I am actually working on gaining weight from an unhealthy low weight and have now finished college and am only working part time at the moment with loans to soon pay off, so I am needing to cut my grocery bill down myself for a while. I have been working on planning how to meet my needs on a budget. Here are some healthy but cheaper foods to work with:
dried beans: lentils, kidney beans, Great Northern, black beans, navy, limas, frozen peas, chickpeas etc
whole wheat flour and yeast to make my own bread (I often make two loaves at a time and freeze one for later use as it is so much cheaper than finding suitable bread for a vegan; bread requires very few ingredients to make yourself)
produce that is cheaper such as leafy greens (collards, lettuces, spinach, kale, mustard greens etc); celery, carrots, green peppers, green beans, mushrooms, cabbages, beets, avocado. Learning what is in season helps too as many fruits and vegetables are cheaper during their growing season. Farmers markets are generally cheaper also, and of course investing in growing your own garden is great too. I like to grow vegetables and fruits that are otherwise more expensive in the store, and I go through a ton of collards so I grow those myself too. And herbs such as oregano, parsley, basil, mint, and even stevia which I use as a sweetener crushed up in the blender. I grow them in pots in my porch. I try to buy the dirty dozen list of produce organic, but the rest I don't as I simply can't afford to buy everything organic and don't have the room to grow my own farm lol. I have a small garden.
Bulk oats, millet, buckwheat groats (the latter two are usually only found in alternative whole foods coops etc), couscous, bulgur wheat etc. Buying in bulk is cheaper as you don't pay for packaging. Some nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are found in bulk too but can still be expensive.
Pumpkin, flax, and sesame seeds are often more affordable than say chia or hemp seeds. Also, I like to sometimes make nut based sauces and mayonnaise homemade, so I might buy nuts in the baking section of the grocery. They are not as high quality but much cheaper when on a tight budget and you can't afford everything organic. I stick with the whole raw (not really raw but not containing other ingredients) variety, or sometimes buy blanched almonds in the baking section.
Vital wheat gluten isn't too bad cost wise and you can make your own seitan with it very easily. it is a good source of protein if you are not gluten intolerant, but if you are it might not be such a good idea lol.
Pure canned pumpkin is great for using in sauces, smoothies, hot cereals etc.
Nutritional yeast really isn't too expensive, especially if you are fortunate enough to find it in a bulk bin at a natural store. I use it as a seasoning and in "cheese" sauces, often with sweet potato and almond milk blended with it.
Sweet potatoes and other potatoes are relatively cheap and provide satiety. They are a good base for meals. I like to do baked potatoes and add nutritional yeast sauce and steamed broccoli on top, and maybe some beans.
I get my plant milks from the refrigerated section as opposed to the aseptic packages if I can. They aren't that cheap, but it's the one area I will not compromise. I have made my own almond milk and coconut milk but those aren't cheap either. If I make my own plant milks, I use vitamin D drops and calcium powder and add to them as it is a good way for me to absorb those.
I am going to have to cut out the plant milk yogurts, fancy sweeteners like maple syrup, store bought vegan bread like Ezekiel, the more expensive plant milks like hemp, protein powders etc. Just can't afford them.
In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel
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