As a dietitian, a common response I get when recommending a more plant-based diet to clients is that ‘it’s too expensive’. But I’m here to set the record straight.
It’s not plant-based foods that are expensive - food is expensive!
Here are some of my top tips for navigating a more budget-friendly and plant-based style of eating:
1. Choose frozen or canned vegetables when their fresh counterparts are not in season. Frozen vegetables are harvested at their peak ripeness and flash frozen, so nutrients are locked in. Canned vegetables are great because they are shelf stable and can be stored for longer periods of time without spoiling. Try to choose canned vegetables with no added salt when they are available, and rinse canned vegetables well before using them to reduce the consumption of excess sodium.
2. Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, millet, and barley are a great addition to meals. They provide fibre, B vitamins, and complex carbohydrates that make meals more satiating. Convenience costs money. Rather than going for single serving packets of oats or instant rice, go for the bulk bags, and get a bigger bang for your buck! Something that I love to do is make extra servings of brown rice and freeze them for a later time.
3. Plant-based sources of protein such as beans and legumes are great, affordable options These include black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Similar to canned vegetables, choose canned beans and legumes with no added salt and rinse them well before serving. Plant-based meat alternatives like burgers, nuggets, and sausages can be expensive and higher in sodium and fat. Try to have these less often.
A plant-based diet can be affordable, and certainly nutritious! Incorporating more plant-based meals can also be a great opportunity to try new foods, as well as create new skills and experiences in the kitchen. If you’re looking for something to try, check out the recipes listed below!
Written by: Tracy On, RD