See How Being Vegan is More Affordable (not more expensive!)

 

Screenshot-2018-7-5 Nickie Harris ( powerplantnutrition) • Instagram photos and videos

photo by Shona Vertue

Of all the questions and concerns I hear about veganism, the cost concern is pretty common. I’ve heard from a few people that they would be vegan if it weren’t for their tight budget. My answer to that is… it’s cheaper (or at least the same price) being vegan!

Think of the most expensive items in an omnivores shopping basket. Meat is up there, especially if you are conscious of buying quality meat. Same goes for eggs, cheese, and milk if you are buying the better quality options (no hormones, cage-free, etc.). Even just run of the mill store brand animal products can be pricey.

What I’ve done here is create a simple price breakdown of two sample full days of eating – one omnivorous and the other vegan. I’ve tried to be as unbiased as possible and made menus that are comparatively nutritious and tasty. I have also included the cost of a B12 supplement in the vegan menu since, as I reference in this article, a B12 supplement is a must for anyone eating a vegan diet. Prices are from HEB grocery stores.

Omnivore Full Day of Eating: $11.87

Breakfast – 2 free range organic eggs, ½ avocado, 2 pieces of wheat toast with grass fed butter. Coffee with half and half. Total: $2.51

Lunch – Spinach salad with 4 oz chicken breast, ½ cup cooked quinoa, ½ bell pepper and dressing. Total: $3.47

Dinner – 3 ground turkey (4 oz) tacos on corn tortillas with guacamole, lettuce, salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese. Total: $2.83

Snack – Banana Berry protein shake (whey protein, 1 banana, 1 cup 2% milk, ½ cup frozen mixed berries, 2 tbs almond butter) Total: $3.06

Vegan Full Day of Eating: $11.42

Breakfast: tofu scramble with nutritional yeast, 2 pieces of wheat toast, ½ avocado, coffee with almond milk. Total: $2.88

Lunch – Spinach salad with 4 oz baked tempeh, ½ cup cooked quinoa, ½ bell pepper and dressing. $3.17

Dinner – 3 taco spiced lentil tacos on corn tortillas with guacamole, lettuce, salsa, and shredded vegan cheddar. $2.10

Snack – Banana Berry protein shake (pea/hemp/rice protein, 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, ½ cup frozen mixed berries, 2 tbs almond butter) $3.13

B12 Supplement Total: $0.14

Notice how similar each of these menus looks! A vegan diet is not prohibitive or restrictive at all. It’s easy to make a few adjustments here and there by adding in more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans to make up for what you’re choosing not to eat anymore.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Spices and oils are not accounted for in the cost breakdown since you need those for cooking on any type of diet (unless you eat oil-free). For example, both the spiced lentils and the ground turkey require a taco seasoning so I just left it out since it’s a cooking staple.
  2. I used the suggested serving size as a guide for finding the price per serving of each food item. There are a few cases where I adjusted this (like for almond milk in coffee) because the serving size was not reasonable for the meal in question.

Now you know that cost doesn’t have to be prohibitive to eating a vegan diet. Of course if you are buying and eating lots of processed vegan products (mac and cheeze, vegan meat alternatives, vegan cheezes) then your grocery store bill will really rack up. But these foods aren’t necessary to eat! If anything they are a great tool for someone transitioning to veganism, or to occasionally use to enjoy classic meals like a quesadilla or cheesy pizza. If the majority of your diet is plant based whole foods and you are cooking at home then I assure you that you can make veganism work for your budget. Happy eating friends!

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