Vegan Shopping List, Basic Essential Vegan Pantry Staples

Vegan Shopping List, Basic Essential Vegan Pantry Staples 3

Creating a vegan shopping list can seem a little daunting. It’s really not that hard! Though you do need to consider a few more things when it comes to eating the right vegan nutrients.


As a vegan, you probably know a lot more than some meat-eaters do but only because you’ve needed to do some research to keep yourself healthy. Of course, you might not have made any other modifications to your diet to make sure you were getting enough nutrients. In that case, then most of this article will be brand new information to you.

Getting enough nutrients can be a problem everyone faces regardless of diet. So you should take supplements for them and there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing so. With the right type and quantities of vegan foods, you should be fine for the most part but some nutrients just can’t be obtained on a vegan diet. Most meat-eaters don’t get enough of those nutrients either so in reality, everyone should be taking at least one supplement anyway.

Vegan Nutrients

The most common question vegans hear is some variation of “Do you get enough protein?” and the answer is a resounding “Yes!” For most people, their nutrients level isn’t something they consider but when it comes to vegan nutrients they are immediately alarmed. You don’t need to be concerned about vegan nutrients like protein unless you decide to take up a raw diet or something else that restricts your diet much more so than straight vegan does.

Vegan nutrients are everywhere and protein is very easy to find. You don’t need as much protein as some people make out however if you’re big on fitness and physical activity then you do need to eat more of it. You only need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and the average needed in 56 g for men and 46g for women every day. When it comes to building muscle, you need to increase the number of grams per kilogram of your body weight which is the standard for anyone.

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Almost all food has some protein in it but certain foods contain more of it than others. For vegans, you will want to focus on beans, legumes like lentils or chickpeas, tofu, faux meats, and peanut butter. Of course, there are also other soya products (milks, yogurts, etc), nuts, quinoa, wild rice, and various seeds. Chia seeds are perfect for protein and popular additions to a protein shake as a result. There are lots of options for a vegan shopping list then.

Looking to other macronutrients (carbohydrates and fat), there will obviously be no problems. It’s the micronutrients that might offer some difficulty. Micros are vitamins like Calcium, Iron, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. They will only be a problem if you don’t understand what foods you need to eat to get them or if you flat out reject taking supplements as an option.


People tend to think that only dairy contains Calcium which isn’t true. You can find it in a variety of plants including spinach, kale, white beans, soybeans, and companies also sell Calcium-fortified products such as juice or cereal.


Iron absorbed from animals is easier to absorb but you can eat Vitamin C to give your body a helping hand with it. Plus Vitamin C is necessary to be healthy anyway. Iron can also be found in plants like spinach, kale and broccoli however you can find it in beans, lentils, and peas also. If you like dried fruit and nuts then that’s a good source too. Plus like Calcium, many companies fortify their products with Iron.

Vitamin D

You can either get this through sunlight or diet and most people don’t get enough from either. It’s not just a vegan problem. You must either get enough sun, eat certain types of fish or take fish oil every single day. In nature, very few foods contain this vitamin. Generally, you will get most of this vitamin through sunlight exposure or by eating fortified foods that don’t actually contain much of this vitamin. In short, everyone should be taking a supplement for this vitamin regardless of their diet.

Vitamin B12

This is one that you can find in animals. Meat, fish, and dairy all contain it. Today farm animals are given B12 supplements. B12 is produced by bacteria found in the soil[1]. If you were a vegetarian then you probably already know about this and take a supplement. Small amounts can be found in fortified foods such as soy milk, cereal, and vegan protein mixes but you should take a B12 supplement.

Lack of B12 can cause memory problems, weakness, difficulty walking, depression and fatigue. Not to mention a certain type of anemia is caused by a lack of B12 so make sure you get enough of this one.

This isn’t a full list of vegan nutrients you need to eat as there are many of them. For the most part, sticking with vegan foods will make sure you get everything that you need and if you feel like your vegan nutrients could be better then just add a supplement to your routine in the morning. A multivitamin containing Vitamin D, B12 and others would definitely be best to reduce the cost and how many supplements you take overall.

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Vegan Shopping List, Basic Essential Vegan Pantry Staples 4

Shopping list ideas

So you’re not sure what to add to your vegan shopping list? No problem, we can help get you started. Your first point of call is to think of the supermarkets that you shop at as they will be your basis for everything.

Everyone’s vegan shopping list looks a little different according to their region, nutrient levels and personal taste. So think about what kind of cuisine you like to eat and also what you have in your cupboards. Personally, I love food from Asia as it’s so easy to make vegan plus it’s just delicious to me. So making lentil curry (other types of curry are available and katsu is amazing!), sushi, ramen, and stir fry are kind of standard for me. You don’t really need to change your eating that much, just find some vegan alternatives to what you love!

Here are a few vegan shopping list ideas to go from:

  • Vegan faux meats (especially freezer ones as they’re good to keep in for when you’re a bit lazy or too busy to actively cook something)
  • Tofu / Seitan / Tempeh (each is different so do a little bit of research online)
  • Vegan dairy products (plant-based milk, margarine, and yogurts are key)
  • Cereal (If you go for granola then remember to check for honey or just make it yourself at home)
  • Vegetables (this is generic because you should get what you like but remember to eat different types and to cook it differently. Though spinach and kale should be your friends)
  • Fruit (They can be high in sugar but also great for nutrients)
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables (always handy to have in! The fruit is perfect for adding to porridge and other dishes as well)
  • Vegetable stock (extremely useful to have though it is possible to make your own)
  • Tinned beans and legumes (Get tinned as they won’t go bad for a long time and they’re easier to work with when you’re not quite sure to handle them. You may also find sachets of pre-cooked lentil mixes also which are great to have)
  • Dried nuts (if you’re adventurous then get some plain nuts to cook with, cashews, in particular, are great for whipping up a few things including making vegan eggnog)

While those things are definitely a necessity, there are many other things you can get as well. Dried beans or legumes seem intimidating but when you know how to rehydrate them then it’s all fine. Dried lentils are a wonderful addition to vegetable stews or casseroles and make them much more hearty.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes are a wonderful addition to any vegan shopping list and provide some great vegan nutrients. They give food a more ‘cheesy’ taste so it’s commonly added to make a ‘cheese’ sauce for vegan foods. They can also be fortified with different nutrients including Vitamin B12.

Things such as Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds can be good for both protein and Omega nutrients like Omega-3. They can be sprinkled over food or cooked into sauces for extra vegan nutrients without adding a strong taste. Perfect for all vegan foods!

Making a vegan shopping list really doesn’t need to be that hard unless you live in a place with very limited access to different types of foods. Make sure you eat a good variety of foods so you don’t get bored and get to eat different vegan nutrients. Look online for inspiration with recipes and build from that though I do find looking at the online stores for my local supermarkets can be very helpful for finding out what foods I might be able to eat. Plus jumping up and down in excitement over finding the new vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in a shop is probably something you want to try and leave at home.

[1] B12: Why it’s not just a vegan issue


Hi, my name is Jason and I am a vegan with a keen interest in plant-based diet and nutrition. This site was set up to help me explore the research, facts, and myths about veganism. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.

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