Vegan Shopping Guide
Whether you’re a committed vegan or someone who dabbles in Meatless Mondays, a plant-based diet can be incredibly healthy. Balanced vegan meals are naturally low in saturated fat and high in fibre and phytochemicals that can prevent serious diseases. The key word there is ‘balanced.’ To make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to thrive, you want to enjoy a variety of wholefoods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and healthy fats.
There are a few vitamins and minerals that vegans are often lacking in – but the good news is, there are plenty of plant-based alternatives!
Let’s break them down
- Protein is an essential macronutrient, and it helps with energy, mood, and muscle recovery and repair. Chickpeas, nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, and legumes are all high in protein.
- Calcium is a must for healthy teeth and bones. It’s usually associated with milk, but there are tons of plant-based foods that contain way more calcium, like kale, spinach, broccoli, tofu, soybeans and seaweed.
- Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy nervous system and red blood cell count. It’s found in nutritional yeast and fortified soy milk, but it’s difficult to reach the recommended intake with these foods – which is why vegans should consider taking a good B12 supplement.
- Vitamin D Known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and maintain bone health. The only plant-based source is mushrooms, but other vegan products like almond milk, tofu and oats are often fortified with vitamin D.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation, boost heart health, and nourish the skin. Vegans can easily get their fix from flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds.
- Iron is key to healthy blood flow, and it helps the body to transport oxygen. Some plant-based foods that contain iron include spinach, spirulina, kale, lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, oatmeal and dried fruits, such as apricot. The iron from plants isn’t as easily absorbed. So, to speed up iron absorption, eat foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits.
Zinc boosts immunity, and helps the body to heal faster. It’s found in legumes, beans, oats and cashews.
Here are 10 nutrient-dense vegan goodies you can shop right now.
1. X50 Broccoli Chips
Made with 85% broccoli, the X50 Broccoli Chips are a great source of fibre and calcium. They’re vacuum-fried for a satisfying crunch, and available in a few flavours: Sea Salt, Spicy, Wasabi and BBQ. The BBQ chips are boosted with sea salt, cinnamon, star anise and black pepper, and trust me when I say a packet of those doesn’t last long at GMB HQ!
2. Australia’s Own Foods Like Milk
This year, pea milk started hitting supermarket shelves, and it’s a nutritional hit. Like Milk is dairy-free, gluten-free and high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins D and B12 – which are minerals many vegans are deficient in. The pea milk has the same amount of calcium and protein as full-cream dairy milk, but with none of the fat and much lower levels of natural sugar. It’s sweet and creamy, and you’d never guess it was made from peas!
3. Knowrish Well Better Cheddar
Let’s be honest, everything tastes better with a little cheese! Dairy-free cheese, that is. This vegan cheese powder from Knowrish Well is gluten-free and made with all-natural ingredients, such as raw cashew nuts, coconut milk, organic quinoa flour, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. It’s rich in protein, zinc and B2, and absolutely delicious sprinkled on any savoury dish. You could even try making a fondue…
4. Stamina State Chibbs Lightly Puffed Chickpeas
When 3pm rolls around, reach for this chickpea snack. It’s packed with plant protein to keep your energy up, as well as iron, zinc and fibre. While many brands roast their chickpeas, Chibbs does it differently. They dry heat and puff the chickpeas, and then coat them with yummy organic ingredients – so that you get that crunch without the help of heating oils.
5. Pimp My Salad ‘One of Each’ 6 Pack
Healthy eating doesn’t mean compromising on taste! Whether you’re vegan or not, you’ll love this range of superfood toppings from Pimp My Salad. Made with a mix of spices and activated seeds, they’re dehydrated for 16-24 hours to preserve all the nutrients, vitamins and enzymes for better digestion. Throw them onto salads, soups, pastas, roast veggies and rice for a hit of flavour and nutrients. In this pack, you’ll score a jar of
Spiced Sunflower Seed Sprinkles
Super Seed Sprinkles
Sea Superfoods Sprinkles
Coconut Bacon – this is ridiculously good!
6. Bennetto Natural Foods Co Intense Dark Chocolate
Got a sweet tooth? Satisfy it with this vegan chocolate, which is loaded with certified organic and Fair Trade ingredients for the feel-good factor. Perfect for dark chocolate lovers, these bars are made with a blend of 60% cocoa and Madagascar vanilla beans. They’re deliciously decadent and creamy – without the nasties you’ll find in many commercial chocolates.
7. Epik Brands Peak Focus Chocolate Bundle
If you’re trying to up your B12 intake, snack on Peak Focus Chocolate. It combines vegan dark chocolate with high-performance superfoods such as lion’s mane mushroom, green tea, extract, gingko biloba, natural caffeine and vitamins B2 and B12. It’ll give you a boost of clear, focused energy, and thanks to its balanced ingredients list, it won’t send your blood sugar levels crashing down an hour later.
8. Earth Source Foods Firm Tofu
Not all tofu brands are created equal. When you’re shopping for tofu to add to stir-fries, salads, soups, and hotpots, look for easy-to-digest, naturally occurring ingredients. This Aussie brand is famous for its silky, nutritious and delicious tofu. It sources certified organic and biodynamic soybeans from homegrown suppliers, and then uses a hot extraction method to give the tofu a better texture, taste and nutrient profile.
9. Coyo Coconut Milk Yoghurt
Whether you’re craving a creamy milk, yoghurt or ice-cream, coconut has you covered. From the OG of coconut-based brands, this coyo is made with coconut and probiotic cultures for a yoghurt that’s not only velvety-smooth, but great for gut health and digestion. There are a bunch of flavours to choose from, including Natural, Vanilla Bean, Mango, Mixed Berry and Chocolate. Enjoy it as a snack topped with nuts and seeds for extra protein, or serve it up for dessert – it’s that good!
10. Pana Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Chances are, you’ve worked your way through all of Pana’s insane vegan chocolates. Now, the local brand has released a range of dairy-free ice creams that are packed with antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and free from gluten, soy and refined sugar. I won’t say no to a tub of Boysenberry Cheesecake, Double Chocolate and Vanilla Bean – but my favourite flavour has to the Salted Caramel.