Tips for Eating a Balanced Vegan Diet
As you begin to switch to a more vegan diet, it is essential that you focus on balance. This means you get a lot of different nutrients in your meals and snacks. Vegan does not mean eating anything but fruit, green smoothies, salads, and acai bowls. There are so many more nutrients that will help keep you healthy, get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, and keep you happy and satisfied.
Eat a Rainbow of Colors
One of the easiest tricks for eating a balanced vegan diet is to choose from all the colors of the rainbow. Don’t just make a plate of mostly greens or all brown foods (like potatoes and grains). You want the entire color of the rainbow, such as a plate with purple sweet potatoes, rice or quinoa, dark, leafy green vegetable, red tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, and any other food items you think fit well with that meal. Aim for as many colors as you can get each meal, and you will be on your way to more balance.
Learn What Contains the Important Nutrients
Education is a big part of starting a vegan diet. You need to understand what nutrients you are trying to get in your diet, particularly the ones you might be lacking without meat or dairy in your diet.
To start with, look into what the primary nutrients in meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs are. This gives you an idea of the vitamins and minerals you will need to get from your new, plant-based options.
Some nutrients that are prevalent in these foods are iron, zinc, protein, vitamin D, and B12. You will need to get these through your fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes.
A Typical Balanced Plate
For a more traditional balanced plate, try to have at least one food in each of these categories: protein, fat, carb, fiber, and greens. It might be easier to start compiling a list of vegan foods you enjoy in each of these categories and keep in mind some might fit in multiple categories. For example, your greens are also going to have some fiber. Some vegetables also have carbs, but you still may want more carbs with potatoes or grains on the side.
Every time you put a meal together, ask yourself if you have each of these main categories. If you have a nice salad on the side of a veggie burger, you may be missing the fat portion, which is easy to get with some avocado, olive oil dressing on your salad, or with a handful of nuts.