5 Tips for a budget-friendly plant-based diet
It is a widespread misconception that a plant-based diet is more expensive than a non-plant based diet. Fad foods, such as faux meats and kale chips, are to blame. The truth is that plant-based eating can be as economical as you want, even cheaper than eating meat regularly.
If you do some research, you will find that a healthy plant-based diet packed with flavour as well as nutrition doesn’t need to be a far-fetched dream. Read on to discover five neat little tricks to make your plant-based diet a lot more budget-friendly.
1. Buy in bulk
In the supermarket, explore the bulk food section for awesome deals on pasta, beans, nuts, flours, grains, and seeds. These items have long shelf lives and do not spoil quickly. Therefore, it makes more sense to buy them in bulk.
Bulk food stores are an ideal place to stock up on items like rice, oats, legumes, and other frequent pantry requirements. You pay less because you're no longer being charged for the brand name or packaging. What's more, you can choose only to buy what you need and save more money.
2. Choose frozen veggies
If you think fresh produce is the best and frozen food is inferior, think again. It is a science-backed fact that frozen vegetables and fruits are just as nutritious (if not more) as their fresh counterparts. They are picked ripe and flash-frozen to maintain their nutrient goodness.
Frozen produce is cheaper than fresh food and suitable to use all year, even if it isn't in season. You don't have to worry about food spoiling, and also, the organic versions of frozen veggies are usually cheaper.
The best part is the amount of time it saves you – all the washing, peeling, and chopping has already been done for you! You could stock up on fresh produce if you get it for a good bargain. Freeze your favourite fruits and veggies while they're fresh and enjoy hearty smoothies and soups later on.
3. Purchase seasonal produce
When trying a plant-based diet while sticking to a budget, it is essential to shop seasonally. After all, fruits and vegetables are integral to any plant-based diet. It is cheaper, and there's an added satisfaction of knowing that your choices are reducing your carbon footprint. The physical distance your food travels before reaching the market shelves increases the transportation costs and impacts your purchase price.
Also, food that has been stored for long periods during transport may be contaminated or even stale. Fresh seasonal produce, on the other hand, tastes better and is bound to be of better quality. Switching to seasonal produce can help you save money while enjoying more flavourful and nutritious meals.
4. Shop at the farmer’s market
If you're trying to cut down on costs, try switching your shopping destination from the supermarket to the nearest farmer's market. You will find an impressive variety of the freshest produce that is seasonal, local, and nutritious. You also pay less when purchasing directly from the grower. Plus, it feels good to know that you're supporting the local community.
Sometimes, fruits and vegetables with slight blemishes are available for a discount. Go shortly before closing time and try purchasing in bulk to score the best bargains. Items like potatoes, winter squash, onions, and apples store well, and some can be frozen for later use.
5. Eat home-cooked meals
This is your biggest challenge when it comes to saving money on a plant-based diet. Eating out is convenient, but let’s admit it, is not an intelligent choice for someone on a budget. A meal at a restaurant will always cost more than a home-cooked one because you pay extra for the service. Plan ahead and try eating at home, or take food from home with you, as much as possible.
On busy days, when you’re most tempted to eat out or order in, try preparing your meals in advance. It’ll give you full control over what you eat and save you from shady ingredients. You could also cook large batches of food during the weekend and freeze the leftovers for lunch, which will last you a few days.
These are just a few nifty tricks that you can utilise to save big bucks while enjoying the health benefits of a plant-based diet. As important as it is to be economical, do not forget to nourish your body with all the nutrition it needs. Be smart about your spending and make sure that you're getting all the essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins for a healthy body.
So, what do you plan on doing with all the extra bucks you'll save with these ideas? Let us know in the comments section below!