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Vegan on a Budget Part 1: Produce & Dairy Alternatives

Updated: 3 days ago

Being vegan doesn't have to be expensive! Check out this blog for ways to make shopping for produce and dairy alternatives cheap & easy.


By Allegra Pearl

One of the biggest misconceptions about veganism, alongside “veganism leads to protein deficiency” and “plants have feelings too” is that veganism has to be extremely expensive and is therefore inaccessible for non-affluent people. This argument has gained more and more traction as

the popularity and demand for expensive mock meat and cheese alternatives has boomed. For example, Beyond Meat Burgers ($7.99 for two patties), Gusta vegan sausages ($6.99 for four), Gardein Chick’n tenders and patties ($4.97), Nuts For Cheese Vegan Brie ($12.99) and vegan Ben & Jerry’s ($6.99) are just a few products that can quickly add up to a really expensive grocery list. However, regardless of these specific pricey alternatives, the reality remains that one can undoubtedly consume a diet of healthy vegan food while being on a budget. Here are a few tips we've put together to help you shop in a way that's sustainable for both your wallet and the environment.


Produce

As we all know, fruit and vegetables can be pricey depending on what is in season! Instead of grabbing food from the fresh section, try looking for your fruits and veggies in the frozen section instead! Frozen fruit can be used in smoothies, vegan ice cream, in baking or simply eaten as a snack. This can be found at your local grocery store in Canada for $4.99 and comes in a variety of flavours from mangos, pineapples, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries to combinations of all of the above. Frozen vegetables such as broccoli, peas, spinach, cauliflower, corn, carrots, etc. can all be purchased in separate or combination packages starting from $2.99 and are perfect for stir-frys, shepherd's pie, curries - you name it! These frozen fruit and vegetable packages can also be bought in larger sizes which will provide you with better value and can last for months once opened.


If you do choose to shop in the fresh section, we've got some tips for you too. Did you know that one of the cheapest fruit you can find are bananas - so make sure to stock up! You can also browse to see what’s on sale and what kind of things are in season.


Milk Alternatives


When it comes to milk alternatives, Vegans have a wide variety of options varying from almond milk, to soy, to oat, to pea, to coconut, to rice, to cashew, etc. With plant-based milks popping up in local grocery stores around the globe, your taste buds, wallet and conscience can choose the perfect milk for you. My preferred plant milk is oat as despite having lower levels of protein than cow milk or soy, it is packed with vitamins and minerals. Oat also has a delicious taste and requires less water during the production process than almond. However, oat milk is on the pricier side, costing around $4.99 a carton. If you’re looking for the best deal on plant-based milk I would recommend almond milk ($2.99 a carton), rice milk (currently 2/$5.00), or soy milk ($2.99 a carton). Soy milk is also extremely high in calcium, vitamin D and protein making it a healthy and economically savvy choice.

Plant-based milks also last longer than traditional cow milk, meaning you’re less likely to be seen shamefully pouring your spoiled milk down the drain. You can normally find plant-milk in both the shelves and the fridges in the grocery store. If you choose from the shelf and refrain from opening it, these can sit in your basement for months on end without spoiling so you can stock up at your local grocery store (or Costco if you have a membership card).


I hope these recommendations help illuminate how a vegan diet can be affordable, filling and delicious! Stay tuned - in the next blog we'll be discuss other key vegan staples such as whole grains, starches and legumes!

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