When you become vegetarian, some people think that you are giving up things (meat, fish and poultry), this is true in a sense, but in reality you are actually expanding your diet because you will need to look for new things to make your new diet exciting and easy to stick to.
In this blog, I will suggest some ways in which you can be vegetarian on a budget and still eat hearty meals. It is always good to have healthy and delicious meals!
Plan your meals
Planning is the key to ensuring you have the right ingredients in your fridge and cupboards. Also, if you can plan ahead you can buy exactly what you need. This way, you will not be stuck in terms of thinking of something to cook – you will have already planned it out and bought your ingredients accordingly. Planning will also save you money, as you will buy only those things that you actually need.
Try not to impulse buy – you will only find yourself buying items which you either do not need or will not use. For the same reason, do not shop when hungry! You will end up buying loads more than you need and you are likely to find that you have picked up items that you already have at home!
Recipes are a really great way to get you to try new and different ingredients but try to remember, you don’t have to follow recipes exactly, if you don’t have all the ingredients think about looking for something else to add or leaving it out. Use recipes as a guide only.
Remember, if you have left overs from a meal think about freezing them or sticking them in the fridge – some left overs can be reheated and used as lunch by adding a salad or warm wholemeal bread rolls. Some leftovers can be added to to create another meal. See that tomato soup you have left over? can it be turned into a sauce? Can you add some cooked pasta and vegetables? Be creative and adventurous. Using your leftovers in this way will also mean you save money – if you can get another meal out out of them then do so! Try to keep your waste down to a minimum!
Shopping at supermarkets
Try to shop at the cheaper, value for money, supermarkets. Get to know then, when do they discount items for instance? If an ingredient is on offer and you are sure you will use it within the ‘best before’ date the grab it up. I quite enjoy going to the supermarket, just before closing and picking up discounted items that I know I will use to make a meal within the next day or two! Obviously, you cannot predict which items will be on offer and which will not but do keep an eye open for a bargain!
Go to the supermarket with a shopping list! List only those items that you need – and stick to it!
Think about ‘buy one, get one free’ (BOGOF) this has had such bad press recently but seriously, if the item in question is something you and you family enjoy and eat regularly then go for it! If the item is something you don’t eat or don’t need then leave it alone – the aim is to save money not spend it on useless things!
Buying fruit and vegetables
Try to buy vegetables that are always cheap regardless of the season where possible. Items such as carrots, celery, onions and potatoes. Use your local farmers market – these tend to stock seasonal items and are often organic. Shop around.
Think about tinned vegetables such as peas and tinned corn or even frozen vegetable like peas (these can be added to a salad when defrosted of course!) and broad beans, tinned tomatoes. Look around and see what is available.
Know your fridge (and cupboards)!
I know it sounds silly but do get to know what items you already have in your fridge and cupboards. What herbs and spices do you have – also are they stored properly so that they last and can be used when needed? are they labelled properly?
Delicious, healthy meals!
If you follow some of the above suggestions, you will be able to stick to a vegetarian diet and keep to a budget. Be confident, experiment – use your herbs and spices to add flavour or change the flavour of left overs.
Enjoy and have fun with your diet and buy yourself something nice with the money you save! Remember to use Google for recipe ideas and ask friends and family for suggestions. You should also think about investing in a good vegetarian cook book – use it as a guide!
If you have any other ways of living on a budget, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!