April 20, 2016 · Written by Foodtolive Team
An Average Vegetarian Shopping List: Money-Saving Tips
Becoming a vegetarian can be a thrilling and fascinating experience. You will start to notice the changes that this diet causes in your body very soon and would definitely enjoy the pleasant feeling of being healthier and more energized. Unfortunately, this experience might also be stressful, especially from the financial point of view. However, with our special vegetarian shopping list and money saving tips, you will be able to transition to a plant-based diet without straining your budget.
The trick to this is to learn how to plan your meals correctly and understand which foods really should be included in your grocery list when you turn vegan or vegetarian. In the beginning, the cost of quality plant-based foods may seem exceedingly high, and there is no arguing the fact that the best foods really are expensive. We will focus on the tricks that will help you reduce your costs not by purchasing products of dubious quality, but by handling top-rated products in the most efficient manner.
Standard Vegetarian Shopping List: Contents
First of all, you need to understand what your new grocery shopping list should include so that you can decide what you can splurge on and where choosing the budget option will be best. The essential foods that you need to consume in order to provide your body with the necessary vitamins are:
As a vegetarian, you will be able to choose whether you wish to eat any form of dairy as this diet doesn’t exclude these products. If you decide to forego it completely, there are quite a few good alternatives. First of all, you should consider dairy-free cheese as it’s delicious, goes well with a variety of dishes, and provides you with a bunch of nutrients. You will also need to look into alternative milk options, especially if you have children and want to transition them into this diet. In this case, your vegetarian shopping list should include nut, soy, rice, or hemp milk. You can make it yourself using a powerful blender or purchase it from a store. There are some fortified options available for kids and vegans who require an additional dose of calcium and vitamins.
The biggest challenge of a plant-based diet is to ensure your body gets enough protein. As meat is not an option, in this case, vegetarians can use eggs for a protein boost. However, this won’t be sufficient, so you should include tofu and legumes. Nuts also contain a lot of proteins, and every fruit and vegetable will provide you with some amount of these essential elements.
- Grains and seeds.
Both grains and seeds give you proteins, minerals, and healthy fats. They are also a good source of potent antioxidants. They should be the basis of a vegetarian diet as they are rich in fiber, which means that they provide you with the energy your body needs to function. Oats for breakfast, quinoa for dinner, and some snacks made with flakes of different grains and seeds will ensure that you never run out of ‘power’.
Your vegetarian shopping list should definitely include some seeds for sprouting. Sprouts have a higher nutritional value and are easier to digest, so they are overall more beneficial to your health. They are also quite delicious and allow you to enjoy cheap greens even in the dead of winter.
- Spices and condiments.
Spices are essential to make a vegetarian diet ‘work’ because without them plant-based foods taste rather bland. There are a great many spices and condiments available, so everyone should find something to their taste. As these products can be stored for months, you can buy them in bulk and save a lot of money. You can even grow some of them on your own. Replacing regular potted plants with herbs will ensure that you always have access to some top-quality spices, and they will make your home smell divine.
The issue with condiments is a bit more difficult as mayonnaise and sauces may contain ingredients your new lifestyle doesn’t agree with. You also need to keep in mind the fact that they contain lots of preservatives and potentially dangerous chemicals. Luckily, with an array of spices, some nuts, seeds, and vegetables, you will be able to make your own condiments.
Baking is exciting and the abundance of vegetarian cookie recipes makes it easy for you to experiment with flour. As a plant-eater, you can use any type of flour and meal, so there is no need to limit yourself when it comes to this point in your vegetarian shopping list. We definitely advise you to try nut meal as it’s delicious. Take a look at our almond meal recipes and see if you like anything.
- Fruits and vegetables.
These are your primary sources of vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. You should eat as many of them as you like as they are great for you. Be sure to include at least some leafy greens as well as bright red and orange fruits and veggies as they have the highest nutritional value when it comes to essential vitamins.
How to Be Vegetarian on a Budget
Now that you know what you need to include in your vegetarian shopping list, we will tell you how to save money while stocking up on quality produce.
- Go to farmers markets.
The food there is not only of the highest quality as it’s natural, it’s also reasonably cheap. A trip to a farmer’s market on a Sunday morning also beats going to a store as this experience is less stressful. Markets offer a wider selection of produce and competition makes the sellers cut prices further.
- Invest in a vacuum-sealing machine and a large freezer.
The main trick of being a vegetarian on a budget is to stock up on produce when it’s available at the lowest price (sales, seasonal markets, etc.). Plant-based foods can be stored for months with a minimal loss of nutritional value and flavor. However, this will work only if you have the equipment to package them properly and a big enough freezer to fit all your cheap and tasty treats.
- Buy in bulk.
This is always the easiest way to cut down the costs. With the right equipment, you can buy your seeds, nuts, legumes, and spices once a year. Plan your expenses right once and your grocery costs will go down significantly.
- Learn to can and pickle.
If you don’t know how to do this yet, be sure to look up some recipes so that you know which ingredients to include in your next vegetarian shopping list. Pickling and canning seasonal vegetables and fruits will allow you to enjoy them all year round and diversify your diet.
- Avoid dairy and meat substitutes.
If you are running on a tight budget, you can exclude these products completely as they are quite expensive. If you buy nuts in bulk, you’ll be able to make your own alternative milk. Soy-based meat substitutes have a very limited nutritional value and can be easily replaced with legumes, grains, and seeds.
- Always plan ahead.
Research discounts at the local stores before planning your menu for the week. This way, you will be able to get the best prices and enjoy delicious meals. There are many vegetarian recipes you can try, so no matter what discounts are for, you will be able to get a delicious meal out of it.
- Make a list.
It’s essential to actually have your vegetarian shopping list on hand when you go to buy groceries as this way, you can be 100% sure you don’t forget anything. Being ‘seduced’ by attractive packaging is the most common problem that can cause you to overspend. With a list in front of your eyes, it will be easier to resist the temptation.
Being vegetarian on a budget is easy. As long as you take some time to research different stores and plan your meals, you should be able to minimize your expenses while enjoying the quality produce. Buy in bulk to get lower prices and keep your pantry and freezer stocked at all times.