The Economic Advantages of a Vegetarian Diet

Eat Better and Improve Your Health For Less Money, by Katherine Manning

Plateful of Money
Families are trimming their budgets, and two areas of spending that create a drain on finances are food and health care. The two fields seem unrelated, but could not be more connected.

One easy way to eat better, improve health and lower the high cost of food is to adopt a vegetarian or plant based diet.

A plant-based diet is very nutritious and heart healthy. Vegetarianism is perfectly safe for children, and getting them started on a healthful path early in life will help them to have a financially sound future.

Some people feel vegetarianism is only for the wealthy, so they follow the Standard American Diet that leads to a lifetime of health complications. With soaring healthcare costs, it is imperative for Americans to re-examine their diets.

It is easy to save money while eating a vegetarian diet and below are food options that are inexpensive and rich in nutrients and versatility, making them sound food investments.

Savvy Vegetarian Facebook Page

While some vegetarian-specific items, such as soy hot dogs, can be costly, whole foods, which everyone should eat for good health, are not.

Legumes, for example, are common staples in vegetarian cooking. They are available for pennies per serving and can be used to cook a wide range of dishes from around the world.

Beans and lentils come in many varieties, and are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, low in fat & cholesterol. Canned beans cost less than a dollar per cup cooked, and dry beans, even less.

In a spot check of a Safeway store on the west coast, a pound of 80% lean ground beef cost $2.99, on sale, while 1 lb of beans cost $1.99. 1 lb of the meat yields four servings, at 22.9 grams of protein per serving, but also packs in almost 15 grams of saturated fat. Meanwhile, that pound of dried beans can add up to eight one-cup servings, packing in 15.2 grams of protein per serving, and less than one gram of fat.

That means that you’re paying about twice as much for the protein in the hamburger meat than you are in the beans, while depriving yourself of dietary fiber, and increasing the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet. If you buy beans in bulk, the savings are as much as 4 times greater.

Every kitchen should stock pasta, rice, quinoa or other grains. They can be used in many kinds of dishes, and when kept in a cool, dry place, will keep for several months. Quinoa is a particularly good investment as it high in protein, and one cup cooked contains more calcium than 32 ounces of milk.

Quinoa Recipe Ebook

Tofu is an inexpensive, calcium-rich food. One 14 oz pkg of firm tofu has 4 – 6 servings, contains 40 – 50 g protein and costs $2 – $3. A single package of tofu, or even half a package, is plenty for most recipes.

Tofu can be used in place of meat, for stir-fries, sandwiches & burgers, salads, casseroles and pasta dishes. Sliken tofu varieties are good for smoothies, desserts and dairy food substitutes.

Frozen and canned fruits or vegetables are easy on the budget, store for long periods and are versatile. Frozen fruit can be used for smoothies and canned fruit is an easy snack or dessert. Frozen and canned vegetables are easily steamed or thrown into other dishes like soups.

For fresh produce, visit local farmers markets and roadside fruit stands. What costs $2.99 per pound in a grocery store can often be found for much less at a fruit stand or farmer’s market. It is not unusual to find organic produce in these stands, often for the same prices as traditionally grown items. If you can, grow your own veggies for a fraction of the cost in stores.

Beyond the price of food, healthy people don’t see the doctor as often. Office co-pays can really ding a household budget, and when we eat nutrient-dense foods, we see the doctor less because the body functions the way it should. This translates into more energy, which evolves into a more active lifestyle, will also stave off chronic diseases later in life.

When someone suffers chronic disease, such as diabetes and high cholesterol, in addition to seeing a doctor more frequently, she must then pay for prescriptions on a continued basis. Long-term use of prescriptions causes more problems than they treat, which creates a vicious cycle of doctor visits and prescription drugs.

If a person develops heart disease, in addition to the increased office visits and prescription drugs, a bypass surgery costs $60,000. It is more simple and cheap to take charge of one’s health by following a balanced, vegetarian diet, which has been proven to reverse symptoms of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Simply by moving toward a plant based diet, or adopting a vegetarian diet, you pay less money for better health. What a deal!

Author Bio: Kate Manning didn’t expect to find herself at the intersection of business, marketing, and the Internet, but with sound writing and editing skills, she makes the most of it with MBA Online.

2 Responses to “The Economic Advantages of a Vegetarian Diet”

  1. Hi,

    As long as I don’t buy too many “fake-meat” products, my monthly costs do stay lower then before I became a vegetarian.

    What I have noticed as well, in the past 20 years being a vegetarian, is that I am hardly sick!

    That also means a “cost-reduction” :)

    Great day!

  2. Nathalia says:

    I live in Europe, and though I have never been to the US, I think our veggies, even the fresh ones, are generally cheaper than in the US. Here the farmers markets are the costlier ones (though the taste of freshly harvested vegetables is well worth it.) Since I never buy meat, I don’t know if veggies are cheaper, but I don’t think so, since they are both state-aided.

    I have been vegetarian since birth, and people always ask me, if I have deficiencies. The truth is, that I do have an iron deficiencies and sometimes Vitamin-B. But considering, that non-vegetarians have those deficiencies just as frequently as vegetarians thats nothing special. I also think vegetarians generally eat healthier, because they inform themselves about nutritions more intensly. And if you are well informed, there is no mineral or vitamin that has to be missed, especially in the overflow of things available in the western world. The problem for me are “vegetarian”, who do it for weightloss, and thing pre-prepared vegetarian frozen meals is the way to go, even though those contain just as many fats as meat and are just as expensive.

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