One of the biggest myths concerning veganism is the belief that it is an expensive diet that will require practitioners to spend hundreds of dollars a month on food. The reality is, fruits and vegetable will always be less expensive than meat and dairy. However, processed vegan foods do tend to be more expensive than similar non-vegan options found in grocery stores. While it may be tempting to fill your freezer with garden burgers and tofu dogs, realize this is a sure way to perpetuate the myth that veganism is an expensive way of life that can only be afforded by the elite. Another myth concerning veganism is the belief that vegan-friendly foods are hard to come by and are not easily accessible for everyone. The truth is, you can easily stock your kitchen with vegan-friendly foods even on a tight budget, and you do not need to live near an organic market in order to do so. All of the foods highlighted in this article are available at any major grocery store, including Walmart. Whether you’re looking into converting to veganism or have recently begun living as a vegan, here are some must-have items to keep in your kitchen at all times.
Vegetables are a huge part of the vegan diet, and they are one of the easiest foods to find. Lettuce, potatoes, sprouts, carrots, broccoli, onions, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, cucumbers, kale, cabbage and avocados are just a few examples of vegetables available at pretty much every grocer. Stock up on fresh, frozen and canned vegetables. Only buy as much as you realistically feel you will eat to avoid waste. For example, don’t buy a full pound of potatoes if you think you will only eat three of them. Just buy the three to save money and ensure you are not throwing both food and money in the trash. Vegetables are versatile. You can eat them raw, baked, fried, sauteed in vegan-margarine, in entrees, as snacks and countless other ways.
Like vegetables, fruits are inexpensive, nutritious and easy to find. Apples, bananas, grapes, berries, tomatoes, lemons, peaches, oranges, apricots, watermelon, cantaloupe and papaya are just a hdful of easy to find fruits. Load up on both fresh and canned fruits, as well as items like applesauce and fruit preserves. Only buy what you will realistically use to save money and avoid food waste. Fruits can be eaten raw, in baked goods, on toast, for snacks, for breakfast and for dessert. Dried fruits are also awesome to keep around for snacking.
Beans are cheap and an excellent source of protein. Make sure you always have tons of beans in your vegan kitchen. You can buy beans in cans or dehydrated in bulk very inexpensively. Black, pinto, garbanzo, kidney, navy and lentils are several types of beans to keep handy. Beans can be used in soups, as side dishes, in bean burgers and in a number of other ways.
Grains are also cheap to buy in bulk. Rice, whole-wheat noodles, granola, bread, buns and tortillas are all examples of vegan-friendly grains to keep in your kitchen at all times. Grains are incredibly versatile and can be combined with all sorts of other ingredients to create quick and easy meals.
Soy milk and soy yogurt are two of my favorite things. Soy milk can be used in recipes or drank plain. Soy yogurt is an excellent breakfast or snack option when combined with some fresh fruit or granola. Some slightly more expensive soy products to consider investing in include soy cheese (just make sure it does not contain casein and is actually vegan), soy cream cheese, soy yogurt or soy ice cream. If you are allergic to soy, all of the above can also be found easily using rice, almond or hemp milk instead.
Tofu, Tempeh and Seitan
Tofu, tempeh and seitan are three alternatives to meat that are incredibly versatile and affordable. You can use these ingredients in countless recipes. You can bake them, fry them or grill them. You can put them on salads, put them in pastas or bake them in casseroles. The sky is really the limit with these three ingredients.
Sauces and Condiments:
Keep plenty of sauces and condiments handy in your kitchen. Ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, syrup, tomato sauce and vegan-soy sauce are just a few condiments to keep handy. Jellies and nut butters are also excellent to keep around for snack and sandwiches.
Pretzels, pita chips, bagel chips, seitan jerkey, granola, hummus, popcorn and some potato chips are all quick and easy snack items to keep in your kitchen for times you aren’t hungry enough for a full meal. Fruits and vegetables are also awesome snack options as highlighted earlier in the article.
Other items to keep stocked are teas, juices (fresh and frozen), bulk staples such as flour and sugar, vegan-margarine, tahini, seeds, vegan chocolate chips, seasonings (pepper, salt, parsley, oregano) and dry cereals are a few examples.