“I can’t afford to eat like that!” WRONG! Plant-based foods are some of the cheapest foods on the planet; especially, when you consider the ratio of nutritional value per penny spent. I consider myself frugal (re: cheap). I want to get the most outta my buck, too! Fact: plant foods are much easier on your wallet (and planet) than animal-based foods.
Let’s take a look at these comparisons:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cheapest cuts of beef, such as ground round, average $4 per pound; boneless chicken breasts cost $3.40 per pound; canned tuna costs around $2 per pound and cheese is around $5 per pound. In comparison, dried beans and lentils cost less than $1 per pound, and rice is cheaper than $0.70 per pound. Tofu usually costs less than $2 per pound. Even vegans who buy costlier products like soy sausage, faux meats and nondairy ice cream, cheese, and yogurt can still spend less than people who load up on beef, chicken, and fish.
I would like to share with you five of the, not only healthy, but cheapest foods on the planet!
How does that sound for your bank account?! Did you think eating plant-based was going to be too expensive for your budget? Think again. You can eat plant-based for just a few dollars a day. A healthy life can be a cheap life and that’s what I like to hear!!
I’d like to share a recipe with you that is part of our meal plans. It is so quick and easy, but super delicious and budget friendly. It doesn’t get any better, right? This recipe serves two people, but feel free to double or triple and have leftovers all week!! Yum!! (Click on the image for the printable version)
Peace, Love, Plants,
I hear often that "giving up meat would me easy for me. Cheese is hard!" Many times I give those people perspective when I point out that almost every meal they eat contains meat.
When I went vegetarian in December 2015, my boys declared “We will never give up meat! We love meat!” I prepared the same meal for all three of us, just adding in a little chicken, beef, or fish for them. When I decided to go vegetarian, it was plain and simple; “I don't like meat, why am I eating it?” So, I stopped. I ate eggs everyday, mostly, because we had chickens and we had a lot of eggs to use. I also LOVED cheese. Once I started studying holistic nutrition and learned about the plant-based lifestyle and it's ability to reverse disease, I was SOLD! I'm a type A personality. You've heard me say this before, I'm an all or nothing kind of gal. My poor husband, he loves me anyway!
I started sharing all the information with my boys, educating them on the amazing health benefits of a plant-based life...they were not as excited as me, but I'm happy to say they were a little frightened by what they learned about animal products. *cue evil laugh. I told them that if they wanted meat, they had to cook it themselves. Well, that was easy because no one cooks around here but me. I win, again!! So, that was it, no more meat. That's where we started and then, eventually, weened off of the cheese and eggs. Well, eggs were not difficult for us to cut out of our diets after an eye-opening article that described the chicken's egg as part of their menstrual cycle!! REALITY CHECK! GROSS!!
Our transition consisted of some “fake” meats...meats made with soy protein, vegetable protein, and/or vital wheat gluten. These are not health foods and I would never want to advocate for that as they are highly processed foods. However, they made our transition A LOT easier. These “fake” meats have helped us get on track and stay the course.
Vital wheat gluten, when used to make vegan meat, is referred to as Seitan. I have practiced with this numerous times coming up with some pretty delicious and fun recipes like “chicken” and bbq “ribs”. It's actually really easy to work with, but takes a while to cook. Confused as to what vital wheat gluten is?
My son has always loved pepperoni. After eliminating meat from our diets, he would say “I'm craving pepperoni”...he's a weirdo. Well, being that I love him so much, I went in search of a plant-based pepperoni and came upon the Fat Free Vegan Blog. I haven't adapted her recipe at all, other than subbing what ever nut butter I have on hand when she calls for cashew butter (I have never had cashew butter so I have used peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower butter on separate occasions.) This recipe is spot on for the “taste” of pepperoni!! The texture is a off...I would describe it as soft and maybe a little doughy. My son likes the softness, but I have tried adding more time to the baking time and have had success with a firmer and drier pepperoni; play around with the baking time and see what works best for your taste buds. I shared this with our nutrition workshop participants and everyone seemed to really like the flavor! Even some of their kids gave it a thumbs up. So, if you are already plant-based give this one a try for some new meatiness, but even if you're not plant-based, yet, give this a try and maybe we can convert you!!
Here are a few tips:
-Get your hands in there and work the dough! It will be too tough to use a spoon.
-The recipe calls for a 7 inch log, this will give you about a 1.5 inch in diameter slice of pepperoni. If you want smaller slices (like you'd find in regular pepperoni), you can create (2)-7 inch logs with the logs being narrower in circumference. Just wrap them separately in foil and decrease baking time by 10 minutes.
-You may prefer a drier pepperoni...just add a little time to the recommended baking time
-I always double the recipe...it lasts for about 2 weeks when sealed in the refrigerator.
-Eastyn's favorite is a pepperoni and mustard sandwich!
Veggeroni (Seitan Pepperoni)
I use it for fruit, too! I always hesitate buying berries because I feel like they go bad
by the next day. With these nifty contraptions I can store berries in the fridge for at least 10 days!! I know, so exciting, right?! So, the tip is to make a big salad that you can grab at anytime!! How easy is that?! The secret to keeping the salad fresh though is not adding the vegetables that get too wet...I save the tomatoes and cucumbers until I'm ready to serve. I also top with some seeds like sunflower or pumpkin.
Here's what I throw into those awesome containers:
Do you have any tips that can make my life easier?!?! I'd love to hear them; post in the comments, Facebook, Instagram, or throw an email my way!
Peace, Love, Plants,
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Tips for Staying Plant-based at Social Gatherings
Decide ahead of time what you are not going to eat at the event. That way when the tray comes around, your automatic response is “No thank you.” The decision has already been made and you’re not caught off guard, left to wrestle with yourself over whether you should have that one piece of cheese or not. (By the way it will never end up being just one piece. How will you feel on the other side of this slip?) Some examples of a rule might be: I do not eat cheese., I do not eat fried foods., I do not eat dips made with dairy. I do not eat chips…..see what I mean? Just pick one or two rules around a trigger food that you know will save you the most sabotage.
How often are we engaging in conversation with people, yet the nearby food table is seducing us to refill our plates? Fill a small plate and get the hell outta dodge. Standing by the food table is simply putting yourself through some useless resistance training that, if you’re new to these changes, will likely inhibit your success. Find someone to talk with, elsewhere or go outside for some fresh air to take a break until you’re feeling stronger. This last one also applies when you're seated next to that special someone whose political position is wearing out your last nerve. Just sayin'.
This tip applies to informal parties and gatherings. Check with the host, if it’s appropriate, to give him or her a heads up that you’d like to bring a dish or two to pass. They will most likely be relieved to know they will not need to prepare something special for you. Some good examples of appetizers would be Cowboy Caviar, fresh salsa & chips or guacamole,
7 Layer Dip, vegan artichoke spinach dip, veggie or fruit tray...whatever it is you like to munch on, be sure to bring it! Chances are it will blend in with everything else on the table and everyone can enjoy.
I know, sometimes we drink just to get through these things. The problem is that the calories add up. Drinking alcohol loosens our inhibitions and impairs our judgement, enabling us to throw all our goals out the window for the time being. Even worse, when we are eating and drinking, our bodies use alcohol for fuel or energy FIRST, storing our food as fat to maybe or maybe not get to later. Try setting a 2 drink limit for yourself or better yet see if you can navigate this thing without a buzz. Chances are your discussions will be more meaningful and you’ll wake up feeling empowered and energized -sans the hangover- the next morning.
Or text. Or DM or PM, I don't care if you use ESP to reach out to someone who will support and help you stay accountable. It might look something like this..."HELP! I'm funneling the entire cheese tray into my jacket pockets!!" Just typing or saying it out loud should wake you out of your stupor...you'll put the cheese back on the tray and return to business as usual.
You've got this!!
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Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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