A healthy balanced vegan diet is made up of four food groups: 1. legumes, nuts & seeds; 2. grains; 3. fruits and 4. vegetables.
1. Legumes, nuts and seeds (4+ servings per day):
This group includes beans, split peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and also soy products. It’s not a requirement to consume soy products in order to have a balanced vegan diet, and not all vegans consume soy products. However for those who like soy, it is an extremely versatile food that can be used in a variety of ways.
2. Grains (4-6+ servings per day):
Whole grains are preferable to refined grains, because the refining process removes the healthiest nutrients. Brown rice, oats, millet and quinoa are fantastic sources of B vitamins, fiber, minerals, proteins and antioxidents. For gluten intolerant individuals, rice, millet and quinoa are gluten-free. They can be prepared in a variety of ways, from pilafs and spicy savoury dishes to salads. Quinoa and millet are considered “superfoods”. In New Zealand, the most affordable kind of quinoa tends to be the white quinoa.
3. Vegetables (4+ servings per day):
The vegetable world is full of colour and nutrients and variety. Eating a wide variety of colourful vegetables is not only delicious and creative, but extremely healthy and provides an assortment of protective nutrients in your diet. It is impossible to list all the wonderful vegetables that there are available. It is recommended to buy what is in season in your country at the time, as that is nature’s way of letting us know which are the most beneficial for us to consume at that time of year (not to mention the most affordable and eco-friendly!)
4. Fruits (2+ servings per day):
Anything with seeds is considered a fruit, so this includes cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados as well as mandarins and apples etc. Most fruits are a great source of Vitamin C and all fruits provide antioxidants and fibre. Whole fruits are more beneficial than fruit juices, and again it is recommended to consume what is in season in your country at the time.
Click here for answers to some common questions about vegan diets.