Everything You Can and Can’t Eat on a Vegan Diet
Navigating any new diet can be a challenge, but luckily, figuring out what you can and can’t eat on a vegan meal plan isn’t that hard. You’ll have to say goodbye to meat, eggs, honey, and dairy, and you’ll definitely need to hone your label-reading skills. Other than that, though, there’s a world of vegan recipes just waiting for you. Every fruit, vegetable, bean, nut, and grain is included, and there are tons of vegan foods and snacks you can get in stores these days. Use this guide the next time you’re at the supermarket to pick up all the plant-based food you need.
No Meat, Eggs, or Seafood
Meat, eggs, seafood, and any products derived from them (like gelatin and collagen) are not part of a vegan diet. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your favorite foods. These substitutions will help you sate your cravings without breaking your plant-based diet.
- Beyond Meat sausage (instead of pork sausage)
- chickpea salad (instead of tuna or chicken salad)
- pulled jackfruit (instead of pulled pork)
- store-bought chicken substitutes
- store-bought meat substitutes
- store-bought vegan jerky
Traditional dairy is a no-go when you’re a vegan. Luckily, there are plenty of nut-, grain-, and soy-based substitutes for you to enjoy. That means milk, cheese, yogurt, and even ice cream don’t have to be off the table. Try these when you get a craving for something creamy.
- coconut or aquafaba whipped cream
- homemade vegan nice cream
- store-bought vegan coffee creamers
- store-bought vegan ice creams
- store-bought vegan milks
- vegan cashew cream “cheese” sauce
- vegan milkshakes
- vegan queso dip
No butter, ghee, lard, or schmaltz
You can eat almost any fat on a vegan diet, such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. One gray area is palm oil. While palm oil doesn’t come from an animal source, many vegans are concerned about how areas are deforested in order to plant palm oil plantations, leading to habitat loss for millions of animals. The problem is especially affecting fragile orangutan populations.
All veggies are a go
Eat all the vegetables you want! Beans, nuts, and peas are especially rich in protein, but you may be surprised to learn that even the humble white potato contains 3 to 7 grams of protein, depending on its size. Try to eat a rainbow of veggies every day to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. This is one food category you can embrace with joy.
Ripe, juicy fruit is like vegan candy. Eat on its own (raw) or turn into gorgeous smoothie bowls, but anyway you slice it, fruit’s definitely on the menu.
whole grains galore
The fiber you get from grains will help keep you full and satisfied when eating vegan. Don’t get stuck eating just white bread, pasta, and rice. Instead, branch out and experiment with whole grains like bulgur, millet, amaranth, steel cut oats, and more.
We think snacks are important no matter what your diet. Healthy snacks will keep you energized between meals and liven up any movie night, party, or lazy Netflix-marathon weekend. Thankfully, these days there are tons of vegan snack options for you to munch on.
- “cheesy” vegan snacks
- healthy store-bought vegan snacks
- store-bought vegan snacks
- vegan cookie dough bites
- vegan red velvet brownies
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(Photos via Brit + Co)