Nutritional Bang For Your Buck

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that “a plant-powered lifestyle is too expensive for most people to maintain.”

I call BS on that misconception. If we eat in season and focus on whole-foods, I can assure you it’s a lot cheaper and healthier than eating a flesh-based lifestyle. It’s known as a poor man’s diet for a reason. Plants are also what many 2nd and 3rd world countries are able to survive on it.

Meat is a symbol of wealth and status—it has been for centuries. It’s so deeply ingrained in our psyche that it takes a large number of us preaching the health benefits of reducing or eliminating animal products just to make a small dent in the overall planetary consumption. Meat can run $2-10/lb and that’s not even organic.

Most of the vegetables below are the same price or less than that meat price and will yield the same or more in the way of meal preparation. If you focus on the most nutrient dense foods, you’ll eat less. When your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, your hunger isn’t satisfied.

This is what I think of when I’m told plant foods are more expensive. I’ve been on very tight budgets and was an organic, plant-powered chef for nearly a decade. I know the costs of animal products, including the cost to our planet.

To show you just how easy it can be, I’ve listed a variety of plant-powered foods and their price range. When you see *, please make sure to purchase this food organically, as it is one of the Dirty Dozen (highest chemical concentration). The pricing takes purchasing organic into consideration. Buying frozen options can reduce costs as well.

In addition, I’ve listed these foods in order of how nutrient-dense their profile is. You can now budget for optimal wellness. I’ve even listed the season in which they are readily available. Buying in-season saves you money AND the planet. Buying local means fewer greenhouse emissions from large trucks delivering food. It also reduces or eliminates the need for chemical cocktails that keep our produce at just the right ripening level.

Produce shouldn’t require fancy math formulas so it can be picked early, sprayed to ripen in x-number of days while on a truck, with even more chemicals sprayed on it to keep it from ripening further when it gets to the store.

Food shouldn’t be complicated. We shouldn’t be lab rats in a science experiment for Corporate Greed. Here’s how you can fight back and reclaim your health on a budget!

Food (in order of nutritional power) Cost Meal Suggestions


Dark, leafy greens (spinach*) $5/lb Kale chips, salads, smoothies Spring, Fall
All other green vegetables (celery*, zucchini*) $3-5/ea Salads, sautés, soups, vegetable broths All
Mushrooms $3/ea Salads, sautés, soups Spring
Beets, bell peppers* $3-5/lb Salads, sautés, soups Spring/Winter
Onions, garlic $3 Salads, sautés, soups Spring/Winter
Carrots $1/lb Salads, sautés, soups, vegetable broth Winter
Cruciferous (e.g.Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels) $1-3/lb Salads, sautés, soups (best when lightly steamed, try to avoid raw) All
Eggplant $1-2/lb Salads, sandwiches, sauces Summer/Fall
Sprouts $3-4/ea Salads, sandwiches, raw soups Spring
Tomatoes* $3-5/lb Salads, sandwiches, sauces Winter
Artichokes/artichoke hearts

(pricing is each fresh/canned unit)

$3-4/ea Salads, grain dishes, snacks Summer
Berries* $3-6/lb Fruit bowls, banana ice creme topper Spring/Summer
All other fruits

Apples*, grapes*, pears*, nectarines*, peaches*

$1-3/ea or per lb Fruit bowls, oatmeal, smoothies All

(1 lb = 2 c dried = 6 c cooked)

$1-3/lb Burgers, dips, dressings, soups Fall/Winter
Raw nuts & seeds $6-10/lb Raw crackers, cheezes, salad toppers Winter
Colourful starchy veggies $1-3/lb Roasted salads, smashed, soups Fall/Winter
Whole grains $2-5/lb Breakfast, lunch, dinner – the options are truly endless with grains! All
Potatoes* $1.5/lb Roasted salads, smashed, soups All

What are your thoughts?

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