If you are vegan, or on a journey to becoming vegan, you should take some time to learn at least the basics of vegan nutrition.

A variety of healthy vegetables.

A plant-based diet can deliver important health benefits and is safe for all stages of life. A plant-based diet can lower cholesterol levels, reduce risk of type-2 diabetes, support healthy blood pressure, reduce risk of various cancers, and help maintain a healthy body weight. But meeting nutrient needs may require a little more attention.

Choosing to eat nutrient-dense foods, from a variety of sources, for most meals, will ensure your diet is well-balanced, and you’ll get all the nutrition you need to support healthy living.

A variety of fruit and vegetables will supply you with vitamins and calcium: dark green veg such as kale, spinach and broccoli are great sources of calcium. Oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and peppers all provide vitamin C and squash, carrots and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A.

Beans and soy foods, including soya milk, are rich in protein, fibre, potassium, and iron. Grains from whole wheat bread, brown rice and quinoa are rich in fibre, iron, and zinc. And nuts and seeds are full of minerals and healthy fats.

More protein!

Tofu and rice.

Plant proteins contain all essential amino acids. A good mix of amino acids can be gained every day by eating a varied and balanced diet, and ensuring our meals contain sources of good quality protein. Some sources for good quality protein are: tofu, quinoa, buckwheat, peanut butter, pistachio and cashew nuts, wild rice, kidney beans, peas and lentils.

Omega-3 fats are essential nutrients which are only present in a handful of plant foods, but you can easily meet your body’s needs on a vegan diet. Ground flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, walnut or canola oil, hemp and flaxseed oil are all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You can also take Omega-3 in the form of algae oil or supplements.

Vitamin B12

Vegan Society supplements.

Nutrition experts are in clear agreement that there are only two reliable vegan sources of vitamin B12, foods which are fortified with this nutrient, and supplements. More information can be found here.

Vitamin D

We can make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, however, in the UK there are concerns that we don’t make enough to keep our bones and muscles healthy. Therefore, it’s recommended that we get some vitamin D from our diet and a supplement. More information can be found here.

This is just a brief overview of plant-based nutrition. We highly recommend visiting the Vegan Society website for more information and advice.