Eating a plant based diet on a budget needn’t be quite as daunting as you may think. This easy to source, grocery list will show exactly which foods are the cheapest, most nutritious and easiest attainable to cover all your dietary needs, without the need for eating animal products.
In fact, plant based eating can actually be cheaper and easier than your regular diet. Sounds impossible? Read on to find out how this is possible and exactly how you can do this for yourself and your family and feel fantastic for it.
TOP 15 Plant Based Diet Benefits
There are so many benefits to the whole foods plant based diet that your mind will be blown. Below is a list of the benefits we have heard said time and again from information form our large Facebook Groups.
- More energy
- Better sleep
- Clearer skin
- Anti aging
- Less risk of disease
- Stronger immune system
- Faster recovery from illness
- Faster recovery from sports
- More endurance
- Environmentally/animal friendly
- Weight Loss
- Mental clarity
- Anti inflammatory
- Helps fight depression/anxiety
- Helps beat stress
With SO many awesome reasons to go plant based, it’s hard to find any reason not to.
Once you’ve learnt the basics of combining your macronutrients correctly (i.e. proteins, carbs and fats), plus a few tasty recipes, you will be well on your way the kind of abundant health that can literally be life changing.
How to Start a Plant Based Diet on a Budget
Pretty much all of the foods on this list are budget friendly. For example, potatoes are really cheap (even sweet potatoes) and make fantastic homemade chunky chips. Just chop, par boil, then cook in the oven with a little olive or coconut oil along with some herbs and spices of your choice. Voila, carb craving busting chips!
Beans, legumes, quinoa, millet, pulses, peanuts, pastas, rice and seasonal fruits and vegetables are all pretty inexpensive. You’ll find it’s often even cheaper to buy them in bulk, especially when it comes to pulses, rice and pasta. Dried products also have the added bonus of lasting years, so you rarely have any wastage – another money saver!
Pulses always taste better when you prepare them from their dry form and taste much nicer than their tinned counterparts if you can be bothered to dry them out and cook them.
However, it is often more convenient to buy the tinned varieties if you don’t have time on your hands.
Plant Based Supplements
Any cash you save from this more frugal lifestyle can be used, if you so wish, to spend on the more expensive items such as protein powders (if you’re in training), green superfood powders, and other certain supplements that can help supercharge your health to even higher levels.
You don’t absolutely need these on your plant based eating plan, but they do give you an extra edge in terms of energy, glowing skin and anti aging due to their high levels of antioxidants. In using certain supplements you will also be extra sure that you’re covering all bases when it comes to your nutritional needs of this lifestyle.
It is totally possible to get all the nutrition you need eating plants (with the exception of B12, vitamin D and DHA, potentially).
Plant Based Meals On A Budget
The following foods are all pretty inexpensive and budget friendly and you can use most of them to make any combination of meals.
As long as you add a protein source, a carb source and a small amount of fats then you will have a nutritionally complete plant based meal. Of course, the more fruits and veggies you can add in for nutrients, the better.
(The items marked with an * are your sources of protein and should be included in every meal to make it complete and satisfying).
- EVERY KIND OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES (CHOOSE A RAINBOW OF COLOURS) LOTS OF LEAFY GREENS (Check out this amazing, quick recipe for greens)
- ALL HERBS AND SPICES
- BROWN RICE
- WHOLEWHEAT/ SPELT/ BROWN RICE/ CORN OR BUCKWHEAT PASTA*
- OATCAKES*/ WHOLEGRAIN RICE CAKES/ RYE CRACKERS
- NO ADDED REFINED SUGAR BREAKFAST CEREALS INCLUDE OATS/ WHEATABIX*/ HOMEMADE GRANOLAS AND MUSELLI*/ SHREDDED WHEAT*
- FLOURS – WHOLEMEAL*/ SPELT*/ BUCKWHEAT*, BROWN RICE*/ QUINOA*
- LOW SUGAR BAKED BEANS*
- GREEN AND RED LENTILS EITHER CANNED OR DRIED*
- KIDNEY BEANS*
- CANNELINI BEANS*
- BLACK BEANS*
- BORLOTTI BEANS*
- PINTO BEANS*
- BUTTER BEANS*
- ADUKI BEANS*
- WHOLEGRAIN BREAD*
- SOURDOUGH BREAD*
- RYE BREAD*
- MARMITE OR VEGEMITE
- LOW SUGAR JAMS (try our 5 minute jam)
- ANY KIND OF NO ADDED SUGAR NUT BUTTER – PEANUT*/ ALMOND*/ CASHEW*/ HAZELNUT*
- NUTS – BRAZIL*, PEANUTS*, CASHEWS*, HAZELNUTS*, PECANS*, WALNUTS*, ALMONDS*, MACADAMIA
- SEEDS – PUMPKIN*, SUNFLOWER* SESAME* FLAX* HEMP*
- TOFU OR TEMPEH*
- DARK CHOCOLATE AT LEAST 70% (IS USUALLY DAIRY FREE)
- ANY DRIED FRUITS – NO ADDED SUGAR (GOJI BERRIES CONTAIN PROTEIN)
- MILKS – SOY*/ RICE/ ALMOND/ COCONUT
- FATS FOR COOKING – COCONUT OIL/ OLIVE OIL/ AVOCADO OIL/ CANOLA OIL/ SAFFLOWER OIL PEANUT OIL/ SESAME OIL
- COLD PRESSED OILS FOR DRESSINGS AND SALADS – EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL/ AVOCADO OIL ALSO FOR COOKING/ FLAX OIL
- SUPERFOOD POWDER SHOTS SUCH AS SPIRULINA*, CHLORELLA*, WHEATGRASS*, BARLEYGRASS*, MORINGA*
As you can see there is an absolute abundance of foods to choose from and not just rabbit foods as many still believe.
There are also many variations and recipes you could make with all of these foods. Try our plant based recipes and meal ideas for breakfasts, dinners, snacks and deserts so you need never struggle for something new to try.
Where To Buy Plant Based Foods
Thankfully, the plant based eating trend is really taking off and is most definitely here to stay. This means most supermarkets, shops, and restaurants (even fast food chains) are now stocking everything you could ever want or need for your plant based life.
Us vegan and plant based eaters have never had it so easy. The choices will just keep getting better as more and more people adopt this healthy, planet friendly lifestyle.
The importance of correct food combining
Food combing your protein, carbs and fats is important because it will make your meal complete and keep you fuller for longer. It’s all about satiety, especially if you don’t want to gain weight.
Combing foods like this also ensures you are getting good nutrition and keeping your blood sugars as stable as possible. Proteins and fats at every meal or snack really help this.
Food combining and exercise
Complete meals are especially important if you are training or exercising a lot as the demands on your body will be a higher.
A good way to plan a meal, or snack, is to make sure you have some kind of low GI carbohydrate such as wholegrain bread, rice, pasta, millet, buckwheat, amaranth or quinoa. This along with a protein source such as tofu, tempeh, lentils, pulses, beans, soybeans nuts or seeds with every meal.
Also, it’s always eat lots of fruits and vegetables for antioxidants and those crucial, anti aging phytochemicals.
Properly Combined Meals And Snacks Examples:-
- Oats/oatmeal with nut milk, chopped nuts, sliced banana
- Granary toast, tahini, mashed avocado
- Oat cakes, sugar free peanut butter
- Coconut yogurt, chopped fresh fruit, mixed seeds
- Chickpea curry with brown rice and green vegetables
- Buckwheat pasta, roasted vegetables, tomato sauce
- Tofu fried brown rice with peas and sweetcorn
- Lentil soup, sourdough bread
- Bean chili with wholegrain rice and coriander
- Handful of nuts, fresh or dried fruit
- Quinoa breakfast bowls. Check out some awesome recipes here.
- Peanut butter protein balls
- Hearty soups like Vegan Minestrone
- Homemade burgers with sweet potato chips and green salad.
You can see how all of these have a good balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats. Plus, some fruits or vegetables for added fibre and antioxidants.
Aim to learn off by heart which foods your proteins, fats and carbohydrates are most abundant in and it will pay in dividends. Do this, and in the future you will never have to think twice about what to eat or how to combine your foods.
Important Points To Remember
Some foods contain both protein and carbohydrates, so can be eaten alone.
Examples of these foods are lentils, pulses, wholegrains and some nuts (cashews and chestnuts are highest in both carbs and protein).
For a complete week’s meal plan that contains all the nutrients for a great plant based diet, please check out our FREE one week meal plan. This will show you how to understand food combining a little better and how to put plants together to make a complete meal.