Best Grocery List for New Vegetarians or Vegans

Time to Get the Groceries! open market of fruits and vegetables

Why do you need a grocery list for a new vegetarian or vegan? When you eliminate foods from your diet, other foods have to replace them. Following the best grocery list you will be able to build a pantry for a vegan or vegetarian that guarantees you stay healthy. Without guidance you may replace the foods you were used to eating with unhealthy foods. Just because it’s vegan or vegetarian does not mean it’s healthy!

So you remember that great dish you ate the other night at your buddy’s house, it had…..what was that stuff….in it? Don’t worry it happens to almost everyone. If you are surrounded by seasoned vegans or vegetarians you are taken care of, however we do not all have that luxury.

You DO NOT need to buy all of these items in one trip to the supermarket. Over time you will develop a very diverse palate and a kitchen full of foods to go along with your taste buds. I will list some items that are typically more prevalent in a vegetarian or vegan diet, as well as some vegan and vegetarian “fake meat”, “fake cheese”, etc. products that I enjoy as well as ones that I avoid at all costs!vegan sushi quinoa and avocado

Obviously you should purchase a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, this list is in addition to what you may traditionally purchase: Vegetables: Salad greens, kale, spinach, other leafy greens (turnip, mustard, etc),  avocado, eggplant, sweet potato, garlic, onion, tomato, butternut and other hard squashes, summer and zucchini squash, and portabella mushrooms. Fruits: Berries- fresh or frozen, melons, citrus fruits, bananas, apples. Fresh Herbs & Spices: Cilantro, basil, ginger root.

Nuts, Seeds, and Beans: Raw almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds or flax seed oil. You can buy beans dried, canned or frozen: Black, chickpea (garbanzo), cannellini, and pinto. Nut seed butters: Almond butter, natural peanut butter, and tahini (sesame butter). Nut/Seed Milks: Almond, cashew, soy, and/or hemp. Cooked Sesame Tofu

Proteins: Tofu- firm and soft, tempeh, hummus, quinoa, lentils of all varieties, and amaranth.

Grains, Granola, Rices: Brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain flour, whole grain bread, jasmine rice, rolled or steel cut oats, and granola. There are many brands of granola that are low in calorie and higher in protein.

Oils and Vinegar: toasted sesame oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar.

Other/Specialty and Replacement foods: Bragg’s liquid amino’s- used in cooking, similar to soy sauce in taste, but lower in sodium and including amino acids. Tamari, vegan worcestershire sauce: in case you didn’t know, the traditional kind has anchovies in the recipe. Nutritional Yeast- this can be used in SO many way, the best Vegan Mac & Cheese on the planet being one, but some people sprinkle it on popcorn.  Thrive Market is one of the best online grocers to shop for these products! They have great prices and they deliver!

Mayonnaise replacement: Veganaise or Nayonaise.  Sour Cream and Cream Cheese replacement: Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese and Sour Supreme, Better Than Sour Cream. There are other replacements out there are I honestly can not stand them because they leave a grainy taste in my mouth which I find disgusting. Having said that, I have not had the joy of tasting all of the Daiya products, but imagine they are all wonderful! As soon as they come to a store near me, if ever, I will try them all and let you know.

Cheese replacement: Daiya is the only “fake cheese” I have found that melts and tastes awesome. There are several other brands and you may like another, I however, do not.

Ice cream replacement: So Delicious made with Coconut, Almond or Cashew milk in a variety of flavors. My favorite: Ben & Jerry’s, Non Dairy frozen dessert, any flavor!! They have now released, I believe 7 Non-Dairy Ben & Jerry’s flavors. Some people have a problem endorsing this as the company is not a “vegan” company and they feel that as a community we should support each other. I could not agree more. However, let me make two quick points for you: 1) I live in a rural area where people hear the word vegan and scratch their heads, I don’t have an entire freezer section of vegan food in general to choose from, much less ice cream, so I take what I can get. What I can get has been one flavor for a long time! I am also allergic to coconut, so that doesn’t help. 2) If it takes a large, well known company, such as Ben & Jerry’s, making a non-dairy frozen desert to get someone to switch, why complain? It’s one less person hurting the planet! 

Marshmallows: Sweet and Sara make great products, however they have to be refrigerated and don’t have the exact texture or flavor down. I still highly recommend their products. My Dandies makes mouth watering, delicious, marshmallows with no gelatin and if you follow them on social media, they post recipes all the time. I can not say enough great things about this company! Thrive Market Vegan Banner

For baking: Agar flakes will replace gelatin and Ener-G Egg Replacer works great for replacing eggs in baking, left over juice from garbanzo beans will make meringue, if you can believe it, true story!

Fake Meat Products: Gardein makes great vegan products, such as “Beef” Tips, Mandarin Orange “Chicken”, “Fish” Fillets, “Sausage” Patties, Grounds, and many others. Quorn makes amazing, soy free, vegetarian products, especially their “chicken” products. Boca has both vegan and vegetarian chicken and burger patties and they make other products as well. Morningstar Farms also makes a very large variety of fake meat products which are vegetarian: buffalo wings, corn dogs, ribs, (avoid the hot dogs), maple sausage patties and hot & spicy sausage patties, grounds and more. Amy’s has a large variety of frozen vegetarian meals and also some vegan. I would avoid the Vegan Mac and Cheese but love the Vegan Burritos which also come in gluten-free. They are usually $2.50, I slap a slice of Daiya cheddar on one of those babies and man……. I know that’s not clean eating, but it’s not a dead cow. Some days we all just do the best we can, right? 

Suggestions? If you have any suggestions to add to the list please comment below or email me at  

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