Going vegan can feel like a lot of change at first, but the journey can be oh-so-rewarding. Whether you’re doing it for animal rights, for the environment or your health, becoming a vegan takes work but can deliver a range of benefits for those who practice this lifestyle.
Many people assume that embracing a vegan lifestyle, especially nutrition-wise, is automatically healthy — this isn’t strictly true. Due to the restricted nature of the diet, sometimes your choices are limited when eating at non-vegan/vegetarian restaurants or while on the road. That can lead to buying junk food like potato chips, French fries, fried vegetables and other less-than-healthy options that happen to be vegan, like Oreos.
Indulging is fine from time to time, but when eating processed convenience foods (vegan or other) becomes the norm rather than the exception, you may be putting your health at risk. Take a look at our vegan grocery list for staples that you can add to your diet. And, to show you that veganism doesn’t have to be expensive, we’ve included our vegan grocery list on a budget.
8fit’s vegan grocery list
There’s no point eating food you find dull and flavorless, so we’ve included ones that we enjoy for their taste as well as for their nutritional value. You can find most of them at a grocery store near you!
Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart… we all know what comes next. Beans may be notorious for causing wind, but there’s hope: the more often you eat them, the more your body will get used to them. That’s great news for vegans, as beans are an excellent, plant-based source of protein that’s easy to incorporate into your diet.
There are many delicious beans out there, and they come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Dry beans require a little more prep, but they’re much cheaper than the canned variety, and you can control what’s in them. If you do go for canned, remember to rinse them off to remove the sodium-heavy liquid they’re doused in.
Lentils get their own category because they’re just that awesome, and an excellent addition to any vegan grocery list. Whether you go for red lentils, green lentils or beluga lentils (named because of their resemblance to beluga caviar), these versatile legumes are a delicious addition to soups, salads, on their own or with a side of brown rice.
Best of all, they’re packed with protein and are a great source of B vitamins and minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium. What else can we say? We just love lentils! Be sure to rinse your lentils and look out for small stones – it’s no fun biting into one.
Chances are, you’ve already heard all about the wonders of quinoa. We may be preaching to the choir here, but we also think it’s pretty great. This Andean staple has been cultivated for at least 3,000 to 4,000 years but has only recently become a food trend in North America and Europe.
Quinoa is a pseudocereal, which is a fancy way of saying it’s doesn’t originate from a kind of grass like wheat or barley. Often labeled a superfood, nutritionists love quinoa because it’s high in fiber (10-12 grams of fiber in just 100 grams!), has a substantial nutrient content and a good deal of protein.
We like it as a base for Buddha bowls topped with our favorite veggies, tofu, and beans, but there are even more creative ways to prepare it. Use it in place of oats in oatmeal, as a salad topper, to make burger patties, mixed into soup, or even in cookies.
Of course, we can’t put together a vegan grocery list without mentioning tofu. Made out of soybeans this food is an excellent source of protein and a great addition to stir-frys, soups, or any dish that you’d usually use meat. Don’t get discouraged if your tofu doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time – it can take a few tries until you discover the way you prefer to cook it.
Half a cup of firm tofu boasts 10.1 grams of protein, so if you need to find more ways to fit protein into your diet, try adding tofu to your next stir-fry. The sky’s the limit with this stuff, so get creative and have fun.
The name might not sound very appealing, but nutritional yeast is one of our secret weapons when it comes to making comforting vegan meals. Why’s that, you ask? It’s because nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor that makes it a favorite among vegans who miss dairy products.
Whether you sprinkle it on pasta as a Parmesan substitute or you use it to make a vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, there are many delicious ways to nutritional yeast can brighten up a meal. It’s not just the taste that makes nutritional yeast a treat, but also the nutritional value (appropriate considering its name). It’s a significant source of B vitamins, and it’s even a whole protein with around 9 grams in two tablespoons.
Our vegan grocery list: On a budget!
Shopping on a tight budget? No probs. Because we’re 8fit here’s a list of our top 8 affordable vegan groceries below:
- Beans, dried or canned (chickpeas, black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans)
- Whole grains like brown rice
- Tofu — check your local organic shop or Asian supermarket for the best deals!
- Dark green vegetables like broccoli, collard greens, kale and spinach
- Rice cakes for snacks
- All-natural peanut butter or almond butter (without sweeteners, trans fats or other additives)
- Potatoes (sweet and regular)
- Whole grain pasta
Go vegan: meal plan and grocery list
If you need a specific meal plan to point you in the right direction, we recommend taking a look at our vegan meal plan here. Don’t let the ‘weight loss’ aspect of these plans deter you. You can follow the meals in this plan to the tee or just use them as inspiration no matter what your health and fitness goals.
If you want a plan that’s completely tailored to your needs (including dietary preferences, sign up for 8fit Pro and generate your own vegan meal plan and grocery list.