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Vegetarian because I'm poor


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The main things are getting enough protein, and eating a variety of veggies and fruits.


My main/preferred source of protein is beans. Canned beans are pretty cheap. Dry beans are even cheaper if you have the time to make them. Lentils are also a good option. Lately I've been eating a lot of eggs as well. 


For veggies, I buy them frozen and just heat up however much I need when I'm making food. Just be sure to not overcook them. With fruit, I mostly buy frozen fruit and use them with protein powder to make protein shakes. I will sometimes buy fresh fruit to snack on as well.


When I first became vegetarian, I did some poking around on the internet and found this site: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/. It has a ton of useful information, plus some handy charts for sources of protein. I believe there's a chart for iron as well.


I hope that helps!

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Leanne Brown's Good & Cheap cookbook is a decent starting place - it's not entirely vegetarian, but a good amount of it is & imo it's a nice mix of basic recipes & kind of fancier stuff to try out sometimes. Plus the pdf version is free, which is always a plus! https://www.leannebrown.com/cookbooks/


I'll add on to what everyone else is saying and suggest beans! It's soup weather now, as well, so you can get a lot of mileage out of that. Roast vegetables are great for winter too, and nice if you don't have too much time since you can just chop and put them in the oven, then do other stuff for a bit (as long as you remember to pull them out in time!). Cabbage is almost always cheap, and keeps forever in the fridge so that's one of my go-tos (though I know a lot of people don't like the taste). I usually cook it with onions, apples, sugar and vinegar, or eat it raw in a salad. You can also stuff the leaves with nice stuff for a kind of portable snack. Or, like anything, throw it in a soup!


Premade fake meats are what can make being vegetarian expensive, so I'd avoid those if you're looking to save money. You can often get bulk tofu fairly cheap if you're planing on using a lot of it, and seitan is fairly simple to make yourself (but time consuming).

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I'm so sorry to hear you're struggling. My little family can empathize, also being on a very tight budget. I know it's hard.


Some of my staples are peanut butter and wheat bread sandwiches, oatmeal (with chia added for nutrition), soy milk, mashed chickpea salad on sandwiches or wheat crackers. For meals I make coconut milk/tomato sauce curry with lentils (cheap!) or chick peas, last night it was spaghetti and Gardein meatballs (Gardein is pricey for a family but just one bag feeds my family, so it's a good deal. For you that would be 2-3 meals easily for $4.), veggie gumbo or minestrone, ramen made with my own veggie bouillon + tofu + zucchini, black beans soup (canned black beans blended with taco seasoning, for when I'm VERY lazy), veggie patties on wheat bread, and OF COURSE homemade beans and rice, etc.


A lot of what I make can easily be made in a pressure cooker. If I were a college student I would invest in small pressure cooker. You can cook a one pot meal while you study and, though I haven't done it myself, I hear you can make decent rice in a pressure cooker also. Slow cookers are fine but smaller ones don't always cook at a steady low temp or may be a fire hazard cooking all day unattended. Also, bonus, beans cooked in the pressure cooker do NOT have to be soaked. (My pressure cooker is currently broken. Sad face.) :( 


Cliff Note Version: We live on rice (I prefer brown), tofu, dried and canned beans, frozen veg, lentils, pasta, and oatmeal. Occassionally, Gardein goodies but rarely.


And, I'm totally outting myself as an recent ex-vegan (cringe).. eggs. Eggs are cheap and easy to make. I make hard boiled ones for my daughter's lunch.


Oh and, pro-tip, I get my rice and lentils from our local Indian market. They are way cheaper and the quality is equally good or better. 


I hope my old lady/Mom advice helps even a little. <3 

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Start Weight:  226.5   |   Goal Weight:  180   |   Current Weight:  220


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