Hi lovelies! Another foodie post for you all today, recently, Darren and I have been eating a predominately vegan diet. We chose to do this mainly for health reasons, as meat and other animal products tend not to be the best for your health, but also because for me at least, I tend to prefer vegetarian or vegan food and I love experimenting with different recipes. Whether or not I'll go fully vegan in the future I'm not 100% sure but I do definitely intend on continuing to eat vegan the majority of the time and minimise the amount of animal products I use not only in cooking, but in beauty products as well. My full list of reasons for switching to this lifestyle is a whole other post, so for today, I'm going to stick to the topic of being vegan on a budget. Like most people, I love to save money, I don't like paying over the odds for anything, especially food! However, like many people, I was under the impression that a vegan diet was expensive, at least more so than what we used to buy. However I couldn't have been more wrong!
For the best part of three months, Darren and I have been shopping mostly at Aldi, which I thought would be a problem when switching to vegan meals but once again, I was so wrong! While there are some things we can't find in our local Aldi, we still do the majority of our shopping there and our weekly bill has decreased dramatically since we've stopped buying animal products. This may be different in your Aldi, but the few things I have to go elsewhere for are;
Almond Milk - I've heard some Aldi's do do this though!
Soy 'Cheese' - I get Tesco's own brand for this, I don't eat much cheese usually but I put this on a pizza recently and you'd never have known the difference.
Tinned Lentils - Aldi do have a lot of tinned food and they do have dry lentils, so again, check your local store, but I have to go to Tesco or Sainsbury's if I want these.
Dates - There was a section for these in our store until recently, but they seem to have stopped doing them - boo!
Cous cous - I may just not have been looking hard enough but I cannot for the life of me find cous cous in Aldi! Let me know if you have and which aisle you found it in if so!
Spices - Aldi do stock some spices, but you may need to try other supermarkets for others.
With the things you can't get out of the way, let's get onto the long list of things you can! I love to stock up on essential staple items at Aldi around once a month so this includes rice, pasta, oats, canned beans, canned chickpeas, sauces (pasta, chilli, curry etc), tinned tomatoes, frozen fruit, frozen veg, bread (which I tend to freeze and use when I need it) and, nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate (yes this is an essential in our house!). These are all things with a long shelf life, or that you can freeze and keep for a long time. These basic items will mean you'll pretty much always have something ready to go for meals even if you haven't done a full food shop in the week. Bonus - almost everything I listed here excluding the nuts and dried fruit is always under £1 - bargain!
As for weekly shops, we tend to do 'top up' shops consisting of lots of fresh fruit and veg, hummus, frozen veggie burgers for lazy nights, pitta breads, treats (so many of their crisps and biscuits are vegan so it's worth a look!) and then any little extras we may need. Sometimes these weekly shops can be as little as £15 or below, depending on how much we already have in the house.
Incase you need a bit of inspiration or don't really know where to start with a vegan diet, I'm going to suggest a few of my Aldi staples and how I use them.
Porridge Oats - these are 75p for a huge bag (I'm pretty sure it's a 1KG bag!), I prepare overnight oats with these every single night using 50g oats, 100ml almond milk, some frozen blueberries and a little maple syrup. It's a super simple, incredibly cheap breakfast and it tastes so good!
Canned Beans - My Aldi does a few types of canned beans such as Kidney Beans, Butter beans, chickpeas etc, the Red Kidney Beans are just 23p per can! I use these as a meat substitute when making things like chilli or bolognese. There also fab when made into bean burgers with sweet potato - I may save this recipe for another post!
Pasta, Chilli, Curry and Bolognese Sauces - These sauces are fab for when you can't be bothered to make your own or just want to make something super quick. Many of their sauces are vegan but you will need to double check, particularly with curry sauces. These aren't the best for you in terms of added ingredients so I would watch that if you're worried about additives or sodium it they're mostly pretty good. These are all generally around £1 or less too.
Pasta, Rice and Spaghetti - These are such great bases for meals and they're dirt cheap too! Aldi doesn't always carry brown or wholewheat versions so stock up if you spot them.
Produce - Fruit and Veggies! Aldi's selection of fruit and veg is fantastic and they also stock some organic which is fab if you're concerned about that. What's also great is they always have a weekly 'Super Six' offer where six fruits and veggies are reduced dramatically. They also have daily deals so you'll have to check those out whenever you go!
Pitta breads - We tend to eat pitta bread more than we do regular bread just because we prefer it and Aldi always have 6 wholewheat pitta breads for just 47p! I'll often buy a couple of packets and freeze them as these freeze really well.
I hope this has given you some insight into how to live a little healthier while saving money and I hope it proves that a healthy diet does not have to cost the earth! Let me know what you think and if you'd like to see more posts like this, perhaps some more recipes or food shopping hauls?
Share your thoughts in the comments! And if you have any healthy food posts on your blog right now, leave them in the comments as I'm obsessed with reading this sort of thing at the moment!
These are the few things that I get elsewhere almost every week. Of course, there are other items that Aldi doesn't stock such as vegan milk chocolate or branded vegan products such as veggie sausages (I love the Linda McCartney ones!), but these are not staples for me and they're just things I buy as treats! You also can't get specific vegan sweets in Aldi, though a lot of their snack foods are 'accidentally' vegan! My favourite place to go for a very occasional proper bag of sweets is M&S as I love their veggie Percy pigs! (m&s promo code 10 off)
Another thing Aldi is fab for is vegan treats, there's not the biggest selection, but the things they do have are fab! One of my favourites is their Dark Chocolate Digestives, it is so hard to find these anywhere else without dairy in the ingredients, but Aldi have done it! These along with some of the other items I'm going to list are often made in factories that handle milk products they cannot actually guarantee no milk, but there is none listed on the ingredients, so you'll have to make up your own mind on how you feel about that. Another favourite of mine is the Moser Roth Dark Chocolate range, our favourites are the Sea Salt and Orange and Almond bars. These are in no way good for you, but for me it's important to have little treats now and then in your diet and these are a yummy one and just over £1 for 5 individually wrapped bars! Not necessarily a treat, but Aldi do their own branded Gnocchi which I love and bonus, it doesn't contain any egg like a lot of Gnocchi does, this is amazing with a spicy pasta sauce as a seriously quick meal - fab after a long day at work! Finally, we also often buy their 'Passions' crisps in Salt & Vinegar, these particular ones are definitely vegan but I'm not sure about other flavours. These are like Kettle Chips but better and only 69p!
I think I'll leave this here for now as this post is getting seriously long, so congrats if you made it to the end!