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A Quick Guide to Creating a Varied and Balanced Vegan Diet


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Creating a varied and balanced vegan diet can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. This guide will show you how to incorporate all the essential nutrients into your meals, so you can thrive on a vegan diet.

Veganism and interest in a vegan diet is on the rise, with more and more people embracing this lifestyle for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. But as a new vegan, figuring out how to create a varied and balanced diet that provides all the essential nutrients can be a daunting task.

Fear not! In this all-inclusive guide, I’ll reveal the crucial components of a vegan diet, debunk common misconceptions about vegan nutrition, and provide advice on how to put together a delicious and nutritious plant-based meal plan. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or a newbie, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to thrive on a vegan diet and live your best, healthiest life.

Understand the Nutrients You Need for a Vegan Diet

Before you start planning your vegan meals, it’s important to understand the nutrients your body needs to function properly.

Some of the essential nutrients that may be more difficult to obtain on a vegan diet include protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. By understanding the role of each nutrient in your body and where to find them in plant-based foods, you can ensure that your vegan diet is balanced and nutritious.

B12: The Vital Nutrient for Vegan Health

Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products, making it a challenge for vegans to get an adequate amount through their diet. As such, it is recommended that vegans take B12 supplements or consume fortified foods to avoid deficiency. Symptoms of B12 deficiency can include fatigue, anaemia, and nerve damage, all of which can be detrimental to our overall health.

By taking a proactive approach to your B12 intake and regularly consuming fortified foods or supplements, you can support your energy metabolism and overall health. And with options like nutritional yeast and B12-fortified plant milks and cereals, getting your daily dose of B12 can be delicious and convenient.

Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time


One of the keys to creating a varied and balanced vegan diet is to plan your meals ahead of time. This will help you ensure that you are getting all the essential nutrients you need and prevent you from relying on the same few meals over and over again.

Start by creating a weekly meal plan and make sure to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. You can also experiment with different cuisines and cooking methods to keep your meals interesting and flavourful.

Don’t forget to also consider your snacking options and make sure to have healthy, nutrient-dense snacks on hand for when hunger strikes. Need inspiration or guidance? Feel free to get in touch, I’d love to help you!

Incorporate a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are bursting with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, and a variety of phytochemicals – natural substances found in plants – that are crucial for maintaining good health. Not only that, but many of these nutrients also serve as potent antioxidants, guarding against harmful free radicals found in pollutants that can lead to disease.

By incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, you’ll be doing your body a favour and reaping the benefits of a well-nourished system. Regardless of whether you eat meat or not, it is vital to incorporate a variety of colours and types of fruits and vegetables into your meals, such as leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, and root vegetables. You can also experiment with different cooking methods, such as roasting, grilling, or sautéing, to add variety to your meals.

Don’t forget to also include fruits and vegetables in your snacks, such as sliced apples with almond butter or carrot sticks with hummus.

Include Protein-Rich Foods

Gone are the days where vegans and vegetarians struggled to meet their protein needs. Nowadays, more and more people are aware of this issue and are making changes. Remember, everyone’s protein requirements differ based on their age, gender, and activity levels. However, the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for protein in adults is only 0.75g per kilogram body weight per day.

There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein that can be incorporated into a vegan diet. Examples include:

Nuts and seeds are a convenient and tasty addition to salads or as a snack, with up to 20g of protein per 100g. And who doesn’t love a good nut butter?

  • Beans and lentils are versatile ingredients that can be used to thicken up sauces, soups, dips, and bakes while providing around 20g of protein per 100g.
  • If you’re a fan of soya, tofu, soya milk, and soya yogurt are all excellent sources of protein with around 8g per 100g.
  • For a more substantial meat substitute, try wheat protein (seitan) or fermented soybeans (tempeh), which have a chewy texture and boast a high protein content. Seitan, in particular, contains an impressive 75g of protein per 100g compared to just 9g for tofu.
  • If you’re on the go, there are plenty of protein-fortified vegan options like energy balls available, just be sure to check the sugar and fat content as protein alone isn’t always synonymous with health.

Some more vegan diet examples include:

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Tofu
  • Nut butter
  • Meat substitutes
  • Protein powder

Don’t Forget About Healthy Fats


Vegan diets are often rich in carbohydrates, making it easy to meet daily needs for this macronutrient. However, healthy fats are also a vital part of a well-rounded and nutritionally complete vegan diet.

Healthy fats, like those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, are important for brain function and hormone production. To ensure your body is receiving all the necessary nutrients it needs to thrive on a vegan diet, it’s crucial to include a variety of healthy fats in your meals.

So, remember to not only focus on protein but also prioritize healthy fats for optimal health and wellbeing.

Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or a novice, I hope this helps! If you still feel like you need more guidance or if you’re not sure if you’re getting all the nutrients you need whilst following a vegan diet, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be delighted to help.

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