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5 tips for eating vegan on a budget

Going vegan, or eliminating all animal products from your diet, is growing in popularity thanks to its touted environmental and nutritional benefits. Now more than ever diners are ditching turkey for tofu and swapping in their all-beef patties for wholesome veggie burgers. 

Unfortunately, many delicious vegan foods come with sky-high price tags. While this is often in the name of quality, it can make it difficult for aspiring vegans on a budget to embrace the diet. If you're interested in adopting a vegan lifestyle but aren't sure you can afford it - don't worry. Read on to discover five tips for going vegan without breaking the bank:

1. Don't skip starches
Incorporating starches into your meals will help you fill up while saving you some serious cash. Foods like potatoes, rice and pasta not only quell your appetite and fuel you up, they're also easy on your wallet. One Green Planet noted that starches are often thought of as being unhealthy, but there are plenty of nutritious options to choose from. Sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal and root vegetables are some healthy starches to consider when planning your vegan menu. The source noted that, to save the most cash possible, you should purchase starches in bulk.

2. Buy marked-down produce
Fruits and vegetables are integral components of any balanced diet, but they're especially crucial in veganism, a term that's often interchanged with "plant-based." Fresh produce can be expensive, however, especially for people who live in remote areas. The Vegan Society recommended browsing through the reduced-price produce at your local grocery store to see if there are any fruits or vegetables you could work into a recipe. Consider using marked-down produce to make dishes like chili or banana bread that make use of ripe items.

3. Opt out of name brands
A great way to cut your food spending is to buy store brand as opposed to name brand products. If you're hesitant to make the switch from a favorite label, compare ingredient lists - chances are they'll be nearly identical. When stocking up on basic products like spices, flour, rice and pasta, always stick to store brand, advised Forks Over Knives - you won't be able to taste the difference, but your bank account will be a lot more robust.

4. Cook from scratch
Where many vegans tend to go over budget is the pre-packaged foods section. After all, getting an organic veggie burger with cashew "cheese" is going to inevitably be more expensive than grabbing a Big Mac. One Green Planet recommended finding do-it-yourself recipes for your favorite vegan dishes, as making meals from scratch will help you save some serious cash. Even prepared vegan granola bars, baked goods and soups can be more expensive than their animal product-based counterparts, so don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone and experiment with different types of homemade recipes.

5. Follow a food shopping schedule
If you're constantly stopping into the grocery store, you're going to end up spending more than you'd like to on food. Additionally, you're more likely to waste food you have at home if you re-stock more than necessary. I Love Vegan suggested making a grocery shopping schedule to limit overbuying and keep your spending in check. For example, decide to go to the supermarket every five days. Once you get into the routine, you'll realize just how much food you need to during each shopping trip and you'll be better able to stay within your budget.

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