Eating a plant-based diet is great for your health but terrible for your finances, right? Wrong. The very notion that this diet is costly is nothing more than a mere fallacy. It’s not true. What’s more, the belief that making this lifestyle change is going to be expensive is one of the major things that holds people back.
Let’s dispel the myth once and for all. Adopting this diet on a budget could not be easier. Many of the ingredients are already cost-effective and, so long as you’re savvy about how and where you shop, you should be able to save a load of cash. If you’re still feeling a little bamboozled, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our guide to plant-based living on a budget.
The most affordable plant-based ingredients
Luckily, since you’re cutting out the likes of meat and dairy, you should find that many of the ingredients with which you cook are extremely affordable. However, there are some particular ingredients that are more pocket-friendly than others. Here are a few of the products that you should be able to pick up for pennies:
- Dried pulses
- Low-processed canned goods
- Leafy greens (cabbage, lettuce, and kale)
- Wholemeal bread
- Rice and other grains
- Dried herbs and spices
- Seasonal fruits
When looking for these ingredients, it’s always worth paying special attention to any deals or promotions that could make them even cheaper. For instance, many mainstream supermarkets select a few pieces of veg each week to put on offer. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled when you hit the shops.
The best places to find cheap produce
It’s not just about knowing what to buy, but also where to buy it. The cost of plant-based ingredients can fluctuate massively depending on where you choose to shop. Needless to say, there are a great many options out there these days so where can you find the most affordable plant-based produce? Here’s what you need to know.
- Avoid convenience shops and small supermarkets
- Head to the wholesalers for bulk-buy deals
- Shop local at farms and markets
- Check out world food shops for great offers
So, if you’re guilty of nipping out to the corner shop for your recipe ingredients, it’s time to change your ways once and for all. Taking the time to visit the places listed above means that you can save money and nab some unexpected deals. Try it for yourself.
Budget-friendly recipes you should try
You know that relying on ready-made meals is bad for our health, but what about your bank balance? A major part of saving money on a plant-based diet is learning to cook from scratch. Let’s take a look at some affordable and simple plant-based recipes:
- Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burrito by The Spruce (Get the recipe here)
- Kimchi and Black Bean Salad Pot by SHED (Get the recipe here)
- Garlic Ginger Kale Bowl by Our Four Forks (Get the recipe here)
- Spiced Aubergine Bake by BBC Good Food (Get the recipe here)
- Mushroom Bolognese by Olive Magazine (Get the recipe here)
Of course, these recipes are just mere starting points – entry-level dishes! Once you’ve master these, you’re sure to know your way around the kitchen. Feel free to get creative and design some tasty recipes of your own that suit your tastes.
SHED’s Top Money-Saving Cookery Tips
As though all of the above weren’t enough to keep your finances in shape, we’ve got some extra tips to help you along the way. Budgeting while following this healthy lifestyle choice doesn’t have to be a chore; it can be a pleasure. Here are some quick cookery tips that will boost your saving power.
Plan your weekly meals ahead of time
It may be more effort than you’re used to, but taking the time to plan your meals early could pay off. Try keeping a diary of the meals that you plan to eat each night of the week. When you head to the shops or market, make sure that you only buy what you need for those recipes. You’ll avoid spending over the odd and buying things you just don’t need.
Think big when it comes to making meals
Cooking for one or two? You have to think bigger than that! Making small meals rather than large ones will always end up being pricier than it need be. Since buying in bulk tends to make ingredients more affordable, it makes sense to cook larger dishes that you can save for later. (Bonus: This means less time cooking overall as you will have leftovers to eat for another meal!)
Choose recipes that you can freeze
With that in mind, it’s important that you choose recipes that are easy to freeze and heat back up when you need them. Since plant-based meals don’t contain meat or dairy, that should be relatively straightforward. Invest in various sizes of tupperware too so that you can save the meals in a variety of portion sizes.
Adopt a ‘root to shoot’ cooking method
Stop throwing away pieces of vegetable! It’s a waste of money and food. The ‘root to shoot’ method of cooking encourages you to use as much of each ingredient as possible. Not only are these extra parts tasty, but they also contain a whole load of nutrients too! For instance, you could use the peel from your spuds to make some tasty treats or try this delicious roasted beetroot with sauteed beetroot greens recipe.
Grown and bake your own food
While you may need to start small with this tip, it’s worth keeping in mind. Whether you live in a stately home with a huge garden or a flat, you can still grow your own vegetables. Why not install a window box and start growing a few things for yourself? You could also begin baking your own bread, which is a fun activity that saves you money too.
Be as creative as possible with leftovers
If you have leftovers after a meal, make sure that you’re as creative as possible with them. Don’t throw them right in the bin! Instead, save them in some tupperware and add them to your next meal. You should also be mindful of throwing away ingredients that seem to be past their best. For instance, did you know that over-ripe bananas can be used to bake some tasty banana bread? Nice.
Eating plant-based on a budget is easy!
As you can see, eating a plant-based diet isn’t some kind of elite or expensive lifestyle choice. When done well, it can be a really simple and cost-effective way of living. Follow our advice here and share ideas with your friends and family too. It’s just plain good sense.
Are you ready to start your plant-based journey? Check out our complete guide right here and take the first steps to healthier living.