Grocery Shopping For the Vegan Challenge
Today starts week one of the vegan challenge. Here's how I prepared.
Last week I announced that I was starting a vegan challenge. Well, this week I finally get to put all of my research to the test.
One of the biggest worries that I had going into this challenge was what I would eat on a day to day basis. In my non-vegan life, I never planned meals or organized a grocery shopping list; I just bought what looked good. However, with a more restricted diet, I have found that it is essential to have a plan of action.
Both vegan cookbooks that I picked up from Borders suggested compiling a meal plan and grocery list at the start of the week. Easy enough, right? I went through each cookbook, highlighting recipes that sounded appetizing. Red bean chili with corn? Black bean burgers with sweet corn relish? Déjà Vu Sloppy Joes? Check, check, and check.
Next was the fun part: making the grocery list. I simply made a spreadsheet with all of the ingredients I would need to purchase. I crosschecked it with what I already had on hand. Easy as (vegan) pie!
In the end, I found everything I needed at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Shop 'n Save. Here are some tips that may help during your shopping trip (vegan or not!)
Have a plan.
Decide over the weekend what you'd like to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the upcoming week. Meal planning and making a grocery list are key for staying organized and saving a lot of time in the long run.
You may end up visiting more than one store.
If you're looking to save the most money and score the best deals on vegan items, chances are you're going to have to visit more than one store. Trader Joe's is great for frozen vegetables, whole grain breads and meat substitutes. Schnucks (and sometimes Shop 'n Save) has great produce at a reasonable price. Whole Foods has a wide selection of vegan cheeses, specialty grains and dairy-free milks and yogurts. Shop 'n Save is good for "staple" foods like canned goods, crackers and snacks.
Keep an eye out for deals.
Whole Foods often has coupons on their website available to print out. Shop 'n Save's Facebook page often advertises in-store specials. Trader Joe's has a Fearless Flyer circular that highlights great deals throughout the store.
I can't express how excited I am to take on this vegan challenge. While it is certainly a more restrictive diet than what I'm used to, I think it will be a lot of fun discovering new ingredients, recipes and meat alternatives along the way. I'll admit it: I'm not a huge fan of grocery shopping, but I actually had fun perusing the aisles in search of vegan ingredients.