What Should Be on a Plant Based Diet Grocery List?
The short answer to this is: Food! Similar to what should be on everyone else’s list (HA! how many of us are avid grocery list shoppers? In a perfect world right!)
When exploring vegan foods here is a pro tip: the hyped up gluten free, face free full pseudo “Oreo” that screams “wellness” on its label is the gateway to a whole lot of vegan but not a whole lot of nutrients.
Buying 10 packages of a cookie kind of like an Oreo won’t make you more vegan. Or healthier. But it’s typically what happens when we peruse without purpose down the grocery store aisles as a fresh vegan.
Vegan Grocery List Don'ts.
Instead of starting with what should be on a plant based diet grocery list, i’d instead like to start with what should not!
Here’s a quick reference list of all the things that best belong remaining on the grocery store shelf instead of your cart: Every convenience item that promises “meat free” including cookies, candies, soda, and nothin’ but microwave madness.
- A cart full of boxes and bagged goods such as chips & crackers
- Stuff you wont eat but buy just because it says “vegan.”
- Dairy free milk alternatives you think taste like crap but throw in your cart because you secretly think to yourself “there’s no going vegan without a little pain.”
- A bunch of manufactured cheese substitute products. Because if you’re destined for “vegan pizza again” until death do you part so be it
All jokes aside, some of the products listed above are actually pretty great! But the reality of it is most of them are not necessary to have a healthy vegan lifestyle. Whole foods, plant based will be our mantra today. And just so you know- people have been living healthy, full fledged vegan lifestyles long before the evolution of Diya cheese.
I'm confused. Just Tell me what should be on my Damn shopping List
You ready for this? PLANTS! Big plants little plans, fresh plants, frozen plants, dried plants… You get it. If you can’t tell by now I enjoy dwelling in sarcastic bliss. Don’t know what do with those plants once they hit the fridge? I’ve got you covered for all your plant storage and prepping needs!
Step By Step Vegan Shopping Guide
- Start in the produce section. Begin to build your meals around your produce.
- Shop the bulk section. This will save you a lot of money and introduce you to new vegan grocery itmes.
- Stock up on spices. Here are a list of my favorite vegan spices. The cornerstone of vegan cuisine is a flavor packed dish!
- Grab your grains
- Peruse the frozen section. Frozen fruits and veggies are friends.
- Choose canned beans, tomato sauces, and produce produce.
- Peruse the faux meats and dairy alternative space.
Making Protein Choices in Plant Based Diet Grocery List:
Contrary to modern popular belief, the best protein we can get for our bodies does not come in the form of “The absolute largest quantity of protein we can get in a single product ever.”
It might surprise you to learn, that most American’s are actually over consuming protein! Excess protein typically just leads to added fat if it is not utilized.
Don’t take it lightly when I say, vegan protein rocks!
Plant based proteins are typically lower in calories, lower in saturated fats, and lower in trans fats when compared to our meat-based competitors.
Vegan proteins are also the only ones that are also going to contain some fiber.
Vegans typically get their protein by combining multiple plant products into one meal (for example beans and rice). Foods that must be combined to get in all the essential amino acids needed are called complimentary proteins.
However, some plant based proteins do contain all the amino acids we need in a single food. No one protein food is better than another, it is instead about our composition of meals combined for the day.
Easy Plant Based Protein Go To Items:
- soybeans, soy products, or tofu
- explore amaranth, quinoa, or buckwheat
- hemp or chea seeds are a win
- choose beans or lentils
- include almonds or other types of nuts
There are so many varieties to choose from in so many of these vegan products as well. For example, beans come in all sizes, shapes and flavors and can be utilized in so many dishes including burgers, plant based chili, and scrambles just to name a few.
Where do Faux Meats Fit Into a Vegan Shopping List?
While I poke some fun at convenience items at the beginning of this blog, items like textured vegetable protein, microwave hot dog alternatives, and meatless crumbles can actually be an excellent way to get in some really quick high quality protein.
These are a good example of faux meats. These products are becoming increasingly popular as more individuals make the transition to a vegan lifestyle.
My main point above is that most of our vegan choices should be coming from whole foods. However faux meats can make an easy tasty addition to meals on occasion.
I would encourage you to read labels prior to selecting your faux meat as many can be very high in sodium or sugars.
YES! you heard that right. There’s even protein in fruit! Guavas, kiwi, avocado, and apricots are just a few that make the list of protein bearing fruit!
Fruits and veggies are ALWAYS a staple on the plant based diet grocery list. I will not list them all here as they are pretty much free range.
Let’s get creative with plant based shopping by:
- Choosing one new fruit or veggie that may be a mystery to you and learning to cook with it each week. Cactus anyone?
- Try some jackfruit! Jackfruit is often utilized as a meat substitute, though it is in fact a fruit! While jackfruit does contain some protein, it is slim in comparison to products such as soy.
- Switch up what you know- Throw some strawberries on a pizza or some ginger in a smoothie. You’ll be surprised at the amazing combinations you’ll find!
Can You Eat Pasta on a Plant Based Diet?
The question here is really-It depends. Most of the time the answer is yes (which is good because I HATE telling people no when it comes to the diet!).
Some variety of pasta’s are made with egg or milk, so just be sure to check the ingredients list on the labels to ensure you are faithfully face free in your choosing!
Get crazy with pasta and try some plant based Mac and Cheese.
Pasta comes in all different shapes, sizes, and varieties these days!
How do I work grain choices into Shopping Trip?
Take your pick! there’s quite a few of them. The best part is no grain ever evolved from something with wings, legs, or fins. Some great vegan grain choices include:
Many grains also contain a good amount of protein! This includes Quinoa which is actually a complete protein.
What Do Vegans eat instead of Eggs?
Never fear, where there is a will there is a way!
The most popular alternative for binding agents such as eggs and milk when preparing foods are things like ground flaxseed and dairy alternatives such as almond, coconut milk, or soy milk.
A good ol’ bowl of fiber rich cereal with almond milk is an excellent example of what to eat for breakfast on a plant based diet.
It’s actually truly amazing the near exact replicas you can make of your favorite recipe’s without using products like eggs and and milk. Egg replacement in recipes has become increasingly common with not only vegans, but also for those with egg allergies.
What Can't I Eat on a Plant Based Diet?
Thanks to the collective creativity of many pioneering vegans past, we can now make nearly any American cuisine plant based.
The exception might be things like a stand alone piece of steak or chicken (although interestingly enough even that’s debatable).
Most who make the vegan transition become artists in mere months, and realize the true flavor potential in their meal choices!
For my carnivorous and vegan clients alike, I encourage you to utilize a plant based grocery list as the backbone of your shopping trip. I provide it to every patient.
All of us can use a little more adventure and a few more plants in our lives. It’s also much easier to add meat to a meal or a grocery list than take it away, and thus a plant based list creates a healthy core foundation.
What are some ways you add plants to your shopping cart? Are there ways you get creative with plants in your meals not listed above? Would love to hear about it in the comments below!