So you’ve decided to go vegan and you need a beginner vegan meal plan to help get you through the first week of an exciting new stage in your life?
Or perhaps you’re already vegan and you need fresh inspiration combined with solid nutritional choices?
Either way, you’re in the right place. This guide sets you up for the free 7-Day Healthy Vegan Meal Plan that also includes a grocery list.
This meal plan clocks in at around 1800 kcal per day. That’s about 200 kcal below the average caloric intake for most women for maintaining weight.
So, you would likely lose a little weight (half a pound) in that week. Oooor you can just go for seconds and more snacks, haha.
For men this means it’s a proper weight loss diet plan, since the average man needs roughly 2500 kcal per day. Oooor, you just go for seconds as well 😉
Enough protein to thrive
You get roughly 55 – 60g of protein every day, which is right within the recommended intake for women (Dietary Reference Intake, DRI).
It’s also fine for men. But if it’s something you’re worried about you can add a little more using protein powder or by eating protein-rich snacks (we’ll supply tasty ideas, no problem).
What is a vegan diet anyway?
Well, as for the vegan diet, the answer is simple: we say no to meat or any animal products such as milk, cheese, eggs, or honey.
The thing is that by cutting out all these former staples, most people might end up with something like this on their plate.
This is a vegan sandwich indeed, but not really one you’d be looking forward to eat.
Also, you might notice this “vegan novice” only came up with ingredients that are high in carbs. A trap that many vegans run into. Once they go vegan the carb, protein and fat ratio gets out of balance.
In our vegan meal plan we have made sure the macronutrients are properly balanced. So no worries, you won’t have to face anything like that sandwich above.
Benefits of a vegan diet
There are loads! If you’ve decided to take this step and switch to trying veganism, we hope you’re as excited as we are! We don’t look at the vegan diet as being restrictive, but rather look at what it can do for us.
A well-balanced vegan diet can and should provide you with almost all of the essentials a body needs.
Vegan diets can also help with weight-loss, probably as a result of changes to eating lots of unprocessed, whole foods (study 1).
Eating lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes also appears to be an excellent way to lower the chances of heart diseases (study 2). Which is great, obviously.
It also seems that by sticking with a vegan diet that is high in these healthy whole foods then various cancers also have lower risks. Two major studies supporting this can be found here and here. That’s also a winner in our eyes.
A motivating and insightful movie on vegan nutrition came out lately: it’s called Game Changers and available on Netflix. Check it out, even Arnie is on board!
Vegan Nutrition and Diet Basics – What’s in a Healthy Vegan Diet?
Of course, no diet is perfect and appropriate planning should be made when starting a vegan diet. The vegan diet can miss some important nutrients and vitamins – if we’re not careful. This meal plan is here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Getting enough protein is easy – in fact there’s protein all around us. A well-balanced vegan diet can contain all the protein you need. Make sure to eat from ample different sources, like these listed below, and you should be more than fine.
- Nuts, peas, beans (including peanuts)
- Tofu and meat substitutes
- Rice, grains, pasta, quinoa and breads
B12 is an essential vitamin that plays crucial roles throughout the body, including blood and brain functions.
Unlike vegetarians, who can get their B12 from dairy and eggs, vegans need to pay a little attention here.
Although our bodies can store several years worth of B12, no plant products contain any B12 at all. Therefore we may eventually need to take it as a supplement.
It’s not all bad news however – many vegan sources these days are fortified with B12. Some good examples are:
- Yeast extract – a fortified source
- Fortified cereals, fortified soy milk, and fortified soy yogurt
You can learn more about B12 here.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid – this means that the body cannot produce it on its own. Unfortunately many diets are much too high in Omega 6, and far too low in Omega 3. This is for all diets, vegan or otherwise.
Omega 3 plays a big role in heart and brain health, along with many other functions of the body. You can get a good overview of Omega 3’s contribution to the body here.
A well-balanced omega level is critical for many reasons. If you want to take a deep dive into the topic, this article on the importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids is a great resource.
To help us achieve this it is important to eat plenty of the following:
- flax seeds
- chia seeds
- flaxseed oil
- leafy vegetables
The Vegan Society recommends eating at least one serving of flax seeds, walnuts or chia seeds every day to keep omega-3 fat high. This serving can roughly be a tablespoon of seeds are a small handful of nuts.
For more info on this, here’s a list of foods high in omega 3 and omega 6 for you to get an idea of various sources.
Much like their vegetarian counterparts, vegans do have to be aware of their iron intake. Iron is needed to carry oxygen to all the body’s cells. It is also involved in the cellular production of energy, which is why one of the first signs of low iron deficiency is feeling tired and fatigued.
For a successful meal plan it means we need to add enough nutrition dense foods in order to get the amount of iron we need.
Good sources of iron in a vegan diet are:
- Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and other pulses
- Sprouted beans and seeds
- Breakfast cereals and bread
- Green leafy vegetables like kale and cabbage, as well as broccoli
- Nuts, such as almonds and cashews
- Dried apricots, dates and raisins
- Date syrup and molasses
Starting The Vegan Diet
Part 1: Out with the old
Right, time to get started! We definitely don’t advocate wasting food, so let’s take this transitional time for finishing off whatever you have left in cupboards and fridge that doesn’t fit with your new vegan meal plan.
Meat, eggs, cheese, milk and other dairy products are all obvious examples of non-vegan products. But what else could be lurking?
Curries often contain trassi, which is a shrimp paste. Some chewing gums use lice to give the pellets that shiny coating. And whey… well, whey is an ingredient that seems to invite itself to all the parties.
So what to look for on the packets and sachets of your sauces, spice mixes and cookies?
It depends on where you live. Within the European Union, the so-called E-number is used as a code for permitted additives. Some E-numbers are certainly animal, some are possibly animal, and some are vegetable.
For those outside of Europe the numbers are the same without an ‘E’ at the front. Here is a list of numbers to watch out for on food packaging.
Part 2: In with the new
We also want to focus on a well-balanced and healthy vegan menu plan, right? That means we want to avoid heavily processed foods and sugar-laden colas and other fizzy drinks. For now, while we’re adjusting, let’s make sure we get a good amount of the more healthy stuff.
Use more of the less refined fats like olive oil and coconut oil.
Going vegan doesn’t mean to just leave out meat or replace meat with a meat substitute. It’s more about discovering new recipes.
If you are worried about protein then foods like chickpeas, beans, lentils, tempeh and tofu are excellent sources.
Stock up on dried fruits, nuts, seeds, homemade popcorn and maybe even a little dark vegan chocolate (it does exist!).
Dressings and Sauces
Make your own dressings or at least get some low-calorie store-bought dressings and use them in moderation. We have many available on this very site.
Go for various teas, water and coffee.
Our vegan meal plan has all this incorporated so you can easily follow along, stress-free.
Part 3: The 7-day vegan meal plan
On to the plan! Here you’ll find the next seven days all ready and laid out for you. Tasty snacks are included in the plan as well, of course. If you find you’re hungry.
Day 1 kicks off easy, tasty and nutritious:
For day 2 lunch is leftovers of the White Bean Salad and dinner is leftovers of the Vegan Delight Burrito Bowl.
For day 3 breakfast is leftovers of the Vegan Breakfast Potatoes.
For day 4 dinner is leftovers of the Vegan Potato Soup.
For day 5 breakfast is leftovers of the Chickpea Flour Pancakes and lunch is leftovers of the Vegan Broccoli Salad.
For day 6 dinner is leftovers of the Vegan Chickpea Curry.
For day 7 breakfast is leftovers of the Kat’s Vegan Overnight Oats in a Jar and lunch is leftovers of the Speedy Vegan Burrito.
Just joking. They’re in the meal plan.
Hopefully these recipes got your mouth watering already. I thought to get you going right away I’ll post the recipe of Kat’s Vegan Overnight Oats below.
You must be hungry, try it out now! 🙂
- 1 clean jar with lid
- Put the oats, chia seeds, yogurt and the almond milk into a jar. Stir until everything is mixed together nicely. Pro tip: If you have a big enough jar you can also just close it and shake. Boom!
- Then off it goes into the fridge for the night (or for at least six hours).
- The next morning add a little more almond milk to loosen up the mix.
- Next, just mix in the raspberries, syrup and chopped almonds and voilá – breakfast is ready!
- Bón appetité
And that’s it! A full week’s well-balanced vegan meal plan. It should hit all the right spots. Do you have any questions left? Let’s answer some of them now.
What if I don’t want to make or don’t like all of the meals?
If you don’t like some of the recipes in the 7-day vegan meal plan or just want to skip breakfast – easy. Just cross them off the meal plan. Each meal is assigned to a letter so you can find all respective ingredients on the grocery list and cross them off as well. That way you won’t buy anything you won’t use. Done.
How many people can use the plan?
The meal plan is laid out for one person. By default, the most recipes make one or two servings. If you want to make more you can toggle number of servings up or down easily on each recipe.
When should I start with the vegan weight loss meal plan?
Begin whenever you like. How about today?
And what about drinking?
Going vegan doesn’t mean sugar-laden traps like fizzy drinks and colas. Stick to water (with lemon or mint), and tea and coffee without sweeteners. Soy, oat or almond milks are great alternatives to cow milk. You’ll save a ton of calories as well!
What should I eat for the weeks after the 7-day meal plan is over?
Easy! Either you repeat our 7-day meal plan, or, now that you have more knowledge: customize your own! That’s why we’ve added a meal plan template to the pack as well. Just copy-paste what you liked from the previous week and add new recipes to create your own vegan weekly meal plan (there are loads more ideas here).
Last but not least: don’t overthink things. It’s ok to skip a meal from the meal plan. Your first week is there especially for getting used to (or trying) the vegan lifestyle. If you find you need to skip or cheat on a meal – that’s ok! Don’t beat yourself up, simply move on to the next meal.
And if you want to swap a dish from one day to another, that’s fine too! Or maybe you want to make that delish Chickpea Curry more often? Go for it!
The problem with meal plans
Now, meal plans are a beautiful way to get excited about a new vegan lifestyle. But once you really dive into one, things can become difficult too. I just want to prepare you a little about what may lie ahead.
You need to get to know your kitchen.
Yes, yes. Going vegan means you’ll need to learn to prep a couple of dishes yourself. Many of you surely have the kitchen skills.
But I often run into people who’ve never touched a pan in their lives stating they want to go vegan. Gonna be pretty tough if you’ve just lived off sandwiches and take-aways before.
So, in order to succeed with this or any vegan meal plan, you’ll need to learn some kitchen skills. Start with some simple knife skills:
Meal plans are usually inflexible. You will most likely have to do modifications. For example, this plan is laid out for one person. So, you might have to adjust the plan if you and your partner are gonna try it out together.
Also, it might not fit into your schedule. We’ve planned out a dish for every mealtime from Monday to Sunday. But you might be out and about some of the time. So, it’s up to you to adjust the plan.
Lots of stuff to cook can be overwhelming
Of course we want you to be able to go full throttle with our vegan meal plan. But this also means you’d have to stay in the kitchen more than 28 minutes a day – the average time an American spends in the kitchen per day.
Our focus is quick recipes, but 40 to 60 minutes a day is more realistic, if you stick to the plan.
And this is where you come in. If you feel it’s all too overwhelming, just cross out the stuff that’s too much for you. How about you only focus on dinner first and stay away from breakfast and lunch recipes?
Buuuut, if you’re committed to a lifestyle change all this can be a lot of fun! Remember, you’ll be improving your health, helping the environment and of course you’ll save many animal lives.
Life after the meal plan
Find more healthy vegan recipes on our site
Your vegan journey probably won’t end after 7 days of healthy vegan recipes. We’re confident many of the recipes can become staples in your household. And then it’s about sticking to them and adding more to the mix!
We’ve got hundreds of recipes online already. Just use the search on our main page. It should be easy to find your next favourite!
We would like to take a moment to note that this post is for information purposes only. It does not claim to provide medical advice or to be able to treat any medical condition. It makes no claims in respect to weight loss, either in terms of the amount or rate at which weight loss could be achieved. If you have any concerns regarding your health please contact your medical practitioner before making changes.