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Eating Vegan Meals On A Budget 

Last updated: June 1, 2022

It is simple for many to believe that a vegan diet is more expensive than one that does not restrict the food being eaten. This could not be farther from the truth, as studies have shown that vegan foods are much more affordable than their carnivorous counterparts. While it may be true that some specialty items, such as veggie burgers and imitation meat may be more costly, items such as legumes, beans, vegetables, and starches usually create a lower price per meal.

In this article, we'll go over some low-cost meals, tips for cooking in bulk for the week, and some delicious vegan dessert recipes.

Being a student on a vegan diet is all about getting creative. Most of the time, you may already have all the ingredients you need to make a delicious meal, whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Cheap Vegan Meal Prep

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of inexpensive meals, bulk cooking for the week can be the biggest advantage when looking to save money and helps to keep a potential diet on track. Here are some great tips to help keep costs down:

Scheduling: Set a regular cadence to go grocery shopping, usually twice a month. Reducing the number of shopping trips will cut down your bill drastically as you will stay on task and only purchase what's on your list. Schedule your cooking times as well. Most prefer to meal prep their containers on Sunday so that they can easily heat their leftovers throughout the busy work week.

Shelf-life and storage methods: A huge advantage of a vegan diet is increased shelf life and storage methods. Cooked meat, for example, is only good for a few days in the fridge and limits options for your meal prep. With this in mind, choose foods that have a longer shelf life, contributing to longer preservation of your cooked foods and reducing your food waste bill. Flash-frozen peas and carrots, for example, are just as nutritious (or more!) as their natural counterparts, but they are cheaper and last longer.

Plan your number of meals:  This has the added effect of complementing popular diets, such as intermittent fasting or one meal a day (OMAD). Plan the number of meals that you will eat every day to reduce snacking and to make it easier to stick to your macronutrient and caloric needs. Weight loss, your budget, and your health will all benefit from a regular number of meals.health benefits of jalepenos

Cheap Vegan Recipes for College Students

Being a student on a vegan diet is all about getting creative. Most of the time, you may already have all the ingredients you need to make a delicious meal, whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here are some fun and cheap recipes to add to your cookbook:

Breakfast: 2 Ingredient Pancakes - Pancakes may require baking soda, butter, eggs, and sugar, but they're not necessary. All you need is applesauce, bananas, and little oil in your saute pan to make a delicious and extremely low-cost breakfast. To save even more money (and add a little nutrition!) you can even make your applesauce by crushing and straining your apples. Combine a crushed banana with a cup of applesauce in a hot pan and mold it into a circular shape. Once cooked, remove and garnish with whatever you have available: leftover fruits, cinnamon, and sweeteners. 3 Minutes, 200 Calories per serving, less than 2$ per meal

Lunch: Taco Rice and Beans - Extremely popular combination, rice and beans are staples in most diets and are delicious vegan-friendly fillers. Once you've boiled a serving of rice and beans separately, place them aside to be added later. Grab a saute pan and add broccoli, onion, garlic, and tomato sauce into a pot with a little oil. Once the tomato sauce has reduced, add taco seasoning, rice, and beans into the pot and stir until mixed. Serve while hot and enjoy. 10 Minutes 300-500 Calories, less than 5$ per meal. 

Dinner: Vegan Ramen Special - Who could deny the importance of ramen noodles to a college student? Best of all, it is made with leftovers and no oil. Sautee onion, garlic, and ginger in a pan. Once finished add carrot, mushrooms, broccoli, broth, and spinach. Mix in your cooked vegan ramen noodles (or any vegan noodles!) and top off with rice vinegar and soy sauce. 8 minutes, 400 Calories less than $5 per meal.

Delicious Budget-Friendly Vegan Dessert

Being on a budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice small pleasures, such as sweets and desserts. Here is a make, cheap, and no-bake vegan dessert recipe:

No-Bake Cookies, What you'll need-: Rolled oats, peanut butter, any plant-based milk, coconut oil

Melt the coconut oil into a saucepan and add your peanut butter and milk. Stir consistently until blended even and has a smooth texture. Add your rolled oats and cover them in that mixture. Turn the heat off and let cool until the mixture can be held in your hand. Shape into a cookie shape and let cool until it is ready to serve. Alternatively, you can eat the cookies straight from the pan as oatmeal if you don't feel like molding the shapes.


Are potato chips vegan?

While you may think all chips are vegan, there are various oils and additives added that could be unhealthy or non-conformant with the diet. Classic lays chips, for example, are vegan friendly. Check the ingredient label before purchasing any potato chips.

Are Pillsbury biscuits vegan?

Generally no, but some flavors of Pillsbury biscuits are vegan friendly: Southern Homestyle Original, Flaky Layers Sweet Hawaiian, Flaky Layers Buttermilk, and the Southern Homestyle Buttermilk.

Are nacho cheese Doritos vegan?

Nacho cheese Doritos are not vegan as they contain many dairy products; cheddar cheese, skim milk, whey, and buttermilk.

Are Maruchan ramen noodles vegan?

Unfortunately, Maruchan ramen noodles do not have flavors that are friendly to vegan diets.


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