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Vegetarian on a budget





DorFalla
First off, I wasn't making this thread to debate ethics or anything like that... so replying "It'll just be cheaper for you to go get a burger at McDonald's..." isn't going to help. It's not happening.
Secondly, I would like to apologise if a thread with this specific aim already existed... I searched around and couldn't find one. If one does exist, feel free to lock this and direct me to it. :p

Anyway, on to the point.
I've been a vegetarian for about 7-8 years now and my boyfriend and I are currently in our biggest financial pinch. Buying vitamins right now just isn't feasible, and neither are any kind of frozen soy products (Boca burgers and the like) because of the cost. He has it a bit easier since he still eats meat, but I'm at a loss for what to do here, since eating vegetarian can often be quite a bit more expensive than eating meat.
Any tips for eating meat-free cheaply? And by cheaply I mean... like... dirt cheaply?

Also note that where I live, fresh produce is EXTREMELY expensive. I hate Arizona.
furtasacra
Actually, I'm having a similar problem. I'm not a vegetarian, but I'm trying to stay away from meat. And I'm poor. Of course, there's always big fatty cuts of pork on sale at the local grocery. Thank goodness I like beans.

Buy dry beans and cook them with onions, garlic, and lots of spices. You can also get tofu cutlets by the case at Sam's Wholesale, and they come out to about a dollar apiece (50 cents per serving). Granted, the case is about $25, but they keep forever in the fridge.

Try to find a farmer's market for fresh produce. If there's not one in your area, go with frozen or canned fruit and vegetables. I know, it doesn't taste as good, but they're getting better at preserving food without leaching out all the flavor and nutrients these days. Wait for sales and stock up on frozen, or look for canned goods at a dollar store. They usually have canned fruit and veggies 2 or 3 cans for a dollar.

This isn't a perfect solution, but canned fruit and vegetables are bearable if the pinch is temporary. If it's going to be a long term thing, you might want to think about doing some gardening.
DorFalla
furtasacra wrote:
Actually, I'm having a similar problem. I'm not a vegetarian, but I'm trying to stay away from meat. And I'm poor. Of course, there's always big fatty cuts of pork on sale at the local grocery. Thank goodness I like beans.

Buy dry beans and cook them with onions, garlic, and lots of spices. You can also get tofu cutlets by the case at Sam's Wholesale, and they come out to about a dollar apiece (50 cents per serving). Granted, the case is about $25, but they keep forever in the fridge.

Try to find a farmer's market for fresh produce. If there's not one in your area, go with frozen or canned fruit and vegetables. I know, it doesn't taste as good, but they're getting better at preserving food without leaching out all the flavor and nutrients these days. Wait for sales and stock up on frozen, or look for canned goods at a dollar store. They usually have canned fruit and veggies 2 or 3 cans for a dollar.

This isn't a perfect solution, but canned fruit and vegetables are bearable if the pinch is temporary. If it's going to be a long term thing, you might want to think about doing some gardening.



Oooh I forgot we have a Family Dollar near here...
A farmer's market would be absolutely lovely, but none of that either... nor the prospect of gardening. Besides not knowing the first thing about it, I literally live in the desert... I look out my window and see a row or two of houses then... mountains and sand. :p

*stares sidelong at the dried beans in the pantry*
Was hoping to avoid those since when I first moved here, they were *all* we had to eat for a couple weeks. I shudder when I think about eating them again, but I guess it's time to suck it up and get creative! ^^

Thank you so much for the suggestions though, and we don't have a Sam's anywhere near here, but I will ask my friends in Phoenix if I tag along next time they go.
Also... why do people think eating vegetarian is so much cheaper? Maybe it depends on the area, but vegetables and fruits are so expensive here... I think 80-something cents for an orange.
loryl
Generally speaking, tofu's cheaper if you get it at an asian supermarket / grocery store. American stores jack up prices waaaaaay too much.

McDonalds sucks. It would be more economical to just buy vegetable oil (and artery clogging pills) and just chug it from the bottle.
samples-surveys
McDonalds is indeed cheap but there are definitely vegetarian alternatives when eating out. I don't know where you live but I've found a couple of great spots locally. Try looking for a pita/falafel place, there's a small joint in Iowa City that offers half a vegetarian pita for $3.50 with great amenities and it's definitely filling. When I feel like splurging there's a pasta place that offer pasta and rice bowls with optional protein, chicken shrimp pork or tofu. It's a little more expensive but it beats McDonalds any day.
amicalindia
In India veg. food costs less than half the non-veg. Matter of demand and supply. Production of veg food cost less than non-veg anywhere in the world. Problem lies with supply and distribution network.



loryl wrote:
Generally speaking, tofu's cheaper if you get it at an asian supermarket / grocery store. American stores jack up prices waaaaaay too much.

McDonalds sucks. It would be more economical to just buy vegetable oil (and artery clogging pills) and just chug it from the bottle.
patasarriba
http://www.mambosprouts.com/

This will SAVE you. (And save you money, haha.)

You should check out the Mennonite cookbooks such as More With Less. I'm generally not a Mennonite fan, and disagree lots of stuff they do in South America, but they have some really good recipes and show how to make (often vegetarian) dishes that are very healthy, unprocessed, and cheap. The only thing is, you'll spend more time cooking.

The last thing I'd suggest you do is look into those powdered soups that come in a bowl, that they have all over America. There are a ton of different brands of vegetarian soup that are made with beans, and contain lots of protein and fiber. One thing I've noticed at my local grocery stores is that at any given time there's a 50% chance that one brand will be on sale. And they don't go bad for a really long time so you can stock up. Depending on the brand, they could be cheap. Good luck! And congratulations for sticking to your ideals despite the inconveniences of daily life.
pongsrim
no thank
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