If you want to start afresh when it comes to your lifestyle choices and eating habits, you may want to embark on a vegan diet - which means no meat, eggs or dairy. Now is the ideal time to start, so here we look at what you can eat, and what various foods can bring to your diet when you choose not to consume traditional sources of protein, vitamins and more.
What can a vegan diet include?
- Whole grains and cereals
- Fruit & vegetables
- Legumes including lentils, peas, beans
- Seeds, nuts (and nut butters)
- Meat substitutes such as Tofu or Tempeh
- Yoghurts and plant or nut milks
It can be hard to maintain the right levels of nutrient intake when your meals are based purely on plant foods and your diet is completely animal-food free, Help is at hand, because here are our top tips on how to get the nutrients you need from vegan-friendly ingredients.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal food sources, so ensuring that you get enough vitamin B12 in your diet is essential as it’s not found in plants. Vitamin B12 helps your immune system work normally and can reduce tiredness. Vegan sources of B12 can be found in fortified products like cereals, spreads or milk alternatives. Nutritional yeast flakes are often used as a cheese substitute due to their creamy, nutty and cheesy taste and are also a source of vitamin B12.
Alternative sources of protein include tofu, beans and pulses, chickpeas, soya milk and plant based yogurts.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fats
Good sources of these nutrients include chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, ground linseeds and using vegetable oil (rapeseed) as one of your cooking oils. Omega 3 is important in the diet in order to keep your heart working healthily.
Calcium can be found in set tofu and bread with added calcium. Calcium can also be found in leafy greens like spinach, pak choi, okra, chia seeds and almonds. Did you know that calcium helps turn food into energy as well as helping keep teeth and bones healthy and normal?
It’s recommended that we take a 10mcg supplement of vitamin D a day - be careful when taking a vitamin D supplement as not all are vegan friendly. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy and normal.
Vitamin K is made in plants and can be found in kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, spinach and spring greens. Vitamin K is important to include in your diet to help keep bones healthy and normal and to help blood clot normally.
Good sources of iron include lentils, beans, chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground linseed, kale and fortified breakfast cereals. Iron is important in the diet as it helps turn food into energy and helps your immune system to work normally.
Good sources of zinc include walnuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, wholemeal bread and quinoa. Did you know that zinc helps your body to process the nutrients in your food and helps keeps your skin, hair and nails healthy and normal?