How to Cut the Costs of a Plant-Based Diet

One of the complaints about eating a whole food plant-based diet is that it is too expensive.  Today I share 5 tips on How to Cut the Costs of a Plant-Based Diet

Any time you change the way you eat, the topic of how much it costs is bound to come up. When you are accustomed to your current food budget and what you can afford on a weekly basis, it can be a little bit of a shock when you realize other food might end up costing more. But consider this – if you are replacing all the packaged, frozen, and processed foods in your diet right now, there may be more than enough to make the switch to a plant-based diet. You might even end up spending less!

Here are some different ways you can cut costs when you switch to eating plant-based.

Shop at Farmer’s Markets and CSAs

While you can still shop at your favorite grocery store, some foods, particularly produce, are a lot more affordable at farmer’s markets and with CSAs or co-ops. First of all, with a CSA, you will get local produce in a box on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, which can help you add more produce, save money, and get ideas for what to cook based on the harvest from the farms.

At the farmer’s market, you are helping your local farming community, while also getting mostly organic produce that is often much more affordable than what you would pay at the grocery store. This is a wonderful way to support your local small businesses while enjoying the benefits of strengthening your local ecosystem.

Shop in Season Produce

Remember when choosing produce like fruits and vegetables, to stick to what is currently in season. For example, if you make fruit smoothies every morning, try to choose fruit currently in season. This might be more pineapple and strawberry in the summer months, but a switch to oranges and cranberries in the winter.

There is an added benefit of trying new things and switching it up, helping to prevent boredom with your new plant-based diet. You might also want to shop around, as some stores end up having certain types of produce that is less expensive than others.

Freezing, pickling, canning, preserving making items like jams and jellies also provide opportunities to enjoy produce year round.

Know Your Dirty Dozen

It is great to shop organic produce while on a plant-based diet, but not all fruits and veggies need to be organic. You really should only buy produce in the dirty dozen organic, and the rest it is not mandatory. The typical dirty dozen of produce that tends to be more contaminated includes:

  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Potatoes

A good rule of thumb is to buy organic produce where you eat the skin.  For example, we generally do not eat the skin of bananas or avocados there really isn’t much of a need to purchase these items organic, but the dirty dozen – due to the increased amount of pesticides that are sprayed on this produce – it is advised they be cleaned thoroughly and purchased from farmers that are not using harmful pesticides in their farming practices.

costs of a plant-based diet

Reducing Your Meat, Poultry, and Fish Consumption

On a plant-based diet, you might still have the occasional animal products, but these are going to increase your costs. Start reducing them now to cut your costs even more. Meat like steak, ground beef, pork, fish, chicken, and bacon all tend to be considerably more expensive than if you bought plant-based alternatives. The more you reduce them from your diet, the more money you will end up saving.

Get Your Beans and Rice in Bulk

It is time to shop in bulk! Yes, it requires a little more prep time to rinse your rice and soak your beans, but you save a lot of money going this route. Plus, it helps a lot when it comes to meal planning, since they will last much longer in your pantry and you aren’t having to buy cans of beans or packages of rice every single week when you go to the grocery store.

It is true that the animal product free cheese, meat and milk products can be slightly more expensive, however, the basic costs of eating plant-based are lower and the healthy benefits are immeasurable.


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