If you are a vegetarian or vegan and currently worrying about moving in Germany, then don’t. You may have heard rumours that the staple German food is all meat and sausages. But did you know that at 10%, Germany has the highest national percentage of vegetarians in the modern West? As of 2018 about 8 million Germans are vegetarian and it is estimated that by 2020 about 20% of the country will switch to plant based diet. I can assure you that these millions of Germans are not malnourished and most likely enjoy at least three vegetarian meals a day.
So whether you are a pure vegetarian from India or a hipster who suddenly caught up on the latest western food bandwagon, you can definitely survive on your favourite diet in Germany. But the main question is how to eat healthy well balanced vegetarian food in Germany without going broke?
If you look at the cost of fresh veggies alone, they are not that expensive. The biggest challenge with vegetarian and vegan diet is that it is not as protein dense as its meat counterparts. If you’ve shopped around for vegetarian or vegan protein alternatives, then you’d be familiar with the crazy costs of being a vegetarian or vegan in Germany. Any foodstuff in this country with vegetarian or vegan or bio or gluten free label on the packaging is obscenely expensive. Don’t believe me. Take a look at this:
As someone raised on an Indian diet, I refuse to pay such criminally expensive costs for eating healthy vegetarian food. My several years of living in Germany have taught me how to look for a good deal for vegetarian or vegan or gluten free food options.
Here are some of the ways I spend less on a healthy balanced vegetarian and gluten free diet in Germany without compromising on quality.
Buy in bulk from Amazon
Amazon pantry has some amazing deals. If you are looking for a good vegetarian or vegan protein source, then start scanning for deals on Amazon. Avoid gimmicky food like lentil or chickpea pasta. They’re way overpriced and not worth the cost. Instead look for lentils, soya mince or soya chunks in bulk quantities. They’re a great cost friendly alternative for meat protein and can be cooked in every possible way.
Shop at Asian stores
Check your local Asian stores for any ongoing deals and sales. I’ve noticed that in some Asian stores it is possible to buy lentils, soya chunks and Basmati rice in bulk which reduces the cost per kilo. You also get to pick large quantity which means less shopping trips and better meal planning.
Cook at home and put a twist on conventional vegetarian food
Indian and vegetarian food are synonymous for many. But no matter how tasty, you cannot eat Indian food for the rest of your life. Then why not put a twist on it. Have you ever tried lentil pasta? Or lentils and beans salad? Feel like having a BBQ? Then scale up a typical falafel recipe to cook up a vegetarian burger patty. Or make a cheese and veggies skewer.
Eat out at or take away from Asian restaurants
Asian restaurants are very common in Germany. Even though they offer all kinds of meat based dishes, vegetarian and vegan curries are quite affordable in these restaurants. Whenever I’m craving for Indian food (and don’t want to cook it all myself), I order at least three different curries and a couple of starters, and create my own thali style Indian dinner. We usually end up getting at least two meals out of this. There are also some great vegetarian options at Korean, Chinese and Thai restaurants. Most of the Asian cuisines use soya or tofu as protein. They are authentic regional recipes (not just meat replacements!) and taste equally delicious like any kind of meat based dish.
Avoid buying gimmicky fake meat food stuff
By this I mean food items like burgers, steaks, or sausages sold in their vegetarian avatar. Not only they’re expensive, they’re insanely processed to have the look and texture of the real meat product. Look, let me save you your money, effort and heartbreak. I’ve tried some of these products. They never taste like real meat. These gimmicks are targeted towards meat eaters who are just transitioning towards vegetarian food and are not too familiar with the diversity of vegetarian and vegan food. So instead of buying a fake meat burger just buy a falafel wrap. It’s original, tasty and much healthier that this processed rubbery shit. Or if you have time and motivation, then make your own lentil or bean burger patties – they’re much better in terms of quality and cost.
Are you a vegetarian in Germany? Or do you have some special diets preferences like vegan or gluten free? How do you buy healthy vegetarian or vegan or gluten free food in Germany? Let us know in comments below.