Is it possible to eat plant-based on a budget? Yes. Absolutely. I do it every day. Most people have questions when I tell them that I eat plant-based, and one of the common misconceptions is that it is an expensive lifestyle. However, myself and my family are all on a budget, and we all follow this diet. So to clear the air, I have calculated the price of my plant-based dinner. I'll open up my purse and show you the results.
Tonight I made a satisfying dinner for myself and my husband. I spent only $5.01. Here is the breakdown of the ingredients on my shopping list:
I used 3 organic carrots, ¼ head of cabbage, ¼ head of cauliflower, ¼ head of broccoli, ¼ bag of frozen corn, ½ small onion, 1 can kidney beans, ¼ box of organic vegetable broth, and seasonings. This can serve 2 really hungry adults or 2 adults and 2 small children.
I put all of the veggies in my 3.5 quart skillet, poured the vegetable broth plus one cup of water over everything, and then sprinkled with Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute and Simply Organic garlic powder. Put the lid on, turn the burner on medium high, and steam about 25 minutes. When you serve, you can sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a cheesy, nutty taste or use a little Himalayan pink sea salt if you like the salty flavor.
It was a great dinner and even greater price!
Food Pricing and Buying Organic
I recently read an article about living the plant-based way on just $1.50 a day! In my daughter's latest post, she shares how going to Farmer's Markets and joining CSAs (community supported agriculture) can further help you source fresh fruits and vegetables at better pricing (see #26).
Apple to apple, buying organic is nominally more expensive, and this is only sometimes true. Organic produce can be the same price or even less than their non-organic counterpart. And please consider the overall sustainability factor for the few pennies you might be paying more or less. Non-organic food prices don't factor in the effect to human health or to the planet, and in regards to human health, medical costs are far higher! A plant-based diet will save you exponentially in the future by preventing over 60% of chronic disease-related deaths. So here you are actually freeing up tons of money for yourself and your children!
Remember, although fancy, high-priced "superfoods" can become heavily marketed as a brand, the best foods for you are always simple and affordable (sometimes free, like pears from own pear tree!). If you find some organic snack bar to be way too much money, instead snack on an organic banana. I dare you to pay more than $0.50!