Eating a vegan diet isn’t just good for your health, it can be good for your wallet, too. In fact, the cheapest and healthiest foods in the world are vegan: beans, grains, fruits and vegetables.
Though some may think eating a vegan diet on a budget is a challenge, I’m here to tell you that it certainly doesn’t have to be. Follow my six steps for affordable veganism to get started today.
Click to read more about how one woman went vegan and saved her health — and money.
1. Buy In-Season Fruits and Vegetables
The most important tip on this list, in my opinion, and one that many people forget about, is buying in-season produce. In-season produce is much cheaper than out-of-season produce, due to there being less transport involved. The farmer also has the ability to grow much larger quantities, creating a cheaper product.
Even better, nutritional value is higher when produce grows in-season.
More on Cost-Cutting Tips: Buying In-Season and Other Ways to Save on Groceries
While it may take you a while to recognize the different seasonal vegetables and fruits, you can start by committing to memory the things that are always in-season (that you also enjoy eating) to make your shopping that much easier.
Bananas, for instance, are fruits in season year-round, so I make sure to incorporate the food into various dishes. Whether it be banana ice cream, pancakes, oatmeal or smoothies, I always try to add a banana into the mix.
2. Shop at International Stores for Fresh Produce and More
Asian supermarkets have some of the lowest prices around. Beans and grains can be bought in bulk at international markets, as well as organic tofu for a fraction of the cost at a regular store. Fresh produce is often cheaper at these markets, too.
Asian markets also give you plenty of variety when it comes to fresh, often organic produce. Items that might not be common in your general supermarket enable you to get even more creative in the kitchen.
3. Avoid Vegan Substitutes
Specialty vegan items, such as faux meats and cheeses, have a hefty price tag. Though these foods are helpful for people transitioning to a vegan diet, faux meats and cheeses usually dramatically increase a grocery bill. As delicious as they are, stay away from these items unless they go on sale.
After visiting a pig rescue for the first time, I couldn’t differentiate the difference between my pet dog and the pigs. The pigs would follow me around everywhere, constantly want pets and play — just like my dogs at home. Spending time with all different animals made the transition to veganism a lot easier.
You might just find that spending time with animals makes weaning yourself off of those faux meats that much easier.
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4. Frozen Is Generally Cheaper Than Fresh
If you do a price comparison, frozen produce is usually a fraction of the cost of fresh produce. Not only that, the nutritional value of frozen produce is similar to fresh. You can even get out-of-season produce in the frozen aisle for a cheaper price.
5. Learn How to Cook
Instead of dining out all the time, learning how to cook can save you time and money. Of course, eating the same thing every day gets boring and can make any diet become a nuisance, so strive for variety when you do start cooking.
There are tons of amazing, affordable and, more importantly, easy vegan recipes on Pinterest. Get out of your comfort zone and learn how to make a meal that you’ve never eaten before.
Cooking vegan recipes can be as simple or as difficult as you make it. Start off with easier recipes that consist of few ingredients and don’t take much in the way of food preparation, and work your way up to more complex recipes.
6. Buy in Bulk
Finally, when it comes to beans, grains and other vegan staples, buying in bulk is a great idea for a couple of reasons. First, you can prep your meals all at once and cook enough food for the week, saving you time. Second, buying larger quantities of food usually lowers the price of the food itself, saving you money. It’s a win-win.
Click through to read more about superfoods that are actually worth the splurge.