Balance from Within
When talking about plant-based diets, many people think of trendy organic restaurants, expensive health food stores and prep packaged meals. The reality is that there are many affordable sources of essential nutrients when looking into meatless meals. As cliche as it may sound, grains and legumes have many benefits, and looking into the health benefits of types of rices and beans can provide a wide range of nutrients, as well as more variety then the basic pinto bean and white rice. Garbanzo beans, for example, are used in a variety of gluten free products (pasta, flours, cereals) and also have 150 milligrams of calcium per 3 1/2 ounce serving. This is more then an equally measured amount of yogurt! (121 milligrams of calcium per 3 1/2 ounce) . Pinto Beans have 135 calcium milligrams per same size serving in addition to other nutrients.
When looking at the cost of a can of beans (or 3) in comparison to high quality, grass fed piece of steak, the difference is much clearer then comparing to a typical fast food meal. However the nutritional benefits are much higher with the beans then the average convenient meal on the go. Price wise, making tacos with a combination of rice, pinto beans, kidney beans, organic yellow corn shells, and organic greens can come out to $8 for 12 basic tacos (plus optional) or $.67 each. In comparison 12 crunchy tacos at a popular fast food chain comes out to $14.95 ($1.19 each) with fewer nutrients and more fat, Adding fresh avocado, lime, and tomato brings the homemade taco cost up by approximately $4 so there is still some savings (and variety for meal prep fans).