Vegan diets include only foods from plant sources and exclude any meat, poultry, fish, dairy and any of their derivatives.

Veganism can be a very healthy way of eating if done with balance. However, protein deficiency, low vitamin D and calcium deficiency can occur in vegans as well as anemia due to low iron and vitamin b12.

Below are a few vegan foods to include in your day to reap all the health benefits of going vegan.

Vegan Protein

Try to include a vegan protein source such as nuts or nut butters, beans, lentils or tofu/soy products with meals to include a regular source of protein in your diet. Also choose whole grains such as brown rice or wheat bread to gain an additional 3 grams of protein per serving.

Foods High in Calcium

Choose calcium-fortified beverages and include sources of calcium with meals and snacks daily. Here are some examples.

  • Calcium-fortified almond, hemp, oat or rice milk
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Canned salmon or sardines
  • Almonds
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Oranges
  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Mustard greens
  • Sweet potato
  • White beans

Sources of Vitamin D

This is a trickier vitamin to get for vegans, but there are foods high in Vitamin D available. The benefits of Vitamin D include strong bones and so it is essential to have sources of this vitamin in your diet. If you live in a northern region and tend to see the sun a bit less than you’d like you may want to consider a supplement to avoid a Vitamin D deficiency.

  • Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Vitamin D fortified cereal
  • Vitamin D fortified orange juice
  • Vitamin D almond, hemp, oat or rice milk

Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with iron rich foods.

  • Spinach
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Asparagus
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Blueberries
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Dried fruits such as apricots, dates, raisins and prunes

Also consider preparing your meals in cast-iron skillets to increase your iron intake through cooking.

Vitamin B12 foods

B12 plays an important role in promoting normal metabolism. In order to avoid a b12 deficiency, this micronutrient needs to be included when going vegan.

Here are some examples:

  • Nutritional yeast
  • b12 Fortified cereals
  • Soy milk
  • Certain meat alternatives e.g. veggie burgers