Did you know that most parents report a lower monthly grocery bill after transitioning their family to a vegan diet? If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to improve your family’s health, going vegan may be the trick.
The most affordable foods on the planet are staples in a healthy vegan diet, such as grains, beans, seeds, and legumes. The meals you can create from basic staples are always a huge hit and not only save you money but also cooking time. Dishes like vegetable stir-fries, sandwiches, chili, pasta dishes, curry, and salads.
Sure, there are products that can be less affordable such as meat alternatives, vegan cheeses, and specialty items. Save those for a treat and remember that they are not crucial to a healthy diet! Use the guidelines below to save money while consuming a vegan diet.
1. Fresh or Frozen: Affordable Produce
An easy way to help little ones get the nutrients they need is by making smoothies. Sometimes steamed leafy greens just aren’t as appealing as a fruit and veg smoothie, and this is where we are definitely able to cut costs by purchasing frozen produce. Always compare prices–depending on the season certain fruits and vegetables might be cheaper to purchase fresh versus frozen. When in season and on sale you can easily get stocked up on fresh berries, bananas, or greens and then freeze the excess.
2. Bulk or Packaged?
Buying in bulk can save you money – and help your family stay lower waste. If it’s an item that is consistently used in your family’s diet, it will usually benefit you to purchase it in bulk. Some foods that are good to get in the bulk section: Nuts and seeds, herbs, spices, flour, grains, beans, dried fruits. Some stores even sell bulk liquids like syrups, tamari, even nut butter! Nuts and seeds actually preserve great in the freezer, so buy in bulk and freeze the extras.
3. Schedule Shopping Trips
It can be very easy for us to end up making “a quick trip” to the store every day, which can add up very quickly. By scheduling yourself with a weekly or twice-weekly trip, you can shop smart. Another tip you can try is saving your receipts and comparing how much of certain items you purchased and if your family ran out or didn’t use up a certain item, so when you head to the store next round you can make a more tailored shopping list.
4. Compare Stores
Use store sales to your benefit. Planning this can be a little time consuming, but you can definitely save a lot. If you know the day the sales begin each week, use this to your advantage and get in early to stock up on the items you need.
5. Wholesale Memberships
Getting a membership at a wholesaler can be very worth it, even small families can save a lot of money. If you think you need to test the waters first, try going with a friend who has a membership to give you a good idea if that location will work for your family. Look for bulk buys on frozen fruits and vegetables, oatmeal and cereals, grains, nuts, seeds, baking supplies, and healthy snacks like energy bars, pretzels, dried fruits, etc.
6. Visit Farmers Markets
It’s true some farmers market items can be pricey. But did you know that a lot of farmers will often cut deals, especially if you go toward the end of the market time? Sellers don’t want to head home with excess and they’re more likely to cut you a deal when they’re getting ready to leave. You can also find deals just by asking. Locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season can also be less expensive than buying imported fruits and vegetables from your local supermarket anyway. And you’re supporting local farmers (and the local market), making healthy food more accessible for your whole community. Bought too much? Turn your produce haul into jams, sauces, pickled veggies. Chop up fruits and freeze for smoothies.
7. Batch Preparing
Now that you’ve got all of this incredible food, you can save time, money, and the daily stress of meal-planning by batch cooking. In just a few hours on the weekend, cook up big batches of rice, beans, pasta. Steam veggies so they’re ready to be added to any dish! Chop salad and dipping veggies for quick bites. Having fresh, healthy food accessible and ready to go makes you less likely to reach for the more expensive packaged foods and snacks.
Using the tips above, you can take advantage of the affordable vegan food options and create a well-balanced diet for your entire family. Using these foods as the staple in your meals can make a huge difference in your health and wallet. Here are some more tips on minimizing your food waste and staying prepared.
Find out more information about raising a healthy family by subscribing to Raise Vegan Magazine, the world’s first parenting magazine for vegans published monthly.
Emily L Wood is the Chief Executive Officer of Raise Vegan Inc. and the Creative Director for Raise Vegan Magazine. A dedicated vegan parent from NYC with a mission to share resources to mainstream veganism in all stages of life.