If I got a penny for every time someone told me that eating vegan on a budget is impossible, I’d be crazy rich.
This has always been mind-boggling to me because, in parts of the world where money is scarce, people naturally eat vegan groceries. My family that lives on the other side of the world rarely eats meat because it’s so expensive.
But it makes sense – eating healthy, nutritious foods should be expensive, right?
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Well, it can be. If you’re buying groceries strictly from Whole Foods and buying $8 bottles of juice, yeah, it can be crazy expensive.
Let’s get started on creating a vegan grocery list on a budget and other ways to save money on healthy food.
Groceries & Prices:
Seven bananas: $1.38
Vegan protein (Garden of Life Chocolate Protein 30 servings: $24.97 = .80 cents a serving. .80x7days= $5.60
Flax seeds: $2.98 (36 scoops, breaking down to .08 cents per serving)
Peanut butter: $1.18 (14 servings)
Almond milk: $2.57
Breakfast Total breakdown for one week: $10.50
Breakfast Total breakdown for one day: $1.50
Jasmine rice: $2.58
No-Salt added canned beans: $5.04
Mixed frozen veggies: $5.88
Hot Sauce: $.98
Lunch Total breakdown for one week: $14.58
Lunch Total breakdown for one day: $2.07
Organic spring mix salad: $4.96
Salad dressing: $1.99
Whole grain pasta: $2.00
Traditional pasta sauce: $1.42
Gardein meatballs: $3.97
Dinner Total breakdown for 1 week: $14.35
Dinner Total breakdown for 1 day: $2.05
You can eat vegan on a budget for roughly $40 a week or $160 a month.
To make the above meal plan cheaper, you can opt the Gardein meatballs for fresh veggies cooked into the pasta. Vegan meats are always going to be expensive, but they’re so delicious!
Here’s a list of grocery list printables you can use to plan your grocery shopping.
Smoothie: 1 banana, 1 scoop vegan protein, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 10 ounces almond milk, ice, and 1 tbsp flax seed.
Comfort Bowl: 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup beans, frozen mixed veggies, hot sauce
Pasta: 1 serving whole grain pasta, 1/2 cup traditional pasta sauce, simple vegan meatballs or gardein meatballs, and a mixed veggie salad.
With pasta, I recommend adding in veggies you like, such as onions, spinach, etc.
Blueberries, apples with cinnamon, and other fruits
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Quick tips to save as much money as possible on a vegan diet
1. Buy in-season produce.
In season produce will be a lot cheaper since farmers are mass producing these foods.
In season produce is also fresher, sweeter, and generally more nutritious.
2. Use Ibotta to get cash back on healthy food.
Ibotta is an easy way to save money on groceries. I’ve been using it for years (see a screenshot of inside my app below) and I’m always shocked at how impressive the cash back savings are. Right now, you can save $1 on a 1 pound bag of apples. This app is a must if you want to save on healthy groceries.
3. Eat whole grains.
Whole grains are a satisfying, filling, and cheap way to eat healthy foods and stay on a budget.
The most affordable whole grains are:
- wild rice
4. $5 Meal Plan
$5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every single week for just $5 a month.
If you don’t like creating recipes, shopping lists, and have a difficult time feeding your family, I recommend $5 Meal Plan.
$5 Meal Plan was nice enough to give my readers a free 14-day trial of their service. Guys, it’s incredible.
5. Use a budget system to keep track of your grocery spending.
I recommend using EveryDollar or the cash envelope system.
With the cash envelope system, you put a certain amount of money each month into the envelope. You’re only allowed that money each month.
6. Have specific kitchen equipment on hand.
Certain kitchen appliances will make it easy to cook healthy on a budget.
7. Here are some must-have vegan staples to always have on hand.
- Quinoa or couscous
- Rice (white, brown, basmati)
- Beans (kidney, black, chickpea)
- Whole grain pasta noodles
- Traditional Pasta Sauce
- Sauces (Hot sauce, healthy dressings, tahini)
- Spices (Pepper, Salt, Tumeric, Curry, etc.)
8. Buy beans, rice, and other groceries at Asian supermarkets.
Buying these things at Asian supermarkets lets you buy vegan groceries on a budget and in bulk.
9. Find a plant-based powder protein you love.
I use and recommend Vivo Life protein, but it’s not cheap. There are tons of affordable plant-based protein powders on Amazon, Walmart, and supplement stores. I recommend Garden of Life if you’re trying to save money and want a high-quality protein. I also recently tried TB12 (Vanilla) and my boyfriend, and I are obsessed. There are plenty of plant-based proteins to try out, so find one you love.
Favorite Budget-friendly Recipes
Honestly, finding vegan budget-friendly recipes is super easy. Pinterest is a gold mine for finding free, healthy recipes.
Favorite vegan recipe books
- The College Vegan Cookbook
- Vegan Cookbook For Beginners
- Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give A F**k
- Vegan Meal Prep
Favorite vegan education books
Favorite Vegan Podcasts
- Nutritional Rounds
- Dr. Khan
- Nutrition Facts
- Generation V
- The Chickpeeps
Favorite Vegan YouTubers
- Simnett Nutrition
- Nimai Delgado
- High Carb Hannah
- Caitlin Shoemaker
- Liv B
- Cheap Lazy Vegan
- Bianca Taylor
- Sweet Simple Vegan
Favorite Vegan Documentaries
- What The Health (on Netflix)
- Eating Animals (on Hulu)
- Forks Over Knives
Not vegan yet, but want to be?
1. Find a strong why. I tried to go vegan for health and lasted a few minutes. Eventually, I educated myself on animal practices and the environmental impact of the animal agriculture industry, and it stuck. That doesn’t mean you going for health is a bad idea – but for me, it didn’t work. Everyone’s why is different. It just needs to work for you.
2. Don’t expect perfection. A lot of people are hesitant about going vegan because they think it needs to be in all or nothing kind of thing. Even doing a Meatless Monday will have a significant impact on the environment and save animals.
3. Find support. Going vegan can feel isolating, especially if you grow up in a small rural town. This is why I recommend joining Facebook vegan groups. Every large city has several Facebook groups for vegans, and even better, there are monthly potlucks in most towns for vegans.
4. Get educated. I found a vegan doctor and visited her the first month I went vegan. However, not everyone has access to that. I recommend checking out library books such as: How Not To Die and reading vegan educational sites such as Nutritionfacts.org.
5. Listen to podcasts on the reg. I listed the best vegan podcasts above that will keep you motivated, inspired, and educated by vegan doctors.
6. Stick to healthy food. Vegan faux meats and cheeses aren’t the healthiest foods despite not having meat or dairy in them, and they’re costly. However, they’re good, so make sure to try them!
7. Vitamins. Vegans have a potential deficiency for B12 since the way our produce has changed so much over the years. However, a large percentage of the Americans have a B12 deficiency, so whether you’re vegan or not, it’s probably a good idea to take B12. Speak to your doctor first.
8. Don’t be judgemental. It can be easy to be judgemental when you switched your diet because you think it’s the best diet out there for your health and the environment. Maybe it is, but it’s important to remember where you came from. You weren’t always vegan, so you can’t be judgemental to others for their diet choices. Don’t become a pushy vegan. I’m not, and many people have become vegan *partially* because of me – while a friend of mine is pushy and continuously pushes people away from veganism.
9. Sign up for Veganuary. You’ll get daily emails with delicious recipes, meal plans, helpful tips, and get information on how what you eat can have an impact on your health, animals, and the environment. You can sign up here.
10. Get a free weak of doctors made meal plan at Forks Over Knives Meal Planner. I’ve used it myself. It’s awesome and a huge timesaver.
And just for fun, my favorite vegan celebrities
- Miley Cyrus
- Natalie Portman
- Woody Harrelson
- Liam Hemsworth
- Ellen Page
- Travis Barker
- Ellen Pompeo
- Ellen Degeneres
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Zac Efron
- Mayim Bialik
- Jessica Chastain
- Ariana Grande
- Alicia Silverstone
- Venus Williams
- Peter Dinklage
- James Cameron
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