Want to eat more plant-based foods and wonder what to put on your vegan shopping list? Look no further. Sometimes it’s hard to feel inspired when you visit the grocery store without a game plan. A little bit of planning can save you from eating the same sad salad every day.
Eating a plant-based diet needn’t feel boring. There are literally thousands of different varieties of fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, and seeds. If you stuck to whole foods alone, you’d be able to create endless satiating meals with different textures and flavors. Add to that all of the delicious plant-based meat and dairy substitutes, and your options are endless.
Go ahead and review this vegan shopping list, make it your own, and fall in love with cooking again.
What Do Vegans Eat, Again?
When you’re putting together your vegan shopping list or vegan-friendly grocery list, it can be helpful to quickly run through what you do and do not eat. Here’s a reminder:
A vegan diet is plant-based. It eliminates all animal products and instead focuses on foods derived from plants. You’ll focus on fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. A raw vegan diet takes this one step further and eliminates all cooked foods as well.
A plant-based diet excludes the following foods:
- Meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish
- Dairy products like butter, cream, and cow’s milk
- Eggs and baked goods that use eggs as an ingredient
Nutrition For Vegans
If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle, or simply wanting to change up your diet from time to time, there may be an adjustment period for you when it comes to meal planning. The Standard American Diet meal of animal protein + starch + vegetable side dish will no longer apply.
Instead, you’ll get your nutrients from a variety of plant sources. A rainbow of ingredients will give you the protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and nutrients that you need to stay healthy.
When you’re building your vegan shopping list, you’ll want to have a general idea of the types of nutrients you need to cover. Here are a few tips:
- Eat a variety of foods to make sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Try to make your plate colorful. For example, most dark leafy greens will give you vitamins A, C, E, and K.1 Certain orange foods like carrots and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of beta-carotene.2 Red tomatoes will give you heart-healthy lycopene.3 Mix it up, and enjoy the various benefits.4
- Choose whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa, over refined grains, like white pasta. Whole grains have nutrients like fiber, iron, and B vitamins that may be stripped out of the other stuff.5
- Try to include a protein in most of your meals. There are a ton of plant-based protein options out there. Tofu, tempeh, garbanzo beans, lentils, and sunflower seeds are a few examples, and the list goes on. It’s actually quite easy to find protein as a vegan.
- Eat nuts and seeds often, especially those that are rich in omega-3 fats.6
- Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin B-12 and D.
If you find it difficult to get enough of the essential nutrients, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking supplements.7,8
Ideas for A Vegan Shopping List
With those general guidelines in mind, here are some ingredients to add to your grocery list.
Fruit makes a great addition to any vegan meal plan. When you’re making your vegan shopping list, add some fruits that you can grab as a snack and some that you’ll cut up for salads. Frozen fruit is great for smoothies. Dried fruit can make a great snack if you need a quick energy boost, just avoid those with added sugar.
Here are some ideas:
When you follow a plant-based diet, vegetables are the star of the show. Load up on a ton of veggies at the grocery store, so you can have plenty of variety during the week.
Pick up a mix of vegetables that you’d eat in different ways. For example, grab some leafy greens for a salad, some red peppers for a stir fry, and an acorn squash that you can roast and eat as a main course.
Here are some ideas for your grocery list:
Whole Grains, Cereals, And Starches
Healthy grains are a vegan staple. They can give you complex carbs, essential vitamins, fibers, and minerals. Remember that whole grains, like wild rice, have more nutritional value than refined grains, like white pasta. Complex carbohydrates can help give you long-lasting energy and help you feel full for longer.9,10
Some grains, like spelt, amaranth, and quinoa are great sources of protein.11 Starches like beans, lentils, and peas are also great sources of protein.12Adding these ingredients to a meal is an easy, effective way to balance the nutrients in your vegan meal plan. Some grains, like sorghum, quinoa, millet, oats, and buckwheat are also gluten-free.13
Fat gets a bad rap for being “bad” for you. The truth is that most Americans exceed the recommendations for trans fats and saturated fats. Those types of fats can be hard on your heart and waistline.14
Unprocessed fats that come from plant sources are a whole different ball game. These fats are good for you. In the case of polyunsaturated fats, they are actually essential for normal body functions. Your body doesn’t produce these on its own, so you must get them from food.15
Here are some great fat sources to add to your grocery list:
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are essential for any type of cooking, and they can really make vegan food sing. If you find yourself getting bored in the kitchen, try experimenting with different spices in your recipes. Cauliflower braised with Jamaican jerk seasoning will taste completely different than cauliflower sauteed with lemongrass and turmeric.
Here are some ideas for herbs and spices to add to your vegan recipes:
Condiments, Sweeteners, and Flavor Boosters
Adding sauces or condiments to your meals can really enhance the flavors. Here are a few ideas for vegan-friendly flavor boosters:
Plant-based eating has never been easier. It seems like a new dairy alternative pops up in the grocery store every single day. Here are a few dairy-free ingredients to pour into your coffee, smoothies, and cereal bowls.
If you’re craving a plant-based protein to act as the main ingredient on your plate, there are a ton of options that will do the trick. These meat substitutes (typically made with textured vegetable protein, or wheat gluten) can make a great addition to your to your vegan grocery list:
Snacks, Processed, And Packaged Foods
Whole plant foods are the healthiest option, but sometimes you just want to indulge in a little junk food. If you’re new to a vegan diet, allowing yourself a treat every once and a while can help you stay on track.
If possible, try to buy your snacks and processed foods at organic stores or the farmer’s market. That way, they are more likely to contain high-quality ingredients.
Creating Your Own Grocery List And Game Plan
A successful vegetarian or vegan diet comes from successful planning. If you enjoy planning, go ahead and look up recipes and plan out your meals for the week. Having a plan will make grocery shopping that much easier.
If you prefer to be more spontaneous with your eating, take the time to learn about the essentials of vegan nutrition. That way, you can say things like “Okay, I need a protein-rich grain, some leafy greens, and healthy seeds for the week.” Keep your pantry and kitchen stocked with essentials so you can create magic the next time you cook.
The Quick Guide to Vegan Eggs
Fruits and Vegetables: Vegan and Vegetarian Staples and Beyond
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