Plant-Based Budgeting: How to Eat Vegan on $5/Day

Ciao a tutti! Today we have an article from David over at on eating vegan on 5 dollars a day – so in Italy this would be equivalent to about 5 Euros a day! Just apply these same concepts anywhere you are in Italy for delicious, but economical, vegan eating! Mangia Veg!

Plant-Based Budgeting: How to Eat Vegan on $5/Day

People have a misconception about the vegan diet in that it’s expensive. However, this isn’t always true. While vegan diets can be expensive, they don’t have to be. If you plan properly, you can eat vegan for as little as $5/day. And to prove it, we’re going to show you examples of what you can eat.

Is $5/Day Enough to Satisfy My Caloric Needs?

Yes, you can easily satisfy your caloric needs with just $5/day on a vegan diet. The average person needs about 2,000 calories per day function. This can be higher or lower depending on your age, weight, gender, and activity level. For example, if you exercise a lot, then you’re going to need more calories than the average person. Also, men typically require more calories than women.

Tip #1: Find High Calorie-Per-Dollar Foods

Your goal should be to get as many calories as you can per dollar. This will allow you to eat vegan for $5/day without sacrificing caloric intake. When grocery shopping, week out high calorie-per-dollar foods.

These include:

  • Bananas: 550 Calories/Dollar
  • Rice: 3,200 Calories/Dollar
  • Lentils: Approx. 650 Calories/Dollar
  • Oatmeal: Approx. 400 Calories/Dollar
  • Soy Milk: Approx. 315 Calories/Dollar

That’s about 5,100 calories…all for $5. The average adult only needs about 3,000 calories/day, so it comes out to less than $5. Crazy, right? When you buy calorie-rich foods, you can stretch your dollar very far. If, on the other hand, you buy vegan junk food, there’s no way you could survive on $5/day. Also, try to minimize your olive and coconut oil intake. While they offer high calories per dollar, many famous vegan doctors don’t recommend them. If you absolutely love olive or coconut oil, then you can include a small amount in your diet. Just don’t go crazy.

Tip #2: Avoid Restaurants

When you’re low on cash, eating out is a luxury. If you eat at a restaurant, expect to pay a minimum of $20. And that’s for one meal. If you were to take that $20 and instead buy high-calorie foods, you could feed yourself for over 4 days. I’m not saying that I have anything against eating at restaurants. In fact, I love it. All I’m saying is that if you’re low on cash, restaurants should be avoided.

Tip #3: Buy in Bulk

You can save a lot of money by buying your foods in bulk. Look at rice as an example. A 2-pound bag of rice will cost you about $2 (approx. $1 per pound). But if you buy it in bulk, it will cost closer to $0.50 per pound. Obviously, the price of rice varies depending on what type of is, but it’s still a good rule of thumb to follow. You can buy all kinds of vegan foods in bulk: rice, potatoes, oats, etc.

Tip #4: Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market

If you’re looking to load up on cheap and delicious fruits and vegetables, then visit your local farmer’s market. Here, you can typically find organic fruits and veggies for a fraction of what you’ll pay for them at the supermarket (plus you get to help a local farmer!). As a side note, farmer’s markets are a great place to meet fellow vegans and connect with people who want to live and eat healthy.

Tip #5: Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Calories

The final tip to remember is to use the free tool Cronometer to track your caloric intake. Some people make the mistake of eating too little whenever they are on a budget. Now that you know about the high calorie-per-dollar foods above, you shouldn’t have any problem surviving off $5/day.


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