7 Cheap & Easy Ways To Eat Vegan All Week
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
You know what they say - it's not easy being green!
Many of us have taken the first steps towards a more vegan lifestyle; reducing meat and dairy in our diets, switching to oat milk in our tea or using vegan mince rather than beef. But it's often hard to fully integrate veganism into your diet and avoid meat and dairy all throughout the week.
We get it - we all lead busy lives and it can be difficult eating vegan while heading to work every day, balancing family, friends, and all our other responsibilities! For most of us, eating meat and dairy is a habit we've developed over our whole lives, and breaking that habit is difficult. When we need a quick meal, most of us don't immediately think of something vegan, which means going vegan can often feel like a big time commitment.
We've put together 7 tips that will help you eat vegan throughout the week, making going vegan cheaper and easier!
#1: Plan ahead
This is our first tip because we think it's the most important. When you're developing a new habit (which is what going vegan really is) you need to do some research and get ready. It might seem awkward, but taking a bit of time on a Sunday evening to plan your food for the week ahead will save you so much time during the week. Can you plan to make extra of your Monday dinner and take the leftovers to work for lunch? If your Wednesday dinner will only use half a punnet of mushrooms, what can you plan to have for lunch the next day to use up the rest so they don't go to waste? Take a look at pinterest for some delivious vegan meal inspiration and plan out some ideas for what you want to make!
#2: Meal prep
This is another one that takes some time upfront, but will save you lots later on. Make lots of portions of your favourite vegan meal at the start of the week and freeze them into portions - then each evening, all you have to do is heat it up! There are lots of vegan meals you can make this way, like vegan chilli, lasagne, curry, or pasta. You could also do it for your lunches, say by making a vegan bean filling and adding some to a wrap each morning to take to work. This is also a great way to save money, as often buying these ingredients in bulk is a lot cheaper than popping to the shop on your way home to buy ingredients specifically for that night's meal. Plus, you'll skip out on all the food that gets wasted by shopping that way!
#3: Bring snacks
Always take snacks with you! If you're going out to work or just heading out for the day, take some vegan snacks with you like nuts, chopped veggies and hummus, or even little finger foods like falafel balls or pastry bites. This is a great way to save money - if you get peckish while you're out, you'll often find that the pre-packaged snacks in shops and cafes can be really expensive. Best to make your own and avoid having to shop for snacks altogether!
#4: Buy in season
When you're thinking about which meals you'll make, try to take into account what's in season at the moment. Buying veggies in season, particularly if you're able to buy from local markets or gorceries, often means you'll get more for your money on whatever is in abundance at the moment. Plus, it'll be extra delicious!
#5: Bulk buy
This is an option that requires some more money up front, but saves you money in the long run - so if you are able, it's a great option! Buying basics like beans, lentils and pasta in bulk usually works out cheaper. Many cities have bulk buy stores where you can buy lots at once, or take in your own storage containers and buy as much as you need. If you only have supermarkets available, opting for the biggest package possible is usually cheaper than buying smaller amounts in individual packets. We suggest experimenting with new vegan recipes for a few weeks first - there's no point in buying a huge packet of green lentils only to find out you don't like them! But once you've got to know the vegan recipes you like and cook regularly, stock up on the staples in big quantites to save you money on the smaller packs.
#6: Make your own
Often, you'll find that making something yourself from scratch is a lot cheaper than buying it in the store! It's not for everyone, and for some people buying pre-made sauces is worth the extra money. But if you enjoy cooking and making new things, you can save money doing it! Plant milks are a great example: with a decent blender you can bulk buy nuts and easily make your own plant milks at home for a fraction of the cost you'd pay for the cartons. You can also make your own pesto (great for pasta sauce!), hummus, or flavourings like garlic oil.
A great way to save money is to experiment with new flavours and recipes. If you have a varied palette and enjoy a range of foods, you can always take advantage of the reduced section in stores! If you enjoy cooking and trying new things, head over to the reduced section and see what delicious meal you can make out of the cheaper items. Maybe you can try adapting a vegan recipe, swapping out an expensive ingredient for a more realistic alternative. Try new things and experiment!
We hope these tips have been useful if you're trying to find cheap and easy ways to eat vegan - but the most important tip is to just keep going. If you slip up and decide to eat some meat, no need to give up! Just go back to eating vegan the next day. The more you eat vegan, the more it'll feel like a habit, and the easier it will be. Soon, if you're tired after work and trying to think up a quick, easy dinner to make, it'll start to feel more natural to opt for something vegan than a basic meat and veg meal. Keep going, keep cooking, and keep trying new things!