I really wanted to put this out there to answer the many questions (more like comments) people throw at me when they see the shit I eat. I eat a super bland diet. I'm vegetarian, and transitioning vegan. I wont say I'm vegan 100% yet because I do occasionally indulge in eggs. For the most part, I avoid dairy at all costs. For 2018 however, I'm cutting the egg out too. So, if you're looking to cut out meat, or just eat something different, this is what I eat.
I wake up, shower, and boil lemon water. So that's like one quarter of a lemon squeezed into a mug of hot water. Sometimes I add apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and cayenne, but usually just leave it at the lemon. I drink while I get dressed and do my hair and face, by the time that's done I'm late so I'm on my way to work. When I'm at work I eat my breakfast. *Drumroll*
Japanese sweet potatoes. Or if they're out that week, normal sweet potatoes. I pre-bake them on Sundays, refrigerate them, then when I'm at work I heat one up in the microwave. I add nut butter, whatever I have, and cinnamon. It sounds weird, but it tastes like a good oatmeal and keeps you full for hours. So far, all you need is a lemon which is what 30 cents? A sweet potato which is a little less than a dollar, cinnamon which you probably already have, and nut butter which depending on what kind you get can be 3-6$. So that's a cheap ass breakfast.
My other two breakfasts are a little different. Usually I stick to the sweet potato but if I have time ie. I'm not at work I make breakfast tacos from sautéing potatoes, mushrooms, radish, spinach, onions, and peppers (all cheap veggies) with some avocado and hot sauce. I also love having veggies like radish and peppers because they take a while to go bad. If your issue is also that veggies go bad before you eat them, you can always freeze them!
That's really it for my breakfast, unless I make a smoothie on top of my breakfast. If I'm super hungry, like the weeky before.. that time.. I usually do that. My everyday smoothie is pineapple, mango, kale, banana, water, turmeric. I get my frozen fruit in bulk and my frozen bananas I usually buy cheap bananas that are about to go bad, cut them up, and freeze them.
I work in an office, so, I have a microwave and fridge and all that. I eat the same lunch everyday too. Once again, I make it on Sundays and it will usually last me all week and if it doesn't then on Friday I treat myself to Dos Toros. (I get a burrito with farro, veggies, guac, lettuce, beans, and hotsauce).
I eat this rice pasta for lunch. The Tinkyada brand is my favorite (It's about 3$ a bag) but I've tried the ancient hills? brand and it was good too. I get the spiral because it holds up the best. I eat rice pasta instead of normal because it gives me more energy. I'm sure there's a scientific reason for that but as I've started to eat healthier I've cared less about the reason for eating food and just eating things that make me feel good. So yeah, I boil the pasta. On Sunday of course. I throw things into that same pot of boiling rice pasta, sometimes it's just left over veggies. Usually it's like; frozen broccoli, frozen peas, and sun-dried or cherry tomatoes. I drain the pasta and the now cooked veggies, put it back in the pot, and throw in some chopped up spinach or arugula (whatever I have) and it wilts. Then I add olive oil, some lemon, pepper, and garlic. I put it in a big ass tub and I take a little everyday for work. If you're feeling freaky, add tomato sauce. Whole Food's brand 365 has one that's vegan and its like 2$.
I know, I know. That sounds boring. But it's just food. Not every meal needs to be a chopped cheese. Not every meal has to be over the top. We eat to give us energy. If you eat some crazy shit every meal then when is anything a treat or a reward? If I'm really not feeling my pasta lunch, which I always am because I am pasta, I eat a veggie burger. I always keep them on hand. I buy Dr. Praegers veggie burgers and eat them with mustard, spinach, avocado, and pickles on a spelt english muffin. The veggie burgers are a little over 4$ for a pack of 4 so it's like a dollar a burger.
I'm not a math person so I'm not even gonna try. But I'm assuming that lunch I eat is like a little under 5$ a day. So plus my 1$ potato breakfast I'm not even hitting 10$ before lunch.
Dinner could go anyway. I often eat a veggie burger, if I didn't eat it for lunch. If I go workout, on my walk home I get a wrap from the bodega (whole wheat wrap with: cucumber, carrots, corn, beats, peppers, onions, spinach, honey mustard, and avocado -pressed on the grill). Usually that's about 4$-5$ since there's no meat in it. Sometimes I make a smoothie and a salad. Sometime's I eat english muffin pizza with kite hill "mozzarella" and tomato sauce. But usually, I find something from Pinterest and throw it all together. If I order spanish food, or eat my boyfiend's mom's food, I eat: rice, beans, avocado, and maduros. You truly have more options than you think but you also have to eat shit a little while you're getting used to it. Sometimes I go out with my friends and all I can eat are french fries and an appetizer salad.
I'm gonna throw it out there that I eat constantly. When I snack I eat a lot of applesauce. I know, I eat like a child. I either buy it from Whole Foods or if I have a lot of apples that are about to go bad I boil them down, mash them up, and add cinnamon and lemon. Can't beat it. I snack on almonds often. Also, avocado with some siracha, all you need is a spoon. My last snack is obviously hummus. Hummus or nut butter with carrots and celery. Classic. Plus the obvious whole fruits: oranges, apples, bananas.
I wasn't trying to wait and take a million pictures to post this. So if you read all of this congrats. I eat probably around 15$ worth of food everyday. I could not at all believe a meat eaters diet is cheaper. My diet sounds boring doesn't it? But it's not. It's satisfying, and on the weekends I treat myself. What you should really invest in if you want to change your diet is a tongue scrapper, it helps change your pallet. It will help you get used to new food. Trust me, after eating a normal, natural diet that feels good for you.. when you try to go back to you typical unhealthy diet you wont feel good and you wont want it.
If you find it hard to stop eating bad food try to start eating foods with minimal ingredients. I try my best to eat things that are just one or two ingredients, ingredients that I know. And double up your water intake. This is just my minimal diet and I posted it because it is truly inexpensive and a lot of the meals I eat sneak veggies in. (I always throw spinach in things because it tastes like nothing and it's amazing for you). I also do other things like drink pure cranberry juice and apple cider vinegar to detox. But some of those things can get a little more expensive so I'll save it for another time.
If you're thinking of transitioning into a meatless diet, start taking a B12 supplement. It'll help you transition, my boyfriend said at first he felt weak for a few weeks. Then he got over it. I honestly think a lot of it is mental. Also, never starve yourself. If you're hungry EAT. If you're eating whole foods: fruits & veggies. Your body will process them faster than something heavier like meat and dairy. So don't be alarmed if you're snaking on almonds and bananas with peanut butter all day at first. It's normal.
My last tid bit is to try to stray from soy products if you're going to go veg. It's not that great for you, while it's better than meat or dairy, the whole point of a plant based diet is to eat some damn plants. Eat the plants. Drink the water. Eat things that have energy. You'll feel amazing.