You Can Eat a Healthy, Plant-Based Diet for $50 a Week!
Managing food cost is a crucial part of staying in the black as far as your bank account is concerned. This can be difficult even for a consumer who isn’t particularly discerning, but when you prefer whole, plant based foods over bags of chips, meats and cheeses, you can be getting into expensive territory- even more so if the foods are organic. Though it may seem impossible to be both frugal and healthy with your eating habits, the ways that you can cut corners financially while still feeding yourself a diet that is excellent for your health may surprise you.
How Much Should I Be Spending?
If you’re left wondering how much is too much when it comes to your food costs, it might help you to know the average cost of some practical, money saving plant based whole foods.
To preface, Numbeo.com calculated that the average adult in the United States requires approximately $10 a day in food to survive- with only $50 a week, food costs are relegated to a measly $1.61 per day. With a budget like this, it is wise to pair sustainable food sources with your spending to pad your menu a bit, but for now, let’s focus on important spending info:
Dried beans are a very inexpensive product with a lot of protein and essential vitamins. They can be soaked in water and used in a variety of recipe types. They are generally in the one to two dollar price range depending on size and type
Peanut butter is a classic cheap protein source. Most are made similarly, so look for a non-name brand with a relatively low sugar content for about 2 dollars for a week’s worth of spread for one person.
Whole wheat flour is a basic baking ingredient that when bought from a farm market or bulk shop can be an inexpensive way to make cakes, cookies, breads and other foods for less than $1 a pound.
Mushrooms are a cheap source of protein and nutrients that can be bought cheaply and cooked up quickly and deliciously, mirroring the flavors they’re cooked with. $2 buys a container that would likely make two meals for one person.
These are just a few of the inexpensive plant based choices one could make. Remember to always check labels to make sure foods are non-GMO before purchase.
Sustainable Food Sources – Gardening, CSA and More
Surviving on $50 a week is difficult, but the struggle can be offset by trying to create or become involved with sustainable food sources. If one is available in your area, a community supported agriculture program involves purchasing a hypothetical share of growing land on a farm in exchange for weekly baskets of produce filled with bonus items when harvest begins. This can require a significant startup cost, but pays off exponentially.
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Growing your own garden can be an excellent source of sustainable food. Nutrient rich foods like tomatoes and squash can be grown even in containers, as long as sunlight is present- for very little money, food is consistently available through the plant’s growing season, and extra can be frozen or jarred.