You can't fight it.
It's a necessary evil—
The simple task that seems like it should take 20 minutes ends up taking hours!
Creating the shopping list, driving to several different stores, and unloading your groceries ends up being an exhausting task.
Even after all of that work, you still might find yourself running out for miscellaneous items throughout the week!
Enough is enough.
It’s time to streamline grocery shopping so that you can save time, money, and a bit of your sanity! Here is what we’ll be covering in this article:
- The Ultimate Vegan Grocery List: A Foolproof List to Get You Started
- Healthy Grocery Shopping: Tips on Navigating the Stores and Saving Money
- Food Delivery Services: Grocery Shopping Online and Vegan Meal Services
Then let’s get started.
The Ultimate Vegan Grocery List: A Foolproof List to Get You Started
First things first, you need to know what to shop for!
Your grocery list is the foundation to a healthy vegan lifestyle. Here are the important food categories to consider:
- Nuts and Seeds
- High-Fat Foods
- Whole Grains
- Beans and Legumes
- Condiments, Spices, and Sweeteners
Keep these in mind when you are out on your grocery runs!
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are your opportunity to eat the rainbow.These food groups are low in fat, but high in important minerals and nutrients.
Not to mention—
They are delicious!
When it comes to shopping for fruit and vegetables, I have a few pointers:
1. Shop seasonally.
A sweet strawberry in the summertime and a crisp apple in the fall…. Delicious.
This tip will help you get the cheapest and most flavorful fruits to keep on hand in your kitchen. For more information on how to get started, check out this blog post.
2. Learn about the dirty dozen.
It’s not necessary to buy produce that is exclusively organic.
However, there are a few fruits and veggies you should consider buying organic whenever you can.
3. Buy the WHOLE fruit or vegetable.
Don’t waste money on pre-made salads or pre-cut food. Additionally, this pre-cut food is more likely to be contaminated by bacteria.
No thank you!
Here are versatile fruits that you should keep in your kitchen:
- Citrus fruits: Lemons, Grapefruit, Oranges, Tangerines
- Berries: Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries,
- Melons: Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Honeydew melons,
- Pitted fruit: Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Cherries
Having one or two different fruits from each category will help you diversify your recipes and get more nutrients throughout the day.
Let's talk about veggies!
Again, keeping a variety is the best option. Stock up on leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and root vegetables and you’ll be all set.
Here is a list of versatile vegetables that you’ll never get tired of:
- Collard Greens
- Bok Choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potatoes
When it comes to buying fruit and veggies, the kind you buy makes a difference. Let’s talk about fresh, frozen, canned, and dried produce.
If I were going to rank produce, it would go like this:
1st place: Fresh
2nd place: Frozen
3rd place: Dried
4th place: Canned
When eating fresh produce, you are getting the most nutrition out of your food.
Worried about food going bad?
Don’t worry! There’s nothing wrong with frozen produce.
Frozen produce maintains high nutrient content, so you aren’t missing out when you eat frozen food.This option is cheap, convenient, and less wasteful.
There is a lot of debate about fresh vs. frozen produce. The most important factor is actually how you prepare the food. If you are boiling your vegetables, the nutrients and vitamins will get leached about by the water. That’s why steaming or microwaving veggies is the best option!
Stock up on frozen produce!
In 3rd place we have dried fruit and vegetables. For convenience’s sake having dried fruit on hand is a great option.
Dried produce is high in fiber and nutrients, but they are also high in sugars. That’s why dried produce is good to have on occasion, but it is not a replacement for fresh or frozen produce.
Now let’s talk about canned produce…
Canned produce is convenient and cheap, but it might not actually be worth it.
Lots of nutrients are lost in the heat of the canning process or are absorbed by the water they are stored in. Plus, unhealthy salts, sugars, or preservatives are often added to canned foods.
For your health, you should try avoiding these preservatives whenever possible.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are important in every standard diet, but they are essential in a healthy vegan diet. That’s because they are the best source of omega 3’s, vitamin E, zinc, iron, calcium and selenium.
These are all nutrients that would be challenging for vegans to find elsewhere!
Luckily, nut butters and seed mixes are as yummy as they are healthy. Here are nuts and seeds to add to your grocery list:
- Pine nuts
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
If you don’t want to go through the store to hunt down all of these individual items, then these nut and seed mixes are what I recommend:
These delicious mixes will cover your bases!
Fat gets a bad wrap, but it’s actually an essential macronutrient in your diet!
Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats in your diet, but you’ll likely need a few more ingredients in your kitchen to round out your diet.
Here are some healthy vegan sources of fat to keep on hand:
- Coconut (Yes, shredded coconut flakes count!)
Grains are the base of many plant-based meals.
Sandwiches, stir fries, and pastas… just thinking about them makes me hungry.
Eating a healthy amount of whole grains has been shown to reduce heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. The important thing to remember about eating grains is to eat whole grains, not refined or processed grains.
Confused about the difference?
A good rule of thumb to follow is only pick up foods that have grains you can see, or that explicitly state “whole grains” on the packaging.
Here is a fool-proof list of whole grains to keep on hand the next time you’re grocery shopping:
- Whole-grain Oats
- Wild Rice
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grain Corn
- Whole-grain bread
- Whole-grain pasta
- Whole-grain wraps
Pick two or three whole grain staples to keep stocked in your pantry to use as the base of your meals throughout your week.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are the KEY to a healthy vegan diet!
Beans and legumes help your body regulate appetite, blood sugar levels, and heart health.
Want to know something awesome?
They are also filling, delicious and cheap. Here are beans and legumes to stock up on:
- Lentils (Red, Yellow, Brown)
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Navy beans
- Kidney beans
- Mung beans
It is also worth mentioning a few soy products that fall into this category:
- Tofu (silken or firm)
- Soy milk
Soy products are a great source of plant-based protein. Soy products also have zero cholesterol and are naturally low in saturated fat.
Tofu and tempeh can act as great “meat substitutes.”
Don’t believe us?
Just check out these 41 healthy recipes!
Condiments, Spices, and Sweeteners
Your grocery cart will be pretty full at this point!
Now it's time to add some serious flavor.
You won’t need to stock up on condiments and spices every time you go to the grocery store, but it's worth taking inventory each time you head out so that you can round out your kitchen.
Here are the vegan condiments and spices I recommend having:
Herbs and spices:
- Nutritional yeast
- Curry Powder
- Chili Powder
- Agave nectar
- Maple Syrup
- Cane sugar
- Soy sauce
- Steak sauce
- Vegan Mayo
- Hot Sauce
- Lemon/Lime Juice
- Vinegar (apple cider, white, balsamic)
- Vegan butter
This array of condiments, spices, and sweeteners is going to bring your vegan cooking to the next level.
Healthy Grocery Shopping: How to Navigate the Store and Save Money
Now that you have your list, the next question is:
“Where should I shop?”
As you can see from the staple ingredients on the ultimate vegan grocery shopping list, you don’t need to shop at an expensive health food store to get what you need! Your local grocery store will do just fine.
How you shop plays an unexpected role in your grocery run.
Here are our top 7 tips to help you navigate the grocery store and save yourself some money:
- Shop the Perimeter.
Grocery stores, like all stores, are designed to make you spend money.It’s not news that there are unhealthy and expensive processed foods around every corner.
If you stick to the perimeter of the store and only go into the aisles for what you absolutely need, you will save money and choose healthier options!
- Shop with a List.
Write down what you need at the grocery store ahead of time.This will save you from wandering through the grocery store, picking up whatever catches your fancy.
We’ve all had those grocery runs where our eyes pop out of our head once we reach the cash register!
Having a plan will keep your spending in check!
- Buy in Bulk.
Stocking up on whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds is going to save you time and money in the long run.
Bulk buying staples is also a great chance to explore shopping zero-waste! Buy your bulk items at a zero waste shop if you can. This small effort goes a long way in terms of helping the environment.
- Join Your Grocery Store’s Membership Program.
If you haven’t already, take the time to sign up for your local grocery store’s membership or loyalty program!
The little bit you will save each week adds up over time.
- Store Brands = Savings.
Don’t fall for the trap of only buying brand name food items! When you are at the store, try to stick to the store’s own brand. These items will have the highest savings.
- Don’t buy Pre-Made Food.
It can be so tempting to buy pre-made dinners, but try to resist!
Making your own recipes will save you money, reduce the amount of added preservatives in your diet, and be richer in nutrients.
- Use a Cash-Saving App for Grocery Shopping.
Apps like Ibotta and Cartwheel that help you save big when you are grocery shopping! Check out this list for an app that might help you.
Food Delivery Services: Grocery Shopping Online and Vegan Meal Services
It’s the 21st century, and you don’t need to go to the store to get your groceries.
Now more than ever grocery and meal delivery services are on the rise!
Grocery Delivery Services to Make Your Life Easier:
Ordering your groceries and having them delivered will help you save time. Most services charge a fee for picking out the food items and delivering them, but you will probably end up saving money since you won’t be impulse-buying at the store.
Here are a few of our favorite grocery delivery services:
Thrivemarket: This service highlights healthy and organic food options. They charge a monthly or annual fee, but it's a small price to pay for great food.
Another bonus is that this company strives to be eco-friendly by doing carbon-neutral food deliveries.
Instacart: This service sends personal shoppers out to local stores near you. They partner with stores like Costco, Krogers, and more!
Create a shopping list online and have your food delivered.
Simple as that!
Hungryroots: This food service is kind of like a mix of meal-delivery and grocery-delivery! This service has a ton of plant-based options I can’t wait to try.
Misfits Market: Want to save money on fresh produce?
Want to help eliminate food waste?
Then check out Misfits Market! This delivery service will send you discounted produce that looks a bit funny, but is totally delicious.
Meal-Kit Delivery Services for Women on the Go:
Want to add something special to your weekly food run?
There are a ton of vegan meal-delivery services that you can try out!
These services will send you boxes of ingredients that you can transform into a mouth-watering meal.
If you’re tired of asking yourself—
“What am I going to make for dinner?”
Then these services are worth giving a try!
Purple Carrot: These plant-based meal kits will leave you feeling like a professional chef!
GreenChef: This meal-kit pays special attention to being eco-conscious when it comes to their delivery and packaging. Choose from a variety of plant-powered meals!
Fresh n’ Lean: This service is organic and 100% vegan. These meals can also be whipped up lickety-split!
Less Talking, More Shopping!
There you have it! All you need to know about vegan grocery shopping.
Now you have the tips and tricks to do all of this:
- Save Money
- Save Time
- Eat Healthy
Now get started!
If you love what you’re reading and want to learn more about the vegan lifestyle, check out our article about plant-based protein tips.