It’s ALWAYS confusing when you’re first becoming vegan and you…
A) don’t have a big budget
B) live in a small town and can’t find a whole foods or other luxury grocery store
C) Have no earthly idea what weird long ingredients are even safe to eat.
So here is my Meijer survival guide.
It always starts with bananas.
Bananas are the most versatile grocery item I buy. I get 2 huge bundles because I cut up and freeze one bundle and use the second daily for smoothies, cereal, ice cream etc. $5.89
My next favorite thing is mini watermelons! I have NOTHING against huge watermelons either, trust me but with off seasons and especially at Meijer you will most likely find these little guys for about $5 each. I really don’t have a plan for these most of the time, Sometimes I cut and store them to eat but honestly, especially in the mornings I will just eat a mini watermelon for breakfast. $4.99
These are pretty nifty. I went to Meijer at 10pm, It was a very busy day and so unfortunately fresh dill had been cleared out as well as mint. 😦 These are great in my case. I use dill in any potatoe recipe I make, I love dill. I also got a lemongrass, for salad dressings. $3.99 may seem like a lot but the shelf life of these vs. fresh is great and it’s so packed full of herbs only a little squeeze will do for just about anything you’re cooking.
I can’t tell you how much lentils I eat but I can tell you there’s no such thing as too much lentils. Do I want or have time to cook them? Nope. So these steamed lentils vacuum sealed and ready to go are perfect for me. I find these next to the salad and dressings. $2.99
I don’t usually eat processed, crap food.. but when I do, it’s got Ben & Jerry’s written all over it. You can find Ben & Jerry’s new non dairy ice creams next to their regular crap dairy ice creams. Still processed, still unhealthy but I just don’t care. $5.49
There are a LOT of amazing milk alternatives out there but my new favorite is this dark chocolate walnut milk. I typically try to stay away from soy products because it does take a lot of processing to make soybeans into tofu and milk. I’ll eat tofu maybe three times a month. Silk was usually a no-go but their walnut milk is amazing. $4.29
Now here’s the real MVP. Califia almond milk is my go to. Yes I do get some sort of sweet milk like chocolate or a different flavor to cure my sweet tooth but this milk is the cereal milk. The thirst quenching milk, the milk you grab when your tongue is on fire. It is not sweetened, it just has a great coconut after taste that I love with anything. Not too overpowering to but in savory recipes either. Just right. They also have unsweetened vanilla and I’m a fan of that as well, I usually alternate. $3.99
Field roast is my favorite “faux meat” brand. I love their field sausage and these breakfast sausages are so good! I make them with tofu scramble. 12 sausages $4.99
Nutiva is a great fair trade, vegan brand I follow that offers many things, unfortunately Meijer only offers one of those amazing things. Coconut oil shortening is what I use in all of my cooking and with 100% less cholesterol than regular butter? It’s a no brainer. Great for baking, frying and sauteing, grilling… you get the point. $6.49
Ah, chia seeds… the greatest of seeds in my book. Chia seeds have dietary fiber, protein, Omega 3, Omega 6, Calcium, Copper, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. That’s just off the top of my head, you could probably find way more nutrient facts on them. What do they actually do you ask? Well, they are a mood booster, they have anti-aging properties, they help (and some people say reverse) diabetes, they’re good for heart health and digestive health. The use of these seeds is endless but you could start with chia pudding and putting chia seeds in smoothies.
If you’re one who likes to bake and you’re asking how you can ever have your favorite recipes vegan, here ya go. Neat egg is an egg substitute specifically for baking. I have some baking of my own to do this week so into the basket it goes. $4.99
Ready to go snacks, these are pretty great for when you’re so busy you have to have lunch at your desk. (me almost everyday) cooked quinoa and a blended sauce, I also got a mango jalapeño flavor. Ingredients: Quinoa, red bell pepper, sunflower oil, hot red pepper, cane vinegar, potato starch, salt, jalapeño, garlic and parsley spices. $3.29Soups, I love soup. I could probably live off of soup. You can find Amy’s vegetable barley or lentil vegetable in the soup aisle. Both vegan, both delicious. YOGURT. First off, I’d like to say that just one month ago I was on strong antibiotics and as any female will know I was forced to buy yogurt. At the time, I had no idea there was such a thing as vegan yogurt and Walmart only had dairy so I ended up getting a small tub of greek yogurt that sat in my fridge for two weeks. I was so reluctant to eat dairy and disgusted at the thought, that I never touched it. This my friends, is coconut milk yogurt and ladies it has LIVE CULTURES like every other yogurt out there and it is delicious. You’re welcome. $1.69 each.
Butter, well not really butter. Earth balance spreads taste like butter, look like butter and most importantly, spread like butter. 10/10 I use the original tub and it is specifically for toast or muffins in the mornings. $3.99
If you aren’t afraid of processed foods, go for the frozen meat section of Meijer and you will eventually find the faux meats. These are all great. My favorite out of these would be the Gardein crispy tenders on the top shelf, these are always in my freezer. Just so you meat lovers out there know, there is a faux meat for every real meat and I promise, you’d be surprised at the taste.
I’m convinced Amy is my spirit animal. Tofu scramble is always in my freezer as well. Maybe three or four to be exact. It’s a great way to get crap ton of protein in your breakfast and they taste phenomenal. 9oz. for $3.99
Hummus, I love hummus. This is my go to “junk food” chips and hummus. I do love guacamole however, it’s still a lot of fat to have as a snack. I usually have two avocados a month maybe, when I crave them. $3.49 + $3.99
My hummus chip. Blue corn chips, four ingredients. $3.99
Last but not least candy. I love chocolate and I used to love Reese’s but Theo peanut butter cups are not only the bomb.com they are fair trade and vegan. $1.79 each.
All together this trip was $162.30 for 50 items. Considering the lowest income families in America spend $200/month on groceries, this is not bad. This trip will last me 2.5 weeks.
I spend on average $250-$300 a month on groceries when I can afford it. If for some reason I’m in a bind I can easily live off of $125 a month on a vegan diet. Primarily frozen veggies, bags of potatoes and quinoa.
Any items not listed are everyday foods, this post was to enlighten vegans or the vegan curious about little known vegan foods and my personal staples. Other items below.
- Bags of red potatoes
- 2 Big containers of spring mix salad
- Big bag of spinach
- Two grapefruit cups
- Bean sprouts
- Organic firm tofu
- Frozen organic broccoli
- Frozen organic Asian mix vegetables
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Two for $3.00 avocados
- Sprouted whole wheat bread
- Alexia sweet potato tots
- Mudhava organic coconut sugar and cane sugar baking blend mix