By: Katie Wismer
Grocery shopping can be a daunting task for even the most experienced of vegans. But as a plant-based newbie? Walking through those automatic doors can feel like someone just dropped you off in the middle of the desert with nothing but a compass, a pat on the back, and a “good luck!”
Here are a few tips to make grocery shopping faster, easier, and more in tune with your current nutritional goals.
- Have a Plan of Attack
Wandering into the store and buying whatever catches your eye might work for some – but if you want to avoid spending unnecessary money, and leaving the store without the food you actually need, it is probably best to go in with a plan.
Come prepared with a list, and do your research! Look up recipes so you can plan ahead and get the ingredients needed.
- Okay, So What Do I Buy?
Here’s a basic guide to get you started:
- Fruits & Veggies
o Feel free to grab a combination of fresh, frozen, and dried – and try to buy what is in season. The more colorful your cart, the better! Also, don’t be afraid to branch out. When incorporated in the right dish and complemented with the right foods, you might be surprised which fruits and veggies you end up enjoying!
- Grains, Beans, Legumes
o This includes bread, pasta, oats, rice, potatoes, quinoa, chickpeas, beans, hummus, edamame, and so much more! These products freeze well, so don’t be afraid to keep some in your freezer and thaw as needed. I recommend stocking up on oats and chickpeas, since these items are incredibly versatile and can be used to a variety of different dishes!
- Healthy Fats
o The word fat gets a bad rap – but it is nothing to be afraid of, and is so important in a healthy vegan diet! This includes: avocado, edamame, coconut milk, dark chocolate, olives, and hummus.
o Oils include: coconut, flax seed, sesame, olive, canola, and vegan butter.
o Seeds, nuts, and nut butters are also incredibly versatile and important. Some options are: cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almond/nut butters, and peanut butter.
- Non-Dairy Products
o Living dairy-free has never been easier. With so many plant-based alternatives – you never have to go without. Try different plant-based milk alternatives until you find your favorite. Soy, almond, cashew, oat, coconut, rice, hemp, and flax milk are all great options. Try getting the unsweetened versions to avoid unnecessary added sugar (and trust me, they taste just fine without it). Also feel free to pick up vegan yogurt, butter, cheese, and cream cheese!
- Let’s Add Some Flavor
o Sweeteners, condiments, herbs, and spices can turn any “boring” meal into a new favorite. These items tend to last a long time too, so you don’t have to worry about wastage.
o Sweeteners: agave syrup, maple syrup, molasses, dates, stevia, dark chocolate chips, fruit preserves, and organic cane sugar.
o Herbs and spices, some great options are: basil, oregano, thyme, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon, and the good ole salt and pepper.
o Condiments: Salsa, Hummus, Soy Sauce, Sriracha, Mustard, Vegan mayo, nutritional yeast, and lemon/lime juice.
Have an open mind, focus on whole and fresh foods, have an idea of what you are looking for beforehand, and you really cannot go wrong!
What are your best tips for successful grocery shopping?