Whether you're new to the plant-based world or a veteran vegan looking for some tips on how to step up your grocery game, this page is for you. While we've been living the plant-based life for upwards of 3 years now, it would be a lie if we told you that we didn't have any mishaps in the grocery store along the way. We remember that first trip to the grocery store when we decided to give up meat, and it was a little scary! Even though the fear was all in our head, we can empathize with the beginner that probably doesn't know where to start. There's one thing that we can promise – it gets easier and before you can say the word "vegan" grocery shopping in a healthy, conscious way will be second nature.
Straight up, the produce section at your local grocery store will soon become your best friend. It's where you should spend most of your time and you should really get familiar with everything the produce section has to offer. As a general rule of thumb, most of your shopping should be done in the outer permitter of the grocery store as that is where most of the "whole foods" are located. While we admittedly consume processed foods here and there, it's in very moderate amounts. And we suggest you do the same. Your body will thank you later. Trust us on this.
Fruit is one of the staples of a plant-based diet. If you have a problem with sugar (like a lot of us!) we suggest putting down the candy and picking up some fruit instead. Either way, fruits are a great complement to breakfast and lunch and also make great snacks.
GENERAL: apples, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, cherries, figs, grapes, mango, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, tomatoes, watermelon
CITRUS: grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine (tip - our favorite oranges are mandarins or clementines because they are so easy to peel)
BERRIES: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries
LOW SUGAR: avocado, berries, cantaloupe, clementine, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, lime
Where do we start! Vegetables are the holy grail of vegan or plant-based diets. They can be consumed in abundance and your grocery cart should always be stacked with them. If you look down at your cart and you can't see many veggies, it's time to turn around and go back to the produce section.
GENERAL: acorn squash, artichoke hearts, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, radish, spaghetti squash, turnips, zucchini
LEAFY GREENS: arugula, bok choy, collard greens, kale (curly, red, lacinato or dinosaur), romaine, spinach, Swiss chard
STARCHES: beets, butternut squash, corn, parsnips, pumpkin, potatoes (russet, yam, sweet, red or purple)
Don't listen to anybody that tells you stay out of the frozen section. While it's great to always have fresh produce on hand, that's not always attainable or efficient. We highly recommend keeping your freezer stacked with frozen fruits and vegetables. As always, keep the processed stuff to a minimum.
FRUITS & VEGGIES
At the end of the day, almost every fruit or vegetable is available in the frozen section. Below is a list of our favorites to keep on hand for smoothies, juices, stir-fries, and beyond.
FRUITS: bananas, blueberries, strawberries, peaches
VEGETABLES: broccoli, bell peppers, green beans, kale, peas, spinach
While we don't recommend consuming meat substitutes with every meal, but we do have them in moderate amounts. They are great for transitional vegans who are looking for a meaty taste or texture.
LIST: Beyond Meat Beast Burger, Beyond Meat Chicken Strips, Beyond Meat Beefy Beef Free Crumble, Gardein Beefless Ground
These are one of the biggest staples in our diet. They are wallet-friendly, convenient, and nutrient-rich. Legumes contain high amounts of protein, healthy complex carbs, and fiber. And because they are metabolized slower than other complex carbs, they can aid in weight loss by keeping you full without being too high in calories.
Packing a nutrient-dense punch, beans are high in protein, antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and potassium. In most grocery stores you can find them dry or canned.
BEANS: black, pinto, garbanzo (chickpeas), lima, navy, cannellini
Much like beans, lentils are also rich in health benefits. Known to lower cholesterol, improve heart and digestive health, and stabilize blood sugar, these protein bombs are always go-to's for us. You can find them dry in most stores.
LENTILS: brown, red, black, green, split green peas
In recent years fat has made it's way into the health spectrum. While we wholeheartedly disagree with going as far as putting butter in your coffee, fat is an essential macronutrient that we need to survive. With a plant-based diet you should be particularly vigilant about proper fat intake since you're not consuming fatty animal products. Good thing for you there's plenty of healthy fats found in plants!
High in protein, nuts can be added to any meal or used as a stand-alone snack.
NUTS: almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pine nuts, macadamia
Also high in protein, seeds are a great toppings and some can be consumed as a stand-alone snack.
SEEDS: hemp, flaxseed, chia, sunflower, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), safflower, sesame, poppy
In case you've been living under a rock lately, the plant milk section in your local grocery store is taking up almost us much space as dairy nowadays. Only a few years ago it was hard to find more than a couple shelves of plant milk options. With the detrimental health risks associated with dairy finally coming to light, plant-based milks are making a much-needed rise in the ranks. If you haven't already made the decision to do so, it's time to ditch dairy and hop on the plant milk train — for your body, for the earth, and for the animals.
There's a plethora of plant milks out there. They can be used in smoothies, on cereal, in baking, and alone as a drink. Keep in mind that it will probably take some trial-and-error before you find the plant milk that satiates your taste buds the most.
PLANT MILK TYPES: soy, almond, coconut, pea, flax, hemp, cashew, rice, oat
BLOK FAVORITES: almond, coconut, soy, flax
While the health benefits for plant milks are pretty similar across the board, we always suggest going with the "unsweetened" versions. The added sugar in the "original" versions is completely unnecessary.
PLANT MILK BRANDS: Silk, Ripple, Blue Diamond, So Delicious, Tempt, Good Karma, Califia, Trader Joe's
BLOK Favorites: Silk, Good Karma, Trader Joe's