Adapting a new diet is always tricky. Figuring out a meal plan is where the challenge lies. It is essential to educate yourself about what you can and cannot eat when on a specific diet plan. This is the same dilemma that new vegans face.
There are a few things that you might already know should be avoided as a vegan – such as meat, dairy products, or eggs. But there are a lot of other food items that you might not know could go against the vegan diet.
This guide will show you what items to include in your vegan meal plan, and what to avoid.
What Vegans Eat
Starting with some of the essential food items that are part of the vegan diet, you have plenty of options. There is no need to worry about finding food items that you will love as there are many to choose from.
Vegetables are the most fundamental component since veganism is a plant-based diet. Veggies are scientifically proven to be the most densely nutritious food items you can find. There are a variety of vegetables to choose from, too, so you won’t have to be bored about eating the same type of food all the time.
There are different classifications of vegetables that you can eat, which includes the following:
- Greens (e.g., spinach, kale, and Swiss chards)
- Cruciferous (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage)
- Other types of vegetables (e.g., zucchini, potatoes, asparagus, artichoke, tomatoes, and pumpkin)
Fruits are another item that you can add to your vegan diet. They are tasty and extremely nutritious, too. Not only are they good sources of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants – they are also filled with water, so they are vital for keeping your body hydrated.
You can incorporate different fruit types into your diet:
- Citrus (e.g., orange, lemon, lime, and pineapple)
- Berries (e.g., strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and acai berries)
- Other types of fruit (e.g., pomegranate, watermelon, avocado, apple, kiwi, banana)
Grains are rich in protein and a good source of fiber. These are some of the reasons why they should be integrated into a vegan diet. When you add them to your meals, they can provide nourishment and that filling sensation. Some examples of grains that you can happily munch on are rice, wheat, oats, quinoa, and corn.
Nuts are vital for vegans because they provide a healthy kind of fat, which enables the absorption of nutrients and vitamins from fruits. Nuts can also give you an energy boost. Make sure you add them to your meals to provide flavor and texture.
Some of the best kinds of nuts you can eat are almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, and more.
Legumes are a type of vegetable in the beans family, and there are plenty to choose from. They are good sources of protein, so they are a perfect addition for a vegan diet. You can also use them as a meat substitute.
Add lentils, green beans, chickpeas, and soybeans to your meal plan. Some of the best vegan recipes using legumes include hummus, lentil meatloaf, or black bean burger.
Adding seeds to your vegan meals can also provide plenty of health benefits. Chia and flax seeds, for example, are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are known to benefit the brain and heart. Speaking of which, you can also enrich your vegan diet with an Omega-3 supplement. You can find out more information about that here: https://veganliftz.com/best-vegan-omega-3-supplement/.
When added to your smoothies or salads, seeds can provide added texture and flavor as well. Hemp, poppy, pumpkin, and sesame seeds are great options aside from chia and flax.
What Vegans Can’t Eat
A lot of new vegans commit the mistake of consuming non-vegan items – just because they are not aware. It is important to know what food items you cannot eat, just as much as you know what to include in your diet.
Below are some of the food items you need to avoid when on a vegan diet.
- Any meat – Meat from animals such as beef, pork, bison, veal, or poultry are a no-no for vegans. You can replace them with tofu or vegetable alternatives instead.
- Seafood – It is not just red meat that isn’t allowed. Seafood should be avoided as well.
- Dairy – Dairy products are derived from animals. It is best avoided in a vegan diet. Stay clear from the use of butter, milk, cheese, or sour cream.
- Eggs – Just like dairy products are a by-product of animals. Even the free-range eggs are not encouraged by the vegan community.
- Honey – Instead of consuming honey, vegans recommend maple or agave syrup as an alternative.
Using this guideline, you should be able to formulate a vegan meal plan. You will become more familiar with what food items you can or cannot eat.
It is also recommended to develop the habit of reading labels. This is how you can ensure that you are not consuming products that contain any of the prohibited food items.