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Healthy Vegan On A Budget

by Merel & Tessa

Tips to eat healthier while spending less money

Healthy and cheap, does that even go together at all? Yes! Eating healthy or vegan does not mean that you also have to spend more money. Even though meat substitutes are often more expensive than cheap bacon strips or chicken breasts. Also a bottle of coke is still cheaper than a fresh smoothie and for a bag of dried or fresh fruit you pay more than a bag of candy. We know! So first of all a reminder:

Your cells are made from the foods you eat. Cheap fast food, but you want to stay young and beautiful? A bit of a crazy combination isn’t it… Here comes the good news; cheaper food often means as well; simpler cooking, healthier meals and less waste. How? We have listed the 10 best budget tips for you. Thoroughly tested by ourselves and our community of course.


1. Buy in bulk

The staples in your household and where you get your calories from are (hurray) vegan, cheap and healthy! Potatoes, rice, beans, oatmeal, cereals. The unprocessed ones are the cheapest. So dried beans instead of cooked in a pot. Simple rice instead of fancy lentil pasta. You can store these ingredients for a long time and when you buy them in bulk they are extra cheap too!

This also applies to fresh ingredients! When you go to a farmer to pick apples, a local supermarket of (farmers)market ask for large quantities, you often get a substantial discount. You can then freeze those ingredients. Win win!


2. Supermarket vs supermarket

Where do you do your shopping? Are you a bargain struiner or are you blindly going to the nearest supermarket because they have everything there? It makes quite a difference where you do your shopping. At a budget supermarket they may have less choice, but the fresh fruit and vegetables department is often very good. You also pay much less at the Turkish supermarket on the corner than at expensive (organic) stores or the large supermarket chains. And if you live in the neighborhood of many farms, cycle past those. You can often get fresh ingredients for a good price.

Visit the market especially at the end of the day. You can often get fresh ingredients for halve the price.


3. Freeeeeze

If you have bought seasonal products in large quantities on the market, at the farmer’s or at the cheap supermarket. What are you doing then? You freeze it! You can cut vegetables into pieces and place them in a freezer bag or container in the freezer. The same applies to fruit. Ideal for smoothies, ice cream or oatmeal.

You can also make a banana bread (from all those ripe bananas), bake brownies, make a nice pan of soup and a large curry. Then freeze this in portions. This will make you very happy if you don’t feel like cooking. You can also make juices or smoothies and store them in glass jars / bottles in the freezer.

And okay … A large freezer is therefore a must.


4. Keep it simple

This applies to several things.

  • Keep your dishes simple. You do not have to put 10 ingredients in one meal (even if the recipe indicates this). Make sure you have a good spice cabinet so that you can flavor the food, but one or two types of vegetables in a meal is still very tasty!
  • Expensive ingredients or superfoods are often nice extras, but not always necessary. And once you have bought that bag of super greens, seaweed or nuts, use it all before you buy something new again. This way you will not have 10 half-full bags / pots in the house and it will save you a lot of money because most of these superfoods can be used sparingly.
  • Quinoa is nice as a breakfast porridge, but oatmeal can be just as good. Need sweet potatoes, but are normal potatoes cheaper? Take those. Keep it simple, for yourself and for your wallet.
  • Keep it simple may also mean; eat less. A good diet tip at the same time 😉 You don’t always need an extra snack. An apple and a large cup of tea may also be fine.


5. Picknick, potluck, home cooked

Eating out for a meeting or date? Suggest to all make something and take it to the park. Fun and a lot cheaper. When the weather isn’t good, suggest to all make something and take it to someones place. Like an American potluck. Such a nice way to eat tasty, healthy and cheap. In this way, not one single person has to do all the cooking and all the shopping, and you can enjoy new foods. You can even drink an extra glass of wine with it, because a bottle from the supermarket is just as expensive as one glass in a restaurant. The same goes for all cups of tea… Oh and cooking together can also be really cozy (and romantic)!


5. Meal prep, coffee prep

Make a large pot of soup, curry or other simple meal. For a few euros you can have a delicious meal that last a few days! If you prep ingredients and meals a bit in advance, you will get through the week much cheaper. Every day again in the supermarket tempts you to get (unnecessary) ”extra’s”. Or you are more likely to get something pre-made.

Also prepare smoothies and breakfasts, such as overnight oats. And how many cups of coffee do you get outside the door..? You can also make a thermos of coffee or tea for on the road.


7. No waste

Buy single products with no (plastic) wraps around it. No waste, no plastic. Better for the environment and also better for your wallet. For this you go to budget supermarkets, the market or the Turkish supermarket. You also have supermarkets where you can measure dried items such as dried fruit, nuts, grains, legumes, rice, pasta etc. yourself. Very useful if you need ingredients that you do not use very often.



8. Eat fresh

So not all the pre-cut vegetable bags, but just 1-2 vegetables from the market. Semi-processed foods are often the most expensive. Or the baked breads, cookies and ready-made meals. It saves you a lot of money if you cut your own vegetables, mix herbs and spices, bake wraps or cookies.

>> Make your own oat milk! This is really the best budget tip ever. A liter of plant-based milk can easily cost you 3 euros. Twice a kilo of oatmeal can make you 10 times as much milk. How do you make oat milk? Check the recipe video here.


9. Buy in season (and on sale)

The two often go together. What’s on sale is often in season as well. Eating seasonally ánd locally is not only good for our health and the environment, it is also good for your wallet. If the snow peas are not grown all the way in Kenya, the mangoes have to be flown in from South America or the strawberries grow in expensive greenhouses, eating suddenly becomes a lot cheaper. Delicious kale from Dutch soil, apples from the orchard and blackberries from the dunes. Go find what groes locally in your area!


10. Into the wild, sprouting and balcony gardens

Super budget and super fun! Look for an orchard where you can pick apples, pears or plums. Go into the dunes when it is time for blackberries and eat your heart out. And do you really feel adventurous? Then look for stinging nettles and other types of leafy vegetables that we do not find in the supermarket but are super healthy. And you can find it probably closer than you’d think. Do your research on what is edible and what is not, this opens a lot of (culinary) doors!

Growing your own food takes some energy and time, but then you have something! If you want to get into gardening, start your own vegetable garden. This can also just be on the balcony in pots!

The easiest thing anyone can grow themselves is sprouting! Sprouts are very expensive if you buy them in the supermarket. They are super healthy and also very cheap if you grow them yourself. Buy a bag of sproutseeds from the organic shop and then sprout them following the instructions on the package. You have a lot of sprouts in just a few days.

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