It’s a popular misperception that eating a plant-based diet is more expensive than the typical American diet. “Some people mistakenly believe that vegan meals are more expensive since some popular vegan foods, such as imitation meats and cheeses, may be rather costly,” says registered dietitian Virginia Messina. “While those are enjoyable to include in vegan diets, most vegan dinners are based on foods that are part of some of the world’s best cooking traditions and reasonably priced.” Bean burritos, chilli, spaghetti, and soups, for example, are all inexpensive vegan mainstays.
Do you want to go vegan, but you’re scared it won’t fit into your budget? Perhaps you already eat vegan daily but are looking for budget-friendly recipes and buying advice. You’ve come to the right place! This comprehensive guide to going vegan on a budget will cover every detail.
How to Become a Vegan?
Vegans abstain from eating any and all animal products and wearing animal-derived clothes. At first, going vegan may appear to be a significant adjustment, but many people advise starting small and making minor substitutions.
You don’t have to eliminate everything at once; instead, consider substituting different items one at a time. Plant-based dairy milk, meat for legumes, nuts, tofu, etc.
It’s critical to make great changes in a way that is both healthy and convenient for you, and turning vegan may be both economical and simple.
How to go Vegan on the Cheap?
While turning vegan is commonly seen as a costly option, many people find that switching to a plant-based diet lowers their weekly grocery bill. Here are a few essential areas to focus on staying healthy while still saving money.
At Home Cooking
Cooking and eating at home is a great way to save money. Cooking from scratch is a simple and cost-effective way to save money, and eliminating pre-packaged materials is also environmentally friendly.
Some of the new vegan alternatives, such as meat, cheese, and desserts, can be a little pricey. However, did you know that many vegans actually save money on their groceries?
Vegan mainstays, including legumes, grains, and seasonal fruits and vegetables, are among the most cost-effective foods available. They’re also the healthiest choices for you, the environment, and your wallet.
Purchase in Bulk
Nuts and seeds can be relatively cheap if purchased in quantity. Oats and rice, for example, are filling and stored well. Comparing prices at multiple places, organizing your shopping trip ahead of time, and batch cooking meals for the week will help you save money.
Curries, stews, pasta sauces, and soups all keep well in the fridge and freezer when made with legumes and grains.
Canned meals are a convenient and long-lasting ingredient. Beans, lentils, tomatoes, fruit, and vegetables are nutrient-dense and healthy. Canned or frozen foods stay well, making cooking even easier and reducing food waste.
Invest in seasonal produce.
Purchasing produce in season is a simple method to increase the nutritional value of your diet while lowering the cost. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are more likely to be fresh, containing higher vitamins and minerals.
Seasonal fruit and vegetables are also more likely to be grown locally, so eating seasonally helps local and sustainable producers. This can also help to reduce your grocery store’s environmental effect.
Making vegan replacements is simple, so you can easily alter any of your favourite meat-based foods to include plant-based ingredients.
Legumes and pulses are a fantastic substitute for minced beef or lamb, and beans and lentils work just as well in shepherd’s pie, bolognese, and chilli.
If you want something a little meatier, soya mince is also a cheap and healthy option. Many supermarkets sell own-brand versions with high protein content. TVP, or textured vegetable protein, is a versatile plant-based staple found in most health and natural food stores.
Simple Meals to Prepare
One-pot vegetable-filled recipes are a great place to start because they’re packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. A protein-rich and nutrient-dense meal can be found in coconut curry with brown rice, lentils, and kale.
Kale, for example, is high in protein, B vitamins, magnesium, and iron, which can help you combat fatigue, strengthen your immune system, and even lower your cholesterol. The combination of rice and lentils is also a complete protein, including all nine essential amino acids.
Curries, stir-fries, soups, and stews are low-cost and high-vegetable-content plant-based meals. Although many veggies, such as broccoli and collard greens, are high in protein, adding legumes or tofu is easy to boost the protein level.
Vegan-Friendly Stores to Shop
Thanks to the current vegan product boom, plant-based alternatives are easier to find than ever before. Supermarkets in the United Kingdom, including Tesco and Asda, dramatically increase their vegan product production, particularly own-brand and low-cost items.
Tesco has officially announced the debut of its massive “Plant Chef” collection, available in over 450 locations. The collection is designed to help customers find low-cost, plant-based alternatives to their favourite foods.
In the United States, Kroger has introduced its own line of vegan meats, and Walmart carries everything from ready-to-eat meals to vegan essentials such as grains and gluten-free pasta.
Between 2016 and 2017, sales of own-brand products climbed three times faster than national brands, according to Nielsen data. Many buyers pick store brands because they are less expensive.
Eat at Low-Cost Restaurants
There are many affordable vegan-friendly restaurants and fast-food options if you feel like treating yourself to a lunch out or need to grab something in a hurry.
Many Indian meals are naturally vegetarian or vegan, but inquire if they are prepared with ghee or clarified butter. Indian dishes with healthful, nutritious mainstays like beans and veggies are also readily available.
Many prominent establishments have incorporated meat-free options for quick meals and cheap vegan crap. Vegan versions of established menu items have been tried at Burger King, McDonald’s, and KFC. Many fast-food restaurants use Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, specializing in guilt-free, plant-based meats that taste just like animal goods.
Taco Bell created a separate vegetarian menu, including various bean-based and vegan-friendly options. Wetherspoons in the United Kingdom offer various vegan alternatives, including fry ups, curries, and burgers. Wetherspoons also has high-protein salads like the Quinoa Salad.
Who Decides to Become a Vegan?
In a statement, Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer analysis at Kantar Worldpanel, stated, “Looking back on 2018, one of the most noticeable consumer trends is the shift to a more plant-based diet.”
As individuals become more concerned about animal consumption’s health, environmental, and welfare issues, flexitarianism is becoming more popular. For environmental reasons, 57% of British people want to avoid eating meat, while 80% of Americans want to replace meat with vegan alternatives.
“Today, one percent of all homes have a vegan, five percent a vegetarian, and ten percent have flexitarians. “As a result of this change, consumers consumed 4.4 billion meat-free dinners in 2018, up 150 million meals from the previous year,” McKevitt noted.
Why are People Turning to Veganism?
Eating more vegetables reduces health risks such as heart disease, cancer, and premature mortality. According to an analysis of various research on fruit and vegetable consumption conducted by Imperial College London, eating 200g (about 3 servings) of fruit and vegetables daily can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13%. It could also lower cancer risk by 4% and prevent premature mortality by 15%.
According to research, following a vegan diet is the most effective method to mitigate the effects of climate change. Many people worldwide are already feeling the effects of climate change. According to research released earlier this year by Impossible Foods, the environment is now the third most popular reason people buy plant-based meat.
According to a study conducted by Health Research International, 47 percent of all consumers of plant-based goods do so to help animals. Vegans save up to 100 sentient animal lives per year, according to the animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Isn’t Vegan Food Expensive?
As the demand for vegan food grows, so will the cost of high-end plant-based products. Vegan meat is the most popular plant-based food on the market right now. According to research conducted by The Good Food Institute (GFI) and the Plant-Based Foods Association, this is the case (PBFA).
The price of such items is determined by supply and demand. When vegan manufacturers get a larger share of the overall meat industry, production costs and buying prices will fall. According to Liz Specht, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Good Food Institute (GFI), price parity between vegan meat and animal goods could be soon.
“For decades, industrial animal agriculture has been running and optimizing worldwide,” Specht said on GFI’s website. “However, making meat directly from plants is intrinsically more efficient than feeding our products to animals and consuming a part of the animal.”
“It’s all but certain that the plant-based meat sector will become cost-competitive with conventional beef,” she added.
Why is it Necessary for Veganism to be Affordable?
It is critical to ensure that modern plant-based food is widely available. It is critical to guarantee that veganism is not simply represented through the consumption of modern luxury things in the United States. It is primarily low-income Americans and people of colour who are most concerned about climate change. It’s also crucial to remember that veganism has roots in impoverished communities worldwide rather than being a recent, Western invention.
Chillis On Wheels, a vegan nonprofit, is dedicated to improving accessibility by providing free plant-based meals to the elderly and disabled. Chillis On Wheels promotes compassion and respect across the United States and is committed to making veganism accessible to all.
“An empowered community is essential for addressing systemic disparities that prohibit poor and low-income people from adopting veganism.” We’re collaboratively establishing alternate methods to make veganism accessible to the regions we serve through our support networks.”
Some Vegan Dishes that are Not Costly
Pasta with Vegetables and Chickpea Cream
This spaghetti recipe uses only a few simple ingredients and is quick and inexpensive yet tasty and healthful. Vegetables can be added or removed as desired.
Creamy Mushroom Gravy with Lentils
According to Budget Bytes, this meal costs just $1.27 per serving and slightly over $5. Coconut milk can be added to make the sauce even creamier. Serve with bread for dipping or over mashed potatoes.
Tomato Soup with a Secret Ingredient
This tomato soup is an inexpensive lunchtime alternative, costing only $0.66 per dish. It’s creamy, warm, rich, and comforting all simultaneously.
Enchiladas with Black Beans and Pumpkin
These delectable enchiladas are easy to make. Before filling your tortillas, combine the vegetables, beans, and seasonings. Because vegan cheese is expensive, you can substitute any other ingredient you like. They’re topped with avocado in this recipe, but you could use basic tomato passata instead.
What are Some Vegan Food that is Affordable?
Make these the foundation of your diet and include them in the majority of your meals:
- Noodles with pasta
- Beans and lentils, dried or canned
- Produce that is in season
- Tomato items in cans
- TVP or tofu
These items may not sound interesting, but they can be used to make various foods, including chilis, pasta marinara, potato bakes, stir-fries, sandwiches, and more.
It is entirely possible to eat a vegan diet on a budget. If you choose high-priced, pre-made, high-quality meals, your shopping expense will be high, like an omnivorous diet. It’s also possible to save money by shopping bargains, selecting budget-friendly meals, and avoiding takeout and drive-thrus.
It is possible to eat vegan on a budget that is even smaller than an omnivore’s, depending on how extreme you want to go with this diet. Beans, which are dirt-cheap and widely available, are among the most important plant proteins in a vegan diet.
Eat vegan cuisine on a budget every day by preparing ahead and making wise financial selections!