Going Veg on the Cheap
One great thing about going vegetarian is how affordable it can be. In fact, you can save a great deal of money with a few tricks like buying produce in-season when possible and eating “real” food instead of frozen, pre-made soy burgers. There are plenty of staple foods that are vegetarian-friendly, high in protein, and remarkably inexpensive. Higher-quality foods can seem pricey; but with a little planning, it is very possible to eat healthy on a financially-friendly budget!
Inexpensive Vegetarian Foods
Cooking your own vegetarian meals at home is a sound way to save money and stay healthy. While some vegetables can be pricey, some vegetarian-friendly meals can cost less than $1 to prepare. One of the most important things to do is find a store that sells food in bulk, and buy your grains, flour, beans, and nuts there. This can save you 30% or more from the boxed varieties, especially with foods like wild rice, flax, and quinoa.
Here are some of our favorite inexpensive vegetarian foods:
- Oatmeal: One of the most inexpensive, but nutritious, food staples is oatmeal. Half a cup of dry oatmeal contains a great deal of your daily dietary fiber needs as well as a significant portion of protein. Additionally, oatmeal can run you as little as 7 cents per serving, making it one of the more inexpensive nutritious food sources available.
- Rice & Quinoa: These vegetarian-friendly staples go well with almost any vegetable or legume combination. For as little as 17 cents per serving, rice can help stretch your main dishes to more servings. If bought in bulk, Quinoa is an affordable staple food! It’s simple to cook and can be made in a rice maker. Because it’s technically a seed instead of a grain, it provides a great amount of complete protein per servings.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes: Root vegetables are some of the most versatile foods around. For a couple of dollars, you can buy a week’s worth of servings. Mix it up by dicing potatoes and pan-frying, cutting into wedges and roasting in the oven, using them as a base for curry, and don’t forget the more traditional baked or mashed dishes. Russet potatoes are also packed with vitamin C, iron, and potassium. One serving of sweet potatoes have 300% of recommended daily vitamin A, cancer-fighting carotenoids, and plenty of fiber.
- Pinto Beans: Pinto beans are loaded with protein and many essential vitamins and minerals, but are also one of the most inexpensive food staples. Skip the cans and buy them dry! A pound of dry pinto beans will cost around $2, and you get 8 solid servings out of it. This means a serving of protein loaded pinto beans costs only 25 cents.
- Corn: When in season, an ear of non-GMO corn can be found for as little as 25 cents each. Non-GMO corn is incredibly nutritious and readily available during the summer months, making it an inexpensive, yet filling, vegetarian meal choice. It’s a great choice to bring to summer BBQs!
If you are interested in our vegetarian meal plans or any of our other sustainable food plans you can view our website and meal options here.