|Shopping vegan doesn't have to be|
expensive - and you really can
keep some of the favorites!
In addition to the time aspect of being vegan is the money. Most vegan cookbooks and websites list ingredients that your local market has never heard of and have NO intention of stocking. For instance, I just finished reading a vegan cookbook (one with a title containing the word "fusion", which my husband swears should have set off the warning bells!). Reading it made me feel lazy, or at the very least, unimaginative... and I'm not. I think I'm a vegan like most out there, making my way through the minefield that my local supermarket has become, all the while trying not to bankrupt my family with expensive ingredients that can only be obtained from an online source.
So, if you're trying to lead your family to a plant-based diet that doesn't cause your monthly grocery expenditure to double AND manages to keep the kids from going begging at the neighbor's house for "real" food... read on.
While the thought of something exotic like summer rolls made with rice paper, rice noodles, freshly chopped veggies, mint & basil beside brown rice made with fresh Coconut Milk might appeal to your palette, I'm guessing that:
So, what DO you do to keep your family on the vegan path?
- The kids will look at those see-through rolls of vegetables and herbs and say "no way"
- The hours spent hunting for ingredients and food preparation simply put this menu option out of range for a typical day's meal
- The family grocery budget won't allow for the $23 - $25 that this one meal costs - if you're able to find all the ingredients.
First, lighten up on yourself - this is a process, if you make a mistake and give in to your 3-year-old's demand for goldfish crackers instead of steering them towards the vegan option of Nabisco Teddy Grahams, it's OK. Catch it next time.
Second, take a little of your limited time to go through and bookmark the lists below - you would be shocked at the number of vegan-friendly items available at your local supermarket!
Third, think sneaky - that's right, I said sneaky! A typical day might look something like this:
- Breakfast: Try some Tomas' Cinnamon Toaster Bagels with Smart Balance Peanut Butter and sliced bananas
- Lunch: Campbell's Tomato Soup with baby carrots and apple slices
- Dinner: Bean burritos made with Mission Flour Tortillas, and Old El Paso Refried Beans with frozen corn on the cob on the side and Jell-O Chocolate Pudding (made with soy or almond milk) with banana and strawberry slices in it for desert...
Now, of course, you want to wean yourself and your family off of processed foods as much as possible, but in the meantime, commit yourself to offering fun vegetables and/or fruits with EVERY meal. Be very cautious about the processed foods you purchase as the huge mega-corporations that offer such good prices are constantly tweaking recipes to save money. As mentioned in the blog: "Surprise - That's Not Vegan!", a simple choice that you might get in the habit of purchasing, such as cold cereal can be vegan one day and not-so-vegan the next:
We thought Kellogg's Raisin Bran was completely animal product free but MJR User Lulubell called Kellogg's and found out their Vitamin D source comes from animals. Thanks for the help, Lulubell!So, unfortunately, the grocery store will always be a bit of a minefield, but us vegans tend to look out for each other. Keep up to date by visiting the sites listed below and always read the labels. Before you know it, you and your family will be happy, healthy vegans.
Lists of Vegan foods in the grocery store:
Made Just Right (Earth Balance)
Group for Education of Animal Related Issues (GEARI)
PETA's Accidentally Vegan
One more thing: don't hesitate to contact the company and ask them - they will gladly answer your email or phone call. This is how I found out that Mocha Mix non-dairy creamer was vegan - Yay!! :-)