October 1 is World Vegetarian Day, and the ideal places to live if you practice a plant-based diet may be on the west coast.
Wallethub’s Best Cities for Vegans and Vegetarians in 2022 ranked 100 of the largest U.S. cities based on three qualifying categories of equal weight:
- Diversity, accessibility and quality
- Vegetarian lifestyle
The survey considered factors like the average vegetable and fruit consumption and the city’s ranking on GrubHub’s list of cities most likely to order vegetarian or vegan.
For diversity, accessibility and quality, WalletHub examined the share of restaurants serving vegan and vegetarian options, access to fresh vegetarian food and even vegetarian cooking classes per capita.
No. 1 best city for vegans and vegetarians: Portland, Oregon
Though Portland didn’t rank in the top 20 for affordability or vegetarian lifestyle, its diversity, accessibility and quality is what helped “The City of Roses” secure the overall top spot.
The west coast city was among the top five places with the highest farmers markets, vegetable nurseries and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs per capita.
- Portland, Oregon
- Orlando, Florida
- Los Angeles, California
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Austin, Texas
- Seattle, Washington
- San Francisco, California
- Tampa, Florida
- San Diego, California
- Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
Orlando’s diversity, accessibility and quality propelled the city to second place on the list.
The city’s high number of salad shops and juice and smoothie bars upped its vegetarian offerings for people on a plant-based diet.
But most cities in California, including L.A. which came in third place, ranked high because they have great options for a vegetarian lifestyle including vegan and vegetarian festivals or meetups.
When ranking for affordability, the report reviewed the cost of groceries for vegetarians, the average meal cost and the availability of affordable but highly rated restaurants that serve vegan and vegetarian options.
Here are some tips for doing so on a budget, from Lisa Herzig, registered dietitian nutritionist and didactic program director at California State University, Fresno, in WalletHub’s report:
- Shop for store-brand items
- Shop in bulk
- Consider beans and legumes
- Buy tofu
- Be weary of expensive protein powders like pea proteins or soy
- Try incorporating more vegetables and peas into your meals
“Life as a plant-based eater, vegan or vegetarian is easy to manage,” Herzig says. “It can be sustainable and has been shown to result in lower risks for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity.”
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