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Vegan shopping list essentials

23 Nov 2022 • 3 min read

Many of our foods at Holland & Barrett are vegetarian-friendly and also suitable for vegans. From tempeh and tofu to teff and seitan, here we share a vegan shopping list packed with the essential nutrients needed for a healthy, balanced diet.             

Benefits of following a vegan plant-based diet           

A well-planned vegan diet can offer several health benefits. Here are four examples of how following a vegan shopping list could support your wellness.                       

1. Eating more fibre                   

Due to its richness in fruit and vegetables, a vegan diet is often higher in fibre than an omnivore diet.1          

2. A healthier fat profile

There are typically more poly-unsaturated fats and less saturated fats in a plant-based diet.2 Consequently, vegans often consume lower amounts of cholesterol than people who eat meat.

3. Maintaining a healthy BMI                     

Obesity is less prevalent in people following a vegan diet.As a result, it’s suggested that following a vegan diet could help to support weight loss without restricting calories.4

4. Better blood pressure                   

Studies suggest high blood pressure could be less common in vegans. This is down to people following plant-based diets generally having a lower BMI.5

Summary

  • Studies have uncovered several wellness benefits of following a vegan diet.
  • Vegan meals often contain more fibre and lower cholesterol than an omnivore diet.
  • This leads to benefits such as a healthier BMI and lower risk of high blood pressure.

Vegan shopping list 

By breaking down your shopping list into key food groups, you can make sure you’re including a diverse range of nutrients in your plant-based diet.Here we cover some of the key food types for your vegan shopping list.

Fruit

Include a variety of fresh, dried and frozen fruits in your weekly shop.

Frozen fruits are great for adding to smoothies.

And dried fruits, such as raisins, dried apricots and prunes, are vegan-friendly sources of calcium.

Vegetables

Eating a colourful array of vegetables contributes a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals to a vegan diet.

In particular, leafy greens (like broccoli and cabbage) can add non-animal calcium and iron to your diet.

Pulses and legumes

Beans, lentils and soy products (such as tofu) are plant-based sources of protein and nutrient-rich ingredients for vegan meals.

Nuts and seeds

Keep a healthy stock of nuts and seeds for adding a vegan dose of protein, iron and omega-3 fatty acids to a meal or snack.

Herbs and spices

Adding a sprinkling of herbs and spices adds extra depth and taste interest to vegan dishes.

Dairy alternatives

From coconut yoghurts to cashew milk, there are dairy alternatives to suit every vegan tastebud.

Whole grains

Whole grains, such as quinoa, millet and buckwheat, are a staple food group for a healthy vegan diet.

They are great for Buddha bowls and salads, as well as a baking ingredient.

Summary 

  • Include vegan ingredients from a variety of food groups in your vegan grocery list.

  • Make sure you include plant-based proteins, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium sources for nutritional balance. 

  • There are also a wide variety of dairy alternatives available. 

An introduction to 6 vegan ingredients 

1. Tempeh

Formed from cooked, fermented soybeans, cooked tempeh boasts 20g of protein in every 100g.

It’s also low in fat and contains calcium and iron. With a chewy texture, it adds a distinctive taste to soups, stews and stir fries.

2. Tofu

Made from condensed soy milk, tofu contains 8g of protein and just 70g calories in every 100g.

It’s also a good meat-free source of calcium, iron and could have other health benefits.

Perfect for stir fries or curries, firm tofu can be grilled and used in salads. Softer varieties of tofu can be used in desserts and sauces.

3. Chia seeds

A beneficial source of omega-3 fatty acids for vegans, chia seeds also contain 16.5g of protein and 34g of fibre in every 100g.

Due to their subtle taste, chia seeds can be used in a wide range of dishes from sweet to savoury.

Simply sprinkle on to salad or add to smoothies. They can also be added to porridge, used as an egg replacement in baking, or as a sauce thickener.

4. Teff

A fine grain with a delicate nutty flavour, teff mainly grows in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

High in calcium and iron, it also boasts 4g of protein in every 100g.

Teff can be boiled or steamed and eaten whole but can also be ground into a gluten-free flour. Use teff flour in baking to make delicious biscuits or bread.

5. Seitan

Pronounced (say-tahn), seitan is a high protein meat alternative with a mild taste.

Although it has a very similar texture to meat when cooked, it’s made from wheat.

For a protein boost in meat-free curries, stir fries or stews, simply pan fry or grill seitan before adding to your usual recipe for extra flavour.

6. Yeast flakes

With a cheesy flavour, nutritional yeast can be used to make ‘cheesy’ sauces or add flavour to gravy, soups, salad or even breakfast cereals.

Nutritional yeast flakes are made from single-celled members of the fungi family which is grown on molasses.

Low in fat and gluten-free, it’s packed with nutrients like folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. It also contains vitamin B12 (usually found naturally in foods from animal sources) which is why vegans may find nutritional yeast fortified with B12 beneficial to their diets.

Summary

  • There are a variety of vegan ingredients available to add extra nutritional value to plant-based diets.
  • This can help to replace the protein, calcium and other nutrients typically found in animal-derived foods.
  • Nuts, seeds, grains, pulses and legumes are staples on most vegan shopping lists.  

Which supermarket is best for vegans?           

Due to the rising popularity of a vegan lifestyle, sourcing most of the items on your vegan shopping list from a supermarket shouldn’t be difficult.

Most supermarkets now stock popular vegan ingredients and options. You’ll often find these in a dedicated ‘free from’ aisle in stores or by using dietary filters online.

In addition, health and wellness retailers, such as Holland & Barrett are a great source of a diverse range of more unusual vegan ingredients, snacks and supplements.

Summary

  • Most supermarkets now stock vegan alternatives and free-from ranges.
  • Health and wellness retailers, such as Holland & Barrett, are also a great source of vegan ingredients.  

Best vegan recipes

            Now you have all your essentials, check out our recipes for some cooking inspiration.

Vegan meals

Vegan desserts and snacks                

Best vegan supplements

The NHS suggests a healthy vegan diet contains a variety of fruit and vegetables, dairy alternatives, protein from beans and pulses, starchy carbohydrates and small amounts of unsaturated oils and spreads.6 Although it’s possible to get all of this from what you eat, some people take vegan supplements to guarantee a good intake of some of the nutrients that are less prevalent in plant-based foods. For example, vitamin B12, omega-3, calcium, zinc, iron and iodine. 

However, some vegans can find it tricky to consume enough of some essential nutrients. For example, it’s common for vegans to miss out on iron, calcium and vitamin B12 which are more typically sourced from animal products. In some cases, taking a vegan supplement can ensure you’re getting enough of essential nutrients. Zinc, vitamin B12, iron, calcium, omega-3 and iodine are supplements often favoured by vegans.

Want to learn more? Discover 6 essential vegan supplements to include in your diet.                      

Conclusion: A healthy vegan diet requires mindful shopping             

There are numerous vegan ingredients available to make plant-based eating nutritious and diverse. From tempeh and tofu to teff and seitan, vegan ingredients are packed with everything you need for a healthy, balanced diet. So, with a carefully constructed vegan shopping list, you can get all the nutrients you need from your daily eating.

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Last updated: 24 February 2021

bhupesh-panchal

Bhupesh Panchal

Author

Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
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