Unless you're well off financially, you check prices of food at the grocery store and possibly buy store brands. I do this very thing. Buying good food at a good price can be hard, and getting a good meal at a reasonable price at a restaurant can be even more difficult. But there are some tips to keep in mind if you're new to food budgeting. I am going on 4 years. Unfortunately, I didn't have help, so I had to learn on my own. But now I can turn around and hopefully help someone else. At the end of this blog post, there are a couple links you can click and read the articles.
Through my few years of eating on a budget and plant-based, I've managed to pick out basically what is stated in the web articles at the end of this blog. I also know that depending on what you buy in the grocery store on the short term basis may save you money long term. If you buy plant based food and have whole foods as your staples, the nutrition will help prevent diseases, and subsequently, you won't need to visit the doctor and buy medication for years. This concept, I believe, is the biggest money saver you could ever participate in. It's better to spend on a bag of fruit or head of lettuce now than save it at a fast food joint, only to spend $4+/month on medication. Not only would you have the illness that is being "treated" by the medicine, you would have the side affects to deal with, which may also end up requiring meds. This concept is what I think some people don't understand. Though it may cost an extra dollar now, you will be able to save so much more long term. Some medications necessary to control disease cost a hundred dollars out of pocket.
At the grocery store, animal meat typically costs $3-$10/lb in America, depending on where you shop and what you buy. Some meats cost even more at high end stores. Most packages weigh 1-3 lbs. This ends up costing $3-$30, on a good day. The price may even be more at certain stores. Instead, take that money and buy rice, beans, corn, potatoes, and some fruit. Bags of rice and beans, cans of corn and russet potatoes can be found for $1 each. Many fruits cost about $2-$4/container. So instead of buying 3 meals of meat that lack many vitamins and minerals, you could have about a week's worth for the same price. This is the basis of living and eating on a budget. In the end, you won't have to go in for surgery after having a heart attack or learn that you have high blood pressure or clogged arteries.... all of which are completely preventable if you eat plant based. 10-15% of the time, disease is triggered by genetics. At this point, it would be preventable. But who wouldn't want up to 90% chance of staying healthy and staying away from long term medications? When I cook rice, I use vegetable stock (or broth, whichever is available), seasonings (basil, oregano, thyme, pepper and sea salt) and I boil brown rice. When the rice is almost done cooking, I add couscous or quinoa. The added grain adds texture and nutrition.
Live by this. Every once in a while, I am even able to buy a pizza, a couple frozen burritos and some ice cream—and yes, there are plant based versions of those. They're becoming widely available with the rise of veganism and technology. There's also 10 different plant based milks that have been growing in popularity in recent years. These are hemp, hazelnut, flax, oat, coconut, soy, almond, rice, cashew, and macadamia. All have their own characteristics and can be used in a variety of recipes. I prefer chocolate soy milk with breakfast and either almond or soy milk in fruit smoothies. Every milk will add nutrition to your meal without harming cows in the process.