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Vegan Diet Plan for Beginners

by Freya 9 minutes read

Last updated: 24 Nov, 2022

Veganism is a lifestyle which seeks to avoid the exploitation of animals. A vegan does not consume, or use, any animal products including: meat, dairy, eggs, honey, leather, wool, animal-based ingredients, and products tested on animals.

Going vegan is one of the best things you can do for animals, the environment, and your health!

Benefits of a vegan diet

There are endless potential health benefits to adopting a vegan lifestyle:

  • Helps with weight loss

  • Lowers blood pressure

  • Lowers cholesterol levels

  • Lowers risk of heart disease

  • Reduces risk of diabetes type 2

  • Reduces pain from arthritis

  • Reduces risk of certain cancers, including colon cancer

What to include in your plant-based diet

As a vegan diet excludes animal products, it’s a common misconception that you cannot have a healthy diet that relies solely on plant-based foods. There is a whole new world of delicious food and flavours for you to try, which you can get all the necessary nutrients from - as long as you eat a varied and balanced diet!

Fruit and Vegetables Make sure to eat 5 portions of various fruit and vegetables each day
Starchy carbohydrates (preferably wholegrain) Bread, rice, white or sweet potatoes (with skin) , oats, noodles, and pasta
Good sources of calcium Fortified dairy alternatives such as dairy-free milks and yoghurts (low-fat and low-sugar where possible) - soya, pea, and oat
Meat substitutes - Tofu, tempeh
Green, leafy vegetables - Cabbage, okra, broccoli
Dried fruit - Raisins, figs, apricot, prunes
Good sources of protein Beans - Chickpea, kidney
Pulses - Lentils
Peanut butter
Meat substitutes - Tofu, tempeh
Protein powder
Good sources of iron Pulses - beans, lentils, peas
Meat substitutes - Tofu, tempeh
Seeds - pumpkin, hemp, and chia
Wholemeal flour and bread
Nuts
Fortified breakfast cereals
Dark green, leafy vegetables - Spring greens, broccoli, watercress
Dried fruits - prunes, figs, apricots
Omega-3 fatty acids Seeds - Chia, shelled hemp
Oil - flaxseed (ground linseed), vegetable (rapeseed)
Nuts - walnuts
Brussels sprouts
Fortified Foods or Supplements for Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D Yeast extracts - nutritional yeast, marmite
Fortified breakfast cereals and dairy-free alternatives
Fluids Make sure to drink 6-8 cups of water each day

Remember: A vegan diet does not equate to weight loss. Regardless of which type of diet you choose to follow, weight loss and weight gain can only be achieved with the right amount of calories. Individuals should be consuming around 2000 calories a day, but this number varies depending on age, gender, weight, height, and how physically active you are. Using a BMR or TDEE calculator can be helpful when figuring out your optimum daily calorie intake.

It’s important to remember that this article is for informational purposes only - if you are specifically looking for a vegan weight loss meal plan, you should consult a registered dietician or healthcare provider for a more accurate assessment of your dietary needs.

Recipes

To help make things easy for you, we’ve crafted a weekly meal plan which is both delicious and packed full of nutrients! Below you’ll find plant-based ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, including recipes for our favourite dishes.

Day 1

Breakfast - Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rolled oats

  • ½ cup non-dairy milk of your choice

(Optional) toppings:

  • Maple syrup

  • Peanut butter

  • Fresh or frozen fruit (blueberries, strawberries, banana, apple)

  • Nuts (walnuts or almonds)

  • Dates or raisins

  • Hemp or flax seeds

  • Cinnamon

Method:

  1. Combine the oats and non-dairy milk into a container of your choice and cover.

  2. Refrigerate overnight.

  3. The oats can be either eaten cold or heated in the microwave for 1 minute.

  4. Top with any of the optional toppings of your choice! It’s as easy as that!

Lunch - Moroccan Couscous Salad

Dinner - Pulled Jackfruit Burger

Snack - Salt & Chilli Edamame Beans

Pexels photo 11073466

Day 2

Breakfast - Tofu Scramble

Lunch - Lentil Bean Salad

Dinner - Vegetable Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes

  • 1 large carrot

  • ½ cauliflower

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 onion

  • 1 tbsp curry powder

  • 1 x tin chopped tomatoes

  • ½ cube of vegetable stock with 300ml hot water

  • 100g frozen peas or two large handfuls young spinach leaves (or a mixture)

  • Vegan plain yoghurt, to serve

  • Mango chutney, to serve

Method:

  1. Peel the potatoes and carrots, cutting the potatoes into 2cm chunks and the carrots diagonally.

  2. Fill a saucepan halfway with cold water and add the potatoes and carrots, bringing to the boil and cooking for 8 minutes.

  3. Cut and halve the cauliflower into small florets, adding it to the saucepan and cooking for a further 2 minutes.

  4. Drain the vegetables into a colander and set to the side.

  5. Chop the onion finely.

  6. Heat the oil in a large pan, adding the onion and cooking for 8 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Stir regularly.

  7. Add the curry powder, continuously stirring and cooking for a further 30 seconds.

  8. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes to the onions, cooking for 2–3 minutes, continuously stirring.

  9. Add the stock into the pan, bringing to a gentle simmer.

  10. Add the potatoes, carrots, and peas or spinach.

  11. Simmer for 5 minutes, continuously stirring. If the sauce gets too thick, add a small amount of water

  12. Serve hot with yoghurt and mango chutney.

Snack - Baked Kale Chips

Day 3

Breakfast - Avocado on Toast

Lunch - Baba Ganoush

Dinner - Chickpea Tacos

Snack - Nutritional Yeast Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil

  • ½ cup popcorn kernels

Method:

  1. Add the nutritional yeast and salt to a large container and cover. Place to the side.

  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan, placing 3-4 individual kernels in the pan.

  3. Once the kernels start popping, add the remaining kernels until they form a single layer on the bottom of the pan.

  4. Cover the saucepan and shake it so that the kernels are coated with the oil.

  5. Once the popcorn kernels start popping, shake the pan every 15-20 seconds to ensure the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom and prevent burning.

  6. Once the popping has begun to slow down and the time between pops becomes longer, transfer the popcorn to the prepared food storage container.

  7. Cover the container and shake for 10 seconds so that all the popcorn is covered in seasoning.

  8. Serve warm and enjoy!


For those following a vegan diet, nutritional yeast needs to be a staple in your household cupboard- if you’re curious about other ways you can add nutritional yeast into your diet, check out our article!

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Day 4

Breakfast - Breakfast Potatoes

Lunch - Zucchini Corn Fritters

Dinner - Three-Bean Vegan Chilli

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion

  • 1 red pepper

  • Olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 large carrots

  • 1 large courgette

  • 2 400g chopped tomatoes tins

  • 3 tbsp tomato purée

  • 1 400g tin borlotti beans

  • 1 400g tin kidney beans

  • 1 400g tin black beans

  • 1 cup vegetable stock

  • 2 tsp mixed herbs

  • 2 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp coriander

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 325g tin sweetcorn

  • 1 cup brown rice

  • ½ avocado

Method:

  1. Fry the onion and pepper in a large pot with some olive oil for 3-4 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, carrots, and courgette, continuing to fry for 2-3 minutes until it is soft.

  3. Add and mix together the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, beans, vegetable stock, mixed herbs, and spices.

  4. Leave to simmer over a low heat for about 90 minutes, until it is thick.

  5. Prepare the rice by mixing it in a saucepan with 6 cups of water, bringing to a boil. Leave uncovered for 30 minutes and then drain any excess water. Cover the pot, off the heat, for 10 minutes before serving.

  6. Add the sweetcorn and continue simmering for a further 5 minutes.

  7. Serve with brown rice and sliced avocado.

Snack - Tomato Bruschetta

Day 5

Breakfast - Smoothie Bowl

Lunch - Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • Firm or extra-firm tofu

  • Soy or tamari sauce

  • Maple syrup

  • Lime juice

  • Garlic

  • Liquid smoke

  • Ground black pepper

  • Optional - hot sauce

To serve:

  • Bread of your choice

  • Thousand island dressing

  • Lettuce

  • Tomato

  • Cucumber

  • Avocado

  • Sprouts

Method:

  1. Cut the tofu into equal slices.

  2. Soak the tofu in the marinade.

  3. Bake the marinated tofu

  4. In the meantime, coat your bread with spread.

  5. Add the tomato and lettuce.

  6. Take the tofu out of the oven and layer the crispy slices on top of your sandwich.

  7. Top with avocado, cucumber, and sprouts.

  8. Enjoy!

Dinner - Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Snack - Vegan Sausage Rolls

Day 6

Breakfast - Hash Bowl

Lunch - Bean Burrito

Dinner - Vegan Pepperoni Pizza

Snack - Carrot and Cucumber with Hummus

Day 7

Breakfast - Chickpea Flour Pancakes

Lunch - Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Dinner - Peanut Butter Noodles with Tofu

Snack - Vegan Jerky

Pexels photo 6646244

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