Vegan Meal Plans
Vegan diets are becoming increasingly common and can offer many health benefits including protection from chronic diseases (as well as benefiting the environment), so long as they are varied and well-balanced.
All our meals are reviewed by our Dietitian to ensure they’re nutritionally sound. Every meal (down to each ingredient!) is purposefully included to provide unique, balanced nutrition, doing all the planning for you! Your vegan meal plan is designed to increase diet variety, be safe and sustainable long-term. Unlike other meal plans, our meals also provide a healthy balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate. The protein sources are widely varied (including legumes, meat replacements, nuts and seeds, and tofu), which ensures the best nutrient variety for optimal health.
Nutrients that could be lacking in a vegan diet include iron, calcium, zinc, Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. All have been considered and accounted for.
Vitamin B 12 is essential for red blood cell development and nervous system maintenance. Typically, animal products are rich sources of vitamin B12, however meat replacements are fortified with B12 and iron, so are recommended to be included in your usual eating patterns. Marmite, low salt vegemite, nuts and seeds also contain vitamin B12 and have been incorporated for this reason. It is possible that you may still require a B12 supplement. It is recommended this be discussed with your doctor.
The use of complementary nutrients have been included, for example multiple foods rich in vitamin C together with iron containing foods, to boost iron absorption. The calcium provision across the entire meal plan has been assessed to ensure adequacy, and omega-3 rich foods included in main meals as well as snack options.
Notes on specific foods
Calcium-fortified soy milk is the most nutrient-dense of the plant milks. It contains many important nutrients like protein for muscle building and maintenance, as well as vitamins and minerals such as calcium for strong bones. It is best to choose a variety that has no sugar added.
Oat, nut, coconut and rice milks contain much less protein than soy milk. If these are your milk of choice, choose a brand that is fortified with calcium and has no sugar added (check the ingredient list for this).
Vegan meat substitutes (e.g. mince)
These are readily available in major supermarkets, and are fortified with iron and vitamin B12 therefore are a great source of nutrients to include in a vegan diet.
Some can be high in salt, however when consumed as part of a healthy, unprocessed diet this is not of concern. If you would prefer to leave these out, they can be substituted with tinned beans such as kidney beans, black beans, or lentils.
Depending on your age, gender and how your body absorbs nutrients, when eating vegan diet you may still require iron supplementation. Again, this is best discussed with your doctor.
Walnuts are included as they’re very unique in terms of their nutrient profile – they really are a nutrient power-house! They contain protein, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium and some B vitamins. Walnuts are the only nut that contain significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids (also known as ALA, that is essential in the diet as our bodies can’t make it, and has numerous proven health benefits). If you don’t like walnuts you can substitute for any other nut. Some nuts eaten are better than none!
Water is the best choice. It is recommended that you drink approximately 35ml of fluid per kg of body weight per day.
E.g. if you weight 80kg, 80 x 35 = 2800ml
This will vary if you are very physically active or live in a hot climate.
This crunchy addition is included to add valuable nutrients, including omega 3 fatty acids (which are essential for good health and not able to be made by our bodies). Including this is strongly encouraged. We recommend using the following:
- Chia seeds
- Pepitas/pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Hemp seeds
Tips for eating out
Vegan cafes and restaurants are becoming more and more common and you may already know of some local to you. Some tips to make it an easier dining experience are listed below:
- Check out the menu online before you go
- If the main dishes aren’t suitable or appealing, get a couple of side dishes to make up your meal.
- You may need to ask that butter be swapped for oil, and cheese be left off.
- Almost all restaurants will have vegetarian options. These could be suitable with only minor changes such as no cheese.
Note that manufacturers can change their ingredients at any time, so we recommend always checking the ingredients list when you buy.