Have you been trying to make healthier decisions when it comes to grocery shopping? One easy way is by choosing plant-based products. Cutting animal products out of your diet is not only good for your health, for the environment, and for animals in general, but it can also be a great way to save you a LOT of money. The rumors are false – it does not have to be more expensive to be vegan! Now more than ever, there are cheaper, plant-based options available for healthy grocery shoppers. So, if you want to eat healthy on a budget, one of the easiest things you can do is simply replace your current go-tos with plant-based alternatives.
Healthy grocery shopping, especially during COVID, can be a challenge all on its own. You want to get in and get out. You want to know what you want and where to get it with as little fuss as possible. Follow along to learn how to easily retrieve healthy, happy plant-based products in a shopping experience that won’t break the bank.
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Buying Fresh or Canned and Frozen?
So the first consideration you must make is to decide how often you cook at home. For example, if you don’t cook much or you don’t like cooking and preparing food, I would recommend getting more canned and frozen foods because they keep longer and you’re less likely to waste items.
Grocery Shop with a Purpose
Work your way systematically through the store picking out the items on your list. I find it is easiest to start in the fresh produce section, and get all the items on your list from there, so that way you make sure you fill up on fresh food. I tend to end in the frozen section because it is usually located on the other side of the grocery as the produce section, and you don’t want your frozen food to melt.
Save Money Buying In Bulk
Find out if your grocery store has bulk bins and explore! Anything you can buy here will save you money on items like nuts, quinoa, and beans. Be sure to look out for expiration dates on perishable bulk items!
Check The Ingredients
It is always good practice to check the ingredient list on foods! You want to be aware of what you are eating. What follows is awareness of your being and the causes of how you physically feel. In addition, you can ensure you are only eating what you WANT to eat. For example, some frozen vegetables, breads, and salad dressings that you would not think about having milk, have milk added!
Now let’s talk about drinks. There are many drinks, like soda, or crystal lite, which may be considered “vegan”… But, these have “empty calories” and provide no nutritional value. I recommend having water, and flavoring it naturally with fruits like lemons and/or limes which provide very few calories and taste delicious! If you like milk, there are many healthy plant-based milks you can explore to find what fits your taste preferences.
Also, some grocery stores may have an area where fresh sandwiches or even sushi is prepared. If you are feeling fancy you can request a vegan option from one of these areas and get vegan sushi or a sandwich for later!
For my ice cream lovers, there are many non-dairy and vegan ice creams you can find in the frozen section of the grocery store. Believe it or not, favorites like Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s have non-dairy options! Other good brands include So Delicious, Coconut Bliss, and Halo Top just to name a few. There are also many vegan chocolate brands you can buy: Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Bar, Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, and Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate, again just to name a few. I do not recommend buying sweets to bring home and keep there. If you are craving it, buy it to eat then. Just buy one for that moment, and don’t purchase multiple.
Cereal. Try getting unflavored cereal rather than already sweetened options. You are much less likely to have as much sugar with your cereal if you sweeten it yourself than buying a cereal sweetened by a company.
Rice. It is usually more cost-effective to buy your rice in bulk, so look for larger quantities, and compare prices. Brown rice has the most fiber and is healthier than white rice, so that will be the better pick.
Spices. You should also go down the cooking aisle and pick up some spices to spice up your life! Pick any you may like, or want to try.
Oils. Olive and canola oil are the most preferable oils in terms of your health. For those who are oil-free, vegetable broth (in the soup aisle) can also be great to cook with!
After your healthy grocery shopping, the magic happens. Find recipes to use all your new items! Eat, enjoy, and thrive!
Healthy Grocery List
Any fruits you may like: Canned, frozen, or fresh
Any fresh vegetable you like from the produce section
- Lentils: Red, Black, or Green.
- Beans: navy, black, pinto
- Split peas
- Bean pasta
- Whole grain cereal
- Cereal: plain unsweetened cereal(sweeten with “sweetener” section) or old-fashioned oats with either fruit or a sweetener from the “sweetener” section
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Raw nuts: peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.
- Seeds: flax, chia hemp
- Earth balance spread
- Nut butters
- Hemp seeds/hemp oil
- Seasonings: any you like from the spice aisle or refrigerated section
- Sweeteners: agave syrup, Truvia, cane sugar
- Plant-based milk (almond, soy, cashew, etc.)
- Canned/frozen veggies/fruit
- Vegetable broth
- Apple cider vinegar
- Soy creamer
- Plant-based cream cheese/sour cream