One common and somewhat inexplicable misconception about plant-based eating is that it’s more expensive than other diets. This is simply not true. In fact, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, eating a plant-based diet is significantly cheaper than a diet that includes animal protein.
Eating a Plant-Based Diet Can Save You Money
According to the research, eating a plant-based diet could save you close to $750 annually. Not only was is less expensive to omit meat, but it also allowed more money to be spent on fruits…vegetables…and whole grains that are integral to good health. Authors Mary M. Flynn and Andrew R. Schiff found that a week’s worth of meat-based meals cost $53.11 per person, with 21 percent of that money covering the costs of meat. A week’s worth of plant-based meals cost just $38.75, and contained 25.2 percent more vegetables, 14 percent more whole grains, and 3.75 percent more fruit.
Although many people mistakenly think that eating a healthy, plant-based diet will be prohibitively expensive, the facts are that most people will save money by cutting meat out of their diets.
Tips for Eating a Plant-Based Diet on a Budget
A number of intrepid health professionals and vegan chefs have shown that it’s possible to eat a completely plant-based diet for $4 or less each day! That budget assumes you’ll be preparing your meals from scratch, which is not something everyone has the time or interest to do. If you need to trim your food budget, however, cooking more meals at home is by far the most effective way to do that. It also gives you complete control over the ingredients that go into each dish, so you can eat the foods that make you feel like your best self, and avoid the ones that don’t.
Whether you’re making the transition to plant-based eating and home cooking, or are already have a trove of recipes you rely on, the following tips can help you get the most out of the money you do spend on groceries…
- Farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) operations can allow you to purchase fresh, seasonal produce for substantially less than you’d pay at the grocery store.
- Buy staples that keep well in bulk. Think items like lentils…rice…oats…nuts…seeds…and quinoa.
- Plan your meals in advance. This will help you avoid food waste and expensive impulse buys!
- Make your own vegetable broth. This is another two-for-one, since making broth from scratch utilizes food scraps you would otherwise discard and eliminates an item from your grocery list.
- Stick to whole foods: while it is increasingly easy to find premade vegetarian meals and snacks, you’ll pay a premium for he manufacturing, packaging, distributing, transporting, and marketing it took to get it to the freezer section of your local store.
- Grow your own herbs: you can set up a kitchen garden in a windowsill! If you end up with more fresh herbs than you can use, find a sunny spot to dry the surplus – your whole house will smell delicious!