Tight grocery budget? Here are some tips on spending about $50 per week.
We always hear, especially from our non-vegan friends, how expensive it is to eat a healthy plant-based whole food diet. Over the last couple of years the options, varieties and prices have improved a lot.
Look around at all the grocery store options you have in your area. It is surprising now how many stores are carrying more organic and quality vegetables and other healthy products. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be expensive if you use these tips and keep track of your spending along the way.
Scroll down to view each budget tip:
Spend $20 on Fresh Produce
Sample of a good produce variety for one week:
1. One bag of chopped organic kale (or spinach)- $5
2. One head of broccoli (and/or cauliflower!)- $3
3. One bag of organic apples (or bananas, etc.) -$5
4. One bunch of organic celery -$3
5. Two Avocados or Sweet Potatoes, Onions, etc.- $4
Mix it up the following week with a different type of dark leafy green, other fruit, carrots, etc.
Spend $10-$15 in the Bulk Section
The bulk section is where we have to be careful. There are many varieties of beans, grains, flours, nuts and seeds and it is easy to get carried away wanting to try a little of everything. The trick is to buy a little of each category (bean, grain, nut, seed) knowing you can try different varieties another week.
Here are some good examples of what you could buy:
1. $3 worth of whole grain oats
2. $3 worth of raw almonds
3. $2 of beans
4. $2 of whole grain quinoa or rice
Depending on the store you may be able to find canned goods (beans, tomatoes) on sale and stock a few for those times you weren’t able to pre-soak dry beans. Dry beans have no salt and we think taste better. One cup dry beans make about 3 cups cooked where as you get about 1 and 1/2 cups in canned beans.
Sometimes beans and grains (like rice) are better priced in larger bags if you are not looking for variety. You will get to know your stores and options quickly. Having a prepared shopping list helps.
Check out These Packaged Ideas:
1. Two cans of chickpeas – $4
2. One bag of lentils- $3
3. One container of oats- $3
4. One bag of organic flax seed- $3
Bulk and aisle items can be mixed and matched in your budget.
Spend $5-7 on Non-dairy Items
You probably only need one box a week unless you are a big fan and use a lot of non-dairy milks or non-dairy yogurt. If you only need a cup of almond milk occasionally you can mix one tablespoon almond butter (or 2 T. raw almonds) with one cup of water. That frees up the $5-7 for another area.
Spend the Rest on Frozen Veggies and Fruits
Now days frozen fruits and veggie quality is pretty good and they are healthier than canned veggies or sugar syrup fruit. Best uses for frozen veggies are in soups and stews (corn, peas, or green beans are favorites) when the fresh ones have run out or if you want to save the fresh produce for raw salads or snacks. And of course frozen fruits are best in smoothies or fruit ice (sorbets).
Here are some ideas:
1. One bag of frozen spinach – $2-$3
2. One bag of frozen berries- $3-4
3. One bag of frozen broccoli or mixed veggies – $4
There you have it! Your 4 vegan food groups: fruit, veggies, legumes, grains for a week for about $50.