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      Beginner Vegan Foods Grocery List

      So you’ve either decided to jump completely into veganism or are just trying to eat more plant based. Whatever the reason you stumbled upon this article, you’re in the right place. This beginner vegan foods grocery list is perfect if you are just starting out.

      While veganism encompasses more than just diet, today we’re just focusing on the food aspect. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a vegan is someone who completely abstains from consuming foods derived from animal products. This would include meat, eggs, dairy and even honey.

      Based on these qualifications, it’s pretty simple to determine what foods are vegan vs. non-vegan. Just think about the source of the food. If it’s from a plant, it’s vegan. If it’s from an animal, it’s not vegan.

      But, it’s important to consider nutrition when switching to a vegan or plant based diet. When you eliminate meat, eggs and dairy products, you are also eliminating big sources of protein, B vitamins, iron, omega-3s, calcium and other nutrients.

      Because of this, it’s important to have a general idea of how to get these nutrients from other foods. This vegan foods grocery list for a beginner is a great way to ensure you are covering all the bases.

      How to use the beginner vegan foods grocery list to make balanced meals

      Before we jump into the grocery list, let’s discuss how to use this list to build healthy meals. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to ensure you are making up for lost nutrients with vegan food alternatives. 

      In general, vegan dietary recommendations are similar to those who eat animal products. There are just going to be a few substitutes. If you are consuming about 2000 calories a day, your diet should look something like this:

      • Vegetables: 2 ½ cups per day
      • Fruit: 2 cups per day
      • Grains: 6 ½ ounces per day
      • Dairy alternatives: 3 cups per day
      • Protein: 3 ½ ounces per day
      • Oil: 2 tbsp per day
      • 250 additional calories for other uses

      A few side notes: 

      1. 1 ounce of grains is equal to ½ cup of cooked grain or 1 slice of bread
      2. Dairy alternatives should be fortified with calcium to ensure you don’t become deficient. 
      3. Protein can come from beans, peas, lentils, soy products, nuts and/or seeds. 
      4. Additional calories can come from anything you desire.

      To make sure you are covering all your bases, I also recommend getting a good multivitamin that contains omega-3 fatty acids, iron, B12 and vitamin D3. This will ensure you don’t develop any nutrient deficiencies, especially iron deficiency anemia. I highly recommend the brand Ritual since it’s vegan!

      Pantry Vegan Foods 

      Okay, let’s start off with foods that are non-perishable that you can keep in your pantry. I like to call these the “staples” because a large bulk of your diet is likely going to come from these foods. Let’s just on in!


      Grains are going to be staple foods in a vegan diet. They provide a variety of nutrients, especially fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Ideally, you should aim for 1/2 of the grains in your diet to come from whole grain sources. For example, brown rice instead of white rice or whole wheat bread instead of white bread. If you are looking for a tasty vegan pasta recipe, try out this vegan avocado pasta.

      • Rice (brown, jasmine, basmati)
      • Pasta (white, whole grain, various shapes)
      • Bread (white, whole wheat, rye)
      • Quinoa
      • Oats (instant, steel cut, regular)
      • Tortillas (corn, white, whole wheat)
      • Crackers (various)
      • Other grains (barley, buckwheat, amaranth, bulgar, millet)

      Baking Goods 

      Vegan baking can be just as fun and delicious as non-vegan baking. Here are a few staples to keep in your pantry in case you have the urge to make a batch of delicious vegan cookies or vegan baked oats.

      • All purpose four (white, wheat)
      • Baking soda
      • Baking powder
      • Corn starch
      • Sugar (cane, brown)
      • Gluten free flours (almond, coconut, blends)

      Canned Foods 

      Canned foods are great to have in case of emergency, but can also be a large part of your everyday diet. Since protein can be lacking in a typical vegan diet, including lots of canned beans and bean based soups can be a great way to boost your protein intake.

      • Canned beans (black, pinto, chickpeas, etc.)
      • Canned vegetables
      • Canned fruit
      • Canned vegan soups 

      Nuts, Seeds and Legumes

      Nuts, seeds and legumes provide some great protein and healthy fats to a vegan diet. Since the main source of fat in nuts and seeds are unsaturated fats, they are considered heart healthy. They can help improve cholesterol and heart disease risk when used as a replacement for foods high in saturated fats like red meat, butter and cream.

      • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc.)
      • Seeds (sunflower, pepitas, etc.)
      • Nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter)
      • Chia seeds
      • Flax seeds
      • Beans (pinto, black, chickpeas, etc.)
      • Lentils

      Non-Dairy Alternatives

      One of the hardest part about becoming a vegan is removing dairy products from your diet. Luckily, there are so many non dairy options nowadays so you are bound to find one or two that you love. I personally love oat milk!


      Snacks are a must, whether you are a vegan or not. There are plenty of foods that are naturally vegan, but also brands that make vegan versions of dairy containing snacks like cheez-its.

      • Crackers
      • Chips
      • Popcorn (options without butter)
      • Other snacks


       Sauces and seasonings are essential to make any meal taste good, whether it’s vegan or not. Having lots of sauce and seasoning options ensures vegan eating never gets boring or lacking of flavor.

      • Salt and pepper
      • Garlic powder
      • Onion powder
      • Red pepper flakes
      • Agave nectar
      • Maple syrup
      • Vanilla extract
      • Other seasonings (cumin, paprika, etc.)
      • Unopened condiments (ketchup, mustard)


      Supplements are a must for the vegan diet. Unfortunately there are several nutrients that are lacking from a vegan diet that likely require supplementation. One of the big ones are vitamin B12, but you should also consider supplementing with iron and calcium. Speak to your doctor before trying any supplements.

      • Multivitamin (with iron and B12)
      • Vegan protein powder

      Some Fruits and Vegetables

      It’s also best to keep some fruits and vegetables on hand at all times. These vegetables are perfect because they will keep for several weeks in the pantry.

      • Onions
      • Potatoes
      • Apples
      • Pears
      • Oranges
      • Other fresh vegetables that don’t need refrigeration

      Refrigerator Vegan Foods 

      Next are the foods that need refrigeration. As you can see in the pantry section, the foods making up the biggest bulk of your diet can be stored in your pantry. But, there are foods that do need to be refrigerated, especially after they have been opened. 

      Fresh Fruits and Vegetables 

      These fruits and vegetables are perfect for snacking, salads or for cooking. I recommend trying to prep as many snacks and sides as you can at the start of the week to ensure you don’t let you fruits and veggies go to waste.

      • Grapes
      • Fresh berries
      • Cut up fruit
      • Leafy green vegetables
      • Peppers
      • Celery
      • Cucumber
      • Other fruits and vegetables that require refrigeration

      Non-Dairy Alternatives 

      It’s good to have non-dairy alternatives available at all times, especially plant based milks. I personally love oat milk and soy milk. Luckily, there are a variety of dairy free milk, cheese and yogurt options due to the popularity of vegan and dairy free diets.

      • Almond milk
      • Oat milk
      • Soy milk (my favorite non dairy milk alternative)
      • Other milks of choice (cashew, hemp, etc.)
      • Vegan cream cheese
      • Vegan cheese
      • Vegan butter
      • Vegan yogurts

      Plant Based Meat Substitutes

      Plant based meat substitutes are great for helping you reach your protein goals, which can be tough as a vegan. Tofu and tempeh are soy based, protein rich foods, while seitan is a wheat based protein food. There are also plenty of faux “meats” to try out.

      • Tofu
      • Tempeh
      • Seitan
      • Vegan meat alternatives


      Condiments are a great way to add flavor to a sandwich, salad or any other dish. The following condiments are great to keep on hand at all times for flavorful cooking.

      • Vegan mayo
      • Ketchup and mustard
      • Soy sauce or tamari
      • Hot sauce
      • Tamari
      • Hummus

      Freezer Vegan Foods

      Finally are the vegan freezer foods. These foods are going to be cost effective and last a long time. Plus, they are great if you need something quick and have nothing to eat in the fridge.

      Frozen Vegetables, Fruits and Grains

      It’s great to have frozen produce and grains on hand for emergency and for those days where you run out of fresh produce. They are just as nutritious as fresh and usually great tasting as well.

      • Frozen vegetables and fruits of choice
      • Frozen rice 
      • Frozen grain and vegetable mixes

      Frozen Plant Based Meat Substitutes 

      There are so many delicious plant based meat options nowadays that taste very similar to meat products. Personally, I’m a huge fan of vegan chicken nuggets and recommend adding some to your vegan grocery list. And there are so many brands and varieties to try!

      • Frozen vegan chicken nuggets
      • Frozen vegan meatballs
      • Frozen vegan breakfast meats


      You have to have some good vegan dessert options for when those cravings hit. I love a good vegan ice cream made from coconut milk or oat milk. I’ve seen so many exciting flavors in the freezer section of my local grocery store.

      • Frozen vegan ice cream
      • Frozen vegan cookie dough
      • Other frozen vegan desserts

      Microwavable Meals

      If you don’t feel like cooking or want a few meals to bring to work, having a few microwaveable meals on hand is great. There are plenty of options available in a variety of flavor combinations.

      • Frozen vegan dinners

      I hope this beginner vegan foods grocery list was helpful for your vegan or plant based journey. Remember to ensure you are covering all of your nutrition bases and always try out new recipes to make eating vegan as enjoyable as possible. If you have any questions, reach out to me at

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      ABOUT ME

      tia glover rd

      My name is Tia and I am a registered dietitian and content creator.

      My goal is to help young people learn how to eat a nutritious, balanced diet without restriction or giving up cultural foods. 💛

      Hapa/Japanese American 🇺🇸🇯🇵

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