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How to design your vegetarian grocery list

vegetarian grocery list at bulk food shop friends of the earth in collingwood

How to design your vegetarian grocery list

This blog post will show you how to prepare your vegetarian grocery list so that you will have an easy and enjoyable task of shopping for vegetarian food, and always have something on hand to eat delicious and healthy vegetarian food. 

The first thing that I would suggest when planning your vegetarian grocery list is to simply look for recipes you would like to make for the next week. Then you can buy the exact ingredients that you need for a week’s worth of food, and there will be no waste. Also, this is a great way to gradually collect the bulk staples that you will need for a tasty vegetarian diet, rather than buying them all in one hit. If a recipe that you like the look of has a serving of rice, then you can buy a nice supply of brown rice (if you are being healthy), and next time you will have it on hand. The same goes for herbs and spices. Working gradually that way, eventually, you will build a great pantry filled with lots of yummy staples for vegetarian cooking.

How many meals do I need to plan for a week?

Unless you really want to get into the whole vegetarian meal prep craze, I would suggest that to keep things fresh and interesting, you can start by cooking enough food for two nights of dinners, and enough lunch for three days lunch, including one treat or dinner meal out a week and one or more lunch meals out. The way this works out, you will need to find recipes (or use some of my suggestions) for three dinner recipes and two lunch recipes. I would suggest that you might like to eat the same breakfast most or every day, as this is easy, and if you have a delicious cereal on hand, it can set you up for a good day of decision making. 

high protein breakfast cereal and beautiful berries and yoghurt

Did you know that if you eat the same breakfast every day, the quality of your decisions during the day will be of higher quality?

What are some stapes that I can add to my vegetarian grocery list that I will use all the time?

Speaking of breakfast, I usually buy lovely muesli from my bulk store and top it with flaxseed (for omega 3 fatty acids) and high protein yoghurt, with high protein soy milk. I would suggest buying oat milk or soy milk rather than almond milk. Almond milk has very little nutritional value and it is not great for the environment. The best option for the environment is oat milk, but I find it hard to find a high protein oat milk. Your plant-based milk, if you drink it, should also be fortified with calcium. 

Another staple that I mentioned above was brown rice. It can be very helpful to have a stash of both rice and lentils, as these staples will be used regularly and can be easily turned into a delicious and protein-rich, nutritious meal. Olive oil and coconut oil are also helpful to have on hand. I also often turn to my fridge for red or green curry paste and of course, it is helpful to have a well-stocked spice rack. However, as mentioned above, if you buy these things as you need them, they can become staples. This will cut down the initial outlay of costs. 

Are there any foods that should be added to every grocery list?

I am a big fan of green smoothies. You can see a recipe for one here. They are a fantastic way to get lots of greens into your body, and also fruit. If you eat a lot of fruit anyway, you may not need green smoothies. I never really developed a taste for fruit, although I do love it, especially in smoothies, so drinking half a jug of green smoothie every day is a great way to get fruit and greens. It is also a great way to include some extra hydration. Your body will become more alkaline as a result, and it is a tasty way to start the day. 

If you are planning to eat oats or other cereal, I would suggest leaving 30 minutes between the smoothie and your cereal. I usually have a shower at this time. And I drink coffee after the muesli. It is a nice routine.

green smoothie with bonsai

The ingredients that you will need for each green smoothie are two pieces of seasonal fruit, one banana, two sticks of celery, two handfuls of one green leaf-like roquette, baby spinach, kale, or mesculin mix and another two handfuls of an alternative green leaf on your list. You also might like to add the juice of half a lemon if they are in season. Therefore for a week of green smoothies, you will need three (to four) pieces of two different types of seasonal fruit, a bunch of celery, three (to four) bananas, two big bags of green leaves, and lemons if you are using them.

What kinds of snacks should you add to your vegetarian grocery list?

Snacks are a great topic, that I plan to expand upon in a future topic. If you are feeling peckish between meals, there are some great vegetarian snacks that won’t break the bank or add lots of calories to your day. Some of these include Ryvitas (rye crispbread) with dip, or low-fat cheese, or hummus with small pita bread. Another great snack is a hard-boiled egg. You can mix up the different kinds of dips each week to keep things interesting, and the cheese will add to your calcium intake. 

french cheese course, trio cheese platter after dinner - french culture

Since I started taking a vitamin supplement each morning, I have lost the need to snack at all. I used to get hungry in the morning before lunch or in the late afternoon at the end of the working day. However, not anymore. I don’t snack at all anymore. And I am sure this is one of the reasons why I am consistently losing weight every week. The vegetarian diet certainly helps with weight loss, and vitamin D helps with appetite suppression. 

If you do get hungry between meals, don’t sweat it, but these kinds of snacks are more healthy than say chips, or cake, or chocolate.

What are the best places to shop?

I am a big fan of bulk food shopping. And this is common in many parts of the world. Usually, I split my vegetarian grocery list into x sections. The first is for items that I will need to buy from the supermarket, so these are kind of last resort things. Below that, I have a section for fruit and vegetables to buy from the fruit and vegetable shop or farmers’ market and on the back, I have a section for the bulk store. If I am buying fish, I also put this on the front right-hand top corner.

It is great if you have an online shopping option in your local neighbourhood. In Melbourne, Australia, I use Your Grocer and it is fantastic to be able to get groceries delivered to my door every day. That way, I just need to top up with a few things that are excessively more expensive on the site, or which I can’t get from their online shopping platform. 

your grocer bounty - home delivered groceries

The grocery list holds up well for online shopping too. Rather than going through recipes and selecting ingredients willy nilly, I tend to add the ingredients from the recipes to a master list (on a square of paper) while I am researching the recipes. Then you can online shop from your whole list and make sure that you get everything you need. 

Are there any other tips for my grocery list?

I would really suggest researching seasonal recipes where you can. The ingredients will be cheaper, fresher, and more environmentally friendly than eating a recipe with summer ingredients in winter, or vice versa. You can probably get the ingredients, but they certainly travelled further, and there is a cost for that. Also, supporting local farmers at your local farmer’s market is a great way to support local food production. 

vegetarian grocery list - farmer's market

I hope this list of tips helps you to get more practical with your vegetarian shopping list, and helps you to become more efficient, more healthy, and have more fun while you are shopping than previously.

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