A vegan diet plan is a nutritionally healthy option and equivalent to a diet that includes meat and/or fish. But if they are done incorrectly, they can cause health problems. In Content Crawling, you can count on the advice and supervision of a dietician who is an expert in vegetarian nutrition. In the following video, you can see how to eat a balanced vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian food is a dietary option that favors the consumption of foods of plant origin and the reduction or total elimination of foods of animal origin.
In this way we can find different types of vegetarian diets:
Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian Diet
It is a diet that eliminates meat and fish and their derivatives and includes, in addition to foods of plant origin, eggs, and dairy.
Eliminate meat, fish, and dairy products. The only food of animal origin in the ovo-vegetarian diet is eggs.
The vegan diet consists only of foods of plant origin.
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA) in its opinion published in 2009, well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, as well as for athletes.
For this reason, it is important to understand and know about this dietary option. People who follow a vegetarian diet should pay special attention to diet planning and establish the necessary dietary modifications to meet their needs. Nutritional advice from a vegetarian nutritionist is advisable to achieve a varied and healthy diet. Vegetarian nutrition must evaluate the contribution of specific nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and w-3 fatty acids.
If the diet does not include dairy, it will be necessary to pay attention to calcium and vitamin D and organize it by including other vegetarian foods (of plant origin) that provide appreciable amounts of calcium and guarantee daily sun exposure.
In some situations, supplementation to provide specific nutrients will be recommended, such as vitamin B12 supplementation if you follow a balanced vegan diet.
Food Groups in the Vegetarian Diet
- Cereal grains: They form the base of the pyramid and are the base of the vegetarian diet. They provide energy, complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Whole grains also provide zinc and other minerals.
- Vegetables and Fruits: There should be a good proportion of these in the nutrition for vegetarians. The food pyramid indicates more servings of vegetables than fruit because vegetables have a higher caloric density than fruits and also have phytonutrients of great importance for health. Include at least one serving a day of fruit rich in vitamin C (citrus, strawberries, kiwis, for example).
- Legumes, nuts, and protein-rich foods: In this group are foods that are good sources of protein, B vitamins, and minerals. It includes legumes, also soybeans and soy derivatives, nuts, seeds, and their preparations, eggs, and foods prepared from vegetable proteins (seitan, tempeh, for example). Dairy is a protein food too.
- Fats and fatty foods: In the vegetarian diet it is important to ensure an adequate supply of w-3 oils, which are abundant in fish and in the vegetable kingdom can be found in nuts, seeds (sesame, flax, pipes …), and avocado. Olive oil would be the most recommended for cooking.
Foods rich in calcium: not only dairy products provide calcium, fruits and vegetables also provide calcium. If the vegan diet is varied, it is safer that we achieve adequate calcium intake levels. Fortified foods are support in reaching an optimal intake.
|GROUP||NUMBER OF SERVINGS PER DAY||FOOD||FOODS THAT PROVIDE CALCIUM: INCLUDE 8 SERVINGS|
|FATS||two||Vegetable oil, mayonnaise or margarine|
|PULSES AND PROTEIN FOODS||» Legumes: 2 » Vegetable protein foods: 3||
Enough Vegan Protein
It is absolutely no problem to get enough protein as a vegan. We live in a myth that we have to throw away proteins, but that is not true at all. Many plant-based foods contain lots of protein.
The big difference from animal products, however, is that these protein sources are not so isolated, ie they often also have a high-fat content. They are therefore not so lean sources of protein. However, there are exceptions, especially among modified semi-finished products and protein powders. These are not dangerous to eat in sensible amounts, but rather try to get protein from natural sources such as nuts, lentils, and groats – even though they contain more fat.
Vegan Protein Sources
There are actually lots of surprising and tasty sources of vegan protein and they are not hard to spot, as long as you know where to look. Legumes, seeds, nuts, lentils, whole grains, soy-based products, and herbal protein powders are some fantastic examples.
So whether you are already living a vegan lifestyle or just trying to eat more consciously like me and enjoy more plant protein in your life, I have put together a guide to the best vegan protein sources out there. Here you have some delicious, filling, and varied vegan protein sources. High protein foods that you can add to your shopping list.
Tempeh: Tempeh is a meat substitute made from whole-cooked and fermented soybeans. This food is also rich in copper, manganese, calcium, iron, and fiber. The most common way to serve tempeh is steamed, baked, or grilled. It is quite firm in texture and has a nutty taste. An advantage of tempeh is that it absorbs other flavors quickly. I recommend slicing and then marinating it overnight in fresh garlic and sesame oil. Then serve in a salad, lunch bowl, or for soup.
Protein per 100 g: about 19 grams (varies with different brands)
Peanut butter: is an excellent vegan protein source. Eat this or other peanut butter as a substitute for butter on the sandwich and in various pastries. You can also click some peanut butter on the porridge, have it in a smoothie, or on top of sliced banana with a little cinnamon on it.
Protein per 100 g: about 21 grams
Black beans: are a vegan protein that is also a good source of folic acid, potassium, iron, and fiber. These legumes can be bought as dry goods or ready-cooked in a jar (most common in Sweden). Black beans are popular in tacos, stews, soups, and salads.
Protein per 100 g: about 8 grams pre-cooked in a jar, 22 grams in dry black beans
Hemp seeds: taste like something of a hybrid between a sunflower seed and pine nuts. They are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium. They are versatile and can be used in both salty and sweet dishes. Sprinkle some hemp seeds on top of the porridge or put in the granola.
Protein per 100 g: about 34 grams
Edamame beans: Tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and the like are all fantastic, but it’s hard to beat soybeans in their simplest natural form. These quirky little guys are fun to eat on their own, straight out of the shell, with a generous sprinkle of coarse salt. Found year-round in the frozen section, there are also pre-made bags that will be quite handy if you make a recipe that requires large amounts of edamame.
Protein per 100 g: about 11 grams
Rice protein powder: Protein powder made from rice is admittedly less common than pea protein and soy protein but is starting to become more popular among vegans. It is a good vegan protein source that is just as good for recovering or building muscle as whey protein.
Protein per 100 g: about 80 grams
Buckwheat: The name buckwheat is quite misleading, as this is not a type of wheat. In fact, buckwheat, like quinoa, is technically not a grain at all. Buckwheat is both versatile and full of nutrition. Buckwheat groats can also be roasted to improve their taste. When cooked, they can be boiled as a cereal, or ground into flour and used in delicious pastries and pancakes. Buckwheat is also the main ingredient in Japanese soba noodles.
Protein per 100 g: about 11 grams
Chickpeas: are as rich in fiber as they are in protein. There are thousands of ways to cook with them. Fry them with spices for a crunchy, salty snack to munch on or have them in a tasty chickpea stew. However, my favorite way to use chickpeas is to make hummus from them ( hummus recipe here ).
Protein per 100 g: about 19 grams
Nutritional yeast: is known among vegans as The Best Thing Ever. It is a portion of delicious food that is very versatile. Nutritional yeast is packed with protein and vitamin B12, a nutrient that can be difficult to get enough of in a vegan diet. The taste is a bit nutty and strikingly cheesy. The yeast can serve both as a parmesan-like topping on everything from pasta to popcorn, as well as a substitute for dairy products in creamy sauces.
Protein per 100 g: about 50 grams
Quinoa: Most people think of quinoa as a grain, when in fact it is a seed from a green leaf in the beets, Swiss chard, and spinach family. White, red, and black quinoa can be used in cooking and baking. Always be sure to wash quinoa before using it in any meal – its natural coating can have a bitter or soap-like taste. There are endless ways to eat quinoa, but a nice tip is to stuff peppers, quinoa pancakes, or in a salad!
Protein per 100 g: about 5 grams (cooked quinoa)
Pea protein powder: Pea protein is a popular milk protein alternative derived from yellow or green peas. It is easy to digest and a good source of arginine (an amino acid that your body needs to build muscle), and branched-chain amino acids (protein compounds that can prevent fatigue during exercise). Add some pea protein powder to your smoothie after training. You can also use the protein powder in gluten-free pastries to improve the structure while getting a nice protein boost.
Protein per 100 g: about 83 grams
Almond flour: is a gluten-free nut flour based on almonds. This ingenious invention is basically almonds, ground into a fine-grained powder, which gives you a great vegan protein. Almonds are slightly grayer than peanuts and contain more fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron. Almond flour is often used as a low-carbohydrate substitute for wheat flour in bread and other pastries. Look for recipes that bake with it like flour, or use in smoothies for an extra protein boost.
Protein per 100 g: about 19 grams
Pumpkin Seeds: As pumpkin seeds are both crispy and soft, they are perfect to sprinkle on top of porridge, yogurt, pasta, and salads. In addition to being a good source of amino acids, zinc, magnesium, iron, and fiber, these seeds are also a convenient healthy snack.
Protein per 100 g: about 29.8 grams
Pistachios: are not only good to eat but also the nuts, after peanuts, that contain the most protein. These edible seeds from the Pistacia vera tree contain healthy fats and are a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. In addition, they contain several important nutrients and are good for the heart and intestines. Eat them as a healthy snack, sprinkle them over yogurt for breakfast or on a salad.
Protein per 100 g: about 21 grams
Oatmeal: Due to its high fiber content, oatmeal gives a good feeling of satiety. A bowl of porridge, this hot breakfast cereal will keep you full until lunch. Once cooked, bring the protein factor to a boil by sprinkling hemp, chia, or pumpkin seeds on top. As the preparation involves soaking the oats, make a bundle before bed and let it soak in the fridge while you sleep. Godfrey suggests using coconut milk in combination with half a banana, chia seeds, and cinnamon.
Protein per 100 g: about 14 grams
Tahini: is a paste or butter made from ground sesame seeds. It is an important ingredient in hummus and eggplant puree baba ghanoush. It is also fantastic to drizzle this vegan protein over a salad. Tahini is a creamy, naturally salty-sweet and protein- and fiber-packed food for both vegans and non-vegans. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that tahini is high in calories, and it should be eaten in moderation
Protein per 100 g: about 17 grams
Tips for Good Planning of Vegetarian Diets
- Choose a variety of foods.
- The number of servings in each food group represents the minimum. Rations must be adjusted to meet energy requirements.
- Choose foods that give you calcium. Dairy, calcium-fortified vegetable drinks, tofu (obtained with calcium), broccoli, okra or okra, cabbage, spinach, kale, figs, almonds, sesame, soybeans, juices, or fortified breakfast cereals. Follow the recommendations of the pyramid.
- Include foods rich in w-3 such as legumes and nuts, flax seeds, soybean, or canola (rapeseed) oil. Choose healthy fat sources. Olive oil is the best option for cooking.
- Nuts and seeds are a source of healthy fats, but keep in mind that they are fatty foods.
- Secure your sources of vitamin D, through sufficient sun exposure or through fortified foods or dietary supplements. Milk, soy, and vegetable drinks, as well as breakfast cereals, are often fortified with vitamin D.
- It includes 3 reliable sources of vitamin B12, each of the following is 1:
- 1 glass (250mL) of soy or vegetable drink enriched in vitamin B12.
- Half a glass (125mL) of cow’s milk.
- 185mL of cow’s milk yogurt.
- 1 egg size L.
- 30g of enriched breakfast cereal.
- Meat substitutes enriched in vitamin B12.
- If you don’t eat these foods on a regular basis (3 times a day), take a daily vitamin B12 supplement with 5-10µg content or once a week with 2000µg.
- If you consume alcohol or sweets in your diet, do so in moderation. Choose as the main part of your diet the foods that we have mentioned when talking about vegetarian food groups.
Nutrients to Pay More Attention to in a Vegetarian Diet
Contrary to what many people think, it is very easy to meet and exceed your protein needs with a vegetarian diet. The consumption of legumes, cereals, or pseudo-cereals such as quinoa, soy derivatives such as tofu or tempeh as well as vegetable drinks and nuts will make us have a quality and varied supply of proteins. And in the case of diets that include eggs and dairy, we will also add these good sources of protein.
There are many sources of plant iron, also called non-emo iron. Although its assimilation is less than the iron from meat, if we consume it in the same meal together with foods rich in vitamin C and avoid the intake of foods rich in calcium, we will improve the absorption of iron.
In vegan diets where dairy is not included, we can obtain this nutrient from green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach as well as white beans, kale, chickpeas, soybeans, and their derivatives such as tofu. We also have vegetable drinks that are enriched with calcium that we can consume in our diet.
Along with calcium, we must ensure the presence of vitamin D since it is this that regulates the passage of calcium to the bone. Vitamin D is found in fats and in a vegetarian eating plan, its main intake is in beverages enriched with this vitamin. But the best way to avoid being deficient in this vitamin is through 30-minute daily sun exposure.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Contained in oily fish, in the vegetarian diet, we will obtain them from the consumption of olive oil, 3-4 walnuts, and 6-8g of crushed flax.
As we have mentioned before, both vegetarian and vegan diets must be supplemented with vitamin B12. The most comfortable way to do this is through a weekly supplement of vitamin B12 with a contribution of 2000 micrograms.
Vegetarian Food for Children
As we have already said before, a vegetarian diet is valid in all stages of life. Therefore, a vegetarian diet for children is also healthy and perfectly viable. What has to be well planned to be healthy? Yes, but the same thing happens with feeding a child who “eats everything”.
Complementary Feeding of a Vegan Baby
Complementary feeding for a vegan child is very similar to that of an omnivorous baby. Breast milk is recommended for up to 6 months, and you can start with complementary feeding just like omnivores and at the time it would be time to incorporate animal products, instead of incorporating meat and fish, we will give you legumes (first peeled), tofu, seitan, textured soybeans, unsweetened vegetable yogurts, creamed nuts or crushed seeds (tahini). We will introduce the foods one by one, in small quantities, assessing tolerance.
Feel free to share tips on good vegan food below in the comments!