20 Ways to Go Plant-Based For Less $

Unknown-6Abandon the Myth! Plant-Based Nutrition Need Not Cost More!

One of the common misconceptions about adopting a plant-based diet is that it will cost more. People seem to assume that eating vegan necessitates buying exotic and expensive ingredients in specialty stores. Or that you need to find strange vegetables that you’ve never heard of and that are hard to find. But that couldn’t be further from the reality.

For me, it started with a leisurely, investigative stroll down the aisles at Whole Foods. It was life-changing. I’m fortunate to have two Whole Foods Supermarkets within 10 miles from me in opposite directions and a Trader Joe’s right in my town. I do know how lucky I am!

Flashback to about 3 years ago, pre-vegan: there I am…mindlessly tossing packages of chicken, meat, seafood and fish of all shapes and configurations into my cart each week, while hastily rushing through my local supermarket grabbing the only proteins I really knew.  Every meal I made was meat-centric—I just had to have a substantial portion of animal protein in the center of the plate. The multitudes of dairy products, as well, stacked up in the cart. Of course, being what I thought was healthy-minded even then, I bought fresh fruits and vegetables, basic grains and white pastas, to serve as side dishes—sometimes organic and sometimes not, but the overwhelming bulk of the expense was always the many meat items.

The beginning of enlightenment was that first time in Whole Foods after making my decision to eliminate animal products from my diet. Not having to spend time focusing on all the various meat, chicken & fish items, I had more time to really explore and learn about interesting vegetables, amazing fruits, grains I always ignored and products I usually walked right by—and this transition, surprisingly, translated into a lower total at the cashier.

Before we get into a list of suggestions about how to be plant-based and spend less, the first thing to do is to change your mindset about how difficult or how expensive moving into a more plant-based diet has to be. It truly does not need to be either!  The way I see it:  I’m going food shopping either way, so instead of buying this, I’m buying that! Simple? See it as a journey into the exciting world of delicious discovery and healthful eating that will change your life, change the lives of animals and help the environment.


20 Ways to Go Vegan For Less $

1) Try to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season (when they’re plentiful and less expensive)

2) Avoid pre-packaged fresh fruits and vegetables (they are often more expensive)

3) Buy locally grown produce (when they travel a long way, the price can reflect that)

4) Frequent Farmer’s Markets—often the prices are better!

5) Use “green” bags to keep produce fresher longer in the fridge

6) Buy frozen fruits and vegetables on sale—they are usually frozen right after being picked, locking in the nutrients

7) Buy basic whole grains in bulk: quinoa, barley, buckwheat & brown rice, etc.

8) Stock up on bags of inexpensive but high in protein foods: there are so many varieties of dried beans, legumes, lentils–and they have a long shelf life.

9) Always have organic tofu in the refrigerator—very versatile and high in protein!

10) Start gradually with plant-based meals 2-3 days per week or 1-2 meals per day

11)  Avoid expensive packaged vegan meals unless they are on sale.

12) Buy whole wheat pastas when the price is right and stockpile

13) Plant-based “meat” and “cheese” substitutes can be a bit pricey (and sometimes not that healthy) so don’t go overboard

14) Check the supermarket flyer for what fruits, veggies, grains are on sale and build some meals around those items.

15) Head to Costco with a friend and share the huge sizes of fruits and vegetables (that’s always a good idea if you can do it!)

16) Move through the aisles of the supermarket slowly to take note of interesting items that you never noticed before—there are tons of them!

17) Google some simple vegan recipes that use only a only handful of ingredients, print them up, and collect them. Vegan American Princess has many! Bring some to the supermarket for ideas.

18) Buy something new and interesting, if the price is right, each week—you can find a recipe for it later!

19) At home, plan some meals ahead of time before you head to the market.

20) See food choices in a whole new, healthy way!

xox Ellen





  1. Regina ONeill says:

    Ellen, thank you for the very helpful suggestions! I have been wanting to switch my husband and I to vegan 2 – 3 times a week. Do you have any suggestions regarding favorite cookbooks or other sources for recipes?

    • Hi Regina,

      I saw your comment and I wanted to suggest 2 simple cookbooks which might really help you.

      The first cookbook is called “Supermarket Vegan” by Donna Klein.

      The second one is “Short-Cut Vegan” by Lorna Sass.

      These are simple cookbooks for the real world!

      Thanks for reading!

  2. On Vegan American Princess, we provide lots of easy recipes because we know that people need to keep it simple & delicious most of the time. There are lots of cookbooks out there and Debby and I read them like novels! We collect them but my current go-to’s include:

    crazy sexy kitchen by Kris Carr & Chef Chad Sarno
    The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet by Joni Marie Newman
    Skinny Bitch in the Kitch by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnoui8n

    Enjoy the journey! As you go plant-based, you may see some magical changes in your life!


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