7 min read
How to Eat Plant Based on a Budget
With the rise in popularity of unique and expensive plant-based supplements, it may seem impossible to eat plant-based on a budget. But that simply isn’t true! With the right products in your kitchen and nutritional knowledge in your toolkit, you can eat plant-based on a budget in an enjoyable, sustainable way.
One of the major drawbacks of a diet that predominantly consists of meat or animal-based products is the financial burden that can accompany it. Plant-based foods, such as legumes, grains, fruits, and vegetables, tend to be more affordable than meat and dairy, and pack a high amount of nutrition! Despite the greater affordability that a plant-based diet provides, it is easy to spend more money than you planned. Start by determining how much money you have to spend on food each month, divide that figure into four weeks, and spend that much – and only that much – when you do your weekly grocery shopping. Now that you had your budget set, you can use the tips below to make sure that your plant-based diet does not break the bank.
Check out these 4 tips below to learn how to eat plant-based on a budget!
1. Plan Ahead with a Detailed Grocery List
How many of us have gone to the grocery store, bought everything that sounded good, and got home, only to realize that we didn’t actually have anything to make a complete meal? One major key to successfully eating plant based on a budget is planning ahead. Planning out your meals and snacks ahead of time not only makes meal prepping more straight-forward, but it also prevents you from buying unnecessary ingredients. Additionally, you won’t overspend and grab items impulsively, blowing up your food budget for the week. Planning your grocery list ahead of time also tends to lead to creating more nutritious meals¹. While making a grocery list each week may seem like a simple task, it may just be one of the most important things you can do to stick to your weekly budget. Meal prep Sunday anyone? Don't forget to shop on sale!
2. Buy in Bulk
While it may be easier to buy pre-packaged convenience items, you’ll waste a lot of money on the packaging alone! The bulk bin is an easy, affordable place to find many of the staples of a plant-based diet, including whole grains, legumes, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Basing your meals around these inexpensive and nutritious staples helps to form an affordable, satisfying meal.
Not only is buying in bulk beneficial for your wallet but preparing food in bulk can save your budget too. Try cooking a large batch of beans to eat all week, or cook some rice ahead of time that you can pull out of the freezer for a quick weeknight meal. You can also roast potatoes ahead of time, can your own fruits and vegetables, and freeze pre-made dishes!
3. Skip the Fad Diets and Eat Whole Foods
Walk into any major grocery store and you’re likely to be overwhelmed by the number of supplements and pre-packaged foods that are sold, touting “keto-friendly,” “vegan,” or “gluten-free.” While many of these supplements and pre-packaged foods may be seemingly nutritious, they’re also usually expensive and may be filled with unhealthy and artificial fillers, ingredients and flavors. Instead, opt to consume your nutrients in the state they are naturally found – whole foods! See our list of the best sources of protein when following a plant based or vegan diet here.
Not only is a whole foods diet more affordable in the long-run, but nutrient absorption is also typically enhanced² when nutrients are consumed in their natural state. Whole foods are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that promote positive health outcomes – including a reduction in mortality³. They also tend to be more affordable than processed, packaged foods, making them a budget-friendly option.
Protein powders can be a great, affordable option when you’re in a rush and need quick, easy nutrition.
4. Don’t Leave Out Any Food Groups
While it may be tempting to start cutting out food groups in order to affordably eat plant-based on a budget, that approach may not be a great choice. Nutrient deficiencies can become serious, and a long list of supplements to supplement these vitamins and minerals will cost you in the long run4. While it is relatively rare to develop serious nutrient deficiencies on a plant-based diet, it can happen if too many food groups are cut out at once.
Special attention should be given to one’s protein, iron, vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D consumption, as these vitamins and minerals are easily overlooked on a plant-based diet and many vegans are often deficient.
While it might seem difficult to eat plant-based on a budget, it does not have to be. By planning ahead, making a grocery list, buying and preparing in bulk, skipping the fad diets, and filling any cracks in your diet with Clean Lean Protein powder, you can easily eat a nutritious diet that is plant-based on a budget.