Vegan on a Budget.

Being vegan does not mean you have to spend a fortune at your local health food store or buy only vegetables from organic markets. The staples that make up the vegan diet are actually quite cheap: vegetables, fruit, grains and beans. Even if you like to indulge in convenience foods, you will find such products available in a different range of prices.

Money Saving Tips

Obviously, the best way to watch your budget is to cut down on eating out. Eating out comes at a cost and many cannot afford it. This means that those on a budget often chose to prepare enough food from scratch and freeze it so they have ready meals that they can bring for lunch at work for a good few days. Even if you do not have much time to spend in your kitchen, you can still have a healthy vegan diet by following the following tips.

Use frozen vegetables and buy in bulk

Frozen vegetables from supermarkets are way cheaper and as nutritious as the fresh ones. They also keep longer, which reduces risks of waste. Buy bulk pasta, rice, spices and beans at supermarkets rather than ready-meals.

Know where to shop

Have a look in your area and check for bargains. For example, supermarkets often do offers or sell vegetables at a reduced price. Cut down on your expenses at health food stores. Grains, beans and soya products (tempeh, tofu and TVP) can be bought at any Asian supermarket at a much cheaper price and bigger quantity, although they will not be organic.

If you like mock meats, the brands available at health food stores are usually quite expensive, but you can find seitan at any Asian supermarket at a very cheap price (they do not label it as seitan but mock duck, mock chicken, etc). You can also buy vegan sausages (such as Linda Mc Cartney) and burgers at many supermarkets.

Make your own snacks

Snacks are the ideal foods to boost your daily requirements of nutrients, and to eat throughout the day, whenever you feel hungry. Also, in a matter of minutes, you can make great snacks such as peanut butter, other nut/seed butters, popcorn, hummus, etc.

It is cheaper to make your own peanut butter, nut/seed butter or even mayonaise than buying the product at your local health food store. The taste will be the same and it takes only minutes to make them. Buy a bag of unshelled peanuts, roast them for a few minutes on a frying pan, transfer into a blender and blend until smooth. Store in a jar, it will keep in the fridge for a long time. Do the same thing for any other nut or seed and you will get a deliciously smooth cream that you can spread wherever you want whenever you want.

Cheap Meal Ideas

All the suggestions below are cheap to buy from any supermarket, very easy and fast to make. You can see how exciting, varied and tasty a vegan diet can be on a budget!

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with soymilk and fruit,
  • Beans on toast,
  • Tofu on toast,
  • Toast with peanut butter or jam,
  • Scrambled tofu and potatoes,
  • Vegan bagel with soy margarine,
  • Smoothie with fruits, soymilk and frozen banana. 

Lunch and Dinner

  • Sandwich with hummus and vegetables,
  • Bean burrito,
  • Brown rice curry with chickpeas and veggies,
  • Chili non carne with TVP (mince soya),
  • Mashed potatoes with veggies and Linda Mc Cartney sausages,
  • Fries with veggies and Linda Mc Cartney burgers,
  • Lasagna with TVP or tofu,
  • Tomatoes stuffed with TVP, beans or tofu,
  • Red lentil soup with salad,
  • Pasta with veggies and pesto sauce,
  • Baked potato with beans in tomato sauce.
  • Stir-fry with veggies, noddles and tofu.
  • Baked vegetables with salad. 

Snacks

  • Corn chips and guacamole,
  • Pita & hummus with sliced tomatoes,
  • Hummus with carrots and celery sticks,
  • Popcorn,
  • Peanut butter, nut or seed butter on rice cakes or bread,
  • Trail mix (make your own with nuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds),
  • Ice cream made with frozen bananas,
  • Fruits.