Photo via Flickr: Photos8.com

Photo via Flickr: Photos8.com

Last Friday, I was out and about between appointments and stopped to grab a quick lunch at the Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks, CA, since I had read good things about it and was really in the mood for some Middle Eastern food. As I devoured an insanely delicious falafel sandwich that set me back a measly $5, it occurred to me that there’s one thing vegetarians — and Meatless Monday fans — don’t emphasize enough when they’re trying to convince other people to eat less meat: It saves you a boatload of money! (A chicken shawarma pita, for example, would have cost a dollar more.)

Sure, I spend a lot of money on organic produce, but I’ve noticed recently that our grocery bills are now significantly smaller than they were a year ago, when my husband and I were eating more meat. And I’m not even a full-time vegetarian. But just by making a stir fry with tofu ($1.49 a container) instead of with chicken ($6.99 a pound) two nights each week, we save $44 a month — that’s $528 a year! You can imagine how much more we could save if we went meatless even three or four nights a week.

A few tips to keep your vegetarian grocery bills low:

  • Choose whole, unprocessed foods (beans, tofu, vegetables, grains) over ready-made vegetarian entrees (much as those Amy’s pizzas look tempting)
  • Use dried beans instead of canned ones (click here to learn how to soak and cook dried beans)
  • Buy staples like grains, beans, and nuts in the bulk bin section of your natural foods market

For those who can’t stand the thought of soaking beans and pressing tofu several nights a week, don’t fret: You can also afford to treat yourself to a night out more often, since ordering meatless off a menu is usually a lot cheaper, too (a vegetarian pasta at my favorite Italian restaurant costs a few dollars less than one with meat, and nearly $10 less than a meat-based secondi).

–Jennifer Grayson

Do this now: Check out this Monday’s menu on the Meatless Monday website.

More Meatless Monday posts:
Meatless Monday: Lean bean tacos
Forest Whitaker’s slimmed-down look: He’s a vegetarian!

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One Response to “How Meatless Monday saves you money”

  1. Start a Weekly Soup Night « Lisa's Foods on the Move Says:

    [...] Low cost. While we didn’t specifically start Monday Soup Night as part of Meatless Mondays, it’s turning out to be that way. Making a hearty, vegetarian soup with a homemade bread is a [...]

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