By Emily Christmas
Veganism is often perceived as a largely expensive lifestyle, meaning it appears particularly inaccessible to students. Since the growing popularity of veganism, there has been a wave of new products being released including ready meals and mock meats. Whilst many of these can be expensive, there are still so many ways to follow a vegan lifestyle, or decrease meat, egg and dairy consumption, without having to spend extortionate amounts on meals. Not only can vegan meals be cheap and tasty, but also very accessible to students through big UK supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Iceland and more, releasing so many plant based alternatives. Through this article I hope to show that the majority of the foods people eat everyday can be made to be vegan, and that this doesn’t have to be an expensive transition. Whilst there is no fixed definition to which foods classify as vegan, I will be mentioning foods that don’t contain dairy, eggs, meat or honey, however acknowledge that there are further steps many choose to take including a reduction of palm oil.
Firstly, there are so many breakfast foods that are already vegan, such as cereals and toast. The main products that can be replaced for breakfast foods to make them vegan are cows milk to plant milk and dairy butter to vegetable spreads. Alpro milks including oat, soya, coconut and almond (oat is the best in my opinion!) are often on offer for £1 and can be brought long-life, meaning when they’re on sale I tend to get multiple, as they’ll last. Traditional cereals that are fairly cheap such as Weetabix, Shreddies, Cheerios and more are vegan. As well as, the supermarket own brands such as Aldi’s cereals tend to be cheaper and also dairy free. Porridge can also be a healthy and cheap option. For toast or bagels, vegetable spreads such as the Pure and Vitalite sunflower spreads also tend to be on offer for £1 in the big supermarkets too, and can be accompanied by jams, marmite etc. also mostly being vegan! For days/weekends where you fancy something a bit more, cheap options are beans on toast with Linda McCartney sausages (often on sale in the frozen section of supermarkets for £1 for 6!), yoghurt with fresh/frozen fruit and/or fruit compote, smoothies and even pancakes!
For lunch, burritos and wraps are tasty and cheap options. Tinned mix beans are great for burritos and only cost around 45p, as well as falafel wraps with hummus and salad being quick to make. Big UK supermarkets also sell Quorn chicken pieces that are great for wraps too, especially if you want something more meat like. Quorn have also recently brought out ham and chicken slices, which are perfect for sandwiches. There are also multiple vegan mayonnaises sold in Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Holland and Barrett and more. Couscous is a very cheap lunch option that can be bought in packets so are super easy to make. For less of a healthy option, most packet noodles including Super Noodles are accidentally vegan, even the chicken one! Whilst pesto normally contains parmesan, Tesco sell a vegan basil pesto in their free from section which is great and perfect for a quick pesto pasta lunch. Most shops selling meal deals now have vegan options, with Boots and Tesco having amazing options, and both being close to uni!
Finally, there are so many vegan options to have for evening meals and it’s a great way to experiment with veganism. Using vegetables to replace meat can be a healthy and cheap way of ‘veganising’ meals. Some good examples of this are using baby sweetcorn, peppers and mushrooms for a thai green curry, lentils, peppers and tomatoes for a Bolognese, and mangetout, broccoli and carrots for a stir fry. Meat alternatives can also be fairly cheap and are regularly on offer in supermarkets, with some supermarkets even having their own range of mock meats. One of the most popular meat alternatives, Linda McCartney sausages, are regularly on sale for £1 for 6 so are great to have with dinners such as roasts. Quorn also have vegan meat alternatives such as fajita strips and chicken pieces that can be used in all sorts of dishes, from curries to pasta.
I hope this gave some insight into how accessible veganism can be, through the introduction of so many options in UK supermarkets, but also through replacing animal by-products with plant based alternatives at a low cost. For further help in transitioning to veganism, The Vegan Society have a free guide on their website: https://www.vegansociety.com. I also have an Instagram account, @veganxmas, where I post daily vegan meals to give some food inspiration! As well as, Anglia Ruskin have their own vegan society with members who are more than happy to help with anyone considering reducing their meat, dairy and egg consumption!
Join the ARU Vegan Society: https://www.angliastudent.com/socs/vegansociety/
ARU Vegan Society Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aruVegSoc/
Vegan Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/veganxmas/