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Inexpensive Vegetarian Eating

When I hear people say that it’s expensive to be vegetarian, I laugh. It is expensive if you are buying a lot of packaged and convenience foods. But if you shop for bulk grains and nuts, and follow produce deals, you will actually decrease your grocery bill. At least I have. I do eat fish, and that can be expensive if eating out, but eating in, it’s pretty inexpensive. Grains by the pound are usually half or one-third of what their packaged version cost. So if you find that you are spending WAYYYY too much on groceries, re-evaluate.

*For friends and family on the Daniel Fast, if you are only eating grapes, hummus, and walnuts, you are missing out. Food choices are boundless and although hummus is delicious, you are depriving yourself of wholesome energizing food.

Poor produce has a bad rep of being expensive. $2 for apples! $3 for lettuce! $$2.99 for asparagus! Oh the horror…wait, but you are willing to spend $4 on packaged crap claiming to be fruit but actually full of sugar, preservatives, and food coloring? Thought so. The price of fresh vegetables is a lot less expensive than heart caths and cholesterol medicine. If you can afford it, or find it on sale, shoot for organic. Or forgo the candy bar at the register and pay the extra dollar for the organic variety.

Veganaise is pretty expensive if you are going to use only once. But if one serving is 1 TB, you will only pay about $0.20 or less a serving. Grains range from $1-$4.50/pound depending on what grain you are choosing. The vegan cheeses are expensive, but I am not vegan, so I buy regular cheese. But if you are in the market for vegan cheese, you should be buying it to enhance the food you are making, not covering it up. Thought: If plan on covering the taste of something you are eating, you should probably not be eating that in the first place. Try sauteed onions and peppers to add zest. Sprinkle on nutritional yeast (I’m easing into that last one).

I LOVE Boca’s “chick’n” patties with a little bbq sauce and a pickle. Those average about $0.60 a patty, but if I can make a meal that, $0.25 worth of farro or quinoa, and a $1 worth of a green salad or kale, that’s a pretty cheap meal. The majority of my meals don’t include processed fake food like the Boca products, but occasionally it’s a nice treat; and if you are transitioning from meat to veggies, it’s a great jump start. Just don’t rely on them for every meal.

It doesn’t use much effort to make grains. The ratio is normally 1 part grain to 2 parts liquid. I use vegetable broth to bump up the flavor of brown rice or quinoa. Some grains even benefit from being toasted before being boiled. I often toss lentils into my grains for variety and extra protein. You will find that ounce for ounce, a lot of grains (including quinoa-which is actually a seed) have just as much protein as meat, and it’s a complete protein that you can’t get from meat.

I adapted this Chickpea “Tuna” Salad recipe from ecovegangirl.com. You can find the original here. You will need:

  • Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans – 1 can or 1/2 cup dry beans, soaked
  • Vegan Mayonaise or Plain Greek Yogurt – 2 tbsp
  • Celery – 1 stalk
  • Pickles or Relish – to taste
  • Dijon Mustard
  • fresh parsley
  • red onion
  • Blend up the mayo & half of the chickpeas, then add the rest of ingredients and chop to taste. I like mine a little chunky.
My next personal goal is to remove/reduce unnatural sugars from my daily diet. As a type 1 diabetic, I am conscious of what I eat and I try to stick to natural sugars already in the fresh foods that I eat. I sweeten my oatmeal with unsweetened natural applesauce. But I use 1/5 of a splenda packet in my coffee every morning. I have stevia. I have tried stevia. I need to try again. So that’s my goal… maybe once I finish the box of splenda I bought 🙂

You can also find other cheap vegan/vegetarian ideas in the quick video, also by Eco-Vegan Girl. Enjoy your day! Ciao!

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