Looking for creative ways to cut your grocery bill? Eating more plant-based meals can help save money! (Psst! Click here for more grocery saving tips.)
The following is a guest post by Sophie Lane:
With the cost of food rising in the supermarkets, we’re all looking for ways to save on the grocery bill while still eating well.
Research shows that adding more plant-based meals to your diet is not just good for the planet and your health; it’s great for your wallet too. According to this article from The Beet, a vegan diet can save a family of four about $1,200 per year in the U.S.!
How to Cook More Plant-Based Meals (And Save Money!)
The amount you can save will vary depending on where you live and the meat-free substitutions you make, but I’ve definitely saved money every month since going vegan a few years ago.
Sound good to you?
Keep reading for my top 5 tips to get started with plant-based eating!
1. Start with one meat-free meal or day per week.
As keen as you might be to get started with meat-free meals, going cold turkey is not the way to go. Trust me on this one. If the highlight of your week is a steak dinner, chicken pie, or seafood extravaganza, going plant-based overnight will be painful.
Vegetarian food can be incredibly indulgent, comforting, and delicious, but you need to find some recipes that you love and get used to not having meat as the main event. And if you quit animal products without a plan, you risk bailing on all of the benefits of plant-based meals before you really get started.
When I transitioned to a plant-based diet, I started with one day a week, like ‘meat-free Mondays.’ I found some fantastic recipe sources and fell in love with cooking my meals from scratch before scaling to more days.
2. Get organized and plan ahead.
It’s easier said than done sometimes, but getting organized is key to success. At least until you’re familiar with cooking meat-free meals.
This doesn’t need to be anything more complicated than choosing some meat-free recipes before your weekly shopping trip.
Just make sure you’re armed with a shopping list before you hit the supermarket aisles.
3. Cook your meals from scratch.
This has been a real journey for me because I used to see cooking as a chore. But learning to cook delicious vegetarian meals from scratch has really helped me save the pennies.
One trap to watch out for is the expensive plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products. While dairy-free butter may be a great purchase, you’d be better off skipping those meat-free burgers and making your own wholesome black bean burgers at home.
If you’re worried that vegetarian cooking has to be time-consuming and complicated, I can guarantee it’s not the case! Many plant-based recipes are quick and easy, taking less than 30 minutes to rustle up a meal the whole family will enjoy.
Comforting veggie soups are a great place to start, as well as classics like katsu curry or pesto pasta.
4. Buy your staples in bulk.
When you’re regularly eating plant-based meals, you’re likely to be consuming a few staples like pasta, rice, and beans on a regular basis. Other grains like quinoa are also a big part of my diet, as well as spices, herbs, and nutritional yeast.
Having some dry ingredients that you use regularly is great because you can save money purchasing those items in bulk.
If your local supermarket is anything like mine, you also need to shop around within the store! There are several different aisles with pasta, including the ‘world foods’ and ‘free from’ aisles, and they all have different prices for the same product.
5. Be mindful of the trap of health food marketing.
Another trap to be mindful of is health food marketing. It would be quite expensive to sprinkle organic sprouting seeds over every salad and add a spoonful of spirulina to every smoothie.
But eating more plant-based meals doesn’t mean you need to buy lots of expensive health food ingredients. Simply swapping meat and seafood for nutritious grains and more of your favorite vegetables will be good for your health as well as your budget.
I hope these tips have been helpful!
It takes time to adapt to new ingredients and recipes but the health benefits and grocery savings are worth it!
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Sophie Lane is a recipe creator and food photographer. She loves sharing simple and delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes that the whole family will love.