09 Feb 5 Staples of an Affordable Vegetarian Diet
Thinking about becoming a vegetarian but don’t know where to start? Already a vegetarian and money’s getting tight? Well worry no more! A vegetarian diet doesn’t have to be expensive. In no particular order, here are five cheap staples every vegetarian (or aspiring veg) can comfortably afford to have on hand. Note: These are all grain and gluten-free.
1. Eggs – Eggs are known worldwide for their versatility and nutrition. They’re a good source of choline and vitamins A and D, and contain every essential amino acid needed for proper protein synthesis. They’re also easily digestible and can be prepared in a variety of tasty ways for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. To say they pair well with just about everything would be an understatement. Check out this cool video for ideas:
But whether you choose conventional, cage-free, or organic is entirely up to you (and your budget). National average currently sits at $1.66 per conventional dozen but can enter the $4 – $5 range for organic.
2. Beans – A complex carb that also doubles as a good source of meatless protein, beans are bursting with iron and are a great source of soluble fiber. Available in both canned (cooked) and bagged (uncooked) form, they’re cheap, filling, and heart-healthy. And with over 50 different varieties to choose from, even the pickiest bean-hater will find at least one to like.
We should advise, however, that if you’re not used to eating them it’s best to gradually phase them into your diet, for obvious reasons.
3. Bell Peppers – Bursting with both color and flavor, these juicy treasures are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
They’re also extremely versatile and can be grilled, roasted, stuffed, sautéed, stewed and eaten raw. And if you’re really creative, you can use them as edible soup bowls and cups for other foods, or cut them into scoops for salsa, dips, and hummus.
Just keep in mind though, green bell peppers tend to be the least expensive.
4. Root Vegetables – Vitamins. Minerals. Antioxidants. Root vegetables are the trifecta of good eating. Beets, carrots, potatoes (all types), onions and many more of these root crops serve a greater purpose than just flavoring or rounding out a good soup (although there’s nothing wrong with soup). They’re filled with vitamins A, B, and C, and go very far on a short budget. Some happen to be more versatile than others, but they’re all delicious nonetheless.
5. Greens Vegetables – It doesn’t have to be leafy; it just has to be green. Green vegetables have extraordinary nutrient profiles, contain antioxidants with cancer-fighting abilities, and provide tons of soluble and insoluble fiber. For shoppers on the tightest budgets, you’ll never go wrong with cabbages, celery, string beans (also green beans), broccoli, zucchini and peas. But if you can afford them, go ahead and add fresh kale, collards, spinach, arugula, and chard to your list. Your health and skin will thank you!
Have tips or suggestions for this list? Comment below and let us know!