We hear that eating healthy can be 'expensive' and there is definitely truth to that statement. However this typically refers to junk processed foods verse whole foods.
What about going meat free? Is eating fresh fruit, veg, and protein rich grain more, or less, expensive than a meat diet?
When eating healthy nutritious food becomes a priority and second nature for us, and our families, we tend to not focus on how much we are spending. We also view healthy food as such an important staple in our lives that we factor it in to our living budget. Only then, nutritious eating will become the norm and not be a big deal.
But when you are making a conscious shift to eating well, it is hard to see the changes on the finances and weekly budget. But having the bigger picture and focus of the benefits of consuming healthier food at the front of our minds does help keep us on track and see better success.
We are seeing people eat less meat and this shift is fairly noticeable and quiet prevalent in social media and news. People's reasons vary why they are choosing to consume less meat and that's not something we are addressing here in this blog, we just want to discover the financial implications around it.
Is consuming less meat in your week going to save you money? Is it going to work out the same because you are buying more fruit, vegetable and other protein sources?
So we did a very simple and easy test. We took a very normal, popular weeknight meal and bought the main ingredients for it as a meat version, and a non-meat version.
We wanted to compare our shopping list costs for those main ingredients and see what we were comparatively spending.
Zucchini 'Meatballs' Vs Beef Meatballs
We went along to our local supermarket and picked up the ingredients we needed for the zucchini 'meatballs' and beef meatballs. We substituted the breadcrumbs in the meat free recipe and instead used 1/3 cup amaranth (cooked), 1/3 cup almond flour, and 1/3 cup breadcrumbs.
So What were the Results?
Looking at the 2 shopping lists the 'Pantry Ingredients' don't vary a great deal. Eggs, breadcrumbs, pasta or rice, herbs, seasoning are all essential parts of the dish and stuff that we do just have at home so the big comparison here was going to be the main ingredients and stars of the show... the Zucchini + Amaranth Vs Beef
Premium Beef Mince 500g $10.00
3 pack Zucchini $6.99
1/3 cup each Amaranth and Almond flour $1.20
So yes... the beef was more expensive than the zucchini, Amaranth and Almond flour servings combined. And looking across other vegetable substitute meals like cauliflower burgers, Carrot fritters and Amaranth patties, it is averagely cheaper to produce the vegetable based option.
From all of this, what you consume is up to you. But for families where they do consume meat at most main meal times, putting some vegetable alternatives into the weekly menu may be a pleasant surprise on your shopping bill.