There are numerous advantages of having a vegetarian diet. It is healthy, comparatively consists lesser calories and is inexpensive. There is a common misconception that there are limited options for meals in a vegetarian diet. However, this is not true. So, if you are advised to follow a vegetarian diet (devoid of any meat, fish, eggs and other animal based products), you must be looking for meal ideas and tips on how to plan a vegetarian meal. Scroll down to find meal ideas and pointers on vegetarian meal planning when on a tight budget.
Planning a Vegan Meal
Meal planning, when on a budget, requires a lot of, well, planning. Following are some tips that you can follow.
- Vegetarian meals consist of fresh fruits and vegetables. In order to save money on them, look for fruits of the season and use them fresh; rather than going for the canned versions.
- Secondly, foods that are required frequently should be bought in larger quantities, for e.g., pasta (whole wheat) and rice.
- In your daily meals, you should include one meal that is filling and does not require any other side dish. For e.g., dishes like the vegetable chili or vegetable pizza are tasty and filling and do not require any other side dish like bread, salads, etc.
- Fruits, vegetables, beans, breads, rice, pasta, etc., are the major foodstuffs that you will be using while making low-budget vegetarian meals. However, in order to make your meals different and exciting every day, you should make sure that you do not make an all-vegetable or all-rice dish. Try to include as many varieties as possible.
- When shopping for foods, look for foods that can be used for making a variety of dishes. For e.g., rather than buying a box of Mac and Cheese, just buy the pasta, which can be used to make cheese pasta, pasta salad, etc.
- Lastly, one of the best tips to remember is to chalk out the weekly plan (i.e., all the dishes that you would be cooking) and buy food accordingly. This will help in saving a lot of money.
Inexpensive Vegetarian Meal Ideas
Following is a list of low-budget vegetarian meal plans:
- Vegetable soup, thick cream soup
- Grilled cheese sandwich, vegetable cheese sandwich, potato sandwich, barbecue sandwich, mushroom sandwich, hummus sandwich
- Vegetable burger, potato patty burger, bean burger with cheese
- Vegetable pizza, mushroom pizza
- Vegetable hot dog (Indian hot dog)
- Veg chili
- Stir fry rice, risotto, pulao, vegetarian pilaf
- Spaghetti with tomato sauce/vegetables, American chop suey
- Pasta of all kinds, fettuccine alfredo, arrabiata pasta
- Macaroni and cheese
- Vegetable burritos, vegetable quesadilla, vegetable Quiche
- Pita tacos
- Caprese salad, pasta salad, vegetarian salad with beans
- Baked beans on toast
- Vegetarian manicotti, vegetable casserole, vegetable pie
- Thai green curry and noodles
- Salad wraps
- Fruit juices, fruit smoothies, fruit salad, fruit pizza
You can include these meal ideas to plan your weekly meals. Apart from these pure vegetarian dishes, you can also include foods like vegetarian sausages, vegetarian mince (made of soy), etc. to make different types of dishes. Secondly, if you are very strict on budget, you can look for vegetarian leftover recipes like vegetable soup or leftover vegetable chili, etc., in order to use up all the extra leftover food.
So, using these tips, you can make your own low-budget vegetarian shopping list and follow it. Lastly, as one of the most helpful tips, note that you can save a lot of money by buying food items in bulk and looking for fresh ingredients, rather than opting for packaged and canned versions. Good luck!