How To Eat A Plant Based Diet On A Budget

Article from on how to eat a Plant Based Diet on a Budget! These are some great tips! #plantbaseddiet #vegan #nutritarian #sosfree

I often get the question asking how to eat healthy on a budget.

I feel that many people perceive that eating a highly plant based or vegan diet is too expensive, or a it is diet that is a luxury for only the wealthy or for “hippies.”  🙂  Not True.  A healthy plant based diet can be for anyone!  It is actually very accessible and not only will it provide you optimum nutrition, it will save your money from the doctor’s office!  It is time to reevaluate and rethink.  Food is medicine.  Life balances itself out and you will begin to see that once you adopt a healthy diet.

Unfortunately there is no denying that some healthy foods can be expensive.  It does not help either that places like McDonalds and Taco Bell are on every corner offering burgers and tacos for under $1.

Don’t fret! It IS possible to eat a healthy pant based diet on a small budget, it just takes thinking outside the box!


– Avoid mock meat and cheese.  #1 They are expensive.  #2 They are gross and unhealthy.  Did I hear someone say isolated soy protein?? Yuck!  Ok now, that you aren’t eating or buying that anymore, lets move on..


– Shop at asian markets or other ethnic stores for fruits, vegetables, and spices.  They tend to be cheaper.


– Generally, Farmers Markets offer better pricing than big stores.  Asking for a discount at a farmers market is fair if you become a regular and frequent customer.  I have found that specialty fruits and vegetables can be great prices at farmers markets.  Recently, I found a stunning Romanesco Cauliflower for 1/2 the price of what the local grocery store was offering.  One great tip for shopping the farmer market is to bring your handbag full of compliments with you!  Want to win your way into your farmer’s heart? Tell him how lovely and tasty their heirloom tomatoes were that you purchased last time from him, and tell him how they were the main attraction at your dinner party.  There is no greater reward for a farmer than to hear how much someone enjoyed their produce.   Compliments and good food always go straight to the heart.  It is highly likely that your new farmer friend will give you a discount on your future purchases.  Keep that compliment handbag handy my friends! (This applies to more than just farmers markets LOL)


– Food in season is generally priced to sell.  Take corn for example,  during the summer an ear of fresh corn is dirt cheap…try buying fresh corn in the winter and it will be 10 times as much.  Same with mangoes.  Those delicious babies can be $2-3 a piece when they are out of season! Do not dare look in the direction of nectarines in the cold of winter!! Step Away!! To our advantage, many fruits and vegetables are now grown year-round but it makes sense to get accustomed to seasonal food. I personally think eating seasonal is more exciting…how incredible is it to eat a juicy ripe peach when it’s FINALLY in season?!  Some may deem orgasmic.  Eat with the seasons and you will find a plethora of lower cost options, not to mention the anticipation of those juicy, orgasmic peaches.


– This can apply to the grocery store or the farmers market. For example when I buy my Old Fashioned Oats, I always buy 12 boxes at a time (a whole case). Most places offer a discount when you buy in bulk.  Whole Foods offers a 10% discount on any product that you buy a case of! This is great news!  Since farmers’ markets grow seasonal produce, there is usually a large surplus of certain food at certain times. If you are willing to purchase large quantities of surplus items in peak season, you can save money by getting crafty in the kitchen with your bulk items:  Can Them, Freeze Them, or Dry Them!  For example, blueberries can be crazy expensive during off season.  If you buy them in bulk during peak season or when on sale,  all you need to do is freeze those babies and use them the rest of the year in your smoothies!


– Buying dried beans is much cheaper and greener than buying tins of pre-soaked beans (a 500g bag will provide 5-6 servings).  How can you use more beans?  Enjoy experimenting!! I add beans to almost anything I can.  I eat a big salad everyday and a 1/2 cup of beans to it!  Throw pre-soaked and boiled beans into a curry, a vegetable bake, veggie burger,  soup, or salad, or make your very own bean dips and at an unbelievably low cost.  Why should you love beans so much?  Beans are one of the best foods for weight loss containing soluble and insoluble fiber!  Beans stabilize blood sugar, help you feel full, and give you protection against cancer, stroke, and dementia.


– Carbs are your BFF!! They are inexpensive, hearty, and keep you full.  These vegetables are generally cheaper too.  You can pretty much start with a starch and plan your whole meal around that.   What do you think when you see a potato?? NO! It’s not just a potato.  I see Possibilities!!!  Bake a potato and top it with steamed broccoli, spinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, or nutritional yeast.  Mash those taters and stir in chopped garlic and rosemary, or make my Cheezy Potatoes.  Slice open a baked potato and top it with beans, corn, cumin, and onions.  Try my Stuffed Southwestern Sweet Potatoes!

Some other friendly carbs I love for dinner are Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Turnips, Beets, or Parsnips. Any of these are delicious boiled or steamed! Easy breezy!  These vegetables keep you satisfied and full and you won’t be looking back into the pantry for a snack afterwards.


– Stock your pantry!  It is nice to keep jars of tomato sauce, vegetable broth, whole grain pastas, rice, quinoa, dried lentils, etc in your pantry at all times.  Not only are these options typically more affordable, but they have longer shelf lives than fresh foods. So when you run out of fresh produce or don’t want to spend time cooking, you can look to the pantry.


– Fill that freezer up baby!  Frozen fruits and vegetables are great because you don’t have to worry about anything spoiling.  Are you completely out of fresh produce?  No worries if you have your freezer stocked!  Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast, a big plate of steamed vegetables for lunch (ones from your freezer), and for dinner make a vegetable broth based soup filled with beans and vegetables from your freezer!  (Then eat the leftover soup the next day!)


– Oh yes, Get your Martha Stewart on.  I love some Martha.  Grow your herbs in a windowsill or grow small vegetable plants in a planter.   Those hanging planters are excellent for growing tomatoes.  You can also grow bell peppers, cucumbers, etc. in planters.  You don’t have to have a green thumb to do this.   With a little research you can pretty much grow anything you try.  It takes a little effort to plant them (a weekend day) and keep everything watered but it’s worth the savings at the grocery.  Click HERE for a video on how to grown an indoor herb garden from none other than Martha herself.


– Buy spices online.  Places like Amazon sell spices at lower prices.  Another tip for purchasing spices is to save the container.   If you can find a local store to buy spices in bulk,  you will save money by not purchasing the container again.  Light weight spices are cheap.


– Eat less food at a meal!!  Unfortunately our minds have been warped to believe that we are not eating enough unless our food is SUPER SIZED.  Eat slowly, Enjoy, and Be Mindful of when your body is full.


-Know your antioxidants.  Yep, That’s right.  Know which antioxidant rich foods, give you the most bang for your buck.  Want to know the Dollar per Dollar highest antioxidant food? Purple Cabbage!! Dollar per dollar, purple cabbage has more antioxidants than blueberries or acai berries.  Purple Cabbage is so cheap, plus it lasts forever!  Put it in soups, stir fries, salads, or smoothies.  The two next highest ranked antioxidant foods are Cinnamon and Cloves!   Don’t forget that spices have powerful healing properties.  A great way to get a huge antioxidant bang for your buck is by drinking hot Chai Tea.  Chai tea is extremely high in nutrients and virtually calorie free. I’m sold!


– Did that get your attention?  So called “SuperFoods” are great if you can afford them and if they are accessible.  Keep to the BASICS;  apples, bananas, oranges, spinach, onion, mushrooms, celery, and broccoli are all SUPERFOODS themselves!  Do not forget that simple is sometimes the best! Do not feel like you are a superfood failure if your wallet does not allow for crazy powders and wild supplement boosts.  You can enjoy a delicious, nutritious, and versatile meal by sticking with basic ingredients.


– Live Simply!  What I mean by this is to not feel like you must create an elaborate meal everyday.  While it may look like I eat picturesque meals daily, this is not the case.  To be completely honest, I spend so much time preparing what I call “Show Food,” taking photos of my Show Food, writing, and blogging, that often our meals are less than show stopping.  The other night, I simply made Steamed Beets, Steamed Beet Greens (Don’t waste the beet greens, they are superb!), boiled turnips (mashed with a sprinkle of nutmeg), and steamed swiss chard (which I poured a simple sauce of pureed corn + water on top for a sauce).  So basically our meal was what most people consider three side dishes.  It was easy, cheap, and very satisfying…not to mention, extremely nutrient dense.


– Yum!  All the delicious veggies I made for our dinner mentioned above, were eaten the next day for lunch!  Talk about easy and getting the most bang for your buck!  Things like soup, beans, and rice can last you through the week.  Also don’t forget that homemade soups can be frozen and eaten at a later date.


Also check out my Tips to Starting a Plant Based Diet, what you need to know to before you get started!











  1. Great post – people always think fruit & veg is expensive, when in fact it’s incredibly frugal.

  2. What an interesting article. I can do this! I feel SO frugal already!!!
    You are so inspirational! Love those tater tips and purple cabbage tips!!

  3. Love this post! Your blog is amazing

  4. Always check the prices of pre-packaged items before buying in bulk. Sometimes it’s not the cheapest option. The other day I found batsmati rice that was cheaper than the bulk section, it’s always best to compare.

  5. And also this article is full of great new ideas I hadn’t thought of!

  6. great information Ashley! Love your blog posts, and your pictures are so yummy!

  7. Super helpful! Do you have a website or other source that you use to assist with knowing what fruits and veggies are in season?

  8. Lis Hadad says:

    Your tips are wonderful! I love how you are so down-to-earth and real. You just seem so knowledgable but not pretentious. Keep up the great tips and recipes, please!

  9. This was so helpful! Thanks so much, Ashley. I will definitely use some of these tips 🙂

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