Vegan Diet Meal Plan

A successful vegan meal plan has all the elements needed for good health and balanced nutrition.  It is based on proteins derived from vegetables, nuts, and grains and includes a wide variety of  vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fruits. This diet is low in fat, has no cholesterol, and provides plenty of protein, calcium, fiber, and other nutrients for optimal nutrition.

There are many reasons people choose to be vegan.  Some promote it as a way to stop animal cruelty, while some remain on the vegan diet to enjoy the added health boosts. There are economic and ecological benefits, and some people have religious considerations that keep them vegan. Others choose this diet as an ideal way to lose weight. The secret behind losing weight with a vegan life style is lower fat intake combined with a high fiber diet and the decrease in the consumption of processed foods.  A vegan meal plan does not usually include  items produced by animals or from animals and therefore no eggs or dairy products are eaten; these are replaced by various types of natural milks and egg substitutes (Vegetarian meals on the contrary can include diary products and eggs). This low fat, low cholesterol diet lowers the LDL levels and helps maintain a healthy blood pressure while increasing your heart health, all  as an extra benefit to weight loss. Processed foods also include unhealthy levels of sodium, an unwise choice for both heart health and weight loss.  Vegan diets are very rich in vitamins C and E, antioxidants, and magnesium. Vegan meals are highly recommended for diabetics as well, who are already fighting high blood pressure and heart disease.  A vegan plan will naturally cut down on processed sugars and in fact, could even help a diabetic get off of medications for Type II Diabetes.  Another great health benefit to being vegan is the fact that natural foods do not have large degrees of preservatives in them, preservatives that have been shown to possibly increase the risk of some types of cancers.

A condition such as Celiac’s Disease can cause people to choose a gluten-free vegan diet, which has been proven to be even more effective at lowering high cholesterol. This dietary choice also increase helpful antibodies that fight rheumatoid arthrits and heart disease.  A person with Celiac’s cannot eat wheat and many types of grain. Research has shown that weight loss amongst the gluten-free vegans is even more dramatic than that of the vegans only; the elimination of breads and some grains drastically reduces the intake of trans-fats and cholesterol. The perfectly healthy choice would be all natural and organic foods.

Since those on a vegan diet do not eat meat or dairy, they might need to supplement their diets with a few key vitamins, but most can be provided by a balanced diet.  Some of specific concern may need to be supplemented.  Check table salt to be sure it has iodine, an important element for energy levels, and thyroid health.  Calcium is a vital key to bone health and can be replaced by dark green vegetables and soy milk as well as a supplement if needed.  Iron, D vitamins and vitamin B12 are found in meats and dairy and may be necessary to supplement. A good total daily vitamin might be all that is needed to achieve the correct levels of these vitamins and minerals, and there are vitamins specific to the vegan available at health food stores and online..

It is possible to have tasty vegan meal plans.  Substituting vegan options for meat is a great way to maintain a vegan diet and provide variety.  Tofu, mushrooms, nuts and beans are frequently used in meat recipes such as meatballs, meatloaf, and sloppy joes. An excellent, tasty vegan sloppy joe recipe, for instance, includes:

4 vegan veggie burgers OR 1 pound bag of pre-ground soy burger
1 pound bag of pre-ground soy burger
1/2 cup vegan barbeque sauce
1/2 vegan ketchup
whole wheat burger buns
Chop the meat while grilling it, then add the ketchup and barbecue sauce.  Serve with a side of sweet potato fries for a complete and tasty vegan meal.

Try this vegan meatloaf

1 cup uncooked white rice
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 cup cooked lentils
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 onion, finely chopped
1 egg substitute
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup ketchup
Cook rice and sautee onions, then mix all ingredients except for ketchup.  Form loaf, pour ketchup on top, and bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes.  Pair the loaf up with glazed baby carrots for a delicious meatless meal.

Every vegan meal plan should include a protein diet with foods such as beans or soy, a side dish of dark green, leafy vegetables and a whole grain for the most balanced choices. While losing weight on a vegan diet, it is important to remember that you still need to be cautious of calories. Avoid processed sugars and instead, choose a sweetener like stevia, raw cane sugar, or molasses.

There are many tasty choices for every meal plans. For breakfast try breakfast cereal and soy milk, oatmeal, porridge, fruit salad, scrambled tofu, whole wheat toast and organic jams, or granola. Lunches can bring soups, any variety of tasty sandwiches on sourdough or whole wheat breads, cold pasta dishes, fruit or lettuce salads, and even organic peanut butter and jam. Dinner options are endless, such as the meatloaf and sloppy joes, vegan lasagnas, vegan burritos; anything you can think of can become vegan when the meat is substituted with tofu, soy, or commercially made meat substitutes. Between meals, snacks can be both healthy and tasty, including pretzels, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, apple sauce, rice cakes with jam, carrots or celery and dip, and many more.

A vegan meal plan is not very hard to prepare, and  many preplanned meal options are available on the internet to take the guesswork out of portions and caloric intake.  A vegan life IS a healthy life, and with so much support available, the transition will be easier than you think.