Considering all the benefits of living a vegan life, it sounds like a good idea to get into this acclaimed lifestyle. The items on a vegan diet food list help you to lose weight as well as lower your chances of getting certain types of cancers.
Today, we will be discussing 11 items that every vegan foods list should contain. But before going into the types of foods, let us learn a little more about what being vegan is all about. Is it just about what we eat? Or is being vegan more than that?
First of all, being vegan is not just what we eat, although it plays a massive role in this lifestyle. Veganism excludes the consumption and exploitation of anything related to animals. It ranges from the things we put into our mouths to the things we wear.
We understand how drastic this change must be if you were not born into it. So, in this article, we have made a comprehensive grocery list for vegan lifestyles. It will cover everything from greens and the choice of oils to nuts.
Even if you have only just started to live the vegan life and everything seems to have an overbearing pressure on you, this beginner vegan shopping list contains only the most essential items to continue with a healthy plant-based life.
One thing to keep in mind before continuing with the rest of the article is that these are not the only things you should add in your list of vegan foods. It includes only the basics to get you started. Once you feel more comfortable and get in tune with this new life, you can add more items to it.
Every beginner vegan shopping list should start with green leafy vegetables. The produce section of a grocery store is where you will spend most of your time since you get almost everything that you need from here. There are many benefits that eating green leafy vegetables will provide.
Here are the healthiest choices of greens for you:
- Kale: The Tuscan kale and Curly kale are part of the ingredients in almost all recipes for a healthy salad or meal. The nutrition value of both types is similar, providing over 200% and 500% of the daily Vitamin A and Vitamin K value, respectively.
- Dark green lettuce: Romaine lettuce is one of the best sources of Vitamin A and also gives you some amounts of manganese and calcium. On the other hand, butterhead lettuce does not provide as much Vitamin A as romaine lettuce, but enough manganese, calcium, and potassium to make up for it. Its leaves are large enough to hold ingredients in for wraps.
- Dandelion Greens: This vegetable is one of the most versatile items on the list, loaded with Vitamin K, A, and C. You will also get calcium from dandelion greens. If you think your salad bowl lacks texture, add in a few of these leaves, and you will get what you want.
- Spinach: If you know Popeye, you will see that spinach gives him strength. This vegetable is an excellent source of plant protein, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A. You can add them to your soups, smoothies, wraps, and pasta.
- Swiss chard: Swiss chard is another must-have on the grocery list for vegan food. They have bright red and orange stems, which adds a splash of color and Vitamin K and A to your soups.
Tofu is one of those foods that have hardcore fans as well as doubtful critics. We can make tofu by pressing condensed soy milk. The reason why some people go against tofu is that the soy that the United States uses is genetically modified. However, tofu is entirely safe to consume, and there are no proven data regarding its harmful effects on our health.
Tofu also has beneficial Isoflavones, which reduces the risk of getting breast cancer if you start consuming tofu at a young age. The Isoflavones are not the same as the estrogen hormone that our body produces.
Tofu contains many nutrients that every diet plan should have. Some of these nutrients are proteins, fiber, omega-3 fatty acid, calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, and phosphorous. Some studies show that the consumption of tofu can reduce a person’s risk of getting diabetes.
There are many simple yet delicious vegan tofu recipes that you can check and try on the internet.
Legumes are any plant that belongs to the Leguminosae family. It includes the seeds and pods of these plants, like beans and peas. The best thing about legumes is that it provides the required protein intake in a vegan diet. And since they are inexpensive, it becomes a staple in many vegan diets.
Here are the legumes that your list of vegan food must have:
- Lentils: You will not find any problem in finding all types of lentils like black, red, and green variants in a grocery shop. These lentils contain a load of magnesium, iron, and phosphorous. You can also get your Vitamin B from some types of lentils. They make up for an excellent pasta sauce base.
- Peanut butter: Peanut butter is a favorite amongst many people regardless of if they are vegan or not. Add a jar of peanut butter or any kind of nut butter to your list. Consuming peanut butter boosts your heart’s health and helps in managing blood sugar levels.
- Beans: Beans are very easy to prepare, and even if you are just a beginner cook, there is very little chance that anything will go wrong with a bean dish. This food item includes chickpeas, kidney beans, red beans, black beans, and many other beans, which are rich in proteins, potassium, dietary fiber, and zinc. You get approximately 15 grams of healthy plant protein in a single cup of beans.
- Soybeans: Many of us are more familiar with the term edamame, but they are the same as soybeans. Edamame is an excellent legume to snack on because it does not contain many calories. They do not have cholesterol and contains 16 grams of protein in a single cup. Some other nutrients that soybeans offer are calcium, Vitamin B2, dietary fiber, and last but not least, omega-3 fatty acids.
The other name for plant milk is non-dairy milk. Since any animal product goes out of the window in a vegan life, you will have to say goodbye to dairy milk. However, there is no need to fret because we have an excellent substitute in the form of plant milk.
There are many choices of non-dairy milk like almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk. You can add them to your cereal or any other beverage that requires milk for that matter. They are not difficult to find in grocery stores, but always make sure that you buy the fortified variant. This fortified non-dairy milk will provide you with all that you need like calcium, Vitamin D and B12, and iron.
Whole grains are always the better option that you should choose over refined grains. The thing about whole grains is that they still contain the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran is rich in fiber, while the germ has high energy-rich properties. The core of the whole grain is the endosperm and has a lot of nutrients.
You get your day’s worth of Vitamin E, Vitamin B, iron, and dietary fibers from whole grains. We all like to add rice in some of our meals, and the healthier option for white rice is brown rice. These variants are very similar to each other, with its processing method being the only difference. Brown rice contains a higher amount of manganese, calcium, and phosphorous than white rice.
Quinoa, on the other hand, is more of seed if we look at its fundamental nature. However, we prepare most quinoa dishes like we cook grains. Quinoa is one of the few sources of lysine (one of the essential amino acids) that many vegan diets may lack. Many people consider this food as a complete protein since it provides lysine.
Many people believe in the notion that cooking oils are unhealthy and will do more harm than good in your body if you add them to your diet. This statement is, however, false. The vegan diet contains less fat than other dietary plans because it cancels out meat entirely. We cannot and should not remove fats from our menu. Our body needs fat for many purposes like protecting our organs, absorbing certain nutrients, and developing hormones.
Most of the fats for a vegan will come from whole plant-based foods and cooking oils. One thing to keep in mind is to choose a healthy cooking oil like olive oil. Olive oil contains Vitamin E. You can use this oil as a dressing for salads or to pan fry your vegetables.
The main ingredients of vegan mayo are tofu, lemon, vinegar, oil, salt, and Dijon. It is not difficult to make and takes only two minutes to prep it. Whether you are vegan or not, you are most likely to enjoy vegan mayo because you can make it fresh, only when you need it.
The most common use of mayo for vegans is adding it to sandwiches for lunch. But this is not the only way you can use vegan mayo. You can add it as a sauce to your cold pasta dishes or even add some more ingredients and make an excellent dressing for your healthy salads.
Cashews are one of the most-likes nuts out there. Since you can use it as an ingredient for many recipes, you should always add it to your grocery shopping list. If you need a creamy texture for your dish, blend some cashews and add them in. You will be good to go. Cashews are also an excellent little snack for any time of the day.
Cashews provide us with many types of healthy fats that all diets require. On top of this, you also get enough calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong.
Deactivated yeast or nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated type of yeast where the maker kills the yeast cells and render them as inactive in its final form. This powder or flaky yeast has a nutty and cheesy flavor. Vegans add it to their dips to give the dip a cheesy taste. Not only dips, but you can also add them to any dish that needs a dash of cheese flavor.
Nutritional yeast provides Vitamin B12 that helps in producing red blood cells and enhances your nervous system’s functions.
Different kinds of herbs and spices
People think that vegan food is bland and lacks a lot of flavors. However, this is not true. With the right spices and herbs, vegans dishes can be as flavourful as any other dish. Yes, it might be a little intimidating to add spices and herbs as a seasoning at the start. But once you get used to the different types of spices, you will collect an array of spice jars.
Fresh herbs like cilantro and rosemary are easy to prepare and will give your meal the spark that it needs. Chilli powder gives your food a spicy kick, while turmeric will add color and flavor beyond measure.
Whole grain bread
Last but not least, on the items that should be on every vegan food list is whole grain bread or whole wheat bread. As the name suggests, we make whole grain bread using whole wheat flour. Adding regular bread might be a big no for many vegans, but this type of bread is healthy and tasty.
A single slice of whole wheat bread will offer you around three grams of much-needed protein and iron. If we compare whole wheat bread and enriched white bread, the whole wheat option will always win in terms of nutritional value.
Keeping these foods in mind will help you get used to a healthy vegan life. You can add more items to the list as you get used to this lifestyle.