Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
- The cost of a meat-based diet versus a plant-based
- Commit to eating more at home
- Check your pantry for staples or basics
- Use grocery store apps
- Avoid impulse purchases
- Shop at discount stores
- Shop at membership warehouses
- Utilize your local farmer's market
- Shop at ethnic stores
- Buying in bulk
- Shop seasonally
- Make homemade condiments
- Buy whole grains
- Buy frozen fruits and vegetables
- Buy store-brand items
- Avoid buying processed foods
- Cook from scratch
- Grow your produce
- Freeze herbs in ice cube trays
- Use vegetable scraps to make broth
- Make your snacks
- Investing in good-quality storage containers
- Don't throw away leftovers! Repurpose them
- Related Posts
Some people avoid a plant-based diet because they believe it's too expensive. Like a meat-based diet, some foods can be costly while others are very affordable. And just like a traditional diet, you can adjust what you spend based on your budget without compromising your taste or food preferences.
If you stick to a few easy tips, you can take control of the rising cost of food while still eating delicious plant-based meals. Below are a few tips for saving money on a plant-based diet.
The cost of a meat-based diet versus a plant-based
The cost of any diet can vary depending on various factors, such as location or access to fresh produce. However, plant-based diets are generally less expensive than meat-based diets. Plant-based protein sources such as beans, lentils, and tofu are often less costly than meat.
They require less processing and transportation, which can reduce the cost. Meat can be a more expensive source of protein to process and requires additional storage and preparation expenses, such as refrigeration, cooking equipment, and transportation.
A study titled "The cost of healthier and more sustainable food choices: Do plant-based consumers spend more on food?" was recently published in Agriculture and Food Economics in 2022 and aimed to investigate whether consumers who follow plant-based diets spend more on food than those who consume meat.
The researchers analyzed data from a survey, which collected information on participants' demographics, dietary choices, and food expenditure. The study found that plant-based consumers spent less on food than those who consumed meat. It suggested that a plant-based diet can be cost-effective for consumers and help promote healthier and more sustainable food choices.
Commit to eating more at home
Unsurprisingly, cooking at home helps lower food costs, no matter the diet. You can reduce food waste and save money on groceries in the long run by having more control over portion sizes and using ingredients before they go bad. You also have more control over the ingredients you use. This can help you make healthier choices, saving you money on healthcare costs in the long run.
While fast food may seem convenient and inexpensive, it can significantly affect health, well-being, and the environment. It is important to prioritize a balanced and nutritious diet that includes whole, unprocessed foods to reduce costs for future health-related illnesses.
Check your pantry for staples or basics
Check your kitchen pantry for things to incorporate or plan your meals around. In other words, shop in your pantry! For example, prepare some recipes using grain in your pantry. That keeps you from having many partially used grains stocked for 12 months or more in the pantry. Variety in the pantry is fun, but after two years, it's time to use the teff in your pantry.
Use grocery store apps
Many grocery stores offer digital coupons that can be loaded onto your loyalty card. A list of the store's savings and coupons is on their app or website, so you can easily create meals within your budget.
Avoid impulse purchases
Make a list to avoid impulse purchases and ensure you have everything you need to make your pre-planned meals. This can be done weekly or monthly, depending on your lifestyle and preference. Take some time to research recipes and create a meal plan with recipes that overlap in ingredients to reduce waste and extra purchasing.
Shop at discount stores
Discount stores like Aldi, Lidl, Walmart, and Trader Joe's can offer great deals on plant-based items. Compare prices between different stores to find the best deals.
Shop at membership warehouses
Consider purchasing a membership to a big box store like Costco. For our family of six, we save a considerable amount every year, even with a premium membership.
Utilize your local farmer's market
Shopping at your local farmers market can be a great way to save money on produce. The prices are often lower than at grocery stores, and you can find unique and seasonal items.
Shop at ethnic stores
Ethnic stores are great. They have a wide range of culinary goodies, including affordable plant-based options. From flavorful spices to nutritious grains and beans, these stores are a gold mine for anyone embracing a plant-based lifestyle.
Buying in bulk
This can be a great way to save money, especially for non-perishable items like rice, beans, and pasta. You can cook large batches of grains, beans, and vegetables and use them throughout the week.
Buying produce that is in season can save you money. Out-of-season produce is often more expensive and may have traveled long distances, resulting in a higher carbon footprint.
Make homemade condiments
Avoid buying pre-made condiments, sauces, dressings, and marinades, and make your own. Store-bought varieties are pricey, but making homemade condiments is easy, quick, and budget-friendly. Try Vegan Ranch, Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing, or Air-Fryer Croutons for condiments that are easy to make at home.
Buy whole grains
Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and barley can be more affordable than processed grain products like bread or pasta. They are also more nutritious and filling. Making them a base of many of your meals will ensure you feel satiated, reducing snacking and overeating and thus lowering costs.
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables
They are just as nutritious as fresh produce and can be a more affordable option. They're also convenient because you don't have to worry about them spoiling.
Buy store-brand items
Store-brand plant-based items can be just as nutritious and often cost less than name-brand options. Store-brand products are usually cheaper because they don't carry the marketing and advertising costs that name-brand items do. But here's the kicker: many store-brand products are made in the same factories as their name-brand counterparts.
Avoid buying processed foods
Processed plant-based foods like faux meats (Beyond Meat and Impossible) can be expensive. Buy these as treats. These pre-made, packaged foods empty the wallet much faster. Avoid relying on these items and focus on whole foods to save money. Instead, try mimicking those foods with less expensive whole foods. For example, try walnut meat to replace purchasing ground Beyond Meat. It's delicious, and you may be surprised it satisfies your desire for ground beef. Or freeze homemade chipotle black bean burgers instead of purchasing the expensive boxed veggie burgers at the store.
Cook from scratch
Nothing saves money like cooking from scratch.
For example, a 1-pound bag of dried chickpeas can yield around 6 cups of cooked chickpeas, equivalent to 3 cans of canned chickpeas.
A pack of dried chickpeas typically costs around $2 to $3, while a 15-ounce can cost around $1. By cooking your chickpeas from dried instead of buying canned ones, you can save about $1 to $2 per 6 cups of chickpeas.
This trickles down to other recipe costs, like making hummus made from chickpeas. Homemade hummus can save you around $1 to $2 per cup compared to store-bought hummus, allows customized flavors, and avoids preservatives and additives.
Grow your produce
Consider growing your herbs, fruits, and vegetables if you have a yard or balcony. This can be a fun and rewarding way to save money on produce. While I have what many would consider a black thumb for growing food, I have great results growing herbs like basil at home.
Freeze herbs in ice cube trays
Instead of letting fresh herbs go to waste, freeze them in an ice cube tray with water or oil. You can then pop them out and use them in recipes as needed, saving money on buying fresh herbs all the time.
Use vegetable scraps to make broth
Don't throw away your vegetable scraps! Save them in a container in the freezer; when you have enough, boil them in a pot of water to make a flavorful and nutritious vegetable broth.
Make your snacks
Snack foods like trail mixes, granola bars, energy bites, and popcorn can be made at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought options. And they are so easy to make, it's not worth the extra cost. These tools will soon quickly pay for themselves compared to the money spent on buying pre-made options like smoothies, hummus, and sauces.
Investing in good-quality storage containers
Look for containers that are leak-proof, stackable, and microwave-safe. This will help you store your leftovers and keep your meals organized and easily accessible without spoiling.
Don't throw away leftovers! Repurpose them
Instead, use them to create new meals throughout the week. For example, leftover roasted vegetables and rice can be used in a stir-fry. Use other leftovers to make soups, stews, or salads. This will help you save money and reduce food waste.
There are many ways to save money at the grocery store on a plant-based diet. By incorporating some of the tips mentioned, such as buying in bulk and cooking at home, you can reduce your grocery bill while still eating healthy and delicious meals. It's important to remember that a plant-based diet can be just as affordable or better than other diets. With some planning and creativity in the kitchen, you can enjoy various nutritious meals without breaking the bank.