Basic vegan menu plan

Hello - love your site, so informative! I am looking for a basic vegan menu plan.

I recently became a vegan and would like to know if you can give me some guidance on menus for breakfast, lunch & dinner to maintain a female weight of 115 pounds. I just need some guidance on how many of each category to include in a day.

For instance, for a 47 year old female, moderately active, where in the range of 6-11 grains per day would I fall? 6 doesn't seem enough, 11 seems too much. can you offer some advice?

Hesperia, CA


Sassy Sez: Hi Laura! Your question is a popular one. Many people ask for guidance when it comes to how much of each vegan food group to eat each day. And I commend you for this.

Before one goes vegetarian or vegan, they don't seem to pay very much attention to how much of each food group they eat from the traditional Food Pyramid. But once they switch their diet to vegan, it can seem so confusing - how much of each food group should you be eating from the Vegan Food Pyramid?

The Vegan Food Pyramid hits on these amounts pretty well for most people who are not trying to lose weight (or gain weight!). The recommendation, for instance, for 6-11 servings of whole grains is a pretty big range. So it's important to note that those who are very active, competing in sports, or trying to gain weight should aim for the upper end of that range. And those who are not can shoot for the lower end of that range. (Those who are trying to lose weight can shoot for even less servings than 6).

So you see, it really depends on who you are, what your exercise levels are, what sorts of energy you need to derive from your food.

Keep in mind, also, that a serving many not be as big as you think. One serving of whole grains is equal to 1/2 cup (or about 1/2 the size of a baseball). That's not really very much, at least for me and my appetite. :) When I have rice with veggies, for instance, I would usually place about a cup of rice onto my plate, and that is 2 servings right there. 1 slice of bread is a serving. 1/2 cup pasta is a serving. So you see, it adds up pretty quickly.

If one is eating a well-balanced diet, you really don't have to worry too awfully much about counting your servings. I mean, you might at first just so you can get the hang of how much food you should be eating. But then you can relax and just enjoy your healthy vegan diet.

There are a couple of groups I think many people don't really pay attention to, and they should.

One of these food groups is legumes (beans and lentils). These are SO important to eat on a daily basis. Beans and legumes are an excellent source of vegan protein and complex carbs that we need for energy and muscle building.

The 2nd food group I want you to pay attention to is the Fortified Soy milk and Alternates, specifically dark green leafy veggies. Dark green leafies like kale and collard greens are among those that contain vegan calcium. The average person can shoot for about 6 servings of calcium-filled foods per day.

The fruits and veggies seem to be pretty easy for most people to add to their vegan diet. It's really just the beans and greens that are so incredibly important and are often overlooked.

I hope this helps. :)
p.s. Every vegan should consider supplementing with Vegan Vitamin B12 and DHA/EPA. xo

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