Easy Healthy Vegan Grocery List

building-a-vegan-grocery-list

When following a vegan diet or gradually transitioning towards it, it’s not uncommon to encounter people curious about what you eat, and asking you where you are getting your nutrition, or if there’s anything left to eat at all – adding that they “could never do this, this diet is just way too extreme” and the list goes on and on.  This happens to me all the time, and when you decide to go ‘public’ with your dietary choices, you’ll get it too. Be prepared.

What many people do not realize is that the plant-based lifestyle offers a huge culinary abundance of nutritious variety if one would just take a closer look. We get to choose from literally thousands of different types of fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds far beyond just apples, carrots, and lettuces.

With a little creativity and imagination, we can create a variety of flavorful and satiating dishes from the vegan plant-based lifestyle. And there’s even more: Companies are now going out of their way to come up with extraordinary pre-made plant-based products in an effort to keep up with the rapid growth of veganism these days, food that not only resembles their animal-derived equivalents but often outmatches them in terms of taste. Whether this is important to you or not it’s nice to know there are vegan copy-cats of the original animal-based foods. For me, personally, I don’t miss animal products like meat, chicken, fish, and dairy. I naturally crave fruits and vegetables and love salads and different grains. But I am fully aware that many people do miss their animal foods, and often times will give up the vegan lifestyle because of this. Not to mention pressure from family and friends can make it very difficult as well.

It’s even easier to be vegan today, with more awareness of the health benefits of a Whole Food plant-based diet. Below is a vegan grocery list to help offer suggestions and inspiration for your next trip to the supermarket or Farmers Market.

So take heart, there are lots of awesome and tasty vegan foods available, you will be amazed at all the choices there are! Below are a few examples of what a vegan diet consists of.

Whole foods / Fresh foods, minimally processed foods

Let’s start by looking at all whole plant foods, and fresh foods, these are foods that optimally nourish your body with high-quality nutrition and create the perfect environment for a healthy and glowing body. I cannot emphasize enough to be sure that all the foods you purchase are labeled organic or pesticide-free as much as possible. 

Purchase fruits and vegetables from all the categories listed below. You can get affordable basics like apples, bananas, celery, carrots, and you can supplement with fresh produce that’s on sale, and in season.

blueberries

FRUITS

Frozen fruit is very popular for smoothies and also for baking. You can add frozen fruit as a topping for your oatmeal or in non-dairy yogurts. Dried fruit is great to take on the go, add nuts and make a trail mix which always travels well. 

Fresh

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Clementines
  • Coconut
  • Cucumber
  • Currants
  • Durian
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honeydew
  • Jackfruit
  • Kiwis
  • Kumquats
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Lychees
  • Mangoes
  • Mangosteen
  • Nectarines
  • ​Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Passionfruit
  • Peaches
  • Persimmon
  • Physalis
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Frozen

  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Mangoes
  • Mixed Berry Blends
  • Mixed Fruit Blends
  • Pineapple
  • ​Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Dried

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Goji Berries
  • Mulberries
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
veggies

Vegetables

Veggies are your best friends on a vegan diet, so load up on them in unlimited amounts. Vegetables are so calorically dilute that you practically can’t overeat on them.

They are nutritional powerhouses filled with plenty of fiber and tons of important minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Leafy greens are especially nutrient dense and boast with chlorophyll as well as minerals that fruits sometimes lack.

If you have a hard time eating that many vegetables or leafy greens, you can juice some of them to flood your body with nutrients and enzymes, which is also a great way of alkalizing your body. Just don’t overdo it – you don’t want to miss out on all that wonderful fiber.

Take the best out of the raw and cooked world. Frozen veg work just as well by the way: They’re usually picked and packaged at the peak of ripeness and come with an almost identical nutrient profile as their fresh counterparts.

Fresh

  • ​Artichoke
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Chilies
  • Collard
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Green Onions
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Onions
  • Okra
  • Parsnip
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Shallots
  • Sprouts
  • Squash
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnip
  • Yams
  • Zucchini

Leafy Greens

  • Arugula
  • Baby Spinach
  • Bok Choy
  • Chard
  • Endive
  • ​Kale
  • Carrot and Beet Tops
  • Lamb’s Lettuce
  • Lettuce
  • Mixed Herbs for Salad
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Spring Greens
  • Sorrel
  • Turnip Tops
  • Watercress
  • Wheatgrass

    Frozen
  • Asparagus
  • Baby Lima Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn (Organic)
  • Green Beans
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Stir-Fry Blends

Starches in the form of whole foods are a reliable and healthy staple food on a vegan diet. These foods contain large quantities of complex carbohydrates that supply you with long-lasting energy and satiation.

Not only do starches fuel your body and brain with energy, but they also come with an abundance of essential amino acids from proteins, essential fats, fibers, and minerals. Some starches like potatoes even provide you with a whole host of vitamins.

Stick to whole grains instead of refined ones and indulge in the wide variety of beans and lentils, adding veggies, onions, tomatoes, spices to your bean dishes.

A quick word on gluten: According to science, gluten-containing grains are very health-promoting for people without celiac disease. While the term gluten sensitivity is also floating around, it’s still unclear if people are actually reacting to the gluten. There is a theory that these people are reacting to the glyphosate the grains have been sprayed with before/during harvesting. 

So if you don’t feel any drastic side effects, make sure to eat a great variety of the following grains and legumes.

Also, keep 2 or more 100% whole grain bakery products on hand for making sandwiches, wraps, or pitas. These products freeze well – keep a selection in your freezer and just thaw single servings as needed. Keep 2-3 whole grains/starches and a few different types of beans, and legumes. Mix and match them and add a vegetable side dish for a complete meal. Oatmeal is great to keep on hand for easy, healthy breakfasts. Look for quick, rolled, or steel-cut oats and avoid most instant oatmeal packets.

A note about soy: Some people like to include soy products, do your research first about soy, and if you do buy any soy, be sure it is organic since nearly 100% of all soy products are GMO.

Whole Grains

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Brown Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Corn, Cornflakes
  • Einkorn
  • ​Farro
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Rice Cakes
  • Rye
  • ​Spelt
  • Wheat
  • Whole Grain Bread/Rolls
  • Whole Grain Flour
  • Whole Grain Pasta
  • Wild Rice

Refined Grains (limit consumption)

  • ​Anything made from White Flour
  • Couscous
  • Pasta
  • Seitan
  • Tortillas
  • White Bread
  • White Rice

Legumes

  • ​Alfalfa Sprouts
  • ​Azuki Beans
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Black Beans
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Cannelini Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame
  • ​Fava Beans
  • Green Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Red Beans
  • Snow Peas
  • Soy Beans
  • Split Peas
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • White Beans

HEALTHY FATS

An important part of a healthy vegan diet is essential healthy fats! Be sure to have a wide selection of items from the list below to provide you with a good balance of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids.  Have on hand a variety of different whole foods like avocado, organic dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, or olives for snacking. My favorite snack is sliced apple with organic peanut butter. Keep a couple of different oils for salad dressings, like Avocado Oil, or Olive Oil. Remember to keep excess quantities of nuts and seeds in the freezer to keep them fresh. 

HIGH-FAT FOODS

  • Avocado
  • Coconut milk
  • Edamame
  • Dark chocolate
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Cashews

OILS

  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Olive oil
  • Vegan “butter”

NUTS & SEEDS

  • Peanut and almond butter
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tahini (sesame butter)

Butters from Nuts & Seeds

  • Almond Butter
  • Cashew Butter
  • ​Macadamia Nut Butter
  • Peanut Butter
  • ​Sunflower Seed Butter
  • Tahini

NON-DAIRY PRODUCTS

Best unsweetened non-dairy milk is either Almond milk, or Coconut milk, as they are great in cooking, baking, and smoothies. Flavored vanilla, chocolate or other flavors are great for sweetening and flavoring coffee. There are so many different plant-based kinds of milk available now: Hemp, Rice, Flax, etc. Try them all and find one that you like best.  If you use soy milk, just be sure it’s organic and non-GMO!

MILK

  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Oat milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Flax milk
  • Rice milk
  • Hemp milk

YOGURT/CHEESE/BUTTER

  • Soy/almond/coconut yogurt
  • Tofu desserts
  • Vegan butter
  • Vegan cheese shreds/slices
  • Vegan cream cheese
  • Nutritional yeast

VEGAN PANTRY

Keeping a selection of herbs, and spices on hand make it easy to spice up your meals. They store easily for a long time, often keeping well for many months. You can find dried herbs or spices from the bulk section in smaller amounts. Wash and freeze fresh herbs.

Keep some type of sweetener on hand in your kitchen:

SWEETENERS

  • Organic cane sugar
  • Agave syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Coconut sugar
  • Dates
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fruit preserves
  • Dried fruits
  • Stevia

FLAVORS, HERBS, & SPICES

This list literally has no end… there are hundreds of spices, I’ve only listed a few of the most common ones: 

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Chili powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Chili powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

CONDIMENTS

  • Salsa
  • Hummus
  • Soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • Sriracha, Hot sauce
  • Mustard
  • Vegan mayo
  • Vegetable bouillon
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Lemon/lime juice
  • Apple Cider Vinegar

COOKING & BAKING

  • Organic whole wheat flour, unbleached white flour, cornmeal
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Coconut oil
  • Vegan butter
  • Ground flax seed
  • Yeast
  • Sea salt

Adding herbs & spices to your food enhances the flavor and is also very beneficial to your health. Especially if you can grow your own herbs and add them fresh to your salads, sauces,  and dressings. They are loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities.

Regardless whether you are using fresh herbs like basil or grated roots like turmeric, the wide variety of herbs & spices offer many health benefits, so experiment and discover the flavor boosters for your meals, adding a boost to your health as well, and remember, fresh herbs are always better than dried in a bottle from the store:

  • ​Anise
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaf
  • Celery Seed
  • Chamomile
  • Chili powder
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Clove
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • ​Dill
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ginger
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Lemongrass
  • Marjoram
  • Nutmeg
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Pepper
  • Peppermint
  • Poppy Seed
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • RosemarySaffron
  • Sea or Himalayan Salt
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla

Last, but not least, we all like a little sweetening once in a while. My go-to sweetener is Stevia, and sometimes I like raw honey (agh!! but that’s not vegan you say… you know, I’m not going to get in a pickle about a little honey, yes, I like it.) There is nothing wrong with making your foods taste more delicious, like toast, oatmeal, pancakes, etc. If it helps the medicine go down, and not done in excess, then enjoy!!

Add the following foods here and there to your meals to keep things fun and exciting:

Sweeteners

  • Stevia
  • Agave Syrup
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Date Syrup
  • ​Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • ​Rice Syrup
  • Raw Honey

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