I went Ovo-lacto vegetarian on September and restarted WW the same day. WW had a 50% off deal that made the cost much better.
What I found out about the cost of being vegetarian:
1. It can be very economical. (Not this month! I made some big boo boos.)
2. I love shopping at ALDI for staples.
3. Hy-Vee has most of what I need. Much of it is less expensive at ALDI.
4. Good quality knives and blender are essential. (I need to replace both.)
5. I need to be realistic about what I cook based on my income.
6. Brown rice, quinoa, and dried beans are very important to your budget.
I also changed the recipe/menu planner that I use. I had found Food Planner and its premise is very good . It is very quirky, takes a lot to set up and doesn't import recipes from the web very well. Another plus is that its free. So I went in search of a different app and found Plan to Eat. It isn't free but isn't expensive at $40/year or $4.95/month. And there's a 30 day free trial. It does an excellent job of importing recipes from the web and I love the freezer and queue options. Check it out!
I plan to try at least one new recipe a week at dinner. Breakfast and lunch are a work in progress. Most of the time breakfast is 1 cup of steel cut oatmeal and a half cup of fruit. Lunch is 1 cup of some kind of beans over a cup of brown rice with a serving of green veggies or a sandwich and brown rice and serving of veggies.
For me, having a rice cooker has been a tremendous help. I make my brown rice, steel cut oats, and quinoa in it. Simple and it lets me do other things while it cooks. I can also steam veggies in it. I use it several times a week. I cook dried beans in my slow cooker.
I learned that I can't make all of the recipes that I want with fresh veggies so I'll be using frozen one to replace a lot of the fresh ones. Another good reason to use frozen veggies is that they keep longer. Thank goodness that I have an upright freezer in the basement.
On the first of every month I'l be making a trip to ALDI for staples: This will be $30 -
$50. A trip to Hy-Vee to fill in what I can't get at ALDI and a trip to Whole Foods for things like tofu, seitan, tempeh, vegan cheese and margarine.....
I should be able to eat very well for $150 or less a month.
In my next post I will list the staples I keep and the small appliances and kitchen tools I think are essential.