All aboard the vegetarian and vegan train. I know what you’re thinking:
“But, I can’t afford it.”
Yes, you can — that is if you do it the right way. The science behind the cost of healthy diets can be misleading. For example, the Harvard School of Public Health’s research illustrates that “the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diets.” In contrast, economist Janina Grabs argues that a healthy vegetarian diet leads to a 10% savings in food consumption. So, which is it?
This confusion is due to the focus on vegan ‘meat’ or dairy alternatives. For example, vegan cheese can be nearly triple the price of its dairy counterpart, and veggie ‘chicken’ tenders will set you back $9/ pound while the genuine chicken option is only $5.50/lb. The inflated prices of these alternatives not only make a vegan or vegetarian diet appear more expensive, they also defeat the health benefits as they are highly processed.
Rather than grabbing those processed veggie ‘chicken’ nuggets, the cost-efficient, healthier, and personally, better-tasting secret to not breaking the bank with a vegan or vegetarian diet is tofu.
Here are some of my favorite tofu products that your wallet will also be a fan of:
Organic High Protein Tofu – Trader Joe’s, $0.16 per ounce (4.7g protein/ oz)
Totaling $2.49 for one 16oz package, this brand has 14g of protein in each 3oz serving. If you ask me, this is your best option. Although it is the most expensive of our four tested brands, its high protein content — nearly double compared to the others — is more filling. Thus, you consume less, which is more cost-effective in the long run. As for taste, this has a standard, smooth and spongy tofu taste.
San Organic Firm Tofu – Trader Joe’s, $0.13 per ounce (2.7g protein/ oz)
This product is priced at $1.79 per each 14oz package and tastes most flavorful out of the four. With 8g of protein, this tofu is less filling though presents a cheaper alternative compared to its higher protein alternative. This lower protein content product is best suited for those who regularly consume protein from other sources, such as chickpeas, nuts, or protein shakes, and prefer more flavor with a firmer consistency.
Sunrise Medium Firm Tofu – Whole Foods, Amazon, Safeway, Walmart, $0.09 per ounce (2.3g protein/ oz)
At $1.49 for a 16oz package, Sunrise Medium Firm Tofu is the cheapest and most accessible tofu option. Although the taste is slightly blander, when prepared with seasonings and sauces the difference is hardly noticeable. Additionally, this product can be found at Walmart making it easily accessible for those not near a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
365 Organic extra Firm Tofu – Whole Foods, Amazon, $0.13 per ounce (2.7g protein/ oz)
Last on the list is this $1.79, 14oz tofu option. The 365 product has a similar spongy taste to the Organic High Protein Option at Trader Joe’s, though it has nearly half the protein content and is thus less filling. However, this option can be found on Amazon, so for those who buy their groceries via Amazon Prime, the 365 Organic Firm Tofu may be most convenient and cost-effective.
To put the cost of these tofu products in perspective, the average tofu cost of $.13/ oz provides 3 grams of protein. By contrast, Trader Joe’s All-Natural Chicken Breasts rings up at $0.28/ oz serving with 6.25g of protein, and their beef steak will cost $.56/oz with 5.25g of protein/oz. The tofu is not only 2 to 3 times less expensive per serving; it also contains no cholesterol which may save you even more in long term healthcare costs.
If you are interested in change beyond your dietary choices, ‘Demand Vegan’ provides a comprehensive, fully diversified investment portfolio that only includes certified cruelty free companies. If you have additional investment or financial planning questions, schedule a video call with one of our advisors.
*All prices listed are as of December 2019 and may have changed since the writing of this article
This report is a publication of Demand Wealth. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change.