Plant Based on a Budget Challenge

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As most of you know, several Plant Based on a Budget contributors will be putting together FREE meal plans to show that eating a plant based diet can be inexpensive. There have been a lot of questions about what exactly we’re planing, so I’d like to give a little clarification and back story.

The first blog post that I wrote for Plant Based on a Budget explained a little about my family’s health, what it was like for me to grow up in a low-income household and my mission for this blog. So often, I hear that being vegan is for those who are financially privileged and that it isn’t achievable on a fixed low-income — I want to prove that wrong.

Personally, I think that “food stamp challenges” and things like that are a little insensitive to folks who permanently have very little food money, so instead, we’re framing this as a “Plant Based (on a) Budget Challenge”. How smart can we be with our money? How much better can we treat our bodies? As Stic mentions in his “7 Ways to Eat Good on a ‘Hood Budget” article,  we spend money on just about everything else but preserving our health.

Another motivating factor on this blog (and in my life) has been 2 Pac’s song, “Changes”. In the song he says, ” It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes: let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we treat each other. You see, the old way wasn’t working, so it’s on us to do what we gotta do to survive”. I seriously can’t agree more with that statement.  We are the only people who can take full responsibility for our health — it’s time to stop making excuses, and change ourselves to better our health and the health of the planet.

With this challenge, we are going to do our best to make weekly plant based meal plans that are cheap, easy and a whole lot healthier than packaged foods like Kraft’s Mac’n’Cheese or fast food burgers. I can’t speak for Terrence (who is planning for a family of four) or Grace (planning for a couple), but I will be focusing on ingredients like rice, beans, lentils, etc and produce. At least one of my meal plans will be gluten-free.  You don’t need to follow along immediately, but whenever you decide to take our challenge we’d love to hear about it. Each of us will have four weeks of meal plans. And if you would like to create your own $25 per week/ per person meal plans, we’d love to see them.

We truly, truly would also appreciate everyone keeping negative comments and criticisms to themselves. We are doing this because we are very passionate about introducing people to the idea that eating a plant based diet is accessible. We are volunteering weeks of our time and it is a lot of work. If you don’t like our meal plans, please create your own and show us how it’s done. 😉

For more information and to RSVP for updates:

And if you have further questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail from the “Contact Us” section.

Comments (30)

  1. posted by helen on October 27, 2013

    I’m looking forward to it and I’m so excited that I have found your site!!! I have been here for a few weeks now and I have literally tried almost all the recipes……… more morning star or other vegetarian brands( not really but not as much)…….very happy that you all are doing this, what a great help for anyone regardless of budget these food are tasty…….even my evil(lol) meat eating hubby is eating the meals too!

    • posted by Krismas on October 31, 2013

      I thank you for doing this. I am one of those on food stamps who has a handicapped/disabled spouse and 3 small children. My job is his caregiver so there is only his disability check as our families income. I truly want to learn how to eat better with my family. This is such a sweet thing you all are doing And I am very very thankful. I will be posting how it goes for my family. Thank you again

  2. posted by Lesley on October 27, 2013

    I am so excited to start this challenge! I am so very grateful for everyone working so hard to put this together! Love the fact that negativity will not be tolerated… we need more of that in the world!
    Thank you for this challenge, it’s going to be so interesting and amazing!!

  3. posted by Lanee on October 27, 2013

    Thank you for taking the time to help low income families eat better for their health.

  4. posted by denise on October 27, 2013

    i’ve just recently found your site too and LOVE it. thank you!!

  5. posted by Amy on October 28, 2013

    I think its awesome that ya’ll are doing this! I’ve recently moved our family from a dairy/egg heavy vegetarian diet to a whole foods plant based diet, and its been quite interesting making that switch on my budget. Reading your post made me decide to calculate how much I’m actually spending per meal, and for a family of three, I’m spending an average of $4 a meal! I was very proud of myself, especially once I realized that average also includes the small amount of eating out that we do! Thanks for your hard work! I think there’s a lot more strapped plant eaters out there than it seems!

  6. posted by Naomi on October 29, 2013

    I completely love all of y’all and what you are doing!

  7. posted by Laura Hickman on October 29, 2013

    I have been a “junk food” vegan for 2 years. I need to learn to eat healthy , tasty food that I can afford and that my non vegan family might actually eat! Any advice or help appreciated 🙂

  8. posted by Meridith on October 30, 2013

    I’m excited to learn new tips and tricks to save money at the grocery store every week! Thanks for doing this!!!!

  9. posted by Tegan on October 31, 2013

    I’m glad to see more bloggers addressing this subject. Over the last few years my family has gone from newlywed high-school sweethearts with a $10/week budget, to a family of 5 (both adults in college) with $150/mo budget. It amazes me to hear people say you need a lot of money to eat well. I have to wonder if they’ve ever really had to- from experience I can tell you, you get very resourceful when you have hungry kiddos and a tight purse! Still we eat better than many people I know who have 4-5x our budget. It takes a little work, but it’s completely possible. I look forward to gleaning ideas from this challenge!

  10. posted by Laurel on November 1, 2013

    Okay, feeling kind of dumb. Where ARE the plans, exactly?

  11. posted by Jennie on November 1, 2013

    I’m looking forward to putting healthy meals on the table for my family while staying on a budget. Thanks so much for all your time and effort to do this!

  12. posted by Robin on November 2, 2013

    I’m thankful that you all are willing to do this. We’ve been eating a plant based diet for almost 2 years now and it hasn’t been as expensive as I thought it would be. A structured meal plan with a budget in mind would really help me be even more successful, though! Thanks!

  13. posted by Barb Overton on November 4, 2013

    Does a person have to join at the event page to get recipe updates, or is that just for those actually in the challenge?

    • posted by Toni on November 4, 2013

      You can also follow us on Facebook or sign up for our e-alerts (in the “Contact Us” section). 🙂

  14. posted by Kae on November 4, 2013

    Yay! I’m very excited to see the results of this project. Thank you for doing this! 🙂

  15. posted by Cindy on November 4, 2013

    So cool! My mother-in-law sent me the link for this. I can’t wait to share it with a couple people who would be interested in reading up on it! Thanks for putting it together.

  16. posted by A. Schroeder on November 4, 2013

    This is awesome!! Thank you for taking the time to offer this challenge. I am really excited about it!!

  17. posted by Rosie on November 6, 2013

    This is awesome. I can’t wait to spread the word about this with my fellow student Dietitians in London. I will also do a post on this as one of the meal plans is going to be gluten-free and will of course be doing the challange myself. Thanks for putting in all this extra work to make this happen 🙂

  18. posted by Heather Winkler on November 7, 2013

    Can’t wait! I think it is great what you are doing!

  19. posted by Deana Dupree on November 8, 2013

    Is it starting today?

  20. posted by Lisa Reynoso on November 22, 2013

    Yeah, the whole “being vegan is expensive” is for people who rely on fake veggie meat. Beans are cheap. Dry beans are even cheaper. I’ve fed our family of then 4 for under $400 a month before. I’ve gotten a bit lazy lately, but we’ve had extra money so we could afford to. We do, however, also have a very stocked pantry, and if we suddenly were without money to buy food, we could live quite a while, though we would quickly miss fruits and veggies, unless it was late summer (when we have a garden). We plan to grow more produce next year and do more preserving than we did this year (I was not well most of the summer). Eating organic on a budget is harder, and we are not 100% organic, but we are 100% non-GMO and probably more than 50% organic. And almost 100% of our produce is organic (bananas and citrus are the exception). Probably the most expensive part of our menu is the cold cereals I buy (probably $20+ a month), because sometimes I just get tired of cooking two-three meals every meal and it’s so convenient to open a box of cereal! (I have a boy with a lot of allergies, so he can rarely eat what the rest of the family eats, and his diet is too restricted and expensive for the rest of the family to eat, plus there’s the baby who only has 4 teeth so sometimes I have to fix him something different from the rest of the family.)

    Anyhow, you’ve challenged me to try to get back on a tighter budget, even though we have extra money. I’m going to experiment next week and see how frugal I can be.

  21. posted by Brooke on January 29, 2016

    You all re so awesome. I’m transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle and this is very helpful to me!! Thank you!!!