I've had a few requests lately for vegan recipes and how to make sure you're meeting your nutrition needs on a vegan diet. (I'm always up for requests, so let me know if you have anything else in mind!) While vegan and plant-based diets can be healthful way of eating, when eliminating any food or food group from your diet, you are smart to have some nutritional concerns.
While there is a spectrum of plant-based diets (some that even include meat!), a strict vegan diet eliminates fish, meat, eggs, milk & dairy products, honey, and many ingredients and products that contain these ingredients in some form or another. Learn more about surprising types of non-vegan foods and ingredients here.
While there are health benefits of consuming a plant-focused diet, before starting any diet, I suggest checking in with both your reasoning and your goals for starting it. It can be a healthful way of eating it you choose a variety of foods but becomes less beneficial if you are using it as a way to restrict your intake or follow a strict set of food or dieting rules.
The first concern people have with plant-based diets is - where will you get your protein? This is definitely a concern but there are other nutrients to consider too.
Below I've listed a few of the main nutrients that may be less prevalent in a plant-based diet and lists of plant based foods for where you can find each nutrient.
tofu, tempeh, kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds
leafy greens, oatmeal, lentils, edamame, almonds, broccoli, tempeh, tofu, figs
cashews, tofu, tahini, nutritional yeast
fortified non dairy milks, fortified orange juice and other juices, kale, collard greens, tempeh, almonds, fortified cereals and oats
fortified milk and dairy
fortified cereals or non dairy milks and orange juice, some mushrooms, mainly from sunlight
soymilk, tofu, quinoa, peanut butter, almonds, pistachios, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lentils, chickpeas
walnuts, flaxseed (must be ground, to absorb the omega-3s and other nutrients), chia seeds, hemp seeds, canola oil, seaweed, algae
Below is a quick round up of a few of my colleagues favorite vegan recipes. Enjoy!
Snack Bars & Energy Bites
Salads, Dressings, & Bowls
Roasted Veggie Quinoa - Judith Scharman Draughon, RD, author of Lean Body, Smart Life
Hearty Vegetarian Bean Soup - Pushpa Soundararajan, RD of VPK Nutrition