One of the main things people talk about when wanting to eat more plant-based or healthier is how to do it on a budget. We have spoken to friends who were once meat eaters and who are now eat wholly plant-based, and they all agree that swapping the beef for the beans has resulted in a shrinking grocery budget.
If your goal for you is to be healthy and happy without breaking the bank each month, take a look at some of our tips that you can implement in your own home today:
With the World Health Organisation declaring processed meat as a carcinogenic and red meat in general possibly causing cancer, it seems then that eating meat may result in high medical bills later down the line. To avoid spending your money on going to the doctor and on medication, you can reduce that risk by choosing to eat more plants! According to this study eating a plant-based diet may be a simple, low-cost intervention to preventing heart disease. And there are many more studies that are continuing to prove a plant-based diet can help reverse diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, types of cancer, type-2 diabetes and arthritis.
Buy in Bulk for your Base
If you fear to eat the same thing every day purchase three difference packages of different “bulk bases” which you can rotate over a few weeks and form the base of your meals. Find your nearest bulk food store or the bulk food section at your supermarket for cheaper bags of beans, pasta, flours and grains like rice, oats, barley and cous cous. Also look for starchy root vegetables, like potatoes and sweet potatoes which are not only cheap and filling but also very nourishing. Be sure to rotate your bases too so the nutrition you get varies. Download the free Meat-Free Monday Meal Plan for ideas.
Buy Seasonally & Frozen
Check out your seasonal food guide (based on where you live in the world) as a planning guide so that you can shop seasonally. It’s cheaper and tastier! If possible, going to a farmer’s market and buying directly from the grower is more cost-effective. Additionally, frozen produce can be cheaper than fresh. While it can’t be done with all fruit and veg, doing it here and there can make a huge difference. These fruit and veg are flash frozen just hours after they have been harvested so one could argue that they are more nutritious than fresh produce.
Planning on a Full Stomach
Plan your weekly snacks and meals ahead of time. This results in less waste and unnecessary purchases when you’re in the supermarket. Also, just don’t go shopping when you’re hungry… It is much easier to resist those just-in-case items when you’re not thinking about when you’re going to get your next bite to eat!
Special Occasions and Deals
Often supermarkets run special promotions so can you work them into your budget. These stores run deals like buy-one-get-one-free or bulk pack specials which is always a good time to stock up the freezer. When comparing meat alternatives to actual meat, you will find that the prices are competitively priced, sometimes with meat being double the cost! Next time you’re at the grocery store, compare the prices and you will be surprised!
Cooking from scratch can save you heaps. It also doesn’t need to take hours of your time – especially if you’ve planned what you’re going to cook. Eating out should be a very occasional treat or avoided altogether if you’re on a budget. Try cook in large batches and freeze the leftovers. And if some produce start to look a bit worse for wear, cook them that day or freeze them immediately.
Grow What You Can
We may not all have the space to grow our food, but with a windowsill and some TLC, you can grow things like herbs, peppers, radishes, lettuce and kale. Start small and add more pots when you feel ready. It may feel like an effort initially, but once you get the ball rolling, there is nothing quite like picking your own homegrown produce!
Some Parting Thoughts
Of course, we need to remember that there is always an uphill battle we have to fight. In David Simon’s Book “Metanomics”, he discusses the complex economic forces behind the production of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, and how the decisions around what we think we choose to eat are made by the animal food producers who control our buying choices with artificially-low prices, misleading messaging, and heavy control over lobbying, legislation and regulation. So while we are told to increase our fruit and veggie intake, more than half of agriculture subsidies directly or indirectly support the meat and dairy production with less than one percent benefiting fruit and veg producers, as reported by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
If it seems like the cost of eating a plant-based diet will never decrease, we understand your frustrations but each one of us can make a difference! Keep voting with your fork, join and support vegan advocacy organisations, and share the health and economic benefits of a plant-based diet with those around you. Every person can make a difference!