I get asked “what do you eat” quite a bit and to everyone’s surprise, the answer is “a lot”. It’s true. Despite what people think, being vegan and having a vegan diet isn’t that difficult. You don’t have to buy special vegan food and you don’t have to home cook every meal (even though its better and cheaper). It’s important to know that if you are considering becoming a vegetarian or a vegan, that a vegan meal plan is not that different from a healthy individuals meal plan. There is no doubt that you’re going to ask or get asked questions like “where do you get your protein?” and again people are surprised when they hear what I have to say. Vegan protein sources aren’t that hard to find and don’t come in the form of a powder or a pill. It’s normal everyday food like beans, nuts, and vegetables. I am not a dietician or a personal trainer, but I’ve taken nutrition courses in college and have been eating this way for over 20 years – and I haven’t died, fainted, become anemic, or any other weird symptom or result that people think when they think of a vegan.
I’ll be getting deeper into what it takes to be vegan and what a complete vegan meal plan looks like in another post. For now, let’s start with vegan breakfast ideas.
Breakfast is a meal I never skip. I wake up starving just about everyday. So, for me, it’s important I get a nutritious meal everyday. I’m a creature of habits and normally eat the same thing everyday. This makes shopping easier and makes my morning routine quicker. It may be different for you, but either way, its great to have options and I have a bunch of options for a healthy vegan meal plan and to start, these are ideas for a simple vegan breakfast with easy vegan recipes.
- Toast with peanut butter or almond butter spread
- Bread options:
- Bread is one of the more difficult items to find that are vegan. I’ve found that Dave’s killer bread is awesome. There is also Arnolds/orowheat and Cobblestone mill. Be careful and check for milk ingredients and honey. Most breads are not made with eggs but highly processed breads do have milk products. Be happy though because sourdough breads and French breads made fresh by most grocery store bakeries are also vegan!
- Peanut butter options:
- Most peanut butters and almond butter spreads are vegan. This should not be difficult to find. Adam’s Natural Peanut butter is my choice and I can get this at most typical grocery stores.
- Bread options:
- Oatmeal with fruit and almond, soy, or coconut milk
- Oatmeal options
- Most oatmeal’s are completely vegan. Even plain instant oatmeal. Just be careful when selected instant oatmeal’s that have other flavors that you read the ingredients.
- “milk” options
- Almond Milk (Blue Diamond Almond Milk), Soy Milk (Silk),
- Oatmeal options
- Cereal with fruit and almond, soy, or coconut milk
- Cereal options: Most cereals are vegan (even coco puffs) but be careful and avoid marshmallow and honey ingredients in some brands like honeynut cherrios or lucky charms.
- Pancakes made with water and an instant vegan pancake mix
- Pancake mix options are available in your regular grocery store, you just have to come to terms with the fact that you need to skim the ingredients. I’ve even found “just add water” mixes.
- Scrambled tofu and toast
- One thing I miss from being vegetarian is eating eggs. When I was pregnant I would crave sunnyside up eggs. I haven’t had sunnyside up eggs in over 4 years but scrambled tofu does deserve its spotlight so get out your pan and spray some PAM or put down a teaspoon of olive oil and scramble up some firm tofu on medium heat. The good thing about tofu is it is ready to eat out of the container. So cook to your liking! Serve with good ol’ ketchup and pepper or get fancy with adding onions, tomatoes, or other ingredients. It is delish!
A resource I think is very important for first time vegans is petakids.com. I know you’re thinking “Peta Kids… but I’m not a kid”. Well, trust me when I say that for some people, considering being vegan sounds like an awful lot of hard work. This site is geared for helping parents and regular everyday people choose easy foods for vegans. Peta recognizes that kids like simple foods and that they can be picky and I think the list of foods they share make it easy for most beginners too. Just remember these few things when becoming vegan:
- Read the ingredients. No Milk products, meat, meat broths, animal byproducts or eggs.
- Ask questions and for modifications at restaurants. I’ve never had a bad reaction to an honest question or request.
- Force yourself to shop at the regular stores, because buying vegan options at the regular stores drives demand for vegan options and vegans everywhere.