Want a plant-based grocery list? I’ve created a basic plant-based shopping list for vegetarian and vegan eaters.
As a plant-based dietitian, there’s one thing I get asked about a lot: what plant-based foods to stock up on. Want to be a fly on the wall in my grocery cart? I’m about to tell you which foods are at the top of my plant-based shopping list!
While I know my nutrient needs inside and out after following the diet for so long, getting everything I need from food and supplements wasn’t so easy for me to figure out at first.
I know firsthand how challenging it can be at first to eat a balanced plant-based diet.
Now, read on for a plant-based grocery list. Many of these foods were featured at the expo at the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo this past year.
What is plant-based eating?
Before we delve into what to put on your shopping list, let’s talk about what plant-based eating really means. Ask 10 people about eating plant based, and you may get 10 different answers.
For some people, it can mean taking in just being plants and being vegan. For other folks, it may mean eating more plants but eating a little bit of most foods as a flexitarian.
And for people like me, it means eating a mostly plant-based diet with some animal products, like eggs, dairy, and seafood.
I was a vegetarian for many, many years—and one of my main protein sources is eggs, as well as more plant-based picks like dried beans and tofu. Such oil-free plant proteins can be helpful for plant-based weight loss, too.
A big trend that’s not going away anytime soon, plant-based eating simply means including more plants in your diet.
The health benefits of eating plant based
We’ve long known the many benefits of a vegetarian diet, such as a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. It can also improve your energy levels and optimize your brain health.
Many studies also show that eating a plant-based, vegetarian diet may help you lose weight. A review study reveals that adopting such a diet could help you lose a good amount of weight.
This comes out to about 8 to 10 pounds for the typical person. That amount is higher—up to about 14.5 pounds—in males, older adults, or people starting at a higher weight or having weight loss as a goal.
In the study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers reviewed 15 studies (representing volunteers in the United States and across Europe).
They found that the high fiber and often low fat content of a vegetarian diet helps to reduce daily calorie intake. So you eat less by not necessarily counting calories.
It’s also possible that such a diet may increase insulin sensitivity and thus cause the body to expend more energy digesting, absorbing, and distributing nutrients in the body, according to one study in the review.
The researchers found no significant difference between following a vegan diet and one that allows eating dairy and eggs.
Ready to add more plant-based meals into your day? One simple way to begin is to increase your fiber intake. Aim for 40 grams per day.
This is the amount found beneficial in the studies, suggests lead study author Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
This is about the amount in:
- ½ cup lentils
- ½ cup chickpeas
- 1 cup broccoli
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 medium pear
- 1 cup whole-wheat spaghetti.
But don’t increase your fiber intake all at once. If you don’t currently consume a lot of fiber, increase by a serving or two a week until you get to the desired amount.
What to put on a plant-based shopping list
With plant-based eating all the rage, it makes me so happy that more people are growing more concerned both about their own health as well as the health of the planet.
So we of course have to chat about how to eat a plant-based diet. And part of that conversation is having a basic shopping list.
You’ll see that following a healthy plant-based diet means eating more whole foods and minimizing added sugar and processed foods.
Here are foods on my plant-based diet grocery list.
You’ll want to add a mix of protein sources to your plant-based grocery list, such as:
- Black beans
- Plant-based meat products, such as Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger
Dairy and egg alternatives
If you’re going vegan or are dairy free, you’ll want to buy some alternatives, such as:
- Almond milk
- Egg substitutes, such as Just Egg
- Nutritional yeast
- Plant-based butter
- Plant-based cheese
- Plant-based cream cheese
- Plant-based yogurt
- Oat milk
Add a variety of fruits and vegetables to your plant-based grocery list, such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow Squash
Shelf-stable products are terrific for meals in a pinch. These include:
- Almond butter
- Avocado oil
- Brown rice
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Olive oil
- Peanut butter
- Sunflower seeds
- Vegetable broth
Stock up on a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and proteins, including:
- Dairy-free ice cream
- Frozen broccoli
- Frozen cherries
- Frozen edamame
- Frozen strawberries
- Frozen wild blueberries
- Pizza crust
- Riced cauliflower
- Veggie burgers
More resources for plant-based eating
As a plant-based registered dietitian, I often have folks coming to me for help with eating a healthy plant-based diet. This can mean many things–eating vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or flexitarian.
This is why I created plant-based meal plans! Most of my meal plans are mix and match, which makes them super easy to follow.
Here are my bestsellers:
- Flexitarian plant-based meal plan
- Vegetarian plant-based meal plan
- Vegan plant-based meal plan
- Gluten-free plant-based meal plan
Following a plant-based diet is made much easier when you have a plant-based grocery list to follow. Add a variety of plant-based foods to your list, including plant proteins, fruits, vegetables, pantry staples, and freezer items.
- A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Changes in Body Weight in Clinical Trials of Vegetarian Diets, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Do you have a basic shopping list? What would you add to this plant-based diet shopping list?
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Want to go shopping with a dietitian? Here’s your chance! I just opened up my very own storefront, full of plant-based meal plans, grocery lists, recipe books, and more!