Vegan shopping hacks that will make your life easier.
Shopping can be a tricky thing, and it doesn’t matter whether you are doing it for one, for two, or for a household of mixed food preferences and lifestyle choices. And until you get into a routine, vegan shopping specifically can initially cost you more time and resources, simply because you may suddenly feel lost. On the other hand, you may find yourself spending hours in the store, reading labels or looking for new vegan product discoveries. In a way this is awesome and fun, because veganism opens up new doors for exploration and anticipation – cruelty-free, vegan startups and products are popping every day and I personally feel very excited to explore whatever they have to offer! Furthermore, knowing what is in your food creates some sort of food and health awareness, which is always a good thing.
This list of vegan shopping tips is meant to help take the tension away and make you truly enjoy the process (as you definitely should!)
1. Establish a list of the mere basics you need
The very first basic tip is to have a list of items you know by heart and you always need to have at your house. These are 100% vegan whole foods like the fruits and veggies you most often use in recipes, as well as packaged foods such as rice, pasta, lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, etc.
2. For all other products, look for the vegan label
When reading a product label, the first thing you’ll want to look for is whether it contains the vegan label. If it does, then you don’t even need to bother reading that lengthy ingredient list.
3. Check for Cholesterol
Look at whether the product contains cholesterol. Cholesterol is only found in animal products. So, if the nutrition info shows that it has any cholesterol in it, the product is not vegan.
4. Don’t Get Fooled
Remember not to get fooled by phrases like “non dairy” or “lactose free” on product labels. This does not mean that the product is vegan. For example, you will find a lot of soy-based cheeses which have casein – a milk derivative.
5. Buy frozen
If you’re into making smoothies, adding fruit to oatmeal, or baking with fruit, consider buying frozen fruit. Frozen produce isn’t always cheaper, but if you come across a great deal on fresh produce, stock up and freeze it. This works great with berries, bananas, and other fruit for use in smoothies. Remember, frozen produce usually contains more nutrients then fresh produce – this is because the product is frozen at it’s peak ripeness and will not lose nutrients during transport to your grocery store. It is a misconception that nutrients are somehow lost during the freezing process.
6.Bulk vs. Packaged
Purchasing some items from the bulk sections can be a great way to save money, especially if you only need a small amount. Often, the largest package will be the cheapest by weight, but don’t bother if you don’t need much. Great things to pick up in the bulk section include:
- nuts and seeds
- spices and herbs
- dried fruit, make sure they’re not over-dried, and that the containers are close to air-tight
- snack items
- more expensive items that you’ve never tried before. Find out if you like them before you buy a larger package!
7. Organic vs. Non-organic
Whether you choose to buy organic or not is up to you. In general, organic foods tend to be more expensive. If you don’t usually buy organic produce, make sure you check out the organic section anyways. When organic produce goes on sale it can be cheaper than non-organic.
- Brand Name vs. Generic Brand
- Generic brand items can be an great way to save money when shopping. Items that are awesome for buying generic are:
- baking supplies: flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, corn starch, etc.
- nuts & seeds
- dried fruit
8. Compare Grocery Stores
Always check the flyers of all your nearby grocery stores online, and build your shopping list from there. If you happen to live somewhere where there are a few grocery stores to choose from that are located in the same area, I suggest shopping all of their sales. This can be time consuming, but it can be really worth it. Learn if your grocery store has a customer appreciation day, a lot of stores offer 10-15% off your entire purchase one day out of the month – it may be different depending on your location and store. Try to get there earlier in the day for the best selection if there are specific sale items you want to pick up.
9. Schedule Shopping Trips
Find a schedule that works for you, and stick to it. I like to grocery shop every 5 days, this way I don’t have to buy quite so much produce and risk any of it going bad. Save your receipts so that you can go back and see what you’re buying during each shopping trip, and how much you’re buying. This will prevent you from running out of some items, while overbuying and wasting others. You will also see which items you may want to cut down on, or eliminate completely from your shopping trips.
10. Online Retailers
Utilize online options to take advantage of all sorts of great deals. Take advantage of sales, coupon codes, and referrals for even better deals.
Tips were compiled courtesy of the articles here and here.