Vegan on a (student) budget
October 10, 2018
A vegan diet can be simple enough if based on starches, home-cooked beans, fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit. Main advice from experience as a frugal first-year student: buy in bulk and skip the luxuries.
Oats (R20, ±700g per week) or toast (R16 per week) are both affordable and filling. Add a handful of seeds (R20 per week) and raisins (R20 per week) for good measure and that comes to about R60 per week.
Sandwiches are by far the easiest option, with a tablespoon peanut butter – high protein and high energy. Alternatively, half an avo, half a can of baked beans or a few slices of Fry’s polony with veggies and mustard.
That’s about R16 a loaf per week and max R24 a tub of peanut butter for two weeks. If you choose avo or baked beans, that will be R6 per avo x 3 (R18) or R10 per tin baked beans x2 (R20) per week. That comes to a max of R36 per week.
A banana, apple and orange every day will come to about R30 per week.
This is where you can really get variety, and cheaply, if you cook in bulk!
– With starch: rice (basmati, jasmine, risotto), couscous, pasta, barley – ranging from R10/1kg rice to R32/500g box couscous – enough for one week
– With legumes: lentils, sugar beans, black beans, kidney beans, split peas, chickpeas – ranging from R17 a packet (uncooked) to R17 a tin, (cooked, about half the amount).
– Canned tomato with some onion and garlic is an excellent base – add frozen veggies (R30 a packet!) or one or two fresh vegetables like carrots, butternut, peppers, broccoli, etc.
When I cook, this usually comes to not more than R70 for a week of dinners!
Your pantry stock – such as oil, sauces (soy, tomato, B-well mayo, mustard) and spices, tea and coffee – will cost the most, but you can collect them over time and then they last for months!
Total it up!
R60 + R36 + R30 + R70 – throw in a box of plant milk at R24 and a chocolate bar at R10, and we have R230 per week. Who knew that healthy, varied food could be so affordable?
Article written by UCT student Céline Gravenor for ProVeg South Africa