“I could never go vegan, I just can’t afford it” -said every vegan ever before they were vegan
I’ve heard this all too many times. People criticizing a vegan diet for being too expensive. I don’t know where they are getting their rice and beans but mine are pretty cheap. I understand that going vegan isn’t for everyone, but using this reason to defend not being vegan makes no sense in my mind. Yes food will be expensive when you’re looking for those fancy meats and cheeses and their vegan counterparts.
But these items will be expensive whether you’re vegan or not. Have you seen how much organic, non-GMO, antibiotic-free, and fair trade beef is?
What I’m saying is, yes, veganism CAN be expensive. But if your centering your diet around whole foods (not the store) and eating more vegetables, they will be cheaper in contrast. If you are trying to eat a omnivore-inspired vegan diet then yeah it’ll run you up in costs. Mostly because those foods either (A) are trying to mimic another non vegan food, or (B) that product has more natural foods and a shorter shelf life.
Any diet can be expensive, it’s about beingpicky about what you buy. And that’s exactly what I do. I have refined my grocery trips down to three stores that have great vegan staples and cheap versions of vegan substitutes. My three favorite places are the Asian market, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s. These are the best sources where I live. So, if you are an Omahan or if you are looking for cheaper grocery trips as a vegan then read on!
My 3 Favorite Places for Cheap Vegan Groceries
I start here because this is usually the cheapest route where I am. You can’t beat the produce prices. But be picky, these aren’t usually organic, so if something doesn’t look right or is a tad too squishy or firm just dont’ buy it.
My Asian market recently got a face lift and is a hybrid Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Cantonese, Burmese, African, and Philippine grocery. I’m blessed with this amazing resource.
Fruit & Veggies: Kabocha Squash, Purple Sweet Potatoes, Sprouts, Bok Choy, Zucchini, Peppers, Onions, Melon, Citrus Fruits, Variety Mushrooms, Durian
Faux Meets: Tofu (not always organic but cheap), Tempeh (not at mine but at some)
Bread & Grains: Soba Noodles, Rice Noodles, Udon Noodles, Glass Noodles, Basically any kind of rice you would need, Millet, Amaranth, Oats, Couscous
Baking & Spices: Whole Spices, Dry Herbs, Chickpea Flour, Semolina Flour, Glutinous Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Arrowroot Starch, Tapioca Starch, Agar Powder
Dry Packed Goods: Soy sauce, Tamari, Gochujang, Sriracha, Vegan Fish Sauce, Vegan Oyster Sauce, Garlic Ginger Paste, Tahini, Nuts (I find nuts very cheap here), dried fruits like raisins, dates, pineapple, mango, etc., Dried Fungus, Seaweed, Kelp Powder, Ramen
Canned Goods: Jackfruit (Chaokoh is my favorite brand), Coconut Milk, Bamboo Shoots, Water Chestnuts, Baby Corn, Mushrooms, Beans
Frozen Foods: Frozen Dumplings, Frozen Buns, Miso Paste (in refrigerated section), Vegan Micro Meals
Sweets & Snacks: Chinese Bakery Items (check for lard, eggs, butter, milk), Mochi, Fruit Popsicles, Jello
Drinks: Tea (check for sweetener and cream), Matcha Powder, Tapioca Pearls
Aldi is near and dear to my heart. They always wow me with their newest products and are a great resource for the basics. Bring a quarter and some bags here. They keep costs low by not providing bags (unless purchased) and allowing shoppers to rent their carts during their experience. Don’t worry you’ll get your 25 cents back.
Fruit & Veggies: Bulk Sweet Potatoes, Bulk Potatoes, Lettuce Mix, Bulk Apples, Bulk Bananas, Bulk Onions, Garlic, Bulk Avocados, Medjool Dates
Faux Meets and Dairy: Almond Milk, sometimes Tofu, Coconut Oil Spread
Bread & Grains: Gluten Free Bread, Wheat Bread, Whole Wheat Tortillas, Corn Tortillas, Basmati Rices, Quinoa, Couscous, Coconut Chia Granola, Muesli
Baking & Spices: Cinnamon, Garlic Powder, Italian Seasoning, Salt, Minced Garlic, Vanilla Extract, Raisins, Pecans, Walnuts, Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil
Dry Packed Goods: Gluten Free Pasta, Gluten Full Pasta, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds, Flaxseed Meal, Chia Seeds, Peanut Butter, Trail Mixes, Dried Fruit (usually sweetened), Jams and Jellies, Soy Sauce, Sriracha, Salsa, Mustard, Olives, Marinated Artichokes, Maple Syrup
Canned Goods: Beans Beans Beans: Black, Pinto, Garbanzo, most with low sodium options, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, Vegetable Broth
Frozen Foods: Veggie Burgers (Kale), Blueberries, Mango, Berry Medley, Tropical Medley
Sweets & Snacks: Occasional Christmas cookie that is accidentally vegan, Dark Chocolate, Fudge Mint Cookies, Elevation Pure and Simple Bar, Fudge Stripes Shortbread Cookies, Vegetable Chips, Kale Chips
Trader Joe’s! the vegan resource for real unique stuff. Fun fact Aldi and Trader Joe’s are owned by the same company. I go here last because although there prices aren’t bad they are the most expensive for me. By going to the other stores for the basics I’m able to hold back when I see the shiny new products at TJ’s.
Fruit & Veggies: Apples, Bananas, Grapes, Berries, Celery, Cucumber, Bell Peppers, Peaches, Spinach, Kale, Fennel, Carrots, Mushrooms, Watercress, Leeks
Faux Meets and Dairy: Tofu, Organic Tempeh, Meatless Balls, Crispy Chickenless Tenders, Soy Chorizo, Vegan Cream Cheese, Cheese Shreds, Coconut Milk Yogurt, Soy Creamer, Coconut Creamer, Soy Milk, Miyokos Butter
Bread & Grains: Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls, Frosted Flakes, Peanut Butter Protein Granola, Ezekiel Bread, Corn Tortillas, Flour Tortillas
Baking & Spices: Vegan Marshmallows, Chocolate Chips
Dry Packed Goods: Cookie Butter, Almond Butter, Sunflower Seed Butter, Peanut Butter, Mixed Nut Butter, Tahini, Dark Chocolate, Goddess Dressing, Vegan Mayo, Freeze Dried Fruit, Coconut Chips, Oatmeal Cups, Lentils, Nutritional Yeast
Canned Goods: Cuban Black Beans, Vegetarian Chili, Beans (black, pinto, garbanzo), Coconut Milk
Frozen Foods: Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream, Strawberry Ice Cream, Mini Churros, Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches, Fruit Popsicles, Nondairy Mochi International: Thai Gyoza, Bean and Corn Enchiladas, Chickenless Mandarin Orange, Vegetable Pakoras, Falafel, Pad Thai Noodles, Yellow Jackfruit Curry with Jasmine Rice, Mango and Rice Spring Rolls, Tempura Cauliflower Vegetables: Zucchini Fries, Veggie Burgers, Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry, Cauliflower Pizza Crust, Roasted Corn Fruit: Cherries, Organic Blueberries, Raspberries, Mango, Strawberries, Mixed Berries
Sweets & Snacks: Salties: Salted Corn Nuts, Thai Lime and Chili Almonds, Seed and Bean Medley, Bollywood Popcorn, Inner Peas, Seaweed Snacks, Nacho Kale Chips, 12-Grain Mini Snack Crackers, Reduced-Guilt Multigrain Pita Chips, Popcorn Sweets: Dark Chocolate Almonds, Brownie Crisps, Dark Chocolate with Raisins and Almonds, Fruit Jellies, Apple Cinnamon Sticks, Coconut Cashews, Fruit Leather, Scandinavian Swimmers, Joes Joes, Snickerdoodle Cookies, Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats Dips and Spreads: Kalamata Olive Hummus, Horseradish Hummus, Muhammara Spread, Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus, Kale Cashew and Basil Pesto, Hatch Valley Salsa, Kimchi, Chipotle Black Bean Dip
Drinks: Organic Cold Brew Mocha Nut Latte, Vanilla Almond Spiced Chai