May 31, 2022
As much as it sounds like a myth to some people, it is true. Being vegan or doing a plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money on food. No matter how fat your wallet is, you can still enjoy a variety of deliciously nutritional food, and save a bit on the side for that dream beach holiday. Here are 5 tricks and tips for being a happy, well-fed vegan on a budget:
Going vegan doesn't mean you have to swap out everything you've been eating for the vegan version. Of course, it's okay to have a pack or two of vegan patties or burgers in the freezer/fridge. But using them as your main source of vegan food is not the way to go, because it will cost you a lot of money. This is not because they are vegan. It's because they're convenience foods. So learn to find a balance. Stick mainly to fresh foods, and once in a while you can enjoy a frozen pizza or cheesecake.
Buying chickpeas, lentils or nuts in large packages will save you money instead of buying small packages. But there's a catch. You also need to know how often you'll use them or how many people you'll be cooking for, otherwise you'll use them infrequently and they'll end up wasted. Unlike beans or pasta, nuts and seeds contain a lot of oil, so they can spoil easily. So plan your meals, know your needs and how much you need. As most people say, keep your eyes open for deals at local stores.
Bake your own brownies or make your own hummus. Be adventurous, try new things, and have fun. If you are a beginner in the kitchen, take this opportunity to try recipes and experiment. At the end of the day, it tastes much better because not only is it fresh and cheaper, but you can make it the way you want. You don't have to settle for overly sweet cookies or ridiculously salty tofu curry mixes when you can make a better recipe yourself.
Most importantly, they are so healthy! They are rich in iron, protein, and vitamins, and so inexpensive to boot. The versatility of these foods is so incredible that you can turn them into many meals. Really, lots of them. For example, chickpeas can be used to make hummus, dips, soups, falafel and salad mixes. Even the "chickpea water," also called aquafaba, can serve as an "egg substitute" in baking. Lentils are delicious not only in soups or curries, but also as one of the main ingredients in vegan lasagna, vegan "meatballs" or patties. For any vegan kitchen, these beans and lentils are recommended.
Remember how much those rosemary or basil leaves cost at the store? Just herbs can be expensive. Even if it's just a few fresh herbs on your windowsill, it can come in handy. You can also regrow vegetables like scallions by cutting them off about 2-3 inches from the root, then planting the root pieces in a pot of potting soil. Research some easy potted plants that can grow in the climate where you live and see how fun it is to grow your own food.
Living vegan and being happy with a healthy selection of tasty foods doesn't mean you have to empty your wallet. If you plan and cook most of your own meals, you're already well on your way to being a happy, healthy, money-saving vegan. Want to share more ideas on how to save money as a vegan?
Text: Kathy Muenster, content designer from Zurich
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