Simple, Cheap, Healthy, Plant-Based

Simple, Cheap, Healthy, Plant-Based

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This is a discussion on Simple, Cheap, Healthy, Plant-Based within the Health and Fitness forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; One of the concerns I hear often about plant based diets is the imaginary expense. While frequently purchasing Beyond Burgers ...

  1. #1

    Simple, Cheap, Healthy, Plant-Based

    One of the concerns I hear often about plant based diets is the imaginary expense. While frequently purchasing Beyond Burgers might add up, plant based diets tend to be cheaper than traditional omni diets on the whole.

    What about B12? Most good supplements cost less than ten dollars. It also takes up to three years to develop a deficiency so trust me you have months to get to the pharmacy.

    What about other nutrients? A balanced plant based diet should actually be more nutritious than a traditional Western diet. If concerned about kids, feel free to give them a multi, but plant based diets have been approved for all stages of life including pregnancy and early childhood by the World Health Organization.

    I'll update here regularly. Let's begin with one sample day.


    Coffee or tea
    1 or 2 servings of oatmeal per person
    Soy milk or almond milk for oats
    Nuts and fruit for toppings


    Just add peanut butter or almond butter, maple syrup or coconut sugar and vanilla vegan protein powder.


    2 slices of good whole grain bread per adult
    1 can drained chickpeas, mashed
    1 avocado, mashed into chickpeas
    Dill or cilantro to taste
    Salt n pepper
    Juice of a whole lemon or lime, stirred well

    Should make two to three full sized sandwiches. Can add lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onion if desired.

    Apples, bananas or dried fruit


    Snack on walnuts, seed crackers, or vegan energy bars


    Marinara sauce
    Veggies like canned mushrooms and frozen broccoli OR fresh spinach stirred in
    Nutritional yeast


    Just roast pine nuts in a pan with the marinara, and add bread and a green salad with dairy-free dressing. Dairy free dressing doesn't have to be expensive a lot of light Italian or Balsamic are vegan, or you can make your own with tahini (recipe later)

    *If anyone is feeling too manly for this diet please just search vegan professional football players and Olympic weight lifters you're not any manlier than they are.

  2. #2


    Helpful tips:

    1) Canola oil is the best bang for your buck. It's got omega 3s, and is cheaper than Olive oil. Olive oil is good to have for specific dishes like pastas, homemade hummus, and salad dressing.

    2) Flax seeds are another invaluable source of omega 3s that can be sprinkled in literally anything, and ground up with water and chilled make great egg replacements in baking or pancakes.

    3) Walnuts and pecans are a pricier investment but a little goes a long way to add nutrition and flavor to dishes. Always opt for raw unsalted so they're versatile.

    4) Dried lentils, split peas, dal and beans are more cost efficient than canned. Canned is great for sandwich spreads like in the OP, or in a rush, but dried pulses last and last. Lentils in particular when well spiced or seasoned freeze and defrost well. This is a cheap protein that is packed with vitamins and minerals you could never hope for in meats.

    5) Unless you're very poor allow yourself a fun recipe or product at least once a week. Looking forward to a Friday night Beyond Burger, a weekend vegan pizza, that So Delicious frozen dessert, or even just vegan cream cheese most mornings on your everything bagel keeps you from feeling deprived. You're not fat, you're not on a diet, you're embarking on a new balanced lifestyle. Ask yourself which treats matter most to you or your family and focus on those one or two things.

    6) Silk unsweetened soy milk is probably the most nutritional vegan milk available. It's fortified with calcium and B12 and has more protein than almond milk. Prefer non soy? Hemp milk is excellent but costs more than almond. Don't worry almond milk is STILL more sustainable than dairy milk!

    7) Condiments are key. For a wide variety of tasty dishes sourced from beans and tofu, awesome condiments and spices are your best friend.

    8) Broccoli, spinach and other greens are sources of calcium. So is tofu. And almonds. And blackstrap mollasses.

    9) I sometimes buy the cheap Top Ramen with the little vegetarian leaf on it. Add some cubed tofu, a handful of spinach and Asian hot chili oil and you have a cheap filling dinner that still provides nutrition.

    10) Potatoes. Bake them and eat the skin. Top with veggies, beans and dressing. Or eat them plain with other dishes.

    11) Nutritional yeast and tahini are great long term investments. So is vegan protein powder if you're especially athletic or are afraid of losing weight.

    12) Balance raw and cooked or frozen. It's FINE to buy frozen broccoli, peas and berries. It's FINE to buy canned tomatoes, green beans and chickpeas. Buy what's affordable or important fresh, like apples and spinach. Potatoes and onions are always dirt cheap fresh.

    Questions? Please ask!

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    I know some of you think oh no wait not at the holidays and yes the month of Veganuary was invented with Western traditions in mind, seeing people go plant based at the new year.


    Did you know that even a fancy vegan holiday spread emits less than half the carbon footprint of a traditional Christmas dinner?


    At my local grocer, Wild Friends Gingerbread Peanut Butter was on sale, making my work sandwich taste like a festive spiced cookie.

    So Delicious Coconut Nog was cheaper than a container of soy milk and tastes like egg nog without as much fat and zero cholesterol.

    Field Roast Celebration Roast is waiting in my fridge to be baked and served with mushroom gravy.

    I'll also make fresh cranberries cooked with an orange and a little coconut sugar.

    My list is shorter than someone holding a big family party, but the Internet is filled with recipes for vegan cookies and pies, and it's super easy to make vegan pigs in a blanket as an appetizer using vegan hot dogs or plant based sausages. Tofurky now offers a vegan ham that comes complete with its own glaze.

    Then of course with sides such as mashed potatoes or yams, swapping out a few ingredients won't make a difference in the flavor.
    Surreal Snake, Helnax and Mick Travis thanked this post.

  7. #6

    That coconut nog I’d like to try. Sounds yum. Maybe a touch of rum in it
    Forest Nymph and nomedaigual thanked this post.

  8. #7

    Second Ordinary Sample Daily Meals:


    Coffee or tea
    Juice of choice (Apple,orange, etc no fruit punch)
    1-2 pieces of whole grain toast per person
    1/2 to 1 whole avocado per person
    Toppings such as nutritional yeast, flax seeds, or salsa

    Prepare each toast with half of spread avocado and desired toppings.


    Add canned vegetarian refried beans or black beans warmed


    Slices of Tofurky, Field Roast vegan charcuterie, or slices of braised/smoked tofu or even plain extra firm tofu (tofu is much cheaper, very economical, but make sure it's either braised or extra firm for cold sandwiches)
    Lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, etc
    Mustard and or vegenaise/just mayo
    Tortilla or wrap of choice

    Combine desired ingredients into a wrap or two. Spinach wraps are tasty but plain flour tortillas are fine.
    Carry pieces of fruit for sides.


    Add hummus to the wraps and drizzle with olive oil or add olives. Carry sides such as peanut butter inside celery sticks with raisins or vegan yogurts.


    Onion, mushroom, spinach
    Pecans or walnuts
    Olive oil or canola oil
    Rice, plain ramen (no packet), or pasta
    Balsamic vinegar, basil or oregano or rosemary
    Salt n pepper
    Crushed red pepper (optional)

    Pan fry/stir fry veggies and nuts in oil with desired herbs, add a splash of balsamic when almost done. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.


    Add drained, canned cannelini or navy beans to the stir fry. For dessert, mix warm left over rice with some canned, full fat coconut milk and sugar and cinnamon. Add drained canned peaches or mandarins if desired.
    Helnax thanked this post.

  9. #8

    Other recipes:


    Frozen or fresh peas (canned peas are too mushy for a salad)
    Guacamole, home made or prepared
    1 lime per person or container of lime juice
    Black olives, slices or pieces
    Lettuce of choice (or spinach)
    Crushed tortilla chips
    Favorite hot sauce, I like Tapatio

    Heat 1/2 cup of peas and 1/4 cup of corn per person. Drain well.
    Combine with desired amounts of lettuce, olives, and tortilla chips (don't skimp, they make the dish so tasty!)
    Add juice of one lime or equivalent to each salad.
    Add a generous serving of guacamole to each salad.
    Toss well. Sprinkle with hot sauce if desired.


    Just add extra peas or black beans and eat a bigger salad.

    I used to eat this all the time last summer and found it addictive, I just accidentally made it one day.


    Roasted sesame tahini (better than raw imo)
    1 lemon
    Equivalent water to amount of tahini
    Add herbs or crushed garlic if desired

    This very simple dressing is amazing and versatile. Just add equal parts tahini and water and the juice of half a large lemon per every 2-3 tbsp of tahini. Salt well. Add crushed garlic and or dill if desired.

    Use as a dip or spread for falafel. Can also be used as a salad dressing or a snack dip for good hearty crackers or toasted seed bread.

    If using a blender, avocado can also be added with cilantro to make a more complex dressing.

    Basic recipe (no avocado or herbs) can also be combined with a can of drained, mashed chickpeas and a splash of olive oil for homemade hummus! Mash by hand for chunky or in a blender or food processor for smooth.
    Helnax thanked this post.

  10. #9


    Full fat coconut milk is an excellent way to add vegetarian fat and rich flavor to your menu. I specified full fat because I mean the canned stuff they use in Thailand. Not the beverage sold as a non dairy milk in the refrigerator section. You're likely to find this for one to three dollars in the international foods aisle.

    1) Curry - the most obvious use is with curry seasoning in dal, tofu curry or vegetable soups.

    2) Cream - beat with a hand mixer or in a blender after refrigerated for 24 hours and serve unsweetened with scones or pies. Can be sweetened with maple syrup for other dessert toppings.

    3) Macaroni and cheese - Annie's Vegan Mac is best prepared with one third cup of warm room temperature coconut milk, as it gives the rich fatty comfort of macaroni prepared with milk and butter.

    4) Mashed potatoes - add richness to your mashed potatoes by using a few tablespoons of this ingredient.

    5) Use your imagination - one thing I like that could be eaten as breakfast, snack or dessert is a warm English muffin with a few spoonfuls of full fat coconut milk and black strap molasses. Black strap molasses has a sweet yet complex flavor mellowed by the coconut milk, and provides a bit of iron and calcium. Try to think of other ways to use this tasty ingredient!
    Helnax thanked this post.

  11. #10

    A "More Time to Cook" Sample Daily Menu


    Coffee or tea
    Vegan pancakes: 5 Minute Vegan Pancakes - KitchMe
    Flax seeds
    Pumpkin (canned)
    Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
    Maple syrup, full fat coconut milk, and/or fruit

    Make basic recipe provided. Set aside. Mix two or three tablespoons of canned pumpkin with a sprinkling of flax seeds and spices to taste, and add slowly to basic pancake mix. Batter should be moist but not overly wet or soggy and runny. Fry until browned on both sides.

    For topping, use maple syrup or a few spoonfuls of coconut milk. Coconut milk canned in the refrigerator for 24 hours can also be blended into whipped cream like mentioned in last post. A third option is fresh fruit like berries, or cook fresh or frozen fruit in a bit of sugar water for a fruit syrup.


    Tempeh makes delicious vegan bacon if sliced thin and marinated in soy sauce and oil for twenty minutes before frying crispy. Maple syrup can be added to the marinade if desired. If it's within your budget Sweet Earth makes amazing pre-made facon, or try their delicious breakfast sausages.


    Falafel mix
    Water, as needed
    Tahini Dressing or Hummus, listed above (optional)
    Cucumber, spinach, tomatoes, onion (optional)
    Vegenaise and/or mustard of choice (optional)
    Pita, bread, buns or English muffin

    Make falafel mix according to box but also add a handful of fresh parsley. Fry in oil in small balls or as a falafel burger patty. Can be baked on 350 in oven if concerned about frying in oil, just keep an eye out and flip at least once during baking.

    Combine balls or patty with desired listed toppings on pita, sandwich bread or bun. I like the falafel burger with tahini dressing, pickles, onion, lettuce, tomatoes and mustard, but any toppings you like work. Balls can also be dipped into tahini or horseradish mustard, for example.


    Falafel and hummus already has a lot of calories and can be very nutritious combined with veggies and bread, but feel free to make French fries, or eat with rice. Pre-purchased or pre-made dolma are also a good side for falfel, and you can always dip pita bread into babaganoush or extra hummus.


    One of my all time favorite dinners since I was a new vegan is the Vegan Zombie recipe for stuffed shells. It is less whole foods based than other things I've listed so far, it does involve "vegan products" by default, but it's a really delicious treat to make on a weekend, or if cooking for a friend, since I have made this for multiple meat eaters who love it. Just pair with a green salad and dressing, maybe some good bread and a bottle of wine, and you could have a small dinner party.

    I also just think Vegan Zombie is one of the best out there. He has been vegan for over twenty years and does videos on things like recipes and bargain shopping.

    Helnax thanked this post.

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