Many people complain that turning to a vegan diet is a costly issue because healthy eating is so expensive. Of course, you will very probably need to spend more money on healthy food than on junk food. However, one should not ask why healthy food is so expensive but rather why junk food is so cheap. By the way, there is no such thing like junk food: Either it is food or it is junk. The following article should provide you some useful tips or guidelines on how to eat healthy plant-based food if you only can afford to spend $50 per week. Investing this amount of money should be feasible to most of us!
Having a tight grocery budget is something most all of us can relate to at least at some point or another. We all have our ups and downs when it comes to a food budget, and if you’re ever had to watch every penny, you know it can be tough. Sadly, a whole foods, plant-based diet is still seen as an incredibly hard task to manage. “Healthy eating is too expensive!”
How many times have we all heard (or said) that?
Well, the options are now easier than ever and more affordable when it comes to eating a healthy, whole food and completely plant-based diet if you want to give this a shot. If you have $50 per week to designate for groceries, you can easily eat healthy, cheap, and stay full and satisfied at the same time. The USDA reports that of March in 2015, the average food cost for females per week ranged between $47 (low-income) to $57 (moderate income). Mens’ budgets were roughly $20 higher in each group. Many of us buy way more than that each week, and yet find ourselves with food leftover and possibly throwing food out week after week. We’re all human and let cravings, moods, and multiple trips at the store influence our ability to stay on a food budget and eat what we have.
So, let’s take a look at how eating healthy, plant-based, and budget-friendly can be done.
Spend $20 on Fresh Produce
Always keep $20 of your food budget for fresh produce. This will do several things all at once: First, it keeps you accountable for choosing the best foods possible first, it ensures that you have a good amount of fresh food in your diet each week, and it prevents you from spending all your $50 on boatloads of fruit and vegetables you likely won’t be able to eat in a week. If you can choose organic, please do. It’s much healthier for you due to less pesticide exposure, and is very easy to do these days with more stores offering affordable organic foods.
Here’s a great idea to start with:
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
If you want to designate $5 more dollars to your budget here, choose lettuces like romaine, or a spinach mix instead. Don’t want apples one week? Choose some oranges and bananas instead. And if you’re one of the few people that doesn’t like avocados, buy a different veggie or more fruit instead. If you need to carry a calculator with you, do it! Or, just use your phone and tally up as you go.
Spend $10-$15 in the Bulk Section
Now it’s time to head to the bulk bins. Here you’ll want to buy some grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, except … don’t go crazy with amounts. You don’t need a pound of almonds to eat all week long and don’t need a pound of beans either. Or, skip the bulk beans if you don’t like soaking them, and spend a few dollars on some canned options instead. Purchase nuts and seeds in 1 ounce amounts and only choose a few different ones each week. Remember, you can always try a new kind next 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”
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