In Part 1 of our Plant Based on a Budget Series, we discussed the compelling reasons to try a plant based diet. Today, we want to give you some practical and actionable tips to cut the food budget and reap the health benefits of increasing plants in your diet.

A little weekly planning and preparation can go a long way in setting you (and your wallet) up for success. If you have good choices planned, prepared, or ready to go, you are more likely to make a good choice in situations when you are busy, hungry, or don’t have good options available. That's why we love Splendid - it sets you up with 2 of your 3 meals of the day so you're not buying a pricey breakfast and lunch when you're in a rush, plus you can trust that they're packed with nutrition! To keep you on track and on budget for dinner, we put together some tips and tricks... because plant-based doesn't have to be pricey.

Here are some of our favorite ways to maximize nutrition with little money:

1) Make your own beans.

You can easily buy a pound of organic dried beans for a few dollars, which yields roughly four pots of cooked beans. Beans can be a staple on a plant-based diet and offer protein, fiber, and many micronutrients. They’re very versatile in the kitchen and can be used for tacos, Indian dal, hummus, and brownies… to name a few dishes. Our advice? Skip the canned beans and make your own.

Tip: Properly prepare your beans by soaking them prior to cooking. This reduces the fibers responsible for creating gas during digestion. Add a strip of kombu seaweed to the cooking water to further tenderize the beans and add micronutrients.

2) Buy from bulk bins.

The great thing about bulk bins is that you can control how much you purchase of dried beans, grains, raw nuts, and other plant-based staples. This allows you to try new options, often for less money, and without committing to a big purchase. Check out brazil nuts, sprouted mung beans, or amaranth to try something new!

Tip: Snap a photo of the cooking instructions from the bin and you’ll be good to go. We also recommend bringing your own jars and reusable bags to the grocery store to cut down on waste.

3) Make your own condiments.

Filling your cart with coconut yogurt, fermented veggies, salad dressings, and marinades can break the budget quickly. Most condiments are quite easy and affordable to make on your own. For example, buying a local raw sauerkraut can easily cost $10 or more for a small jar, whereas you can make a whole quart for a head of cabbage and a couple tablespoons of sea salt.

Tip: New to fermenting or making your own sauces? Definitely check out YouTube for easy tutorials. Trust us, it really is simple!

4) Eat locally and in season.

In today’s world, it is so easy to have watermelon in the winter or asparagus from halfway across the globe, but you will pay for it. Eating locally and in-season when available, not only saves you money, but increases the freshness and nutritional value of your food.

Tip: Check out your local farmer’s markets/ farm stands to stock up on your summer favorites where you can save money buying in bulk. Can, freeze, or dry produce to use during the winter months.

Speaking of bulk and eating in season… at Splendid Spoon, we are committed to bringing you the freshest, GMO-free ingredients possible. Save money when you buy more meals each week. Busy can be healthy, and on budget too!