5 Steps Toward Budget-Friendly Meatless Mondays

5 Steps Toward Budget-Friendly Meatless Mondays

Meatless Monday may have had its beginnings as a trendy, alliterative food blogger thing, but it’s actually a great strategy to incorporate into your weekly meal plan. Buying meat is expensive, especially if you’re feeding more than one person! Focusing on meatless options even just once a week can help you save dollars at the grocery store and encourage you to eat healthier.

However, if you’ve never dipped your toe in the vegetarian pool, it can be intimidating to know where to start. We promise it’s not just all salads and pasta. Meatless meals provide an opportunity to enjoy a ton of flavor and variety, so you’ll never be bored. Below, we’ve outlined five easy ways to get started on making Meatless Monday an affordable and fun new tradition.

1. Start with a Protein

Eating meatless meals doesn’t mean you have to give up protein. It just means you’ll have to get your protein from other sources. Foods like beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, and eggs all contain loads of protein. They’re also very affordable. These days, there are so many options for meatless options packed with protein. Some even look, cook, and taste like meat!

Check the natural or plant-based section of your grocery store. Pick out something that sounds good to you and give it a try.

2. Add a Whole Grain

Choosing to incorporate whole grains into your meatless meal is an easy and affordable way to bulk up your dinner. Whole grains are simply grains or seeds that have all three parts still intact (the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.) Whole grains are generally high in soluble fiber, too, which ensures they’ll keep you fuller, longer.

You could choose a whole-grain pasta or bread, or you could try something new like farro, barley, millet, quinoa, or brown rice.

Also, whole grains are usually sold in larger quantities, so they’ll last you a long time and won’t cost you a ton of money.

3. Bulk Up on Veggies

Vegetables are good for you – there’s no denying that. They also help round out meatless dishes and can be cooked in a variety of ways.

Portobello mushrooms are a great option for providing meatiness to a dish, and they absorb flavors well so they’ll soak up whatever spices you’re using. Sweet potatoes and other root vegetables are hearty (and affordable!) and can be steamed, roasted, or sautéed. Leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, are great raw or cooked, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower can take high heat cooking like roasting or grilling. Aromatic veggies like onions, peppers, and celery add great base flavors to almost any dish.

4. Spice it Up

Meatless certainly doesn’t mean flavorless. Plant-based protein sources and whole grains are blank canvases and serve as good bases for any flavor profile.

Do you have a favorite spice? Use it! Open to exploring new flavors? Great! Head to the spice aisle at your local market and check out what’s available. Pre-mixed spice mixes are a wonderful way to introduce your palate to new flavors, and they’re cost efficient – saving you from buying each spice individually.

5. Keep it Fresh

Try finding a new meatless recipe each week to keep things interesting. Almost every recipe website or food blog has meatless/vegetarian options. Many offer weekly e-newsletters that put new recipe ideas right in your inbox. By mixing things up, it’ll ensure Meatless Monday is less of a chore and more of a fun addition to your weekly menu.

Looking for More Good Eats on a Budget?

Beyond Meatless Monday, we’ve got several resources on our blog to help you eat well and stay healthy. Whether you want to learn more about feeding a large family on a budget, hosting an affordable holiday meal, or even growing your own veggies for future Meatless Mondays, we’ve got you covered.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.