So you’ve decided to go vegan, huh? Congratulations on making an ethical and healthy choice. Now the real work begins – figuring out what the heck you can actually eat. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. As vegans ourselves, we know how overwhelming it can feel in the beginning. But with a little guidance, you’ll be whipping up delicious and satisfying plant-based meals in no time.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through all the basics of vegan diet what can you eat. We’ll cover the major food groups like fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. We’ll suggest meal ideas, recipes, and tips for getting all the nutrients you need. Whether you’re going vegan for health, environmental or ethical reasons, our goal is to make the transition as easy and enjoyable as possible. Stick with us, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a happy, healthy vegan. Now, let’s dive in!
What Is a Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. Instead, vegans eat plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts.
Why go vegan?
There are several benefits to a vegan diet:
- Improved health. A vegan diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It tends to be low in saturated fat and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Better for the environment. Industrial animal agriculture strains natural resources and contributes to deforestation, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. A vegan diet is more sustainable and eco-friendly.
- Compassion for animals. A vegan diet avoids exploiting and killing animals for food. No living, feeling creature has to die for your meal.
So ditch the animal products and go green. A vegan diet can be healthy, ethical and better for the planet. Why not give it a try?
A vegan diet eliminates all animal products, so you’ll need to get nutrients from plant-based sources. The major food groups for vegans include:
Fruits and Vegetables
These provide fiber, vitamins and minerals. Aim for 5-10 servings per day of things like:
- Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, swiss chard
- Cruciferous veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
- Starchy veggies: Potatoes, corn, squash
- Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
- Citrus: Oranges, grapefruit
Whole grains are filling and provide B vitamins and fiber. Have 3-6 servings per day of foods such as:
- Oats: For oatmeal, granola, muffins
- Rice: Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa
- Pasta: Whole wheat pasta, zucchini noodles, lentil pasta
Beans, lentils and tofu provide protein, iron and zinc. Aim for 2-3 servings per week of:
- Black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans
- Lentils: Brown, red, green
- Tofu: Extra-firm tofu can be grilled, baked or stir-fried
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fats, protein and magnesium. Have 1-2 ounces, 4-5 times per week of:
- Almonds, walnuts, cashews
- Flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds
- Nut butters like peanut butter, almond butter
Following a balanced vegan diet with all these nutritious plant-based food groups will provide your body with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. The possibilities for delicious vegan meals are endless!
Specific foods that are allowed on a vegan diet
A vegan diet opens you up to a variety of nutritious whole foods. Here are some of the major food groups you can enjoy:
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables should make up a large portion of your vegan diet. Some options include:
- Apples, bananas, berries, citrus fruits like oranges
- Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce
- Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
- Starchy veggies such as potatoes, carrots, beets, and squash
- Fresh or frozen veggies like green beans, asparagus, and peppers
Aim for 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. They provide fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Buying in-season produce will ensure the best quality and price.
Whole grains are filling and nutritious. Some vegan-friendly grains include:
- Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa
- Oats, barley, farro, buckwheat
- Whole wheat bread, pasta, and wraps
Aim for 3 to 5 ounces of whole grains per day. They provide fiber, B vitamins, and plant-based protein. Look for 100% whole grain products with no added sugar.
Beans, lentils, and peas are excellent meat substitutes for vegans. Some options include:
- Black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans
- Lentils like brown, red, and green lentils
- Peas such as black-eyed peas, split peas, and edamame
Aim for 1 to 2 cups of cooked legumes 2-3 times per week. They are high in protein, iron, and magnesium. Buy dried beans and lentils in bulk and cook a big batch to add to salads, soups, and stews throughout the week.
In addition to legumes, you can get protein from:
- Tofu, tempeh, and seitan – made from soybeans, grains, and wheat gluten respectively. Use in place of meat in many recipes.
- Nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter. Spread on bread or use in sauces and dressings.
- Nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, pumpkin, chia and hemp seeds are all good options. Enjoy as snacks, in salads or yogurt, or blend into nut milks and butters.
Aim for 3 to 4 ounces of plant-based protein sources 3 times a week in addition to legumes. They provide protein, healthy fats, and various minerals. Choose unsal
Foods that are not allowed on a vegan diet
On a vegan diet, there are many foods you’ll need to avoid. As vegans exclude all animal products, this means saying no to:
Meat, Poultry, and Seafood
This includes beef, chicken, fish, shellfish, and anything else that comes from animals. For protein, focus instead on plant-based sources like beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
No milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream or anything else containing cow’s milk. Try non-dairy milks such as almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk along with vegan versions of cheese, yogurt, and ice cream which are made from plant milks and oils.
Eggs are another animal byproduct, so they’re off the menu. Use ingredients like mashed bananas, flax eggs (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water per egg), or commercial egg replacers in baking.
Honey comes from bees, so it’s not vegan. Instead, use maple syrup, agave nectar, date syrup or other plant-based sweeteners.
Products with Hidden Animal Ingredients
Many processed foods, cosmetics and household products contain hidden animal derivatives like gelatin (made from animal bones), lanolin (from sheep’s wool), albumen (egg whites), carmine (made from insects), and more. Read nutrition labels and ingredient lists carefully to avoid anything non-vegan.
Leather, Wool, Silk, Down and Fur
These materials all come from animals, so vegans avoid wearing or using them. Stick to plant-based and synthetic alternatives like cotton, linen, polyester and rayon.
Eating a balanced vegan diet requires some adjustments, but by focusing on whole plant foods like fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds, you can get all the nutrients you need. The key is learning alternatives to replace the non-vegan staples you may be used to. With so many options now available, following a vegan lifestyle has never been easier or more delicious!
How to plan a healthy vegan diet
Planning a healthy vegan diet requires some consideration to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. Here are some tips to help you:
Focus on whole foods
A balanced vegan diet is based on whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. These provide fiber, protein, healthy fats and various vitamins and minerals. Some examples include:
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, etc.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, etc.
- Grains: Oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley, etc.
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.
Eat a variety of foods
To get all the nutrients you need, aim for eating a variety of foods from each food group every day. Some key nutrients to consider include:
- Protein: Eat a variety of legumes, nuts, seeds and grains.
- Iron: Include legumes, nuts, seeds, broccoli and fortified cereals.
- Calcium: Choose calcium-fortified plant milks and juices, tofu, broccoli and kale.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and leafy greens contain omega-3 fats.
- Vitamin B12: Take a supplement or choose B12-fortified foods like plant milks, nutritional yeast or cereals.
Plan your meals
Make a meal plan for the week based on the variety of whole foods you want to eat. Some options include:
- Oatmeal with fruit and nuts for breakfast.
- Black bean burritos with salsa and guacamole for lunch.
- Lentil soup or veggie curry over rice for dinner.
- Hummus and veggie wrap for a snack.
While supplements should not replace a balanced diet, some key nutrients like vitamin B12, D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids may be difficult to get enough of from foods alone on a vegan diet. Talk to your doctor about whether any supplements are right for you.
Following these tips will help you plan a healthy, balanced and enjoyable vegan diet full of whole plant foods and all the nutrients you need. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Tips for following a vegan diet what can you eat
Following a vegan diet means avoiding all animal products, but don’t worry—there are still lots of delicious foods you can eat. Here are some tips to help you navigate a plant-based diet:
Focus on whole foods
Base your diet around whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. These provide fiber, protein, healthy fats and various vitamins and minerals. Some options include:
- Rice, oats and quinoa
- Beans, lentils and chickpeas
- Fresh or frozen produce like broccoli, spinach, bananas and berries
- Nut butters, chia seeds, flax seeds and nut milks
Get enough protein
Without meat, getting enough protein may seem challenging but there are many plant-based sources. Aim for 3-5 servings of the following per day:
- Tofu (contains 8g per half cup)
- Lentils (18g per cooked cup)
- Nut butters (8g per 2 tbsp)
- Seitan (31g per 3 ounce serving)
- Tempeh (15g per half cup)
Some nutrients like vitamin B12, calcium, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids may be lacking in a vegan diet. Consider taking supplements or eating B12 and D-fortified foods. Other tips:
• Use iodized salt or seaweed to boost iodine.
• Eat vitamin C-rich foods which help iron absorption. Pair beans, lentils and leafy greens with citrus, bell peppers or broccoli.
• Ground flax seeds and chia seeds provide plant-based omega-3 fats. Aim for 1-2 tablespoons a day.
• Try non-dairy milks fortified with calcium and vitamin D for bone health.
• Zinc-rich options include cashews, chickpeas, oats and pumpkin seeds.
• Consider an algae-based omega-3 supplement.
Learn new skills
Develop cooking skills to prepare healthy, satisfying plant-based meals. Some techniques include:
• Grilling, baking, steaming and stir-frying veggies.
• Marinating and baking tofu.
• Making veggie burgers, bean patties or meat alternatives from seitan.
• Whipping up hummus, pesto, nut-based sauces and dressings.
• Experimenting with plant-based milks, cheeses, yogurt, ice cream and mayonnaise.
With practice, following a vegan diet can become second nature. Focus on eating a variety of wholesome plant foods, stay hydrated and supplement when needed. Your health and the planet will
Sample vegan meal plan
So you’ve decided to go vegan, but now you’re wondering what exactly you can eat. The good news is, there are tons of delicious and nutritious options for vegan meals and snacks. Here’s a sample meal plan to get you started:
Oatmeal with plant-based milk, bananas, and nuts. Whole grain oats provide fiber to keep you full, while nuts add protein and healthy fats. You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg or maple syrup for extra flavor.
A smoothie with fruit like berries, leafy greens, plant-based protein powder, and a milk alternative. Smoothies are a quick, filling option that provide a boost of nutrition.
Toast with peanut butter and sliced fruit. Look for bread with whole grains and natural peanut butter with no added sugar.
A bean burrito bowl with rice, salsa and guacamole. Beans, rice and guac provide a balanced mix of protein, fiber, healthy fats and complex carbs. Add extra veggies like bell peppers, spinach or carrots.
A veggie wrap or sandwich. Fill a wrap with veggies like cucumbers, sprouts, tomatoes and hummus or a vegan spread. Choose a whole grain wrap for extra nutrition.
A salad with chickpeas or tofu, nuts or seeds and a plant-based dressing. A main-dish salad provides lean protein to keep you satisfied. Add ingredients like quinoa, beans, lentils or a plant-based protein like tofu.
Stir fry vegetables with tofu over rice or noodles. Stir fries are a delicious way to load up on veggies, whole grains and plant-based protein.
Veggie fajitas with beans, rice and guacamole. Colorful bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant and beans make for filling vegan fajitas. Warm tortillas or lettuce cups can be used to wrap the filling.
Pasta primavera with marinara sauce, veggies and plant-based meatballs or sausage. Whole grain pasta and a variety of vegetables in a tomato sauce provide a hearty, comforting meal. Add in meat alternatives like meatballs for extra substance.
Fruit, especially bananas, berries and citrus. Fresh or dried fruit provides natural sweetness to satisfy a craving.
Trail mix with nuts, seeds, coconut, and dark chocolate chips. Homemade trail mix is a perfect snack that balances healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants.
Popcorn. Air-popped or lightly salted popcorn is a whole-grain snack that’s naturally vegan.
Carrots, celery or cucumber with hummus or peanut butter. Fresh crudité and a protein-packed
So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to all the delicious plant-based foods you can enjoy on a vegan diet. As you can see, going vegan doesn’t mean missing out or limiting yourself. In fact, it opens you up to a whole new world of vibrant, nutritious foods. All you need is an adventurous spirit and an open mind. Why not pick a new recipe from the list each week and discover your new favorite food? A vegan diet can be exciting, affordable and sustainable. And it’s the best choice for your health and the planet. What are you waiting for? Dive in and enjoy all the wonderful vegan food out there! The possibilities are endless.