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If you are new to a vegan diet, fear not!
It’s honestly quite simple, and everything you ate as a non-vegan you can basically still eat…veganized.
I wanted to create a list of foods I consider “staple items” in my diet. These are items I find myself returning to constantly OR foods I can prepare many meals with.
In this list I’m not going to include fruits or vegetables. As a vegan, it’s kind of a given that you should be consuming more fruits and veggies (hopefully). Every week I buy fruits and veggies as necessary. This includes frozen and fresh. Ideally, you’ll include both with all meals or throughout the day!
I also made a video version of this post if you prefer to listen! You can view it below!
Oats are great for a bowl of oatmeal of course, but you can also make oat flour, you can use it for crusting foods, make granola, protein balls, etc.
I like to occasionally eat cereals because many of them are fortified with vitamins and minerals that are otherwise difficult to consume as a vegan. These vitamins and minerals typically include niacin, B6, folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium, and iron.
Read the nutrient label to find out what is in your cereal!
I LOVE Jasmine rice and eat it just about every day. Personally, I don’t enjoy the taste/texture of brown rice so I eat Jasmine rice.
I prefer red lentils because they’re softer and make a perfect lentil dal to serve with rice and some fresh greens!
The easiest and cheapest vegan meal is always pasta! Most pastas are vegan and there are so many varieties and shapes! Regular pasta may not be the healthiest option, so you could instead try lentil, bean, pea, or chick pea pasta!
Those alternatives usually have minimal ingredients and lots of protein!
If you have pasta in the house you should probably have some sauce too! I like a simple sauce. I try to avoid sauces with added sugar.
Boxed mac n’ cheese
The BEST vegan mac n’ cheese is Annie’s Vegan Mac Shell Pasta. Specifically the shells because I swear they taste better than the elbows!
Mac n’ cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and while it’s obviously not the healthiest option, this kind doesn’t make me feel heavy and gross after eating it.
I prefer canned beans but you can always stock up on dry beans as well. My favorite kind are Great Northern beans, but black beans, kidney beans, and chick peas are definitely staples too.
You can add beans to anything! I always make sure to thoroughly rinse and drain my canned beans…apparently this helps prevent gas too!
Canned diced tomatoes are great to have for curry, stews, chili, soups, etc. I like the fire roasted kind for the extra flavor!
Sometimes it’s hard to find canned coconut milk at certain grocery stores, so I like the buy a few when I can. I purchase lite coconut milk to make curry, but you could also buy full coconut milk for added flavor.
You can even make a number of desserts with canned coconut milk!
Most bagels are vegan and thank goodness because they’re one of my favorites! If you need a quick breakfast or snack, keep some bagels stocked!
Or any nut/seed butter! When looking for nut butters always choose the products with 1-2 ingredients. For the healthiest option they should just contain the nuts or the nuts and salt.
If you buy one of these natural nut butters, the natural oils will separate and sit on the top. Simply mix the oil and butter, then refrigerate and it will stay mixed!
Tofu may take some getting used to if you’re a new vegan and don’t know how to cook it. Tofu is a great protein source though and makes a great addition to currys, soups, salads, or just to have on the side.
I like to slice tofu into thin squares and brown them pretty well on both sides.
Hummus is always a hit with vegans! There are so many options/flavors of hummus and so many options to dip into it with!
Lately I’ve been enjoying a dessert (chocolate) hummus with strawberries.
Otherwise I like a savory hummus with pita or veggies!
The best vegan cream cheese I have found is the Go Veggie Strawberry. It’s a great texture and tastes identical to real cream cheese. It’s also a lot healthier!
Vegan butter is so easy to find these days as there are a lot of options now. I prefer the soy free version from Earth Balance.
Of course almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk are very common in a vegan diet. You can drink them plain, use it for cereal or mashed potatoes, make desserts, etc.
There are SO many brands and flavor options but all of the one’s I have tried taste great!
I’ve heard a lot of people who try to give up dairy have trouble with finding a coffee creamer replacement. Fortunately the vegan creamer industry is growing.
Silk, Almond Breeze, So Delicious, Califia, Coffee Mate, and more companies are producing creamers. My absolute favorite is the Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Almond Milk Creamer in Caramel!
Try all the varieties and you’ll definitely find something you love!
The vegan meat industry is also growing rapidly. The number of brands producing vegan meat is extensive and you can find just about every type of “meat” you can think of. Chicken, steak, fish, burgers, meat balls, sausage, corn dogs, and so on.
My absolute favorite brand is Gardein, but BOCA, Beyond Meat, and MorningStar Farms are great options as well. I always double check labels though because some brands sell vegan and vegetarian options which have egg or milk in them.
These are usually in the frozen section, but some are near the yogurt or deli section of the grocery store!
Frozen waffles are a quick and easy breakfast option. I like to spread peanut butter on top of them and of course add some syrup!
The brand Van’s is a great option!
Sliced bread is great for sandwiches, toast, and other quick meals. I prefer to buy the Food for Life brand which has gluten free or flourless options. They don’t add a bunch of sugar to their items unlike other brands! You can find this brand in the frozen section!
Hemp seeds are full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and omegas. I love adding them to salads for a nice crunch and flavor!
Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and omegas. Add them to your oatmeal, toast, salads, yogurt, etc.
Medjool dates are one of my favorite snacks. They’re so delicious on there own, on top of oatmeal, or while drinking tea!
You can even make date pastes/spreads for toast. Dates are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and natural energy.
If you’re looking for a healthy snack, try dried fruit. Be sure to look for the ones with no sugar added! In my opinion, dried Turkish apricots are THE BEST. It’s like eating candy but they’re good for you!
Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookies are by no means healthy. They do have a higher amount of protein than your typically cookie, but they are still quite processed and have a lot of sugar.
However, I do like to eat them occasionally. My favorite are the Snickerdoodles.
A cup of tea is always a good idea. I like to have chamomile and mint tea in my pantry at all times. They’re the best for winding down at night or to drink with something sweet!
Dark chocolate is a great snack and is good for you in moderation! I like the Endangered Species brand because it’s great quality chocolate for a great cause. The higher cocoa percentage the better the chocolate is for you!
Apple cider vinegar
I always have ACV in my home because it’s the best dressing and I swear it boosts my immune system.
I use it on my salads just about every day or I drink a diluted shot of it in water. I recommend the Bragg’s brand because it contains ‘The Mother’ which has all the super nutrients!
My favorite salad dressing is AVC, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lots of nutritional yeast. It will make you love salads!
I’ve become obsessed with nutritional yeast. It smells a little funky but it adds an amazing flavor to many dishes. My favorite place to sprinkle it is salads!
Nutritional yeast contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, plus it adds a nice cheesy flavor!
With these items, fruits and veggies, and a few vitamins and supplements, you should be able to eat a variety of meals and thrive as a vegan!