I hear sometimes that plant-based eating is expensive…but it doesn’t need to be.
I’ve found over the last six years of plant-based eating that there are about 35-40 food items that make up most of our home cooked meals. I’ve gotten better over the past couple of years at keeping enough of these food basics on hand so that last minute trips to the grocery store to pick up one or two items (and a few added impulse items) are just about a thing of the past. This saves us time and money and makes its easier to eat simply and healthfully.
Since I buy groceries less often I’m able to spend a little extra time and drive a littler farther to get the best price. I think there’s a common myth that to eat healthfully you have to buy only organic, shop at a health food store, or spend nearly your whole paycheck at the high end grocer. IMHO this just isn’t the case. Everything to make deliciously healthful plant-based meals are available at the local grocery store. If you avoid the mock meats, imitation mayos, cheese substitutes, and other specialty foods, plant-based eating is actually very inexpensive. Those pretend foods tend to be high in fat, calories and salt which defeats healthy eating, so who needs them?
I made a list of the 18 food staples that I always stock up on. Many of the recipes that will appear on this website are made from these basics. By stocking up on basic staples you save money and time by driving to the store less frequently, spending less time in the store shopping, and by having the makings of meals on hand when you are ready to cook.
I did an unscientific comparison shopping experience with my list of 18 food items at six local grocery stores this past week. These prices reflect the everyday prices of ‘store brands’. The results are in the spreadsheet below. Whole Foods was most expensive, while WinCo and Walmart were the low-price winners. WinCo offered the best overall price. I’m definitely not suggesting that people shouldn’t shop at fancier grocery stores, they offer attractive surroundings, added services, convenience, and specialty items. My intent in sharing this information is just to demonstrate you can purchase very nutritious plant-based food inexpensively by choosing lower priced grocers. A carrot is going to taste about the same and contain about the same nutrition no matter where you buy it.
To further illustrate how inexpensive plant-based eating can be, here are a few suggestions of simple, fast meals you can make from these staples with the addition of spices and condiments (and yes, I was blown away that a bowl of oatmeal cost only 7 cents to make at home!)
- 1 cup of oatmeal for 7 cents; add 1/2 cup of frozen berries and it totals about 50 cents a bowl
- Bean and rice burritos for about 34 cents each
- Tofu scrambled with tomatoes, onions, broccoli, and carrots for around $1.00 a serving.
To your health and healthy budget!