When I first decided to become vegan, one of the most challenging tasks before me was how to prepare a feasible and practical vegan diet plan, which would fulfil the following parameters:
With these parameters in mind, I sat with the vegan food pyramid in front of me to chalk out my first vegan diet plan. I was, to begin with, flexible with my food choices, so that I did not fall short of motivation to remain with the plan midway. I chose the foods I liked picking them up carefully from the pyramid.
The second issue was the recommended servings. Frankly, any new comer would feel overwhelmed at the sheer variety and recommendations for serving sizes that appear in any pyramid that you come across on the internet.
The first reaction I had was that it was impossible for me to consume so much food every day, no matter how hungry I felt or how creative I was with my vegan diet plan. It surely took me a while to get my bearings. However, let me share with you some of my insights:
Vegan diet plan: keep the recommendations as your basic guideline
The whole idea of the vegan food pyramid is to keep you on the right track in terms of vegan nutrition. If you study the pyramid carefully the serving sizes are not that big and you can include most of the items in your daily vegan diet plan.
For example, you could easily consume one slice of bread, or ½ cup of whole grains like pasta or rice. The recommendation of ½ cup soy milk or one cup of raw vegetables, ½ cup of vegetable or fruit juice or for that matter one teaspoon of vegetable oil is really not that overwhelming, when you break these items up to be included in separate meals.
Vegan diet plan: what to have and why
You could find creating the vegan diet plan more interesting if you know why you have to include some foods in your daily diet regimen. Here are some pointers:
Dark green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens, chicory are very rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, fiber, and other nutrients.
Colored vegetables like carrots or winter squash could give you more beta carotene. I found it easy to have 1 cup of such raw vegetables or ½ cup boiled version rather easy.
For your daily need for fiber, vitamin C, and beta-carotene try to have at lease one serving per day of a whole fruit.
Why have legumes?
Because foods like chickpeas, baked and refried beans, soy milk, etc supply your body with fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins.
The servings that I have are 1/2-cup cooked beans, 4-ounces tofu and 8-ounces soy milk, which frankly I actually enjoy.