Monday, January 6, 2014

Veg*n on a Budget

I often hear people saying that it's more expensive to be vegan than to eat animal products. That is so untrue! Not even counting the health benefits of a whole foods and plant-based diet which can save on your medical bills (especially as we age), you can live very well and buy very healthy foods on even the strictest budget. If you are trying to bulk up on frozen fake meats, however, that will hurt your budget faster than you can say, "Can I get a discount?!"

What really burns me up is that meat is subsidized. This means part of MY taxes go towards making these murderous products cheaper! If meat were not subsidized it would cost FAR more (at least three or four times more) than it currently does, but that's a whole other issue...

  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Frozen veggies are usually really cheap. I see them on sale for a dollar a bag, which contains typically four to eight servings. There are many varieties. Some of the healthier choices are the leafy greens such as broccoli, kale, spinach, collards, etc. There are also lots of blends such as peas and carrots, stir-fry blends (which usually have snap peas, carrots, water chestnuts, onions, broccoli, etc.), and too many other varieties to list. They keep for a long time in the freezer and you can portion them out very easily; use as much or as little as you want.

  • Fresh Fruit and Veggies
  • Fresh fruit CAN be pricey if you go for those out of season or exotic fruits, but bananas are incredibly healthy and usually dirt cheap. Eat two for breakfast with a piece of toast and you'll be full for a few hours! I often find different types of berries on sale (but just beware they only have a short shelf life so they need to be consumed within a week or less usually), and bags of apples and oranges are often on sale as well. Look for sales on bags of avocados and other fruits and veggies.

    Fresh vegetables are not usually priced too high, either. You can get a whole head of dark green lettuce such as romaine or red leaf lettuce, a head of cabbage, bag of carrots, and a few other items. This can make you many salads throughout the week. Pile some berries on top and add some store brand Italian dressing (read the ingredients to be sure there is no cheese listed or other animal products). A whole week of salads (lunch, anyone?) for about $10. You might even get more servings than that!

  • Rice, Pastas, and Grains
  • Find store brand brown rice and pastas and stock up when you can. I often see them on sale for $1 a box, which usually has about eight servings for the pasta and about twelve servings for the rice at about $2 a box.

    With rice you can make stir-fry (use the frozen veggies and some soy sauce), rice and beans, and even wrap it up with some hummus and/or guacamole and fresh vegetables for a delicious and healthy veggie wrap. The possibilities are endless!

    With pasta you can create spaghetti marinara, of course, pasta salads, pasta with veggies, etc. Use your imagination and you'll see there are many things you can create.

    With quinoa, barley, rice, and other grains you can add to almost any dish and they are GREAT in soups!

  • Beans and Legumes
  • Dry beans are usually pretty cheap, and even canned beans are not priced too high. These should be staples in your pantry as they are high in fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients. You can make bean tacos, burritos, veggie wraps, put them on salads, and make an infinite number of recipes with beans.

    If you can find a grocery store that sells bulk nuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and other nuts are great for snack or, again, adding to your salads. Other legumes such as lentils and peas are great options as well.

  • Egg Substitutes and Miscellaneous
  • Applesauce, bananas, Ener-G Egg Replacer and other commercial egg replacer products, flaxseed, and many other substitutes can be used. Do a search online for more information with They are easy to find on Amazon and can be bought in bulk at a discount (usually with free shipping) and stored for a long time.

You can find so many free recipes online and tips how to live frugally as a vegan (or vegetarian). Best wishes, and eat healthy on the cheap! Simple recipes to follow in the next few days, please check back often and follow me if you're so inclined. Thanks. : )

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