Photo credits: Roger Smith via Flickr
A common roadblock that many people face when they try to maintain a healthy lifestyle is grocery shopping. It can be really intimidating walking through the many isles of the grocery store, especially if you are new to a vegetarian/vegan/plant-based/whole foods diet.
Grocery stores allude to dozens of choices, when in reality, many products are just variations off of one another. The trick is to come back to simplicity, and think of food in terms of different categories such as bulk items (grains & plant-based protein), fruits and vegetables, snack foods, and other (such as oil or spices).
To ease your grocery shopping woes, here is a list of 13 wonderful, healthy, plant-based grocery essentials:
Beans and lentils – Beans and lentils are an incredibly CHEAP and simple addition to any plant-based meal. The add a lean protein boost, as well as being a wonderfully nutritious hearty addition to your meal. They are much cheaper than animal protein, particularly when bought in bulk.
Tip: buy dried beans instead of canned.
Rice or quinoa – These two grains make a wonderful base to meals, offering a healthy carb component, that will keep you full while giving you lasting energy.
Oats – Oats are a wonderful vegan breakfast option: not only are they a whole food, but they are also packed with lots of fiber that will keep you full longer. In addition, they are very cheap; one bulk buy will last you for months and months.
Veggies & Fruit
In-season fruit – Fruit is a super easy plant-based snack, that will add lots of antioxidants into your diet. 2 wonderful fruits in season right now are pineapples and mangoes.
Bananas – Bananas are always a great choice, not only are they super cheap, but they are also quite hearty, making them a great snack that will tide you over for long periods of time.
Sweet potatoes – Mmmm sweet potatoes. So nutritious, powerhouse, and cheap. Loooove.
Frozen vegetables – When you are on a budget, frozen veggies are the way to go. You can stick them in stir-frys, use them as sides, or use them in soups.
Purple cabbage – Purple cabbage is cheap, super nutritious, and detoxifying. It will do wonders for your skin, digestion, and wallet.
Kale, glorious kale – Super nutritious kale can be used in so many ways – from smoothies, to salads, to sauteed, to steamed – kale will bring you to another level.
Lemons – I finally jumped on the warm lemon water bandwagon a couple months ago, and I will never go back. If for nothing else, buy the lemons for a detoxifying morning drink that will work wonders on your health. You can also use lemons in your cooking or on your salads for added flavor and nutrition.
Snack foods (other than fruit & veggies)
Peanuts – Peanuts are a cheap alternative to usually expensive nuts. Make sure to watch for added ingredients though: be on the look out for crazy sounding names and added sugar or oil. You want the only ingredient to be peanuts!
Nut butter – Nut butter is an easy snack food to stick on fruit or sandwiches. It will not only tide you over until your next meal, but it will also bamp up your protein. Be sure to check for added ingredients though, such as sugar and oil.
Hummus – Hummus can be added to anything from wraps to fruit to salads, and is an excellent source of protein and fiber.
Now tell me: what are you grocery list essentials?