the cash on the latest healthy super food. But you will be glad to hear that many staple plant-based foods such as bananas, rice, pasta, beans, tofu, legumes, oats, potatoes, frozen vegetables, and frozen fruits, can all be bought at a low cost. The best thing about these foods is that they are so versatile, they can be cooked and prepared in so many ways to keep it interesting.
If you were to compare these foods with the price of meat and dairy, I’m pretty sure that plant based foods would come out on top for being cheaper.
Here are 10 tips to save money on the plant based diet:
1. Get adventures with your food. Be willing to use the same ingredients but cook them in different ways. Taking bananas for example, you can freeze them and blend them into smoothies, or blend them on their own to make some banana ice-cream. You can bake them with oats to make cookies, you can bake them on their own, or cut them up and fry them as a sweet treat. The Food Network found 70 different ways to use over ripened bananas..so there’s no shortage of what you can do with few, similar ingredients. Potatoes are another great source of food that you can cook in many delicious ways. You can make homemade fries, crisps, mash, hash browns, baked potato, potato gratin, potato salad..the list goes on. Check out High Carb Hannah on YouTube, she completed a 30 day potato cleanse diet, eating ONLY potatoes. I know crazy, but she was able to re-use and change up how she ate them to keep it interesting.
2. Build up your spices and herbs rack. Fill your cupboards up with spices and herbs so you can change up the taste of your food using different flavorings each time. Some staple spices and herbs I use are: Mixed herbs, Italian herbs, Basil, Parsley, Oregano, Turmeric, Cumin, Garlic, Curry powders, Paprika, Ginger, Cinamon,
3. Buy your fruits and veggies frozen. Buying frozen vegetables and fruits can save you a lot of cash, especially with fruit. Fresh berries are always more expensive. Buying them frozen also means you don’t have to worry about using them up within a few days before they go bad. They last much longer frozen.
4. Buy tinned or dry legumes and beans. You can save some money buying beans and legumes dry and uncooked. Buying them this way will require some additional cooking time, but soak them overnight to save some time. I can buy 1kg of red split lentils for €2.50 in my local supermarket (Tesco), 500g Black eyed beans for €1.59. Tinned beans are widely available in any supermarket. 400g of tinned green lentils are about €0.70, 400g Tesco value red kidney beans are €0.23! Cannellini beans are a favourite of mine, they are €0.70 for 400g.
5. Buy in bulk. Source out some wholefoods suppliers in your local area to see if you can make any savings on buying fruits and veg in bulk.
6. It’s okay to eat the same meal often. If you enjoy a certain food, and you’re meeting your nutritional requirements, then there is no issue with eating that same meal regularly. For me, I’ve been eating oats for breakfast everyday for so long now I can’t remember when I started. It’s one food I will never get get bored of. The best thing about having oats is that you can vary the toppings if you want change things up. The same applies with any meal. You could have a vegetable and rice stir fry for dinner every day but you can always switch it up by using different vegetables. The most important factor to remember is that you are getting enough nutrients from the food you are consuming.
7. Stay away from processed pre-packaged foods. Steer clear of pre-cut, pre-prepared foods. Yes they may be convenient but they also come with an inflated price tag than what you would pay for the food unprepared. Buying peeled/chopped vegetables is nothing you can’t do at home yourself in a quick 10 minutes.
8. Buy store branded products. Stick with store branded beans, legumes, veggies, and frozen foods. They are always much cheaper than the well known big brands. if you ask me, when it comes to plant based foods you can’t really tell the difference between store brands and tops brands. The quality is much the same.
9. Source out a local farmers market for some fresh deals. Get to know your local farmers markets and traders and make some connections. If the trader see’s you coming back on a regular basis they might start to offer you a better rate. Otherwise get your haggling cap on 🙂
10. Check out the reduced price section of your fruit and veggie aisle.
If you hit the shop at the right time, you’ll find that they knock down the prices on a lot of fresh fruit and veg if the sell by date is that day. Usually they are still in perfect condition and are definitely edible for at least a day or two after that. Otherwise freeze them and re-use them at a later point. You will find also that they bag up ripe loose bananas (when they’re all spotty) and price them quite low. When bananas are like this they are still perfect, they will be super ripe and sweet. Or if you prefer, use them up in smoothies or bake some banana bread with them.