Congratulations on the decision to live a vegan lifestyle! I am sure this is a choice that you have thought about for a long time before you took the final step into committing to veganism. Or maybe you woke up one day and decided to be vegan was the right choice for you. Either way, you want to take your journey safely and healthily.
In school we all had the opportunity to learn My Plate. This was a dinner plate that was separated into different sections. All the sections were different sizes based on how much you should be eating of that item to stay healthy. For example, the fruit and vegetable size were much larger than the cookies and sweets side. This was a way to help you manage a healthy diet.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is a vegan version of my plate. This is the same thing as the plate you know but made to make sure you’re getting all the vital nutrients you need to live as a vegan. Let’s break the plate down!
The first section is fruits and vegetables. According to food experts, we should be eating half of our plate fruits and veg. They provide us an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The important part about eating fruits and vegetables is making sure we consume a huge variety of them. No one type holds all the things you need in it; different types keep you healthy and keep you from being bored.
The next section of our plate is wholegrains. Whole Grains means things like oats, rye, spelt, wheat, millet, rice, quinoa, and many more. Whole Grain is a wide area with so many options, so you can be selective in the ones that you eat. This group should only be one-fourth of your plate. Remember, overdoing it on grins can hurt your body just as much as not eating enough.
Then there are proteins from plant sources. This should be ¼ of the vegan plate. Much like whole grains, there are options for this. You can eat lentils, peas, beans, lupins, nuts, almonds, and so much more. Like fruits, the protein needs to be mixed and matched to get all the essential amino acids.
The final group is healthy vegetable oils. Everyone needs healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They can be found in flaxseed oil and walnuts. It is very important for functionality, but you shouldn’t be eating too many.
This is a good guide to help you stay on track eating the right foods to stay energized and not fall back into hold habits.
Our friends over ate Veganuary have put it together for us. Here is what you should know to plan your meals.
You can use this checklist to make sure to include as much nutrition as needed into your day. If this is irritating to you, just know that you need to include veggies overall. As most vegetable are high in protein. You can also look at our Plant Based Protein list to add these to your meals to make it easier on you at the beginning.