NUTRITION
September 2nd, 2021
3 mins read

7 Top Foods to be Included in a Vegan Diet Plan

A plant-based diet plan should include fruits, vegetables and legumes.

Have fortified yoghurts and plant milks to compensate for dairy products.

Some healthy vegan diet foods include whole grains, tofu, nuts and seed.

Plant-based diets have become an integral part of food nutrition. This is mainly thanks to an increased awareness of both health and the environment. A vegan diet plan is basically one that includes plant-based foods as its foundation. Going vegan means that you completely avoid animal foods or products. Slowly but surely, veganism has gone from being a mere fad to an active choice that supports the health goals of people across the world. For instance, a study recently revealed the effectiveness of a vegan diet plan in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes [1].

A plant-based diet plan not only includes fruits and vegetables but also incorporates beans, legumes, oils, seeds and nuts. It is necessary for such a vegan diet for beginners to be balanced with an appropriate amount of carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. It is a good idea to include at least 5 varieties of fruits and vegetables daily and drink sufficient amounts of liquids. As dairy products cannot be consumed in such a diet, try switching to other alternatives like yoghurts and non-dairy milk like soy or almond.

Vegan meal plan

Read on for vegan foods that you can include in your plant-based diet plan.

Make legumes a part of your daily meal

Being a vegan means you completely avoid animal protein sources such as eggs, fish and meat. So, it is important to consume plant-based foods rich in proteins. Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils are rich in proteins and fiber in addition to calcium, iron, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants. The antioxidants present in legumes help in fighting infections, while the complex carbs keep you full for a long time. Remember, half a cup of cooked lentils contains about 8.84g

of protein. Try to eat legumes along with vegetables and fruits rich in Vitamin C as this helps increase iron absorption [2].

Have yoghurt and fortified plant milk for their vitamin and mineral content

Compared to vegetarians or non-vegetarians, vegans consume less calcium, which can harm your bone health. So, include fortified plant milk and yoghurts in your diet. Some protein-rich milk options include soy milk and hemp milk. Along with calcium, your body gets rich in protein this way. If you are looking for milk with low protein, try coconut, rice, oat and almond milk. These fortified plant milk and yoghurts are rich in Vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption. Some milk and yoghurts are fortified with Vitamin B12 as well and these are ideal alternatives to dairy.

Vegan Meal Plan

Include seeds in your vegan diet plan

Hemp, flax and chia seeds are packed with proteins and so it is necessary to include them in your diet. They are also effective in treating skin conditions and reducing inflammation [3]. Keep in mind that you get 9g of easily digestible protein in just 28g of hemp seeds. The fat content present in these seeds helps in reducing premenstrual and menopause symptoms too. Chia and flax seeds are rich in ALA or alpha-linolenic acid, which play a significant role in nervous system development. You can add them in baking as these are perfect substitutes for eggs!

Additional read: 9 Incredible Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Incorporate cereals and whole grains as vegan diet foods

Whole grains and cereals are rich in fiber, iron, complex carbs along with vitamins and minerals. Hence, it is vital to include these plant-based foods in your daily meals. Some of the options you can try are whole oats, wheat, rye, buckwheat, and millet. Whole grains help lower your risk of heart diseases, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Eat an adequate number of vegetables and fruits for desired nutrients

It is essential to include protein-rich vegetables like green leafy ones in your plant-based diet plan. These can be taken alone or eaten in combination with other protein-rich foods. Vegetables like broccoli, kale and mushrooms can easily be included in salads. Potato is another vegetable high in nutrients like potassium and Vitamin C. Jackfruit is yet another fruit rich in

Vitamin C and other nutrients, while banana is packed with potassium and many other minerals and vitamins. Mashed bananas can also be used instead of eggs in baking.

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Additional read: 20 fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C 

Have healthy substitutes for dairy products like tofu

Tofu is a suitable meat substitute for vegans, which is processed from soybeans. About 100g of tofu contains 9-20g of proteins. Tofu is a rich source of both iron and calcium and is a suitable alternative to dairy products. You can have it sautéed, grilled or scrambled to enjoy loads of nutrients that will complete your vegan diet.

In order to get started with a vegan diet plan, have a generous amount of vegetables and start your day with whole grains. Consuming fruit after your meal is an ideal dessert to reduce your craving for sweets. However, it is always better to consult a doctor before going vegan to assess the pros and cons. To get answers to your queries, book an instant appointment with nutritionists and dieticians on Bajaj Finserv Health. This way, you can take strides towards a healthy future.

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