Most people think that a vegan diet is synonymous with expense, but this isn’t true. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a planned vegan diet can be healthy, nutritionally-adequate, and prevent and fight certain diseases. It also involves many foods you already eat — fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and is often cheaper than a diet comprised of animal products — not to mention healthier. To make a vegan diet work on a tight budget, pay consideration to where you shop, the foods you buy, and the recipes you make.

Shop smart

Make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck by comparing prices at different stores. Go for generic-brands over named-brands and you’ll instantly notice a price drop. Next, focus on the price per weight rather than the overall unit price. Many cheaper items are often more expensive if you calculate the price per weight.

Eat whole foods

Make whole foods the bulk of your diet and you’ll be able to meet your nutrition needs for little money. Starchy foods in particular, sweet potatoes, brown rice, pasta, are cheap, filling, nutrient-dense, and great for weight loss.

Buying in bulk usually offers the best price per weight, so this is a great choice for flours, oats, pasta, rice, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Additionally, frozen fruit is often cheaper than fresh. You may want to use frozen fruit in your smoothies, oatmeal, and baking.

Prepare your own meals

Eating out at restaurants is costly and should be reserved as an occasional treat if you’re on a budget. Make your own meals at home and portion them out into reusable containers to take with you on-the-go. Preparing large batches of curries, soups, chilies, and pasta means you’ll have enough for the week (store leftovers in the fridge or freezer).

Skip substitute foods

Vegan meat and cheese substitutes are often similarly priced to their non-vegan counterparts. However, making them staples in your diet gets expensive. Buy substitute foods sparingly (or only when they’re discounted). Rest assured, fulfilling, flavorsome vegan burgers, pizza, and pasta dishes can be created easily without extra expense.

Eating a healthy vegan diet is delicious and easy with planning and preparation. Stick to whole foods and you’ll get a wide variety of nutrients at a low cost, don’t forget to eat your greens. Get ready to say hello to delicious food, a happier bank account, and greater health.