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What’s On a Plant-Based Grocery List? Tips for Healthy Eating On a Budget!

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Do you feel like it’s expensive to eat healthily? Then this is DEFINITELY a post you need to read/podcast episode you need to listen to! I’ve been eating a (mostly) whole food, plant-based diet for about four years now on a Catholic-school-teacher-turned-small-business-owner budget, and I’m ready to show you my ways!

I believe there are five reasons your current healthy shopping might be getting pricey, as well as five categories of foods (that are always on my list) that can help you meet both your health goals AND your budget needs.


5 Reasons Your Shopping is Getting Pricey

  1. You shop at an expensive store.

  2. You try to by all fresh foods.

  3. You try to buy all organic foods.

  4. You buy specialty "health foods."

  5. You buy prepared foods.

None of these things are "bad" or "wrong" by ANY means, but they could definitely contribute to a higher grocery bill.

I encourage you to be mindful of where you shop and what you buy. By shopping at multiple stores, watching sales, incorporating frozen produce, and sticking to whole foods whenever possible, costs can be dramatically reduced. It doesn't need to be complicated to be effective.

You can listen to me talk all about this in the podcast episode below!


5 Things Always On My Grocery List!

***I try to buy in bulk or when things are on sale/in season whenever possible, so of course things change week to week! I probably do a "full shop" ever 2-3 weeks, then replace fresh and quickly consumed things as each week needs.

HERE is the shopping guide I use - you're welcome to it! :)

1. GRAINS: I buy in big quantities because they last in the pantry forever! Whole grains are filling & satisfying because they are rich in fiber and contain protein. Some of my regular favorites are rolled oats, brown rice, and quinoa. Each week I also choose from whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, pita, and wraps.

2. BEANS: I usually buy canned just as a time saver, but beans become even cheaper when you purchase them dry! I like to keep a stock of black, white, pinto, chickpeas, & refried, plus dry lentils. I also add (depending on the store or sale) a variety of soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, soymilk, and frozen edamame.

3. NUTS & SEEDS: Healthy fats are great for your heart and brain health, promote the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and help to keep you satisfied. A Note, though: I recommend nuts & seeds as additions to other meals instead of alone as snacks. This is partly to be calorie conscious and partly to be budget conscious! If you eat nuts for a snack, that's fine, but I'd be sure to be aware of not going to town on a bag and combining them with some fruits or veggies to create balance. I love to top salads with sunflower seeds, add flax/chia/walnuts to oatmeal, pair almonds with fruit salad, etc. I also am a big advocate for nut butters & spreads - especially peanut butter & tahini.

4. FRUIT: Yes, this can add up quickly. To combat this, rely on frozen berries and fruit whenever you need to. Consider buying in season and freezing yourself. Bananas and apples are less expensive alternatives. Also remember that, according to science, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc are all actually FRUITS, so eat produce across the boards as much as you can for that wide variety of nutrients.

5. VEGETABLES: My freezer is mostly frozen veggies! Peas, corn, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower... They made for easy additions to meals, can be thrown in soups or smoothies... possibilities are really endless, and they won't spoil like fresh will when you forget about them!b Each week I just add a few fresh things to the mix: leafy greens for salads and wraps; coleslaw mix because it's cheap, easy, and wildly good for you; and 1-2 other things that are in season or good for specific recipes I'd like to make. During the summer months, I belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) so I rely on that and Farmer's Markets for my fresh finds.


There we have it, folks! Healthy eating can be simple AND budget friendly!

I share grocery hauls & simple meals all the time on Instagram, so make sure we're connected over there, too!

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