Want to know how to confidently make healthy vegan food at home? These are tried-and-tested tips to make it easy for you.
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Going vegan can be the best decision you make for your health. But with all the vegan junk food options and conflicting information out there, it can sometimes be difficult to know what healthy vegan food even looks like.
I’ve been vegan for several years now, so I’ve rounded up the advice I’ve learnt over the years and shared a list of healthy vegan foods, which I’ve then created an example vegan meal plan from, and added some easy vegan recipes for beginners to help get you started.
After learning all about these healthy vegan food tips, you’ll feel much more confident in the kitchen and you’ll know that you’re taking care of your nutrition.
So read on for 6 tips to make healthy vegan food like a pro!
Healthy vegan food made easy
Healthy vegan food list
So congrats, you’ve started your transition to a more plant-based diet or you’ve been vegan for a little while. If you’re newer to this lifestyle, you might be thinking: what can I eat if I’m vegan? Or you might be having doubts and wondering how can a vegan be healthy?
Well the answer is simple (but not always easy!): to have a healthy vegan diet, the key is to focus on whole plant-based foods. You may have seen vegan influencers labelling themselves as “WFPB”. It means whole foods plant-based and these are the food groups they would focus on:
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes (including products such as tofu)
- Nuts and seeds
The idea (in my mind anyway) isn’t to fully eliminate processed foods, such as vegan chocolate and cheeses, but rather to base your meals on whole foods and then enjoy everything else when you feel like adding it.
Start planning your meals by focusing on plant-based whole foods first.healthy vegan food tip #1
My favourite resource when it comes to applying this to my day-to-day life is the Daily Dozen list. This is a list of essential foods to eat every day, put together by Dr Greger. You can learn more about his evidence-based approach to vegan nutrition on his website Nutrition Facts and in his book How Not to Die*.
Here are the Daily Dozen recommended healthy vegan foods:
- Other fruits
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Other vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Herbs and spices
- Whole grains
- Exercise (not technically a food, but it’s on Dr Greger’s list!)
When in doubt about what to make for your next meal, refer to the Daily Dozen list.healthy vegan food tip #2
I have the Daily Dozen app on my phone, and I check it on a regular basis to make sure the next meal incorporates some of the foods I haven’t “ticked off” yet that day. Please note that I rarely tick off all the servings, but it’s a great target to aim for!
What I love about this approach is the focus on adding healthy foods, rather than counting calories or restricting.
Healthy vegan food plan
In a time when you can get a couple vegan Magnums for £5 and the sky is the limit on other vegan alternatives, how do vegans eat healthy and cheap?
Again, easy but not simple: they plan their meals! Giving the meals you’re going to eat a bit of thought every week can help you save quite a bit of money, while also reducing food waste.
We get our fresh fruit and vegetables delivered from Abel & Cole* and Riverford Organic, so we don’t “choose” those per se, but we have themes that we loosely follow (e.g. Stir Fryday) that ensure that we know what other items to shop for.
Basing meals on whole foods like grains and beans can be quite cheap. You can always add in fancy vegan “meats” or “cheeses” if you fancy them too!
You don’t have to plan every single meal and snack… But it helps to have an idea of which whole foods you’re going to eat during the week before heading out to the shops.Healthy vegan food tip #3
Here’s how an example day of eating healthy vegan food could go:
Healthy vegan breakfast
Breakfast is when I focus on getting some fruit in, especially berries, as I tend to forget to eat them otherwise.
I might be a bit weird, but I prefer uncooked oats with yoghurt rather than porridge or overnight oats, but you do you! I’ll chuck in some chopped apple, thawed frozen berries, chia seeds, flax seeds and desiccated coconut and tadaaa that’s breakfast!
Side note: buying frozen berries is cheaper and you can keep them for ages!
Start every meal thinking about which fruit or veggies you’ll use – to reduce food waste and increase the nutrition you get from it.healthy vegan food Tip #4
Healthy vegan lunch
I’ll aim to have a large salad for lunch, or a soup if we’re low on fresh greens / it’s really cold and I feel like it. This is a great vehicle for getting greens, whole grains and beans in.
Try to add as many different elements as possible from the Daily Dozen to your salads and soups. Don’t stop at vegetables, you can incorporate grains, beans and more!healthy vegan food tip #5
Healthy vegan dinner
A grain, a green, a bean! This is an easy formula, which can be interpreted in lots of different ways (curries, chilies, pasta dishes…), that I learnt from Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete.
[Check out the inspiring interview I did with him! <- it’s not really related to healthy vegan food per se, but I’m never going to stop mentioning that I interviewed him haha.]
If you want actual examples of different meals in a simple healthy vegan food plan to streamline your week, you can find the plant-based meal plan I put together here.
Everyday vegan meals + hacks
What is the healthiest vegan meal? The one you actually make and eat! So here are a few videos to guide you through the basics and give you some inspiration to take things a step further if you feel like you’re in a bit of a rut in the kitchen.
Reminder: these videos are for inspiration, you don’t need to do it all! Take what you like and leave the rest. 🙂
Here is some general guidance on prepping healthy vegan food and finding balance between nutrition and pleasure. This video is by Nisha Vora, whose channel I definitely recommend you check out for inspiration:
This second video is from someone who is on the same oats page as me. It also illustrates the grain, green, bean concept for dinner. Some good ideas for each meal, especially if you’re on a budget:
Then if you’ve been doing things for a while and you want to take things to the next level, this next video is for you. I bet you’ll learn something new!
Look for inspiration to keep things fresh – YouTube is a great place for this – and don’t be afraid to try something new!Healthy vegan food tip #6
This post was all about easily making healthy vegan food.
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