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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My parents have finally agreed to give me money to spend on groceries, because they never buy anything I really want to eat. My whole family's diet is basically centered around meat, so I usually don't have anything to eat. So now I have to make a shopping list. When I bought stuff myself (from birthday money and such) I would usually get just like veggie burgers and such. I don't really know what to get, so would anyone care to help me make a list?
 

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This looks like a job for Super Krista! But until she arrives, here are my suggestions (without really knowing how much you like to cook or what your tastes are):

plenty of fruits & veggies that you like

nuts & dried fruit for snacking

whole grains like whole wheat breads, brown rice, quinoa, millet, oatmeal, etc

whatever meat analogs you like (veggie/soy burgers, veggie ground round or tvp, sausages, chicken patties/nuggets, deli slices, etc)

tofu

beans (black, pinto, garbanzo... you can use them in wraps, on salads, etc)

Milk of your choice, yogurt, and maybe some cheese but as a lacto-ovo you don't want to rely too heavily on it

Did I miss anything? Other stuff like peanut butter are things that I assume are already on your family's grocery list. My basic advice is to make sure you have tons of fruits & veggies and also some really good sources of protein and fat (like those listed above)

Good luck!

(edited after reading your 2nd post)
 

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That's pretty much what I was going to say, spa_girl. The only thing I can really add to that is to not rely on milk products all that much. Not only are they expensive, but they also have nutrients that you can find in plant-based (and cheaper) things. Maybe put some of your "milk money" into some soy alternatives and get 1 or two soy products per trip so you can see if you like them or not. That's what I did (I'm vegetarian too) and to tell you the truth, I've found lots of alternatives that I like much better than the milk-based ones.

Also, I would add don't discount the canned items as well. Sure, fresh is always better but cans can be a lifesaver, too. Especially if the store you shop at carries half-cans (those little single serve sized cans). They are perfect for a one dish/one person meal as opposed to a dish that you plan to eat on for a few days.

In looking in the bread group, don't forget things like pita bread and corn tortillas. Some brands are chock-full of chemmies while others aren't. Read the lables to see which ones are better. Just about anything and everything can be wrapped in a tortilla or stuffed in pita.

The frozen aisle also has good things. I keep bags of corn, green beans, and mixed veg in my freezer all the time and use them quite a lot. There are several different blends besides just the "peas and carrots" mix and they are cheaper when the fresh stuff is $$ because it's out of season.

If your family is into farmer's markets or swapmeats, take advantage of this, too. Around here, a lot of the "backyard farmers" take their stuff to the swapmart to sell and will sell it at a fraction of what the stores will sell for.

In pasta - whole wheat is your friend. If you want to use regular "white" pasta go for it, but for the nutrients, whole is the way to go. If you can find it, lentil pasta is good, too. If you can't get anything but white without spending a fortune, then get white, but get the most nutritious white you can find. Fresh pasta has egg in it which is not out of diet for an LO, but it does tend to spoil if not kept exactly right. IMO, if you want to do egg, there are a million ways to have it besides in pasta.

Don't foget the flax seeds, too. Flax is one of the better ways in getting your omegas in, and they're cheaper than walnuts. The seeds tend to keep longer than the meal or oil, so I go with seeds. Just a sprinkle on anything you make gives your stuff a yummy nutty flavour that brightens anything and everything. This stuff even rocks on oatmeal and in the store where I stop, it's less than a buck a pound in bulk (oh, and flax seeds + soy yogurt = heaven!)

Those are my basic shopping tips, AliasSpy. Good luck and let us know how it turned out and what kind of good things you got.
 

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Looks like you guys have it pretty well covered. I'm thinking along the lines of "snack" foods. I always seem to forget the snacky stuff at the store, still, and find myself craving something at times.

My $.02, to maybe look for a couple of "guilty" veggie pleasures that are within your budget, so you're not left craving something sweet. Maybe some stuff to make smoothies? Sweet but good for you and veggie too. A tub of vanilla yogurt and some frozen strawberries, add some ice, blend? I sometimes use these as a quick breakfast too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you SO much for all of your help and suggestions.
I really had no idea where to start but you guys have helped me. I found out today that they'd give me $30 a week for food. To me, that sounds pretty low, but I've never really went food shopping for myself before, so I may be wrong. I hope it's not. Just a few questions :

Are flax seeds found in like regular stores? I've never heard of them, but I'll look. Also, is whole wheat pasta MUCH more expensive than white? Also for salads, I used to use basically iceberg lettuce, but I think I shuold use spinach instead. Is it pretty expensive? Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also, should I buy tofu? I have no experience with it at all, so I wouldn't know what to do with it, but do you think I should get it and learn how to make stuff? If so, what kind should I get?
 

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I've found since I started shopping more veg oriented, that I've spent money up front on spices, condiments, things like that, but then I have them on hand. Maybe start small and build on that kind of stuff.

Grains and stuff I've found to be economical in bulk if you can get them from a hfs. Lentils are cheap and can be cooked and added to spaghetti sauces and there are some other fab. recipes here for them. Canned beans are pretty cheap too. I guess it would help if you go to the store with a plan for the week too, that will help you budget your money. Check out the recipes and veg*n cookbooks and see what you come up with for a week, see if you can use some ingredients in multiple recipes. Prepared veg*n foods tend to be a little expensive.

There was a thread a while back someone started that was a student with a limited budget, there were some great ideas there too. I can't remember the name of it though.

Tofu...I usually buy the firm or extra firm, and press the extra liquid out. I put it in a bowl lined with paper towels and put a plate on top with a heavy can or something in it. Then I put it in the fridge and let the juice get pressed out. Once it's a little less juicy, I cube the tofu and marinate in soy sauce, some fresh ginger, crushed red peppers, maybe a dash of sesame oil, a few chopped scallions, and some red bell pepper slivers or dices. It's a good snack or even lunch. I started making my own because it was expensive to buy from the produce market salad bar.

I've used the softer tofus to make dip, like spinach dip, instead of sour cream and mayo. What you want to do with it helps to decide what kind you buy.

There are a lot more experienced veg*n's here but since I just started in April in earnest, I can only share what I've found so far. I'm sure someone will pipe up if I'm giving you misinformation.

Good luck, actually I think it's cool that your folks are going to give you money to help you out on your way!

ETA: If you make a batch of something and you know you won't possibly eat all of it, or that you may get sick of it by the end of the week, buy some freezer containers and tuck it away for later use. Then you'll have stuff around if you don't feel like cooking too! You can build up a backup in the freezer.
 

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Hey I have to give my two cents. I live on about $30 a week for groceries. Basically do what everyone here said but make sure you know what your parents usually buy so you won't spend money on it. My family usually buys pasta, bread, beans, etc so i don't waste my money on that sort of thing. Stock up on Tofu (firm is best to start I think), nuts and seeds, fruits, veggies etc. Those frozen packages of veggies and stuff are great. They're cheap and they last longer since they're frozen. Make sure to get plenty of leafy greens. Spinach is always good for you.

The very first time I cooked tofu I threw it in a frying pan with a tiny bit of oil until it browned, threw in a six ounce can of tomato sauce, garlic, a good amount of oregano and mixed it with pasta. DELISH! Also makes a good burrito filling if you add lettuce.
 

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The only thing to remember with tofu is that if you decide to keep it in the refrigerator, you have to put water on it (enough to cover) and change the water daily. A block treated right will last about a week. You can also freeze tofu to make it more of a "meaty" texture. Just slice, wrap the slices, and freeze. Frozen will last a lot longer (6 months I think).

All the grains and bulk things I get, I get at my grocery store (including flax seed). My hfs is too far to go there a lot, but there are a couple of stores around here that make up for that so I get a lot of my stuff there instead. If you have a good hfs near you, take advantage of it, tho but if you can't, the groc is the next-best bet. Also, not all stores carry all things so if one store is bad on veg stuff, try another store (if you can).

As for pasta: depending on where you buy and how much you pay, ww (whole wheat) can either be major league expensive or not that bad in price. You'll just need to check that out when you go.
 
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