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Plant-based diet on a budget

Date:01 November 2021
Author:Green Office
Author — Remco van Veluwen
Author — Remco van Veluwen

1st of November is World Vegan Day and it is also the beginning of World Vegan Month! Have you ever wondered how you can have a plant-based diet on a budget? Remco gives us 6 tips on how to do it.

It's a question I am being asked all the time: 'Doesn't it cost much more to eat vegan food?' People often seem to believe it's inherently more expensive to live by a plant-based diet. Leaving out meat, cheese, milk, eggs, and honey surely means paying tons more for alternatives, right? In reality, it's not all that bad. Let's tackle this persistent myth by sharing some easy tips to eat plant-based food without having to take a hit to your wallet.

1. Buy discounted substitutes only 

Fortunately, more and more ready-to-eat meat substitutes are being put in the market. However, these substitutes are often still commanding quite a larger price tag than their animal-based counterparts, due to a lack of subsidiary financial aids. I would therefore advise only to buy prefabricated vegan burgers and nuggets when they're on sale. Stock up a little and save some in your freezer, to save a ton of money in the long run. Don’t worry too much about the environmental implications of soy: more than 75% of soy production is reserved for livestock, so by discarding meat and opting for substitutes you actually consume less soy. 

2. Find affordable alternatives

There are quite a few affordable alternatives out there. Beans are extremely cheap and healthy. For instance, try out pasta with lentils or a wrap tortilla with chickpeas. Mushrooms, tofu and tempeh are all very budget-friendly as well. You can use these additives in various ways, ranging from Italian to Asian cuisine. Nutritional yeast is something that I hadn’t even heard of before I went vegan, but functions as a healthy, long lasting replacement for grated cheese.

3. Get cooking

Still feel like having a plant-based burger? To bake a burger yourself is relatively easy and doesn’t necessarily require much time and effort. There’s a wealth of delicious recipes to choose from on the internet, allowing you to make it as challenging or easy as you desire. Make a bunch of burgers and save some in your fridge!

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Plant-based meal

4. Cook without substitutes 

Naturally it’s also a possibility to cook without meat substitutes at all. The internet offers an abundance of inspiration for cooking with only a handful of ingredients. Vegetables such as paprika and zucchini become very crispy when sprinkled with olive oil and baked in the oven. Garnish the dish with herbs to add some extra flavour and your meal will be a veritable feast for your senses with a bite that might otherwise be lacking. 

5. Buy in bulk

By purchasing ingredients in larger amounts you’ll be able to cut back on expenses. Batches of seeds and uncooked beans are relatively cheap. Even nuts are much more affordable when buying them wholesale. Furthermore, you’ll be able to last longer as your house is always stuffed with reserve stock. Buy online or pay a visit to Le Souk in the Folkingestraat, where they offer a wide range of unpackaged foods. Don’t forget to bring your own storage jars, spice jars and bags so you can save on disposables and avoid unnecessary waste. 

6. Buy at the market

Fruits and vegetables are usually considerably cheaper on the market compared to the supermarket. By shopping on the market you’ll be supporting the local economy and saving quite some money. If you buy enough supplies for multiple days ahead, you can bridge the gap in between. If you happen to stock up on vegetables too much, don’t throw them away. Instead, use them to cook soup: it makes for nutritious yet inexpensive dinner. 

Being on a budget does not have to restrain your ambitions of eating plant-based. By finding smart ways to save money, stocking up products, cooking substitutes or leaving substitutes out altogether, your plant-based meal can still be delicious and fun to cook. Good luck and enjoy your dinner! 

Remco is a 28-year old Dutch Master student in Media & Journalism. Having studied for quite some time in Groningen, his interest in sustainability has steadily been building up over the years. A self-proclaimed idealist with a hint of realism, he aspires to help find ways of becoming more sustainable as a society altogether, envisioning the career as a journalist ahead of him as a perfect means to achieve this goal.


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