Friday, November 05, 2010

vegan grocery cart

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I think the secondary title of this post could be, "how to eat healthfully without going broke and losing your sanity!" :)

Regardless of your diet, consuming tons of fresh produce, (mostly organic,) can get costly -- especially when you are trying to feed a couple of pretty active adults!

I have a few tips that have helped me stay on budget and still cook largely whole foods from scratch on a near-daily basis . . .

1. Meal plan. Really. It might sound limiting, but I spend a lot less time at the store and a lot less time thinking about what I'm going to fix for dinner when I plan out our week's meals ahead of time, and shop once weekly. I try to fix a few meals per week that yield leftovers, (like soups, baked pasta dishes, curries or stir-fries, etc.) so we have plenty of food on hand to pack in lunches and for nights when one of us doesn't have time to cook. Leftovers aren't always the most exciting meal, but they work in a pinch, and are definitely more affordable than picking up take-out!

2. Make a list, and stick to it (for the most part!) As I make our meal plan for the week, I sit with the grocery list next to me, adding items as I go. I also use coupons when I can, take advantage of my member discounts at my co-op, and watch for sales on items we use frequently, and then stock up! Here's my listing for this week:

I organize the grocery list by sections, (produce, cold/frozen, bulk, and other,) and make a seperate list for the weekly meal plan.

3. At the store, stick to your list! Dan and I are very careful about our grocery budget, but do allow each other one "treat" per week, as long as that "treat" is under $5 each. What was in our vegan grocery cart this week?

BULK:
local, organic, whole-wheat pastry flour
locally-roasted, fair-trade, organic coffee
local "Evening in Missoula" tea
FROZEN:
organic orange juice concentrate from a local company
PACKAGED GROCERY:
unrefined peanut oil
non-GMO cornstarch
organic chunky peanut butter
"Just Blueberry" juice
organic diced tomatoes
organic crushed tomatoes
organic whole-wheat spaghetti
organic pitted kalamata olives
organic whole kalamata olives
PRODUCE:
local, organic broccoli
organic celery
organic cucumber
organic grapes
organic lemons
organic tangerines
organic garlic
organic Yukon gold potatoes
local, hydroponic lettuce
local, hydroponic upland cress
organic sweet potato
local apples
organic red cherry tomatoes
REFRIGERATED GROCERY:
"Pumpkin Spice" Silk Nog (a treat for my coffee!)
Earth Balance buttery sticks (in honor of Vegan MoFo!)
organic 3-grain tempeh
Vegenaise (also in honor of Vegan MoFo!)

Between sale items, our memeber discount, BYO bag discount, and a couple of coupons, we saved $14.62 this week! This helped us come in nearly $35 UNDER budget for the week! Whoa.

4. Last but not least, my final tip happens when you get home from the store -- spend a few hours on the weekend doing as much prep work ahead of time as you can. I try to block off some time on Saturday or Sunday to get my baking done for the week, including making granola, (this also saves energy, since I can take advantage of an already-hot oven,) make a batch of almond milk, and prep any little odds and ends I can to make weeknight dinners that much speedier! For example, this week I need to make a batch of almond milk, wash and tear up lettuce for salads, make a quick batch of pasta sauce, wash and chop broccoli into florets, and make the base for some Chickpea Cutlets. This will only take me a couple of hours tomorrow morning, but will simplify so many things this week!

What are your tips for eating healthfully and still staying on a budget?

2 comments:

Courtney said...

For whatever reason, I love seeing what people buy at the grocery store :-) And when I read the last paragraph under number 3, I thought you were saying that after coupons etc. you had spent $14.62, lol. I was SUPER impressed for a second there. But saving $14.62 is awesome too!

Born to be Vegan said...

I love your idea of breaking down your shopping list into sections (produce, bulk, etc)! I'm going to try that next week with my list!