With the growing popularity of veganism as a lifestyle comes the understanding that sometimes it can be difficult for vegans to meet all their nutritional requirements. In many respects, this makes the input of a dietitian or nutritionist all the more important.
"Much care needs to go into creating a perfectly balanced vegan diet because so very many essential nutrients can be missing," writes dietitian and nutritionist Jaime Chambers for My Body+Soul. She goes on to explain that vegans can actually lack calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin B12 in their diets due to the lack of animal products.
Of course, the environmental benefits, animal protections, and health advantages of a plant-based diet outweigh most of the dietary concerns in the end. What's more, vegans and vegetarians have gotten increasingly creative when it comes to finding alternative sources of protein and calcium. Below, Chambers offers up some balanced vegan options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking.
- Tofu scramble with wholegrain toast and vegetables, such as roast tomato, sautéed spinach, and mushrooms
- Rolled or steel-cut oats made with calcium-fortified plant milk, such as soy milk, topped with fruit and nuts and seeds
- Smoothie made with calcium-fortified almond milk, mixed fruits (mango, berries, banana), coconut yogurt, chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, and a tablespoon of oats
- Brown rice and mixed bean salad with spinach, tomato, onion, avocado, and an olive oil vinaigrette
- Ezekiel bread sandwich with hummus, avocado, sprouts, and salad
- Large mixed salad with quinoa, pan-fried tofu, mixed seeds, and an olive oil, tahini and lemon dressing
- Vegan shepherd’s pie made with lentils and vegetables, topped with sweet potato mash
- Tempeh and Asian vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
- Wholemeal pasta and faux mince bolognese topped with nutritional yeast
- Whole grain crackers and natural peanut butter or cashew cheese
- Fresh fruit and mixed nuts
- Dried figs, apricots and peaches, as well as mixed seeds
- Vegetable sticks and hummus