Starting a vegan diet can be overwhelming - but it doesn't have to be. I've simplified it with this Ultimate Vegan & Plant-based Diet Grocery List.
Switching to a vegan diet is intimidating, especially if you make the switch cold turkey (ha). What does a plant based diet grocery list even look like? And will adding even a few vegan snacks or meals to a busy week make your grocery price-tag skyrocket?
I understand why you’re worried. The value of the plant-based foods market in the United States alone was an estimated $5 billion in 2019, up from $3.9 billion in 2017. And those making money from selling vegan-friendly foods are not necessarily passing any savings to you
Thankfully, you may just be surprised with potential savings from not buying expensive meat, as well as the flexibility that many vegan ingredients offer. Here are the must-haves when it comes to the ultimate vegan & plant-based diet grocery list.
How to Find Vegan & Plant-Based Groceries
Before you can start filling your shopping cart, you’ll need to know what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to a vegan and plant-based diet. The vegan diet excludes animal products including meat, fish, eggs, milk, and honey.
And while many of the foods that include these products are easily recognizable, some of them are a little confusing to identify. These include products with lard, glycerin, whey, casein, and more.
Respectively, these components come from hogs, animal fat, and milk (both whey and casein). It’s a lot to keep track of, but PETA has an Animal-Derived Ingredients List that is consistently updated. Use this for reference, and remember that it’s perfectly okay to not be a “perfect vegan.” Some people like to eat vegan foods without being vegan, too!
Our Vegan & Plant-Based Diet Grocery List
When it comes to eating vegan, fruits and vegetables are the “bread and butter,” of the word. After all, all fruits and vegetables are safe for vegan diets by definition. Here are our favorites:
- Apples, peaches, pears, blueberries
- Pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries
- Bananas, apricots, grapes, kiwis
Fruits are a classic when it comes to vegan diets! Try my Vegan Banana Bread Recipe for an even sweeter treat.
Vegetables & Legumes
- Broccoli, asparagus, carrots, cauliflower
- Potatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers
- Black beans, chickpeas, edamame, soy beans
Unfortunately, not all types of food are naturally vegan. Here are some of our favorite alternatives for foods more difficult to replace in a vegan diet.
- Almond, soy, cashew, or oat milk
- Vegan Butter
- Soy, coconut, or almond yogurt
Watch out for “dairy-free” alternatives that still contain glycerin. This is most often found in yogurt.
Oils & Fats
- Avocados, olives, guacamole
- Almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts
- Almond butter, mixed seed butters
- All oils: sunflower, coconut, olive, peanut, grapeseed
Believe it or not, all oils are vegan-friendly! This is because mainstream oil products are derived from various plants and seeds.
- Coconut sugar, Stevia, maple syrup, molasses
- Baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, nutritional yeast
- Whole grain flour, flaxseed meal, buckwheat flour
- Veggie soup stock
Pantry items can be sneaky when it comes to egg and milk products. Be sure to double-check any labels and cross-check with PETA’s list for best sorting.
Grains & Pasta
- Brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta
- Oats, amaranth, corn
When it comes to grains and pasta, watch out for milk solid and egg components.
- Tofu, tempeh, soy protein
- Chickpeas, black beans, oat flakes
- Beyond Meat, Yves Veggie Cuisine, Tofurkey, MorningStar Farms
If you’ve been vegan for many years, you may not be looking for something particularly “meaty.” But for those of us first getting introduced into the world of veganism, it can be hard to imagine getting rid of a juicy burger.
Thankfully, there are many plant-based meat alternatives. Some of these are listed for their protein content, while others aim to mimic the mouthfeel and taste of meat.
These are usually offered by specific brands and companies that make vegetarian and vegan foods made to emulate the taste and texture of meat. One example includes Beyond Meat, which uses pea proteins, oils, and potato starch to create vegan burgers.
Yves Veggie Cuisine also offers various meat-alternative dishes. Not all of their choices are vegan, as some of their options include dairy and egg. However, they do offer vegan burgers, vegetable patties, and various deli meat mimics.
The Price of Going Vegan
All of these sound absolutely delicious and even versatile. But what about the cost of relying on these healthier foods? Well, being vegan can actually reduce your grocery store bill!
Matt Frazier spoke about his own vegan experience with the HuffPost News. He reflected on how meat can cost up to eight dollars per pound, which could be replaced with beans at a dollar per pound depending on your recipe.
However, Frazier made the competing point that he spends more on groceries now as a vegan, as he punts more time into researching specific foods. Organic fruits and vegetables cost more than their counterparts. Vegan-friendly options at restaurants are also commonly more expensive than their meat-heavy alternatives.
Finally, it’s extremely rare to find a completely vegan full fast-food meal. And while you may say that you don’t want to eat fast food to begin with, treating yourself to a takeout meal can get pricier when you’re avoiding hamburgers and hotdogs.
So when it comes to the true price of going vegan, I hate to give a vague answer, but it will really depend on your current lifestyle and budget. Find a balance between enjoying the highest quality foods and keeping your stomach and wallet full.
Your Vegan and Plant-Based Grocery List
If you’re ready to take a jump into the deep end with a vegan diet, starting by filling parts of your pantry with the above items is a great start! Give my article on How to Start a Vegan Diet for more tips on how to balance the switch with old habits and vegan recipe learning.
There’s no gatekeeping here at Happy Food Healthy Life! Whether you have been completely vegan for years or are seeking to add just a few plant-based groceries to your list, you’re welcome here and I can’t wait to share more recipes and vegan resources with you.