People are drawn to veganism for a variety of reasons. Some of us want to live longer, healthier lives and do our part to reduce pollution and conserve the Earth’s resources. Others choose veganism because they are ethically opposed to eating animals. Regardless of the reason, people who follow plant-based diets tend to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancers.
But before you take the plunge, it is important to remember that a vegan diet isn’t necessarily a weight loss diet and it is possible to be unhealthy if your diet is poorly planned and unbalanced. Vegan diets tend to be higher in fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and many phytochemicals. They also tend to be lower in calories, total fat, cholesterol and saturated fat.
However, eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutrient deficiencies including vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Despite popular belief, a well-planned vegan diet provides ample amounts of protein to support growth, repair and overall good health.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
To get you started, here is an easy to follow 7-day vegan meal plan
Take note of how the meals are put together with a balance of food groups and feel free to switch out foods based on taste. Once you have a feel for how to structure your meals, find some recipes that appeal to you and have fun!
|Oatmeal with walnuts and raisins + Fresh fruit||Soy yogurt mixed with granola + Fresh fruit||Tofu scramble with pepper, spinach + vegan cheese in a whole wheat tortilla||Smoothie made with vegan yogurt, avocado, banana, spinach||Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana||Black bean burrito with veggies in a whole wheat tortilla + Fresh fruit||Vegan French toast + Fresh fruit|
|Lunch||Hummus and avocado in a whole wheat pita + Baby carrots||Vegan chili + Vegan cornbread + Salad||Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread + Soy yogurt and berries||Black beans, baked sweet potato, steamed veggies||Tofu “tuna” salad + Baby carrots||Veggie burger on whole wheat bun with hummus and avocado||Lentil soup + Brown rice + Steamed veggies|
|Dinner||Brown rice and lentil pilaf + Salad||Stir-fried tofu and vegetables + Quinoa +Salad||Tofu spinach lasagna + Salad||Grilled Portobello mushrooms over brown rice + Steamed vegetables||Vegan tacos with vegan “ground round” and vegan cheese, lettuce and tomato + Steamed vegetables||Couscous with black beans, walnuts and mixed vegetables + Fresh fruit||Falafel, hummus, tabouli + Steamed vegetables|
|Snack||Soy yogurt with flaxseed and fresh berries||Almonds and fruit||Hummus and apple slices||Edamame, apple slices||Peanut butter and banana||Bell pepper strips, white bean hummus||Cereal and soymilk, fresh fruit|