Everyone loves eating great food. People plan parties, anniversaries, meetings and family time around it, so there’s no question that great food will be around until the end of time. However, when vegan food is brought up, those who have never tried it or are not used it may become perplexed and ask a variety of questions.
Among commonplace questions is: “Isn’t vegan food expensive?” While this question is an innocent one, it begs another question as to when and where these false perceptions of expensive vegan food first came to be. When someone says “vegan restaurant,” many people may think of a top-level, high-budget French or Italian restaurant, or a less formal restaurant that merely overprices elaborate salads and green juice. No matter the picture that pops into your head, eating vegan is not nearly as expensive as you might think.
Eat Out Without Eating Up Your Budget
While there are certainly vegan restaurants that fall into the “fancy” category, this label applies to virtually all other restaurant categories as well. One restaurant chain that has made news throughout the country and garnered an unusually enthusiastic fan base is Tanya Petrovna’s Native Foods. This restaurant, which currently boasts 24 locations in five states and is rapidly expanding, has become a sensation very quickly throughout North America, among both vegans and non-vegans. The success of Native Foods comes from their commitment to crafting delicious, hearty meals for under $10 in 10 minutes or less.
Get Your Groceries For Less
Another way to save money as a vegan, or anyone for that matter, is to cook at home. Ellen Jaffe Jones’ book, Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook, is a great resource to learn how to balance a plant-based diet and vegan budget. Since its release, Jones has spoken frequently at vegetarian and vegan festivals throughout the U.S., and her book is currently a Top 100 placeholder in both the Vegan and Budget categories on Amazon Books. With an average rating of 4.5, this book certainly cannot be passed up for vegans or even vegan-curious folks who are wondering more about vegan budget-friendly eating.
In her book, Jones offers up dozens of recipes that work together to create meals rich in taste and dense in nutrition. She touts beans, legumes, whole grains and dark leafy greens as some of the staples of quality vegan eating. When combining these items with other bulk purchases and adding flavor and spices, Jones amasses a viable collection of recipes that can drastically reduce a vegan budget without coming up short on the end result.
LearnVest, a financial planning and education company, recently collected data on grocery store prices, comparing omnivore diets to vegan diets. They found, on average, vegans spend about $1.20 less per meal than meat eaters, within the scope of grocery food.
Looking for store brands, purchasing as many discounted and sale items as possible, and even growing your own food are three other quality tactics that can slash a vegan budget like a hot knife through (vegan) butter. While vegans may spend more time in the produce department than other shoppers, most folks that enter a grocery store will at some point enter the aisles. This is where nabbing weekly sale items and choosing store brands will be the difference between a painful grocery bill and a manageable one.
Money May Not Grow on Trees, But Vegan Food Does
Home gardening and growing one’s own food is certainly not slowing down, as about 33 percent of U.S. households now grow at least some of their own food. With about $0.90 returned per square foot of a food garden, this is an investment you can’t afford to pass up.
Both enjoyable and affordable vegan food is out there, you simply need to know where to look and have the discipline for change. It can take a bit of time to organize a vegan budget, do some research on restaurants or master a new recipe, but when animals, the environment, and your body will thank you, there’s no greater payback.