Vegan Food List for Beginners – 10 Great Tips for New Vegans!

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Vegan Food List for Beginners

 

Hello there!  Are you feeling overwhelmed about starting a vegan diet and just wish there was a vegan food list for beginners?  You are probably like me when I first started getting into veganism.  I was super excited but quickly started to feel frustrated because I could not find quality information on how to become vegan.  All I wanted was a starting point and all I could find were elementary articles about how I needed to make sure I got my protein.  Not only did I want to learn which foods to eat but also WHY they were important for my health.

I already knew how important maintaining all of the vitamins and nutrients were to a human diet so the basics were just not going to cut it anymore.  I needed substance and I needed factual answers.  That is why I started buying how to be vegan books and reading articles left and right on how to become vegan the right way.  You can not leave your health up to chance.  Look around you.  People are suffering from obesity which is linked to hypertension, heart attacks and type 2 diabetes.  Not to mention, consuming animal products is linked to the scariest word of them all, cancer.  It is time for real change!  I hope this post can provide some relief to your vegan journey and point you in the right direction. This will give you a good start to taking control of your health!

 

 

 

#1. Fortified Plant Based Milk

Plant based milk is great for consuming a lot of different nutrients.  However, be careful.  There are a lot of plant based milks that are not fortified.  Fortified means that these milks have been made with stuff added into the milk.  Some nutrients and vitamins that you want to make sure are added into your plant milk is vitamin B12, B6, vitamin D and Calcium.

Bok-Choy

#2. Vegetables High in Calcium

Another great tip when looking for vegetables is to understand what minerals and vitamins Vegetables contain.  One important mineral to look for is calcium.  Calcium helps keep our bones strong and sometimes is not maintained well in vegan diets.  We want to ensure that we are keeping our bones strong and sturdy.  Look for vegetables like Kale, Collard Greens and Bok Choy.

#3. Vegetables High in Iron

Super, super important to understand the need for Iron.  Especially if you are a woman, due to your monthly cycles.  During your monthly cycles you lose a lot of this mineral and thus it is important to make sure that you are consuming enough of it in your diet.  If you feel like your energy levels are low then you might need to visit a doctor to see if your iron levels are normal.  Anemia has been linked to iron deficiency.  Better to play it safe like Popeye and eat your Spinach.  Also look to Beets and Asparagus.

#4.  Flax & Chia Seeds

There is still on going research into the importance of Omega 3 fatty acids.  Researchers are trying to understand if long chained Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to the human diet.  These long chained fatty acids are most commonly found in fish.  However, there are short chained Omega 3 fatty acids called Alpha-linolenic-acid (ALA).  Once you consume enough ALA, it can be converted into long chained Omega 3 fatty acids.  Foods that are high in ALA, well you guessed it… Flax & Chia seeds.  When eating these seeds, make sure that you do not heat them up too much because then they will lose their nutritional value.

#5.  Supplements for Vitamins B12 & D

Before you go out and buy any of these supplements.  We highly urge you to see a health professional or nutritionist.  That is really the best guide for a vegan food list for beginners.  They will be able to tell you how much of any supplement you should take based on your age and gender.  If you think you are not getting enough sun everyday then you should definitely look into Vitamin D supplements.  But be careful, some Vitamin D supplements are made from animals.  Look for Vitamin D2.  It is just as effective as Vitamin D3.  Back to B12.  Unless you are guzzling down fortified soy milk, you are probably going to want to do some research on Vitamin B12 supplements.  That and you don’t always want to drink 3 glasses of soy milk everyday.  Supplements are just easier.  Hope this helps.


#6.  Fruits

What would be a vegan food list for beginners without fruit.  I know I kind of poked fun at basic nutrition in my intro but this is a must to any new vegan.  It is also unfair of me to think that a lot of people eat fruit everyday or understand its importance.  I can remember a time when I did not eat a lot of fruit in my diet so I am sure there are many of you that are not getting enough fruit either.  An important tip to follow when eating fruit, and vegetables for that matter, is to eat different colors everyday.  Throughout the week eat Green, Red, Orange, Yellow and Blue Fruits. And any other colors you can find.  A variety of fruit will ensure that you get all of the nutrients you need.  Fruit is also very helpful in digestion.

#7. Edamame & Quinoa

The all time asked question from non-vegans are, “Where do you get your protein?”.  I think this is due in part that the media has force fed us the idea that animals are the only things on earth that give us protein.  Then the next question from a little more educated non-vegans are “how do you get all of your amino acids?”.  Here is the answer you can give them.  But in a nice way.  Do not be the mean, defensive vegan that everybody is afraid to approach and then people start to make assumptions that all vegans are crazy and that we wouldn’t be like this if we just ate some meat.  Anyways, the answer is Edamame and Quinoa.  These 2 beauties are one of the few plant foods that are high in protein and also contain all 9 essential amino acids.

#8.  Legumes

Legumes are also known as beans, chickpeas and lentils.  These types of foods are important because they are an easy source of protein.  They also are a lot of fun to cook with and can be made into a lot of different things.  Also, if you are not the biggest fan of Edamame and Quinoa, if you mix and match your legumes through out the week then you are sure to consume all of the 9 essential amino acids.  Do not skip out or be intimidated by legumes.  They truly are a vegans best friend because they help regulate blood sugars, blood pressure and keep our hearts happy.

#9.  Nuts

Nuts are very important for 2 reasons.  They are a great source of protein but most importantly they are extremely helpful to adding healthy fats in our diet.  Believe it or not, fats are incredibly important to our diet.  Fats are supposed to take up a majority of what we eat in a day.  Making sure we eat healthy fats like nuts and staying away from saturated and hydrogenated fats.  Too much of the hydrogenated fats can be dangerous and cause our blood pressure to rise. One cool tip about nuts is that you can make them into cheeses which make great substitutes in a lot of meals.

Vegan-Cookie

#10.  Sweets

Let’s be honest.  Especially if you are on the fence about becoming vegan.  It might not be the easiest transition for you and you will definitely have cravings.  Don’t worry.  Every week you should treat yourself a couple of times but do not over do it.  There are a lot of bakeries and a lot of them know how to make pastries and vegan dough if you ask nicely.  We love vegan cakes and cookies and you will be very surprised at just how amazing vegan desserts taste.

 

Thanks for reading everybody!  If you have and questions or comments then drop a note at the bottom.  See ya next time!

Eric

Hello I'm Eric and I am striving to educate people about plant based diets. I enjoy bowling, gardening and nature in my free time. Marilyn and I hope you find our site helpful in learning about a proper Vegan diet.

28 Responses

  1. Hi Marilyn and Eric. I enjoyed your post and the video. I’m not vegan myself, but I have family members that are. I know when they were first transitioning, they were confused about what they could eat. I think they were too focused on what they couldn’t eat. Honestly, that reason is probably why I haven’t gone vegan myself. But after reading your post, I feel like if I ever do decide to go vegan, I will know what to eat. So, thank you. 

    • That’s awesome Amanda!  In the future we will try and have a comprehensive guide on how to be vegan the healthy way.  That is the biggest concern with a lot of aspiring vegans.  They want to know how to do it but do not know where to find the information easily written out for them.  We will hope to have this information for everybody sometime this year.  Thanks for the comment.

  2. I just can’t do a vegan lifestyle.  Sorry, but I’m a carnivore.  Technically I’m an omnivore, that is why I’m reading this article.  I may not be vegan, but this is some good info and I can learn about some foods that even though I’m not vegan, I still eat.  I learned some new things here about a couple of foods I’ve never tried and after reading this, I’m going to give them a try and if I like, will add them to my diet.  Thanks again.

  3. My father inspired me to try Vegan meals and I’ve been hooked since. While I’m not a leafy person, I am very much a nutty and fruity person. I’ve been curious about the taste of flax and chia seeds though. I didn’t know it has such high nutritional values. How do you consume these and what do they taste like? 

    • Great comment Cathy.  Glad that your dad got you into vegan meals.  We like to eat these seeds in our smoothies.  Hope that helps.

  4. Quality beginner’s food lists are so vitally important.  Back in the early 90’s when I was still on the East coast I had a lot of friends who started going vegetarian and vegan.  The ones who went vegan were relying on drink mixes and losing weight rapidly but, not looking so healthy.  The vegetarians, what was on their plates when we went out to eat?  Grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries!

    You can laugh, I certainly did but, I knew they were starving themselves of nutrients and, that, is no laughing matter!

    Luckily, when I moved to California in 1998 I immersed myself in plant-based diet education.  While I’m an omnivore and always have been I call myself a reasonable-atarian.  My diet is mostly plant-based and, when I educated myself, not just for my health but, to get creative and, really make some wonderful plant-based cuisine for myself and friends with any dietary preferences and even food allergies, I was confident that I didn’t have to sacrifice my love for food while maintaining a mostly plant-based diet!  

    While trying to live as sustainably as possible, buying locally whatever I cannot grow etc.  My conscious still struggles with …well lets take nuts for example.  I’m in love with nut and seed milks.  When I looked at the amount of water consumption it took to grow almonds…I never bought it again.  My point is, do you or, anyone else reading, struggle when breaking down the carbon footprint of everything you buy?  I know I do but, I try not to beat myself up too hard. 

    • Great thoughts Frye.  I too struggle with a lot of moral and ethical decisions with my diet.  I try to see what is behind the brand and what goes into production.  I try to make the best decision for all parties involved but it is really difficult sometimes.  To your point,  if we are able to completely transition to a plant milk instead of diary milk than I believe we would use let water then what we do to raise dairy cows.  I do not know this for sure but that is my hunch.  Thanks for the comment. 

      • From my research, I believe you are correct on the plant milk front.

        Also, I try to shoot for seed and in-ground nut butters over tree nuts because of water but, gosh darn I do love my cashew milk and butters!

        If we all make even the smallest of efforts yearly, I believe we all can make a difference with our drops in the bucket <3

        • Thank you for the comment Frye. We couldn’t agree more on the Cashew butter. And also Cashew cheese. Geez it makes great cheese lol. Yes any effort someone to cut back on animal products is going to help the environment out tremendously. That is probably the 2nd greatest attribute to this diet besides personal health benefits. Thanks again for the comment.

  5. Hello,I enjoyed your post and the video. I’m not vegan myself, but I have family members that are. I know when they were first transitioning, they were confused about what they could eat. They want to know how to do it but do not know where to find the information easily written out for them. Your guide and information is working for them.

  6. Hey, I enjoy a lot while reading your guide on vegan food and find it very useful for everyone. I already knew how important maintaining all of the vitamins and nutrients were to a human diet so the basics were just not going to cut it anymore.  Thanks for sharing such useful guide on vegan food. I will try my best.

  7. Very thoughtful of you to share a very sensitive and interesting post such as this. I am a vegan though I just started and I was confronted with the decisions as to the best foods to be eaten without endangering myself. Hence, seeing this here, I feel that I have a better options and alternatives. Thanks so much for sharing

  8. The vegan lifestyle really doesn’t seem as complicated as it sounds. Plant-based milk is very easy to find these days, and we can all find calcium-rich vegetables as well as a variety of other vegetables and fruits we like. I can attack quinoa all day, and the same goes for flaxseed, nuts, and legumes. The vegan diet seems rather simple and I think those who overcomplicate it are people who haven’t yet tried it. This list makes it more than easy to get started. 

    • It is simple once you know what you are doing Todd.  Glad this guide was a good service to you finding out how easy a vegan diet can be.

  9. Hi Marilyn and Eric ,First of all thank you so much for sharing such an excellent article with us. Your article is really informative and I gained a lot of knowledge by reading your article which is very helpful to me .I enjoyed reading the videos and information you provided in your article .I am very aware of my health so I do a regular vegan diet .I got my desired results in a very short time by doing vegan diet and I was able to keep my body healthy .I found some great vegetables on your vegan food list through your article. They are very helpful to me. 

    I think your article is very important for beginners. So I will be delivering your article to my friend and she will definitely share with you her new experience.Can I share your article on my social media?

  10. I have just started this year with my vegan diet. But I have been struggling since a friend of mine that was experienced had to move abroad and I was left alone searching on Google. But I’m glad I found your post. You’ve really taken into consideration us newbies.

    I like Collard Greens and Bok Choy. I’ll start looking for them.

    • Glad we could help Ann.  It is a lot of research on how to be a healthy vegan.  We will hopefully have a comprehensive guide on how to be vegan by the end of this year.   We will keep you updated.

  11. First of all, thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful and informative article with us. 😊
    Thanks for sharing such a useful guide on vegan food. Before reading this article I knew a little bit about Vegan. But after reading this article I got to know a lot. I enjoy a lot while reading your article. Then I know that vegan food and find it very useful for everyone. My sister inspired me to try Vegan meals. I didn’t know it has such high nutritional values before reading this article. I must share this with my family.
    I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. Can I share this article on my social media?

  12. Hey, So you’ve been thinking about trying a vegan diet. Or maybe you already follow a completely plant-based diet and want to make sure that you are getting enough variety.Some people like to jump right into the plant-based diet – they go vegan overnight and never look back. I did exactly that. It was November 18 a couple of years ago when I completely cut out all animal products from my diet.

    I did not eat fruit on the first diet but later found out that the results were not very promising so I started eating the fruit. I especially like the sour fruit which is very beneficial to the body. Besides, I eat calcium-rich and greens.

     I Loved reading your article and enjoyed it so I’d like to share this article in my Facebook group so that everyone can benefit from it.

  13. Hi there! What a nice post it is!Thank you very much for the nice article. I enjoyed your article and the video. I have got a lot of information about Vegan Food List for Beginners by reading your article. You have given ten great tips for them. It is necessary for our happier and healthier life. It helps us to maintain our fitness. So people should follow vegan. I love it and i take vegan food supplements. It is totally helpful for my body.

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