Vegan Staples

Written by
McDonald, T.  |  Date 17th of March 2021 

Often i get asked how to start being vegan or what are the staples?  In the past i have been accused of being unhelpful when i say stop eating meat and start eating more veg, so hopefully this will answer that question.  First, what is meant by staple?  A staple food is something that is eaten on a regular bases and in large amounts.  Since becoming a vegan, i have learnt to put nutrition at the centre of my meal planning to ensure i don't miss out on anything.  However, B12 although is added to many foods can be an easy one to miss, so taking a supplement is a wise decision.  This blog is aimed at people looking to go vegan and have no food allergies.

Vegetables and Fruit

Well this is an obvious one; however, it needs to be said because even vegans need to ensure they get at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day.  In Canada, the recommendation is even higher at 10 portions a day.  Furthermore. it is best to vary the fruit and veg to ensure a good range of different vitamins and minerals. Leafy green veg is one of the best vegetables to have such as kale, cabbage spinach and broccoli. Carrots and sweet potato are both high in vitamin A while cauliflower, peppers and oranges provide vitamin C.   You can eat loads of veg.


Bread makes up a large part of a diet along with wholemeal pasta. These foods provide a lot of roughage (fibre) and are fortified with calcium by law.  If you chose a good sourdough, you will also get some protein, B vitamins and minerals.  Wholemeal is the same as wholewheat or brown bread, but in any case it is best to go for the ones with added seeds and rye.  White bread has some good nutrition but all the fibre has been taken out in the refining process.   Although bread is great, try not to go wild and eat a loaf a day since it is high in carbohydrate, which is a sugar. 

Beans and Pulses

Beans and pulses are a great way to get protein and roughage into your diet.  There are plenty of beans to chose from such as:

  • Black beans
  • Butter beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Pinto beans

Vegan milk

Whether it is making tea or making a white sauce, you are going to need a milk substitute.  Vegan milk is necessary for many reason including the fact it usually is fortified with calcium and B12 amongst other things.  With this in mind, unless you like black tea and don't have a lot of white sauces you are going to need a vegan milk.  I like them all, but i always go for the ones with adequate calcium and B12.  Furthermore, price is a factor too and i can tell you that you don't need to spend a fortune on fancy vegan milk.

You can get different types:

  • Soya
  • Nut
  • Rice
  • Oat 
They can also range in prices.  The thing to look out for is how much B12 and calcium it contains and you will see that more expensive does not mean more healthy or better.  

Tofu and Tempeh

Before i started making these a staple in my diet, i struggled to get enough calcium.  Sure, there is calcium in the vegan milk and yogurt, but i needed more.  The extra firm tofu has more calcium and protein, but it also has more calories.  Although tofu seems great, it does need to be pressed and marinaded before use. Tempeh on the other hand, is ready to use; however, i still like to marinade it before use or i tend to find it has a milky taste.  Something ease to note is it has less calcium than tofu. 

Marinated Tofu

Get a great Tofu press here.

Nutritional yeast

Yes, this really should be a staple in a vegan's diet and it is beast to go for the ones that have added B12.  These are easy to add to your food: you can sprinkle it on top of your dinner, add it to gravy or sauce and you can even add it to the mash potato.  Very simple to use and a great sauce of B vitamins and some minerals. There are different brands out there, but this is the one i currently use.

A B12 supplement 

If you are not eating a lot of foods fortified with B12, taking a supplement is the answer.  B12 does not naturally occur in animals so the animals have to eat it.  B12 is found in bacteria that is on the cattle feed or it is injected into the animal.  B12 is completely removed from the vegetables that we eat because they are washed so rigorously.  You can get a supplement from the The Vegan Society and you can get it from fortified foods such as:

  • Marmite or Vegemite
  • Soya milk
  • Vegan cheese alternatives
  • Vegan yogurt
  • Some mock meats  
  • VEG 1 supplement 
Since writing this post, the vegan society has gone plastic free! Yes, you can now get VEG1 in a plastic free container. 
Aluminium container fro VEG1

I hope that you found this useful.  Please share, like and subscribe to my blog.


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