8 Tips for Vegan Grocery Shopping for Beginners
“I would be vegan, but there aren’t any vegan grocery stores around me.”
“Vegan groceries are way too expensive.”
“If I go vegan, I won’t be getting enough nutrition.”
Well, let’s save you sometime by telling you that none of these excuses are valid for NOT going vegan.
Like most things in life, there isn’t anything a little research and planning cannot solve.
And so, the key to a happy and successful vegan life, lies in how you plan and create a daily routine that works for you.
Grocery shopping might seem trivial, but it really is the building block of how healthy and efficient your diet and lifestyle is.
While grocery shopping looks different for different people, here are 8 simple tips that will make you realise how budget-friendly and fulfilling shopping for vegan food can be :
1. Set a meal plan –
Start by choosing a meal planner that caters to your specific needs and that you find easy to use. Log in the portions of meals that you consume in a day, to ensure that you’re eating balanced meals and you’re hitting your daily nutrients quota.
Once you have a list of foods on your meal planner, adding their ingredients to your grocery list becomes a whole lot simpler.
Also, you get an estimate on how much food you’ll require in a day. It is now fairly easy to calculate how much you’ll need for the rest of the week or month.
2. Shop for the nutrients –
Now that you know what foods to eat, add them to this list of broad categories based on their nutrient profile :
~ Fresh fruits and vegetables
~ Whole grains and legumes
~ Dairy alternatives
~ Pantry staples (cooking oil, nuts and seeds)
~ Herbs and spices
(For example, whole grains and legumes can be your main source of protein, fruits & veggies can make up your fiber and vitamins, and so on.)
By doing so, you will prioritise buying foods that are more nutritious than the others.
3. Set a budget –
Undeniably, the vegan market constantly comes out with new and interesting food products. Browsing through the mock meat section or plant-based munchies can be challenging when you want to add them all to you cart!
While it is imperative to try new vegan products and bring variety into your diet, it is also important to be budget conscious and purchase mindfully, as opposed to scarfing down everything you find on the aisle.
Grocery shopping is fundamentally where health and wellness converge. And so, setting a budget after considering you income, preparing a grocery list within this budget and making certain to not steer off this list, is all indispensable for an optimum grocery shopping routine.
4. Buy in bulk –
There are 2 main reasons to buy in bulk :
it’s sustainable and it’s a money-saver.
Buying in bulk reduces packaging wastes and also lowers your carbon footprint from the decreased visits to the store.
In order to encourage people to buy more, retailers sell bulk foods at considerable discounts. Besides, raw and whole foods tend to have a longer shelf-life.
Additionally, when you plan your meals for a certain period and your pantry is stocked up, you tend to avoid spontaneous purchases that are unhealthy and/or unnecessary.
5. Read the labels –
Being an informed shopper involves showing great interest in understanding where the product comes from and what it contains. Reading food labels offer information on ingredients and nutrition content, which not only helps in meal planning, but also considers various dietary restrictions and intolerances.
While vegan products are clearly marked so, there are a range of products in the market that you would have never guessed were vegan! So, looking through the ingredients can help you discover new products.
Also, by comparing similar products from different brands, you may notice that certain products offer better nutrition with higher quantity and at a lower price than the others.
6. Keep a list on the fridge and write down the items you’re running low on
Perishables like vegetables are best bought fresh for the purpose of retaining optimum taste and nutrition. Running out to get them because you just realised you want some and you’re all out is super inconvenient and frustrating.
And when it comes to items like tofu and other dairy substitutes, it hugely helps to stick a magnetic notepad on the fridge and jot down their expiration dates, and also of the items you’re running low on.
7. Buy fresh fruits and veggies locally
Fruits and vegetables in most supermarkets are processed to maintain freshness, delay the ripening time and enhance the colours of the produce. Whereas this process is not an option to local producers who work hard to deliver produce that has fewer pesticides and chemicals.
You make a real difference both personally and environmentally, each time you choose to shop locally.
Not only do you get the freshest fruits and vegetables possible, but you’re also supporting your community and small businesses.
8. Add a few ready-to-cook snack packs
When you’re running late, or travelling, or you just came home after a long day and you simply don’t have the energy to cook yourself a delicious vegan meal, these instant food packs come to the rescue!
Now I know what you’re thinking – these instant meals aren’t healthy!
Well, the truth is, while these processed and packaged foods don’t offer the best nutrition and taste as freshly made home meals, they do seem to be a more convenient choice than eating out when you’re in a time crunch.
Besides, there are several ready-to-cook/eat options available today that are free from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives, you just need to look through the label and find one that works for you.
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