I often hear people say they would love to add more veggies to their diet if not for..an excuse. Mainly, the high cost of good quality plant based options. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that you can save money on a plant-based diet, if you know how. Here are some good tips to consider to keep some of that ‘green’ in your wallet. (See what I did there?) Ahem.
Now, you may think that a plant-based diet will eliminate many convenient and cheap food options. Or, that going green will make your wallet cry. I am here to tell you that that is not the case. Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to break the bank, there are many little things you can do to slash the costs of your wonderful new plant based program.
Shop at Farmers Markets
There is absolutely nothing that I love more than a local farmers market. They are a great way to meet like-minded people, pet cute dogs and buy products that you can feel good about eating. Around the country, there are farmer’s markets for all seasons. Whether it’s apples and pumpkins in the fall or strawberries and carrots in the summer. Farmer’s markets provide a huge bounty of fresh and beautiful options to support your healthy diet. And, they often cost less than your local grocery store. You also have the added benefit of supporting a local small business. I like that.
There is no need to pay for the long-distance transport of spinach when you can buy it cheaper from a local farmer whose willing to bring it right to your home town.These are just some of the great things about how the local farmer’s market can save you money, but you can find out more by visiting.
Saving Money with quality canned and frozen products
If you don’t live in an area where its growing season year-round, don’t worry! There are other ways for you to save, even in your local grocery store. The top way to save is by heading to the canned goods aisle and your freezer section. There are lots of organic canned foods at low prices. They can often provide similar vital nutrients than fresh without having to worry about what is in season and when the next farmer’s market is coming to town. Canned beans can be a convenient and tasty part of your plant based program. Mix up a batch of 3 Bean Salad and toss it on some green leaf lettuce and you’ve got a quick and nutritious lunch in minutes.
You’ll also find many of your favorite vegetables at great prices in the frozen food section. Staples like spinach and corn, even brussel sprouts are available and aren’t victim to short shelf lives or doomed to spoil in the crisper drawer.
Steer clear of the faux meats
Another way to save is to avoid pricey alternative meats. These can sound like an appealing option, but are often loaded with lots of ingredients you can’t pronounce and quite frankly want to avoid. Not including preservatives and stuff like ‘heme iron’. What is that? After tinkering with these for a while, I finally chose to stick with the all natural stuff and call it a green day. If you’re still having a tough time giving up meat entirely, consider a small size of the REAL stuff every now and then. That might be more satisfying than a plateful of something that doesn’t taste all that great and is loaded with junk.
Grow your own veggies
One way of saving while on a plant-based diet is right in your backyard, literally! Gardening is a great way to produce food for only the price of seed packets (which are less than fifty cents per packet on Amazon). It also allows you to choose what you grow and how much of it you want, helping cut down on food waste. Gardening also offers a lot of educational opportunities for families on plant-based diets. From watching the germination of seeds over time to coming to understand food responsibility and why it is important, gardens provide a safe, outdoor, and meaningful learning experience for you and your kids .
You can also learn how to compost, another good way to reduce reuse and recycle leftover food and table scraps- but I digress. For those of you who like to know exactly what is going into your food, gardening is a great choice! It provides an opportunity to be part of every step of the growing process, allowing you to have control over what goes into your food in the form of things like pesticides and GMOs. Saving money and providing education is not the only thing that gardens can do, they are also a great way to relieve stress and anxiety, helping improve mental health as well as overall health. Gardening is cheap, fun, and improves mental health, who can say no to that?
Saving Money by Buying in Bulk
I bet that you have heard of buying in bulk on shows like Extreme Couponers, but it’s not something only very dedicated people can do. You can too! All the while saving a pretty penny and getting enough food to share. Buying dry goods in bulk is pretty cheap. Beans, oats, and other bulk foods can be found on Amazon for about $1.50 a pound. This is a great deal and these very generic foods are super versatile. Overnight oats with peanut butter and bananas are delicious, cost-effective and full of nutrients.
You can make homemade granola bars with bulk nuts, oats and raisins. Nuts are a great thing to buy in bulk, they have a lot of vital nutrients and are much cheaper, giving you access to even more healthy snack ideas. Another good you can buy in bulk that you may not think about is chickpeas or garbanzo beans. These are super versatile foods and can save you a ton of money on things like hummus, which can be spendy but is just so good.
Bulk buying garbanzo beans creates an opportunity for you to make your own hummus and play around with new and delicious flavours. You can also make one of my personal favourite snacks, baked chickpeas. You mix up seasoned chickpeas in a bunch of spices and then bake them in the oven. They are a great school snack because they are easy to eat and are allergy-friendly. There are environmental reasons to buy bulk. Each large bag (burlap sack, box or otherwise) of dry goods you buy, you are cutting down the production and consumption of plastic. So buying bulk is not only good for your wallet, but for the future of our planet as well.
There are always more ways to save money when it comes down to it. From using coupons to using storage containers, every dollar counts. There are other less traditional ways to help cut costs. Ordering from online stores like Amazon can save time and money. Learning about your community’s local garden and trading food you produce with neighbours can give you a more varied diet. Sites like Imperfect Foods will ship you 17 to 19 lbs of fresh food for just about $30, a great deal and helps cut down on food waste. Asking at the farmer’s market about seconds, or the produce that is still good, but not as pretty, therefore, harder to sell. Farmers will often lower the prices of these seconds and sell them in bulk, a double score!
Making your own snacks out of bulk foods instead of buying them, like a homemade trail mix or breakfast cookies. Drying fruit to create yummy, on the go snacks that stay good forever (my favorite are dried plantain chips). Meal planning is a great idea! Make a month’s worth of ideas and then get to work. If you prepare the meals and freeze them, they become easy to cook dinners for any day. Designate a chili day, and if there are leftovers, eat them for lunch. You can also freeze them for a day you don’t feel like cooking. There are so many ways to save and be healthy. Just be willing to think outside of the box.
Saving Money on your doctor’s bill
The final idea I have to help you save money is… Eating a plant-based diet. This is more of a future saver, but it will save you money, eventually. Eating healthier will dramatically lower your risks of things like diabetes and heart disease. In return, you will dramatically decrease your future hospital bills. Eating well will allow you to work longer and live longer. This means you will get to have longer with your future grandchildren which is truly priceless. You will be able to live on your own for longer. This will create fewer bills for a nursing home someday.
Eating a plant-based diet will give you more opportunities to live a longer, healthier life. That doesn’t necessarily always save you money, but it may be more important in the end. Eat well and live well. Even if it is a little bit at a time. Eating a plant-based diet won’t break the bank and it will give you a world of opportunities. From a longer lifespan to more community involvement, to just feeling good, it’s worth it. So, don’t be afraid to start your plant-based program. Your wallet will thank you.
Read on to: What is a Plant Based Diet?