When it comes to eating healthy, people often associate it with expensive gourmet foods and brands. I have been eating plant based for almost 6 years now, and let me tell you that it has not caused an increase in my spendings. Eating plant based on a budget is extremely easy and possible.
Check out these tips for how to eat well, feel great and keep your costs low:
1. Make the produce section your go-to when in a grocery store. Although fresh produce is only good for a few days after you purchase it, it is one of the cheapest and most nutritionally filled sections of the store. You can easily incorporate fresh vegetables for the majority of your meals. I like using Portobello mushroom, zucchini or eggplant as a substitute for crusts and breads. Fresh fruit makes delicious sauces, snacks or drinks, and the fiber will help to fill you up. If you are worried you will not use up everything you buy, don’t forget that you can always throw all the extra fruits and vegetables into a lettuce or quinoa salad.
2. Buy foods, specifically proteins, that have a long shelf life. Some examples of these are nuts, beans, and seeds, Quinoa and other whole grains can also be kept for a long time, and are a great staple to add to any diet. Having these foods around at all times means you can whip up a last minute meal without having to worry about not getting enough protein in your diet. They can also be bought in large quantities, saving you money on packaging.
3. Make a weekly meal plan. Although you do not have to follow it exactly, having an outline of what you need for the week will prevent buying things that ultimately end up in the garbage. This will also allow you to create a budget plan that you can try to stick to within each week.
4. Eat foods that are in season. When foods are local or seasonal, they tend to be cheaper. You may also want to check out a local farmers market. These markets will likely have the freshest foods, meaning that they will be fresh in your kitchen for longer.
5. If you are worried about your produce going bad too quickly, make lots of you’re the things you like the most and save it! Almost any recipe you make can be doubled or tripled and stored away for later. Most food can be stored in the fridge for a few days and served or reheated as leftovers. If you want to save it for longer than that, just wrap up individual portions and freeze your food to eat at a later date. This will save you both time and money.
6. Make your food into liquid form. Eating soups full of beans, lentils, potatoes or squash is a great way to get full, and stay on a budget. The majority of soup is comprised of water or vegetable stock, keeping the cost at a minimal. Smoothies are also a great snack and way to use up rotten fruit that you would not otherwise eat.
7. Stalk up on dried spices and herbs. Having a wide variety of flavours means that you can use a lot of the same ingredients for different meals, but make them taste very different. This will save you money by allowing you to buy lots of the same things without wasting ingredients, but not boring your taste buds.
8. Drink lots of tea! This is great ways to fill up, boost your immune system and enjoy a flavorful drink for hardly any cost at all.