What Do I Eat?
Many people ask me what I eat in a day and what my typical day looks like in terms of food. The truth is, it’s always different but is pretty similar day to day: I eat a lot of plants and don’t eat junk food, fried food, animal products, or refined ingredients (sugar, flour, oil).
Not to mention that eating real food works wonders for my skin and overall health. In fact, it’s changed more than just my health but also my entire life the last 12 years. Eating this way has truly transformed me emotionally and physically especially regarding my relationship with–and appreciation for–real whole foods and my body.
I listen to what my body needs each day, and I don’t count calories or anything of that nature. I eat a whole foods plant-based diet which means I eat a lot of plant-based foods on a daily basis and focus on holistic nutrition.
That being said, there are definitely many foods I routinely buy, eat, and love which is what you’ll find below. Like anyone else on a budget who prioritizes eating well, I tend to stick to a large number of the same foods and continue to find new ways to use and prepare them.
The foods and products below are some that I keep on hand most often and are full of nutrition in so many ways! If you have any questions about any of them, feel free to reach out.
Where Do I Shop?
There’s no truth to the myth that it’s hard to eat healthy and plant-based while maintaining a budget; I main a strict one every single week and still have a fridge and pantry full of plant-based ingredients. I clip coupons weekly, use savings apps, and I check store sales both in-store and online to save even more money.
I try to tell everyone that there are also SO many different ways you can approach a plant-based lifestyle, and there’s no “right or wrong” way to eat a compassionate, healthy diet no matter what your budget is.
However, I do love to buy foods that make me feel good, which I believe everyone should aim to do. Whole foods are always the best choices above all other foods and are the ones that make us feel our best and promote optimal health. So when I shop, I always keep this in mind.
I normally buy plant-based and organic options at Walmart each week, online at Vitacost or Amazon (where dry goods are normally much cheaper), and I love to shop for organic plant-based foods at Target. And when I can, I shop Whole Foods’ 365 brand (naturally GMO-free and often organic) which is often just as cheap as Walmart, believe it or not. Trader Joe’s and Costco are also great places to save money on healthy, whole, plant-based foods if you want to use them; I simply don’t very often.
A Few More Things About What’s In My Kitchen:
Also note that while I may use special products (such as some superfoods) in some of my recipes, they don’t make up the largest part of my budget and are not listed below for that reason. Many specialty products (such as superfoods), however, do last 4-6 months in my pantry or fridge, so they cost just pennies per serving. Some may also be ones I receive for free to try/love/use, which I always fully disclose.
In terms of basic groceries, I buy the following foods below the most often. I don’t always have all the below options on hand at one time, but these are ones that make a consistent appearance year-round.
What You’ll Find in My Kitchen Most Days:
- Tomatoes (Grape and Roma)*
- Cucumbers (English, seedless)*
- Mixed Berries* (frozen)
- Frozen dark cherries*
- Frozen tropical fruit blends
- Unsweetened, frozen acai packs
- Pineapple (fresh and frozen)
- Medjool dates
- Raisins (sun-dried, organic, no added sugar)*
- Mulberries (raw, dried)*
- Goji berries (raw, dried)*
Vegetables (not all at once, I rotate these)
- Romaine Lettuce*
- Green leaf lettuce/Butter lettuce*
- Frozen collard greens and frozen spinach*
- Onions (for soups, normally)
- Artichoke hearts (frozen, I find these at Whole Foods or Walmart)
- Green Onions
- Red Bell Peppers*
- Winter Squash (butternut, acorn, kabocha)
- Turnips (for soup, sometimes)
- Pumpkin (canned)
- Sweet potatoes*
*All items marked with an * tend to be extremely high in pesticides in conventional form, so I try at all times to buy these organic and would advise others to do the same as they can afford them. Please see the Dirty Dozen list for more info.
- Rolled Oats
- Quick Oats
- Quick-Cook Steel Cut Oats
- Oat bran
- Hot buckwheat cereal
- Wild Rice
- Hot Kamut cereal
- Rolled barley flakes
- Rolled rye flakes
- Quinoa flakes
- Wild rice/brown rice blend
- Food for Life sprouted grain bread (no flour, just sprouted grains!)
- Shredded Wheat Original cereal
Nuts/Seeds/Natural Nut Butter (full of healthy, whole food fats, plant-based protein, vitamins, and minerals that last months in the pantry or fridge)
- Natural almond packs (or raw almonds)
- Raw cashew butter
- Shredded Coconut and Coconut Flour
- Raw muesli (homemade)
- Flax meal/ground golden flax
- Chia seeds
- Raw pumpkin seeds
- Raw hemp seeds
- Whole (raw) olives if I can find them—not olive oil
I’m allergic to avocados, but they’re also great sources of healthy fats in moderation.
Note: I try to source my nuts and seeds raw. Raw nuts and seeds retain more benefits when eaten raw, although dry-roasted (without oil) is a good option too.
My Favorite Protein Sources:
- Red Split Lentils (I normally get mine from Whole Foods)
- Vega One Nutritional Shake (whole food, plant-based food with protein that also serves as a multivitamin)
- Whole Grains (see above)
- Raw nuts/seeds/nut butter/ (see above)
Other good plant-based protein options if you enjoy them:
- Black Beans
- Mung Beans
- Dry Split Peas
- White beans
- Black eyed peas
Natural Sweeteners Without Any Added Sugar:
- Alcohol-free liquid stevia
- Pure stevia extract (without additives)
- Unsweetened applesauce or chopped apples
- No added sugar apple butter
- 100% Just Fruit jam
- Soaked and puréed dates, figs, raisins
- Mashed banana
- Any fruit
Whole Food Egg Alternatives That Work Well in (Most) Recipes, especially for baking muffins, cupcakes, pancakes, bread, etc:
- Psyllium husk powder (1 psyllium egg= 1 tbsp. psyllium + 1 tbsp. water = same as 1 egg)
- Flax meal (1 flax egg = 1 tbsp. flax and 3 tbsp. water = same as 1 egg)
- Canned pumpkin or butternut squash (1/4 cup will replace 1 egg)
- Mashed bananas (1/4 cup will replace 1 egg)
- Nut butter ( 1 tbsp. = 1 egg)
- Chia egg (1 chia egg = 1 tbsp. chia seeds and 3 tbsp. water = same as 1 egg)
Note: You can always add 1/2 -1 tsp. baking powder to make baked goods rise better, (just like egg whites do), too.
Salt-Free, Oil-Free, and Sugar-Free Natural Seasonings:
- Mrs. Dash Original Salt-Free Seasoning
- Simply Organic herbs and spices (always cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, sage, pepper, cilantro, parsley, chili powder, oregano, etc.)
- Nutritional yeast (tastes great and is an excellent replacement for cheddar cheese!)
- Apple cider vinegar (raw, with the Mother) – I also use this as a health tonic; it can also be used as a healthy salad dressing or to help baked goods rise without yeast and/or eggs
- Raw coconut vinegar
- Fresh ginger root
- Fresh herbs (sage, oregano, mint, parsley, and cilantro/coriander are my favorites)
- Fresh lemon and lime
- Raw or regular tahini (on occasion)
- Vanilla bean powder/alcohol-free vanilla extract
- Peppermint essential oil
- Cocoa (Dutch-processed/dark and regular cocoa)
- Raw cacao powder
- Silk unsweetened almond and unsweetened cashew milk (my two favorite, must-have plant-based milk products)
- So Delicious Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Yogurt (or the plain unsweetened variety)
- Herbal tea
- Green tea
Got questions? Leave a comment below, or email me, I’d be happy to help!
*This page contains affiliate links to products I love, use, and recommend. You do not pay anything extra if you make a purchase while using these links; you simply support this website and keep it free. I never share or recommend anything I do love not love, recommend, or use myself. Thank you!*