Key to a Healthy Vegan Diet

Key to a Healthy Vegan DietThe key to a healthy vegan diet is variety. If you’re considering becoming a vegan, the following tips will help you adopt a meal plan that includes adequate protein, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and minerals. You might also think about consulting with a dietitian to ensure your diet is balanced and complete.


Vegans get protein from lentils, beans (e.g. chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, soy beans), tofu, tempeh, seitan (a protein made from wheat), soy beverages, nuts and seeds. Whole grains and vegetables also supply some protein. Rice, almond and oat beverages are low in protein.

Vegans can easily meet daily protein requirements providing their calorie intake is adequate. If calorie needs aren’t met, some protein from the diet will be used for energy rather than muscle repair and making body proteins such enzymes and immune compounds.

With the exception of soy beans, vegetarian proteins are missing, or low in, one or more essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Essential amino acids must come from food because the body can’t make them on its own.

It was once thought vegans needed to pair certain protein foods together at meals to form a complete protein. It’s now understood that as long as a variety of protein foods are eaten over the course of the day, protein combining is not necessary. Include at least one protein-rich food at each meal.

Vitamin B12

Naturally-occurring only in animal products, vegans need to include three servings of B12-fortified foods in their daily diet. One serving equals: fortified plant beverages (1/2 cup), nutritional yeast (1 tablespoon), fortified breakfast cereal (30 grams), or fortified soy products (42 g).

To ensure B12 needs are met, take a B12 supplement or multivitamin with 5 to 10 micrograms of B12.

Vitamin D

Children and adults require 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D daily; at age 70 requirements increase to 800 IU. Some people may require more vitamin Dto maintain a sufficient blood level.

Food sources in the vegan diet include fortified plant beverages and orange juice (1 cup provides 100 IU).

To meet vitamin D needs, a supplement is required. Most multivitamins contain 400 IU vitamin D. Separate vitamin D supplements may be needed. Choose vitamin D3 over D2 as it’s the more active form. The safe daily upper limit is 4,000 IU.

Read More : Key to a Healthy Vegan Diet II


  1. Correction: B12 naturally occurs in nutritional yeast, which is not an animal product. Animal flesh gets yeast from the animal eating yeast from the soil or from yeasts growing on the plant matter in ruminants stomachs. Yeast is not a supplement; it is the primary source of B12 for animals.

  2. More info on nutritional yeast and putting to rest the myth that meat provides nutrients not found elsewhere in nature:

  3. More info on nutritional yeast and putting to rest the myth that meat provides nutrients not found elsewhere in nature:


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