Having a tight grocery budget is a dilemma most of us can relate to at some point. Sometimes, grocery shopping is the last thing you want to do but it still has to get done. Grocery shopping is especially important for vegans. A plant-based diet grocery list is still seen as a difficult task to achieve and manage because, “Eating healthy is way, way more expensive,” right? Wrong!
We’re always hunting for the best budget buys when it comes to buying groceries. The options are now easier than ever and more affordable when it comes to eating a balanced, delicious and manageable plant-based diet. We know, we know. Shopping at Whole Foods seems like the biggest vegan cliche (other than ‘not getting enough protein’ or ‘eating grass’) but if you’re smart, prepared and willing to cook, you can get all your groceries for the week from Whole Foods for only $50!
Don’t believe us? Keep reading. You’ll also see some favorite recipes from the Food Monster App that’ll pair perfectly with the ingredients.
Before we dive into the budget-friendly essentials, we need to discuss a few vital shopping tips.
- Shop the sales: This might sound a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised how many of us rush into a grocery store and completely forget to check the sales. Look for signs and integrate what’s currently on sale for your meals and snacks for the week. Whole Foods always offers discounted items and coupons, so check often!
- Look for what’s in season: Produce that’s in season is more likely to be on sale (and it tastes better, too!). Look for fruits and veggies at their peak!
- Skip Pre-cut produce: Sure these containers are aesthetically pleasing and effortless, but since someone else did the work for you, they come at a higher price.
- Don’t forget the bulk section: Hot cereal, grains, beans and dried fruit. This will come in handy, seriously. You can buy just the right amount you need without wasting.
- Take advantage of the Whole Foods brand: The WF 365 Brand Value is actually delicious. It offers hundreds, if not thousands of products throughout the store at the lowest prices. And you won’t be sacrificing taste for the price.
Vegetables are obviously a vital part of any plant-based diet. Hence the ‘plant-based’ part of it. All sarcasm aside, vegetables are necessary. It’s good to know exactly what you’re getting beforehand so that you don’t stock up on veggies that will eventually, sadly, go bad before you have a chance to use them. Purchase vegetables that you can use in other dishes, like a vegetable stir-fry or a tofu scramble. Here are the vegetables you should get, their prices, and why.
- Packaged Baby Spinach: This packaged baby spinach lasts longer than fresh spinach and tastes better than frozen spinach. Spinach has bountiful nutrients from vitamin C, antioxidants, iron and folate to its inflammatory and immunity boosting properties. Get it for $4.
- Bell Peppers: Red bells are a rich source of vitamin C providing nearly 300% of your daily intake and contain high levels of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. Nutritionists have revealed that bell peppers contain a quantity of beta-carotene similar to carrots and are potent enough to improve your eyesight. Get 5 for $8!
- Potatoes: Potatoes are usually classified by their starch content. Varieties like the Russet or Idaho are considered higher in starch. This makes them a great candidate for either frying, baking or boiling. Get 3lbs for $4!
- Frozen Broccoli: This veggie is super inexpensive, especially when frozen, and can be found anywhere. Whole Foods 365 brand is the perfect option. Broccoli is rich in calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and improves bowel health. You can get 3 bags of this frozen veg for $5!
All of these vegetables can be easily stored, frozen and used as leftovers throughout the week. You can use them in a stir-fry, a Curried Potatoes And Bell Pepper mixture, a Broccoli Spinach Soup and Spinach Tofu Burgers. Or, you can roast potatoes, steam broccoli, sautee spinach and fry bell peppers by themselves for any meal.
Navigating the Grocery Store as a New Plant-Based Eater can seem overwhelming and expensive but it doesn’t have to be that way, ever. Don’t stock up on fresh fruits too much; you won’t end up using them unless you’re constantly making smoothies. Instead. purchase your favorite fruits a week at a time. Spend only $10 dollars and two faves so they don’t spoil first.
- Bananas: Get enough bananas to have two every day for a week. Bananas are always cheap and always delicious, especially in the morning with oatmeal or a smoothie. Bananas are best to eat when very ripe- yellow and brown is a good signal. Green bananas and ripe bananas are both beneficial, they just have different health properties. Have no fear of the overripe banana, these too can be transformed. Pick up quite for a few for $5!
- Apples: There are plenty of ways to cook with apples. They provide tons of fiber and are easy to eat either by themselves, with a scoop of peanut butter or contained in a tasty dessert. Apples are delicious in savory as well as sweet recipes. Get a bag of your favorites for $5!
These fruits can be eaten daily, in a variety of healthy breakfast options. You can store apples or slice up bananas and freeze them for later. Put them in pies, in oatmeal, or dip them in a tasty caramel sauce. These recipes will help you to make the most out of them: Chai Spice Apple Muffins, Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Apple Stuffing, Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips, Cinnamon Apple French Toast, Bananas Foster Toast, Zucchini Banana Bread and Mango Sorbet With Banana and Pineapple.
And now, for the other STUFF. At Whole Foods, tofu is a dime a dozen. It’s great to get a few packs of these and prepare them, then use them for whatever recipes you want to use during the week. Brown rice is always a very important part of any plant-based diet. Not only is it cheap, but you can make an entire bag and have it for days upon days. Here are a few miscellaneous things to spend $20 before you leave.
- Brown rice: A five-pound bag of brown rice is only $6! So, get two of these for $12! If you don’t like brown rice, try quinoa for the same effect. There are a lot of benefits to complex carbs.
- Cans of beans: Cans of kidney and black beans are less than a dollar if you get the store brand. Yes! We’re so serious. Stock up on these as it takes them a while to expire. Cook them with brown rice, eat them as a side dish or use them in a variety of recipes. Beans provide all the fiber and protein you could ever want. Get one can for 89 cents!
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is energizing, provides satiety, can be made creamy even without milk, used to improve your workouts, enhance your mood, and goodness gracious, they can even be made savory style for lunch or dinner! Get the store brand oatmeal for $3! Here are 10 Unique Facts About the Almighty, Healthy Oatmeal to Make You Love Oats Even More!
- Tofu: With the right tofu cooking tips, you can learn how to prepare it, cook it and make it tantalizing. Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium. Get 2 containers of tofu for $3 each!
Oatmeal is perfect for breakfast on a budget. Slice up your fruits and add them to it, create oatcakes or make a cool pancake recipe. Brown rice and beans never gets old if you have different recipes to try. And tofu tastes fantastic in every dish, depending on how you cook it! Use brown rice with fresh vegetables for a light but filling meal. Try these Lentils and Brown Rice Patties, Easy Cheesy Broccoli and Brown Rice Bake, Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto With Moringa and Fried Rice recipes. You can use beans in 15 Minute Baked Beans, Black Eyed Pea Patties, Red Bean Sausages, and Veggie Protein Burritos. For oatmeal ideas, try these 4-Ingredient No-Bake Banana Bread Bars, Carmalized Banana Porridge, Banana Bread Breakfast Muffins, and Pumpkin and Kale Steel-Cut Oatmeal With Sausage. Also, read this 5 Surprisingly Delicious Ways to Cook With Tofu for even more dinner ideas.
Check out some more budget-friendly tips for more ideas and feel free to share your own!
See? You don’t have to break the bank if you’re on a budget! The Food Monster app has over 8000+ recipes and 500 are free. To access the rest, you have to pay a subscription fee but it’s totally worth it because not only do you get instant access to 8000+ recipes, you get 10 NEW recipes every day! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!
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