Thursday, February 16, 2012

10 Tips for Making a Plant-Based Diet Affordable

Plant-based diets revolve around produce and whole foods, with little to no nutrients coming from animals. For those who know where to find the nutrients they need, this does not pose a problem. Plants can provide all of the nutrients people need to remain healthy and disease free. Because whole foods are sometimes more expensive than highly processed foods, it may take a little research to make vegan or vegetarian diets affordable. The following tips can help lower your grocery bill when implementing this healthy lifestyle.

1. Grow as much of your food as possible 

Growing and preserving fruits and vegetables can drastically cut down the cost of buying fresh from the produce section of the store. Frozen and canned foods maintain much of their nutritive value and you are sure of what they contain. There are no additives and preservatives that you don't know about.

2. Buy in bulk when you can 

Many times, a store will offer a promo code or coupon for a percentage off if a specific amount is purchased. Buying large quantities and storing it yourself can prevent unnecessary trips to the store.

3. For convenient pre-packaged foods, try shopping online 

These companies may also offer coupons or discounts if you decide to purchase their products in bulk. Online coupons can also be redeemed for extra savings.

4. Plan an entire week's meals at one time 

If you have a busy week, prepare the bulk of the meals over the weekend and freeze them in single serving or family serving style dishes. Foods can be mixed and matched so that no meal is exactly the same.

5. Frequent Farmer's Markets and roadside fruit and vegetable stands 

Produce from local farmers are grown close to home, ensuring freshness and the optimum amount of nutrients. Because there is little or no shipping costs added to the price of the produce, it can be substantially cheaper than produce bought from the supermarket.

6. Think green when shopping 

Carry your own shopping bags. Avoid using plastic bags that you get from the supermarket. They are an added cost that inflates the price of all the products you buy from the bigger stores. Carrying your own cloth or net bags can drastically cut those costs over time, in addition to being environmentally-conscious.

7. Use filling foods to make up the bulk of your diet 

Beans, rice and whole grains provide extra fiber that, when introduced into the stomach, absorbs excess fluids. This produces feelings of fullness. Smaller more filling meals will provide more nutrients and provide more sustained energy levels.

8. Avoid unnecessary foods 

Sweeten foods naturally with honey. Foods that are sweetened with sugar or corn syrup can be more costly and tend to be less filling, making us to want to eat or snack more frequently than necessary.

9. Invest in your health 

Buy a juicer and a food dehydrator. These two items will save large amounts of money in fruit juice and snack foods. Preparing your own juice and snacks is an excellent way to incorporate healthy, nutritious foods into the diet, no matter where you are.

10. Learn to try new foods 

Experiment with foods to find which ones blend well together. A small amount of an expensive food can be stretched when mixed with an inexpensive food like rice.
Eating a plant-based diet can be affordable and nutritious. The world is on your table. Enjoy it!

Photo credit: Joanna Zopoth-lipiejko (Dreamstime)

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by Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist

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1 comment:

  1. What foods such one eat to get B6 & B12? What can one substitute for Tofu,Soy,Whole Wheat & coffee with Nestle Coffee-mate? Which is the first thing on my mind when I wake up!


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