A vegan diet consists of just plants such as grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, and food made of plants.
Vegans don’t eat meat and anything derived from animals, such as eggs and dairy products.
Eating healthy as a vegan
You can get a majority of the essential nutrients from a varied and healthy vegan diet.
For a healthy vegan diet:
- Consume at least 5 portions of various fruits and vegetables each day
- Meals made of bread, pasta, grains, root crops and other starchy carbs (choose wholegrain if you can)
- You can also have dairy-free milk such as soymilk, oat milk, nut milk and coconut milk and yogurt (choose less-fat or lower-sugar alternatives)
- Eat some beans, legumes, seeds, as well as other proteins
- Select oils with no saturated fats and consume them in small amounts
- Stay hydrated (it is recommended to drink six to eight glasses or cups a day)
If you opt to include drinks and foods which are rich in fat sugar, salt or salt you should consume them less frequently and in smaller amounts.
Check out the NutritionFacts.org for more information on a healthy and balanced diet.
Check this list of foods to eat if you’re planning to go raw vegan.
Incorporating the proper nutrients into the vegan diet
If you have a solid plan and a clear understanding of what makes up an energizing and balanced vegan diet you’ll be able to obtain all the nutrition your body requires.
If you don’t manage your diet correctly it is possible to not get the essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.
Check out these supplements you need if you’re on a plant-based diet.
Calcium is essential to keep the health of your bones and teeth.
Vegans and non-vegans obtain the majority of calcium from dairy products (milk cheese, yogurt, and milk) however vegans may take it from other food sources.
Calcium-rich foods that are good for vegans are:
- leafy, green vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and okra but not spinach (spinach is a good source of calcium, however the body is unable to absorb it all)
- unsweetened, fortified soya, rice and oat drinks
- calcium-set tofu
- tahini and sesame seeds
- white and brown flour (in the UK in the UK, the addition of calcium to brown and white flours in accordance with the law)
- ried fruits, like raisins as well as prunes, figs, figs and dried apricots
The best sources of vitamin D for vegans are:
- exposure to sunlight, especially during the period from late March/early April until at the beginning of September make sure you cover or shield your skin prior to when it begins to turn red or even burn (see Vitamin D, and sun)
- fortified butter spreads and breakfast cereals, and non-sweetened soya drinks (with vitamin D supplementation)
- vitamin D supplements
Check the label for confirmation that the vitamin D contained in the product isn’t made from animal products.
Iron is vital to the production of red blood cells. Iron from plants is a good source
A vegan diet may be rich in iron however iron found in plant-based foods is not absorbed as effectively than iron from animal products.
The best iron sources for vegans include:
- wholemeal bread and flour
- breakfast cereals fortified with iron
- dark green leafy vegetables like watercress, spring greens and broccoli
- dried fruits such as the figs, prunes, apricots and figs
The body requires vitamin B12 to ensure the health of blood vessels and the health of the nervous system.
A lot of people obtain vitamin B12 through animal sources, including fish, meat as well as dairy items. The vegan options are limited and a vitamin B12 supplement might be required.
Vegan sources of vitamin B12 are:
- nutritional yeast
- breakfast cereals enriched with B12
- non-sweetened soya beverages fortified with vitamin B12
- yeast extracts, like Marmite that is enriched with vitamin B12
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly found in oily seafood are able to help maintain the health of your heart and decrease the risk of developing heart disease when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids that are suitable for vegans:
- flaxseed (linseed) oil
- rapeseed oil
Breastfeeding or pregnant vegans
When pregnant and breastfeeding, mothers who adhere to the vegan diet must ensure they receive sufficient nutrients and vitamins to help their baby grow healthy. Learn more about a vegetarian or vegan diet for mothers-to-be.
If you’re raising your child or infant following a vegan lifestyle You must ensure that they have access to a large selection of nutritious foods that will provide the nutrients and energy they require to develop.
Learn about vegan and vegetarian diets suitable for infants and children.
You may be wondering what other options are available to you besides salad. Even though it is easy to prepare like this fern salad, eating it can sometimes be pretty boring. Here’s a list of popular meat substitutes you get your hands on.
- tempeh – fermented soybeans
- tofu – has been the greatest of all time meat alternative which can taste better than meat with just the right amount of spices.
- seitan – a versatile option made from wheat
Now that you have a list of essential vegan food, here’s a list of food that you should not eat.