What’s stopping you from being vegetarian or vegan?
Are you scared that a vegan diet is just too expensive for you?
I have heard this a lot from people who have approached me about my diet choice. “Healthy food is just too expensive for me and my family.” This is just an excuse. What’s more important than investing in your health by fueling your body with healthy, cruelty free options? I am here to show you tips and tricks that make it very affordable even on one income like my family.
Stock up on sales – My household includes myself, my husband and our small dog. My family is at an advantage since my husband has worked in the grocery industry in some form for over 20 years – we know food and sales! We especially are good at finding deals or good price points on products. When there is a product on sale (typically a vegan meat alternative), we will stock up and purchase extra to have on weeks where these products are not on sale. This ensures that we almost always have the meat alternative that we want on hand at any time to add to our menu plan. While meat alternatives are not essential for a vegan diet, it is something that we enjoy one to two meals a week so they usually last awhile.
Check the sales papers – I always check a few different store’s weekly sales ads before choosing a store to go to that week. When making my grocery list, I use the sales ad to build my menu plan while also checking my pantry for anything that we might be running low on and need to restock. This will also ensure I get the most bang for my buck in the produce section by choosing the fruit or vegetables that are in season and more affordable. When fresh produce is out of season and just too expensive, I utilize the frozen vegetables and fruits over canned. They are just as delicious, don’t contain extra salt like canned vegetables and won’t go bad as quickly! Don’t forget to sign up for the reward programs at the grocery stores you frequent most often.
Coupons – Coupons are always helpful when trying to save money. Kroger (Ralph’s for you west coast readers) sends me coupons every few weeks for products I actually purchase based on my rewards card. This is one of my favorite features since it’s hard for me to find coupons for things that I purchase frequently like vegan meat alternatives. Every batch always includes a coupon for produce too! I also always grab the coupons from the check out register since there are usually coupons for more products like what I purchased that day. Another trick that I have learned is just emailing the company! Praise them, tell them how you think they could improve or even reach out saying you want to try their product – they will send you coupons to buy their products! I have emailed the following companies and received coupons and in some cases a nice hand written note: Gardein, Field Roast, Follow Your Heart and Tofutti. The following companies provide coupons on their website and you can print at home: Beyond Meat and Go Veggie. These links get updated each month with a fresh coupon.
Just for some comparison, I collected the current prices for this week’s sales ad for my local Kroger and Food Lion. Here are some price examples of animal products:
Perdue Chicken Breast – $1.49 per lb.
92% Lean Ground Beef– $5.99 per lb.
T-Bone Steak – $7.99 per lb.
Beef Tenderloin – $9.99 per lb.
Pork Loin- $1.99 per lb.
Smithfield Bacon – $3.89 per lb.
King Crab Legs – $9.99 per lb.
Atlantic Salmon – $7.99 per lb.
2% Gallon of Cow Milk – $3.39
Kraft Shredded Cheese – $2.00 (16 oz.)
Edy’s Ice Cream – $3.79 (1.5 quarts)
Eggs – $1.77 per dozen
If we purchased one of each of these items, the total would be: $60.27.
My family does typically go to more than one grocery store per week and we do travel to the city in order to get some of more specialized products, but this shows that you don’t have to make that effort and feel deprived. To show you that there are a lot of healthy options that would make great meals for your small or large family, here are some examples of foods that are naturally vegan and available anywhere:
10 lb. bag of potatoes – $3.99
Asparagus – $2.99 per lb.
Mushrooms – $1.69 (8 oz.)
Kale – $.99 per bunch
Red/Yellow/Orange Bell Peppers – $1.29 each
Dole Salads – $2.00 each (12 oz.)
Grape Tomatoes – $1.99 (16 oz.)
Fuji Apples – 3/$.99
Red Grapes – $1.49 per lb.
Silk/So Delicious Tetra pack of Almond milk – $2.49 (1 quart)
Barilla Spaghetti noodles – $1.00 (16 oz.)
Prego Spaghetti sauce – 3/$5.00 or $1.67 each (24 oz.)
1 lb. bag of dried black beans – $1.99
3 lb. bag of Basmati Food Lion rice – $2.89
Kroger Canned Black Beans/Tomatoes/Vegetables – 10/$4.00 or $.40 each
Kroger Organic Canned Vegetables – $1.00
Triscuts Original Flavor – $1.69
Nature’s Own Wheat Sliced Bread – $2.50
Kroger Sliced White Bread – $.88
Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter – $2.29 (13 oz.)
So Delicious Soymilk “Ice Cream” – $6.79 (1 quart)
Sabra Hummus – $2.50 (10 oz.)
If we total up the naturally vegan products, our total comes to $49.11. The vegan list is more than enough food to last our household for a week or two easily and it’s $11.16 cheaper! I know that buying only meat is not realistic, but this is just to show you how easily the cost really can add up with animal products. Being smart about your money and making healthy choices is easy and very affordable. Next time you are grocery shopping, remember these tips to save your pennies while enjoying delicious, healthy vegan food!