How to do the ultimate vegetarian grocery list?
Vegetarian grocery shopping can be very expensive. It is helpful to have vegetarian and vegan foods on hand at home to make easy and simple meals. It not only saves you time but money as well.
You might ask yourself, how is it possible to make a vegetarian grocery list on a budget and still eat healthy? Let’s go through an easy vegetarian grocery list for you to have the vegetarian staples at home.
How to Build a Vegetarian Grocery List?
Making a healthy vegetarian grocery list doesn’t have to be complicated. You should choose foods that you enjoy eating and add a couple of “special foods” on your grocery list such as desserts and snacks.
You can start by taking inventory of the food you have at home before doing your meal planning for the week. You will only have to buy the food you need for your vegetarian meals.
Vegetarian Grocery List
Lets go over the basic vegetarian grocery list for easy healthy meals:
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are vital foods for a vegetarian diet. Not only do they offer lots of vitamins and minerals, they are also rich in fiber.
Which ones should you put on your vegetarian grocery shopping list?
Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy but also very savory! Here are examples you can add on your vegetarian grocery list for a week.
You should try to follow your shopping list but can be flexible if there are good sales at the grocery store.
- Onions and garlic
- 2 leafy greens such as spinach, cabbage, kale, lettuce and swiss chards
- 3-4 side vegetables for meals such as broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, potatoes and cauliflower
- 1-2 fruits according to the season such as apples, oranges, berries, cherries, peaches and pears
- Lemons and limes
- Fresh herbs and spices such as basil, parsley, cilantro and mint
Frozen produce is very time convenient. They don’t take a lot of time to prepare, just grab them from the freezer and voilà!
As a dietitian, I love telling my clients that frozen fruits and frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh produce. For more nutrition advice, you can ask a vegetarian dietitian!
Here are some essentials for your vegetarian grocery list:
- Frozen berries for smoothies and oatmeal
- Mix of frozen vegetables for easy vegetarian meals such as peas, carrots, broccoli and corn
Dried fruits are a very convenient snack not only for vegetarians but also for people on a vegan diet.
Just be careful when eating dried fruits as they can stick to your teeth. Make sure to brush your teeth after or eat them with other foods to prevent cavities.
Down below are a some examples to purchase for a healthy vegetarian grocery list:
- Dried mango
- Dried apricots
- Dried cranberries, etc
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are not only nutritious, containing lots of healthy fats, but also provide protein.
If you live alone, they are a very easy snack to have on hand! Putting a mix of different nuts and seeds is definitely a go-to for a vegetarian grocery list for one.
You can also add them to your meals like a stir fry or salads.
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Grains and Pulses
It is important for vegetarians to try to choose whole grains more often. They are more nutrient dense than refined grains and will make you feel full.
According to the Canadian Food Guide, you should eat ¼ of your plate in whole grains per meal.
Down below are grains to add to the vegetarian grocery list for beginners:
- Whole wheat
- Wild whole grain rice
They are also a lot less expensive than other protein sources like meat and eggs. Pulses are definitely a staple for a vegetarian grocery list on a budget.
- Soy beans
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
Other vegetarian proteins are a must like tofu, tempeh and seitan to include variety to the diet.
Canned goods can be real life savers for busy schedules! They are just as nutritious as fresh or frozen products. However, keep in mind that some canned goods are higher in salt.
Try to choose low salt canned items or rinse them well before eating.
Here are canned foods to write on the ultimate vegetarian grocery list:
- Canned legumes like lentils, peas and beans
- Canned vegetables like corn, tomatoes and beans
- Canned fruits like peaches and pears. These are higher in sugar than fresh fruits. Eat them in moderation!
Dairy or alternatives
Another staple for vegetarian grocery shopping is dairy products or dairy alternatives. Dairy products contain lots of protein and important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. For example, milk has up to 8g of protein for 1 cup.
Dairy free options are also good to add on a vegetarian diet grocery list. Soy milk is the plant-based equivalent to cow milk. It contains the same amount of protein!
Just make sure to choose the fortified milks in order to meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs.
- Soy milk
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
- Pea milk, etc
The Bottom Line
A balanced vegetarian diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, pulses and dairy/alternatives.
It is easy to make healthy vegetarian meals without spending lots of money! The key is to plan your meals in advance and buy versatile food products for different recipes.
If you still have questions or need help/support, a vegetarian dietitian can always be there to guide you in the right direction!
Written by: Marriane Côté, dietetics student
Revised by: Alyssa Fontaine, vegan registered dietitian