How to be a Lazy Vegan – On the Cheap!

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I’m vegan. I really like naps. The entirety of my student finance went on rent in first year. All of this made me a lazy, cheap vegan. A lot of people seem to think being vegan is expensive and time consuming, when in reality you barely have to spend any money on food, or any time cooking. This is a list of tips on how to go vegan when you’re on a limited budget and don’t want to be in the kitchen a lot. It doesn’t have to be difficult, all you need is to be prepared!

Top Tips for Being a Lazy Vegan

  • Meal Prep

One of the most important steps in being a “lazy vegan” is meal prep, the importance of this cannot be stated enough. The first big thing you should buy for your flat is a freezer, so then you can cook a big pot of chilli, curry or a pasta bake, portion it up into tubs and freeze it. Then at night, just take two out, and lunch and dinner for the next day is sorted. It makes lunch so much easier, especially if you’re not sure how easy it is to find vegan food on campus. The union have drastically improved their vegan options, especially in The Bridge and The Shop, but it’s still good to know that you have tubs of meals ready to take with you and heat up in the uni microwave if you really need to.

  • Get Some Easy Go-To Recipes 

Knowing and practicing some simple, easy recipes that you can make in less than half an hour, makes life so much easier, especially when work seems to take over your life. You could have a spaghetti bolognaise in thirty minutes – around the time it would take you and your flatmates to order a Domino’s – and for a fraction of the cost. If you’re stuck for recipes, Deliciously Ella has an incredible selection and there are hundreds on YouTube – vegan food really doesn’t have to be complicated.

Top Tips for an Inexpensive Vegan Diet

  • Don’t be a Brand Snob

Whether you cook everything from scratch, it doesn’t really matter if it’s Asda Smartprice or Tesco Value. Tomato passata is tomato passata! It’s not really as important to get vegan branded products. Another point linked to this is to buy food, not food products. Know the difference. This means buy ingredients; vegetables, fruit, actual foods. As fantastic as things like vegan mince are, they can sometimes be pretty pricey and when you’re on a budget, so it’s not always justifiable. Buying vegetables and filling a good vegan chilli with them is just as good. They give the meal more substance and bulk it out. Plus, those ingredients are also incredibly cheap.

  • Broaden Your Horizons

Where a lot of people fall down is that when they become vegan they think they can only have fruits and vegetables. So they might make a salad for lunch, and then not actually be full. Instead of having just vegetables in salad, try adding some carbs, like pasta or a baked potato, and it’s instantly more filling. Pasta, rice and potatoes are so simple to make, can make a meal much more filling, and in the case of a pasta salad, it actually makes the vegetables go further so it lasts so much longer.

  • Bulk Buy

And if you’re using rice and pasta with most meals, bulk buy them. They’re already incredibly cheap anyway (29p for 500g of Asda pasta), but in places like Cash and Carry you can buy 5 kilo bags of pasta which should last you all year. They don’t need to be expensive, why get £1 bags of spaghetti, when the 29p ones taste exactly the same? It might not initially seem like a massive difference, but it definitely adds up.

Overall..

  • Shop Smarter!

One of the best tips on being a lazy and cheap vegan is to buy produce at fruit and vegetable markets. There’s one on the Redbrick every Monday with a wide range of healthy fruit and veg, and mezzo, so you can just do some shopping in between lectures. Also make sure you go to the International Foods shop on Portswood road. It’s amazing if you’re low on vegetables mid-week and often if you go at closing time you can get huge boxes of fruit and vegetables for £1 each that would just be thrown out otherwise.

Finally, learn what time your local supermarket reduces its vegetables and fruits and try to pick up some if you need them that night or the day after. The co-op downstairs below Mayflower Halls always has incredibly cheap potatoes, which can last for ages, and weirdly, pineapples often for 10-15p.

Living a vegan lifestyle takes time and research. You need to find out what your body needs and how best to get it, where you can always buy lunch if you need to on campus and what you can cook, especially if you’re pushed for time. Adapting your favourite recipes just takes practice, and as long as you follow these basic tips, you’ll be cheap and lazy in no time.

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Second year PAIR student and live editor. Fan of cats, tea lover, can be found rambling about politics and cats at @_Carly_May on Twitter.

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