I have been so excited to see so many people joining veganuary this year, so I have been following a few of the groups on Social Media. I find it very interesting to read their questions, excitements, and difficulties. Because it helps me to understand people’s eating habits, cravings and transition difficulties better. One of the many things I came across was the costs of following a vegan diet. Therefore I have decided to dedicate this post to the essential ingredients and cost of being on a vegan diet.
Personally I have found that the costs of a vegan diet is similar or less than an omnivore diet. But having said that I do have to acknowledge that unfortunately in most countries the costs of low nutritious and high processed foods, are one of the cheapest products to buy. We can only hope that one day this will change worldwide.
So, which ingredients have I chosen to be essential for vegans
Very basic ingredients to always have in your cupboard;
- Pasta (egg free)
- Other grains like; quinoa, spelt or bulgar
- Sea salt and peppercorns
- A good selection of spices (cumin, coriander, chilli, paprika hot and sweet, turmeric, nutmeg)
- Olive oil, and other vegetable oils of your liking
- Nuts and seeds (incl. ground flaxseeds, and chia)
- Plant-based milk, with added calcium
- Lots of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs
- Dried fruit
- Maple syrup or agave syrup
- Peanut butter
- Tinned ; chickpeas, lentil, beans, tomatoes, coconut milk.
Why did I come up with this basic list of essentials?
When you get hungry and you haven’t prepared anything, nor even thought about cooking. It is very easy to make a quick, nutritious and tasty meal with some of these ingredients.
- Having dry good like; grains, pasta and noodles can create a good satisfying meal in no time.
- Garlic, salt, pepper and spices are great to flavour your meals to your liking.
- Nuts and seeds are not only very nutritious, but also great as snack food. Like dried fruit, which can be a great snack and take care of your sugar cravings.
- Plant based milk can be used for breakfasts, smoothies, added to soups and purees etc.
- Peanut butter is fantastic as an energy booster, and it is magic in texture and flavour. I find home made the best.
- Legumes; Even if you prefer to use dried pulses, it is always handy to keep a few tins in your cupboard, for the unexpected moment in which there is no time for soaking.
- Of course fresh fruit, veggies, and herbs are essentials in any diet.
- Tofu, tempeh or seitan are great sources of protein and should definitely be an essential, in my opinion.
- And for all the sweet-tooth’s out there maple or agave syrup is the perfect sweetener.
If you want to broaden your cooking experience, you might want to add these ‘less-essentials’ to your cupboards.
- Nutritional yeast; a great source of B12 it enhances flavours and is great for ‘cheesy’- sauces.
- Miso paste; great for flavouring soups and stews.
- Cashew nuts; the base ingredient for many delicious sauces
- Olives and capers; That is just my Mediterranean side 😉
- Seaweeds or nori sheets; Great for wrapping, salads, and a fantastic source of omega-3
- Silky tofu; to make easy and quick sauces, or to make anything more ‘silky’
- Soy-cream; to give a more creamy texture to your dishes.
Tips to keep food cost low on a vegan diet.
Buy in bulk
When looking at these essential lists there are many things that you can buy in bulk. As long if you have a good storing place (dark and dry). Think of dried pulses, rice, pasta, walnuts and almonds. You can store those well in a dark and dry place. You would even help the CO2 emission because less travel means less CO2.
Time your shopping right
Go to your local fresh food market just before closing time. When the outdoor markets are closing up the vendors often give certain produce away for great prices. This is really a good way to keep your costs low. Sometimes they sell really cheap seasonal fruits which don’t look appetizing any more but can be used perfectly for making your own jams, or coulis. It helps you, and it helps the vendor.
Home-made, better & cheaper
Make your own home made peanut butter, almond butter and tahini. As long as you have or can borrow a good blender (beware, nuts can damage flimsy blenders) they are so easy to make. Just add the nuts to the blender, and blend. It is that easy, and it keeps great in a well sealed jar.
No food waste
Keep your off cuts of vegetables like carrots, leeks, fennel, and use these in a home-made stock.
Go with the seasons
Only buy seasonal produce, and if you have a freezer you can buy in larger quantities and use at a later time.
It always ends up cheaper if you cook in larger quantities. If you have a freezer cook your food in larger quantities and freeze it. It is a win-win situation for those moments where you lack in time to cook yourself a nice meal. As ready-made meals in the shops are always very expensive.
Good luck with your transition into a vegan diet! You can ask me any questions in comments below, or sent me a private email. We are all here to inspire each other.
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