We all know a whole-food vegan diet is the cheapest, healthiest way to eat but unfortunately for us low-FODMAPpers, a lot of our cheap staples are off the table and replaced with pricey substitutes!
I'd hate for anyone to not get relief from IBS because they were put off by the extra expense, so I've put together a list of 10 ways I've found to save money on a low FODMAP vegan diet.
While you will inevitably need one big grocery shop at the start, these should help keep your weekly costs down.
1. Base meals around naturally low FODMAP carbs, NOT expensive gluten-free products.
Gluten free pasta can cost almost 10x as much as normal wheat pasta and don't get me started on the gross gluten-free, rarely vegan breads!
Leaning more on potatoes, polenta, rice, oats, quinoa and popcorn will save you so much money and will also taste better.
2. Bake your own Sourdough Bread
If it's real sourdough bread, it's expensive! While it does taste and feel infinitely better than the gluten-free breads, it can be a costly habit.
I used to buy several loaves from a bakery and freeze them but at £3.50-£5 a loaf, it adds up. But now I bake 1 loaf a week using this recipe and it only cost ~50p and take very little effort.
3. Sprout your own Mung Beans
Of all the beans you can have a decent portion of and buy dried (which is always cheaper than canned), mung beans are the best! If you sprout them, you can have 95g or ¾ cup and it's still low FODMAP and contains around 7g of protein. It's very easy to sprout dried mung beans yourself so there is no need to pay for expensive pre-sprouted ones. You basically rinse them in clean water every day, store somewhere cool and in three days you'll have sprouted mung beans.
4. Use pea or rice protein powder
Per gram of protein, it actually ends up being much cheaper than you'd think to use a protein powder in your meals. On a normal plant-based diet you could easily stick to hearty portions of legumes and beans but not on the low FODMAP diet. Luckily rice or pea protein powders are low FODMAP up to 40g, which is way more than you'd ever eat in a meal. I use this plain Pulsin' Pea Protein and it works out at £0.147 per a serving containing 8g of protein.
5. Bulk-order expensive store cupboard ingredients online
In general, if you're looking to save money ordering online in bulk is a good way to go, especially if you can only get certain products from pricey health food stores. For example, I got three tubs of these Nutritious Yeast flakes from Amazon for half the price I can get locally. I also buy these low FODMAP vegan stock cubes online and it works out a lot cheaper. So double check if you can get your favourite store cupboard health foods for less online.
6. Batch cook meals
As lowFODMAP entails limiting the portions of certain foods, you can end up spending more on smaller quantities or not using it all before it goes off.
7. Re-grow spring onions!
This has been a game-changer for me! Only the dark green section of a spring onion (scallions) are low FODMAP, so what to do with the whites? Remove the dried outer leaves and pop the roots in a jar or glass of water. After a few days, warm weather permitting, the dark greens will have miraculously regrown! When you need them again, just snip off the greens and them regrow again. I managed to get 6 weeks worth of the dark green sections from just one bunch.
8. Ask friends & family to freeze the leek off-cuts for you
As with the spring onions, only the dark greens of a leek are lowFODMAP. Here in the UK it's actually hard to find leeks where almost all the green is not cut off already. Rather than buy a leek to use only 15-10% of it, ask your friends and family to keep their dark green cut-offs in the freezer for you. You can just cook them up as usual, substituting for onion.
9. Grow your own herbs
Fresh herbs are a powerful way to add more flavour when garlic and onion aren't an option. However, the pre-cut ones can quickly become a costly weekly habit. Growing herbs on your kitchen windowsill is a lovely way to save money and have the freshest herbs at the fingertips. You could grown them from seed or even repot the potted ones from the supermarket so they live for longer. We have a £1.20 basil plant that has lasted for a whole year!
10. Make your own garlic or onion infused olive oil
Garlic infused olive oil is another great way to add some lowFODMAP flavour to your dishes, but in some countries it is outrageously expensive! Luckily it's very easy & cheap to make yourself and I've made a video of how to do it here.
So those are my top ten tips. Have you found any hacks to save cash while on the low FODMAP diet?