Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Many people believe that fresh, nutritious food is expensive, when in reality, the opposite is true. I maintain a food budget of $150-$200 per month for one person on a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet. Here are some tips to show you how to do it, too.
EAT WHOLE FOOD
Make whole plant-based food like legumes, vegetables, fruit and whole grains the majority of the food you buy. They're not only cheaper than packaged and processed food, but more nutritious too.
BUY THE BASICS IN BULK
I buy items that I use on a regular basis in large quantity and in bulk because it's usually cheaper and I am not paying for uncecessary packaging.
For example, a 42-ounce countainer of old-fashioned oats costs about $1.89 and lasts for two months. Bulk beans cost about $0.69 to $2.00 per pound, will last a week and can be used in a variety of dishes. Similarly, whole grains, like rice and quinoa, cost $0.50 to $2.00 per pound for the week.
BUY FRESH FRUITS AND VEGGIES
To stay within your budget, try a new vegetable each week and keep a list of the ones you like. Prices vary between $0.25 to $3.00 per pound, so always buy what's in season and what's on sale. Also try to buy organic produce whenever possible because it's not sprayed with cancer-causing chemicals. If that's not possible, check out the Environental Working Group's "Clean 15" list , which lists the least-sprayed produce that doesn;t have to be purchases in organic form. It's also fine to buy frozen veggies, too since they can sometimes be cheaper than fresh.
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
If you aren't already growing your own food, you'd be amazed at how easy it is to grow your own kale, spinach, grape tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs and more. Check out your local nursery and ask about organic plants that are easy to grow.
CONSIDER THE BIG PICTURE
Your new way of eating can benefit not only your health and your wallet, but also the environment and the planet. Like anything new, eating healthy on a budget will take some practice, but you'll be a pro in no time. And you might find yourself helping your family and friends eat better and save money too.
Source: Robin D. Everson is an award-winning art, food, and healthy living journalist.