Today at Rosa’s House we’re so excited to have a guest post about veganism on a millennial budget from Morgan at The Veg Query!
Avocado toast? We can’t afford that.
Millennials. We are probably the most stereotyped and misunderstood generation. We are carrying a heavy debt load, are better educated than the previous generation, yet underpaid and underemployed.
So when we think of veganism, all we can think of is $$$. It’s just not in the budget.
I’m here to tell you; it’s one of the few things in life we can still afford. And thank god for that.
Plant-based eating is often over complicated. Don’t buy into it (literally). You can toss a pack of veggie Mr. Noodles in a pot and top it with Sriracha and call it a plant-based meal. But we don’t need to survive on a college diet. We can take it a level higher (if not a few).
As a vegan of nearly seven years, it confuses me when people think I spend more money without meat and dairy in my cart. I’ve eliminated the most expensive part of the shop!
So, veganism on a budget is possible.
The key to keeping your budget manageable lies in whole foods. A term used by plant-based doctors all around. A whole foods plant-based diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds with a call for little to no processed foods.
This is the best way to go vegan for both your wallet and your health. You might be thinking, “I don’t have the time for from-scratch cooking.” Don’t worry. I’m going to cover how to eat right, cheap and fast!
There are plenty of things you can do to keep your budget minimalistic. Let’s break it down.
Opt for Canned, Dried or Frozen Foods
Think canned lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas and more. You can get them even cheaper if you buy dried in bulk, but that involves a little more prep.
When it comes to frozen veggies, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots are a great place to start. If you’re into smoothies, frozen fruit is much more affordable and means you don’t need to add ice to get a cold drink.
Choose Fresh Foods in Season
No one denies fresh is best – but buy according to what is in season. This brings a variety to your shop and your plate too. Every country will have a different list, do a quick google search to find a produce calendar for your area.
Support Local Farmers
You can often get higher quality in-season produce from your local farmers market for a fraction of the price. It’s a great chance to get out, walk the dog and enjoy the fresh air.
Check the Discount Produce Rack
Okay, hear me out. The quality of this rack varies greatly from store to store. I’ve experienced items that are still fresh but have just ripened placed in these racks. The only thing wrong with them is they’re in the way of stocking for new produce.
I’ve also experienced stores that only place food on a discount when it has begun to rot (ew, thanks a lot to that store policy) – don’t waste your money on that. Take a walk by the rack; you never know what you might find.
Enjoy Plant-Based Alternatives in Moderation
Everyone loves a tub of coconut ice cream or a Beyond Burger, but these items add up. Include them as a treat or on special occasions to help keep your budget trim. There are so many great new products. Watch for sales if you’re going to include them in your budget.
Base your Meals around Starches & Whole Grains
Don’t buy into the demonization of carbohydrates. You can’t compare a sweet potato to a bowl of captain crunch (though both are tasty options).
Potatoes, rice, pasta, and whole grains make a great foundation for any meal. They provide essential nutrients, are budget-friendly, and easy to make!
Use Nuts & Seeds Sparingly
Nuts and seeds are probably the most expensive part of a plant-based diet. While they have an essential place in our diet for health, we don’t need more than a sprinkle of seeds or a small handful of nuts a day to meet our needs. Use them to add extra flavour and garnish your meals.
I’m sure you already know that there is little difference between brand name products and a house brand. What you are paying for is the label. Take a look at the generic brands and compare ingredients, often they don’t vary a lot.
If you usually work on a household budget and opt for the three star beef, then veganism on a budget is not much different. Home brands will work as well.
If you have any favourite items that contain small amounts of animal products like milk powder or egg whites, take a look at the generic. They often opt for soy, and you might score an accidentally vegan find.
After a long day, the last thing we want to do is spend hours in the kitchen. There are plenty of quick and easy meals you can look up, but here are some things to consider first.
Planning your meals can help cut down on prep time. Consider cooking large batch meals and adding them into containers for a quick grab and microwave at the office. Plant-based foods tend to keep and re-heat better than animal-based foods.
- The Basics Tools
All you need is a baking sheet, a pot for water and a pan for frying. Don’t buy into the idea that you need a food processor or a professional mixer. Just about everything can be baked in the oven, thrown on the stove for a stir fry or tossed on top of your favourite noodles or rice.
- Alter your Faves
More often than not, your favourite foods only need a small tweak to make them vegan-friendly. Do you use milk and butter in your mashed potatoes? Sub for plant-based versions.
Love to make pizza at home? Skip the cheese (or splurge on a substitute). Honestly, pizza without the cheese is pretty great.
- Don’t be Afraid to Experiment
Just because a recipe calls for something doesn’t mean you can’t re-work it with something you already have in the cupboard.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and make things your own. Honestly, the number of times I subbed a long list of herbs and spices with salt and pepper should be considered criminal – but it works.
Veganism on a budget is like anything on a budget – work with what you have!
- If you want to get Creative – Do!
There are so many amazing whole food recipes out there. Want to make veggie burgers from scratch? Do it!
The world of plant-based cooking is immense and fun! Believe it or not, there are plant-based recipes for ribs, wings and steak! And most of them are pretty darn good.
The Vegan Millennial Stereotype..
Stereotypes aside, if you want to enjoy avocado toast or a soy latte from Starbucks – don’t let anyone discourage you.
Life isn’t about restrictions, and we deserve a treat just as much as any other generation. Just know that if veganism interests you, it’s not just for the elite.
You can make veganism work on any budget – even if that budget is a millennial one.
Let’s talk about Morgan!
Morgan Fitchett is a Vegan Life & Wellness Coach and the owner of The Veg Query. She is a Millennial and has been vegan since 2013. Morgan helps women make the transition to a vegan lifestyle with confidence and feel empowered on their journey. You can find her over on her blog The Veg Query or on Instagram!