BUILDING A HEALTHY VEGAN GROCERY LIST

VEGETABLES

Load up on as many vegetables as you need. For a good variety, buy vegetables from all the categories below. Buy a few vegetables to eat raw in salads, sandwiches, or with dips. Pick up at least 1-2 leafy greens for salad bases and sandwiches.

Make sure to have a few different fresh or frozen vegetables that are good for steaming, sautéing, stir-frying, and baking. Frozen vegetables are a great staple and are very versatile. You can pick up extra when they’re on sale without worrying about spoilage, they’re easy to prepare in hurry, and can be a great healthy backup option if you miss a grocery shopping trip. Frozen produce is typically more nutrient dense than unfrozen produce, since it’s flash frozen at its peak ripeness right up until you thaw it.

FRESH (RAW & COOKING)

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Avocado

 FRESH (COOKING)

  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Squashes
  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Onions (red, white, green)

LEAFY GREENS

  • Baby kale
  • Baby spinach
  • Romaine
  • Butter lettuce
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Salad mixes

FROZEN

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Edamame
  • Stir-fry mixes

FRUIT

Choose a couple of fruits from each category for a wide selection that you can use in lots of different ways. In addition to fresh fruit, frozen and dried fruits are also a great option that won’t spoil. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies and baking, thawed fruit is great for topping oatmeal or non-dairy yogurts. Dried fruit is a good choice for taking on the go, with nuts or trail mix, as a topping for breakfast cereal, and in baking.

I like to pick up my basics like apples, bananas, and oranges and then supplement with fruits and vegetables that are in season or on sale.

FRESH

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Kiwis
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Nectarines
  • Bananas
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Watermelon
  • Honeydew
  • Cantaloupe
  • Apricots
  • Grapes
  • Mangoes
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

FROZEN

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mixed berry blends
  • Sweet cherries
  • Mango
  • Mixed fruit blends

DRIED

  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • Cranberries
  • Apricots
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Apple slices
  • Banana chips

GRAINS, BEANS, AND LEGUMES

Keep 2 or more 100% whole wheat bakery products on hand  for making sandwiches, wraps, and pitas for easy lunches. These products freeze well so it’s easy to keep a selection in your freezer and just thaw a little bit as you need it.

Keep 2-3 whole grains/starches and a few different types of beans, legumes, and soy products. Mix and match them and add a vegetable side dish for a complete meal.

Oatmeal is great to keep on hand for easy, healthy breakfasts. Look for quick, rolled, or steel-cut oats and avoid most instant oatmeal packets.

100% WHOLE WHEAT

  • Bread
  • Tortillas
  • English muffins
  • Bagels
  • Pitas
  • Pasta

WHOLE GRAINS & STARCHES

  • Oatmeal (quick, rolled, or steel-cut)
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Seitan (wheat gluten)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Russet potatoes

BEANS & LEGUMES

  • Chickpeas (canned/dry)
  • Black beans (canned/dry)
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils (dry)
  • Hummus
  • Veggie burgers (lentil, bean, or vegetable based)

SOY PRODUCTS

  • Firm or Extra-firm Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Soy milk
  • Edamame (frozen)

HEALTHY FATS

Healthy fats are a very important part of a healthy vegan diet! Include a wide selection of items from this list to make sure a good balance of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. Keep a couple of different whole foods like avocado, dark chocolate, nuts/seeds, or olives on hand for snacking, at least 1 nut/seed butter for dipping fruit, spreading on toast, or adding to oatmeal, and a couple of different oils for cooking, making salad dressings, or supplementation. Larger quantities of nuts and seeds should be kept in the freezer to prevent spoilage.

  • Avocado
  • Edamame
  • Coconut milk
  • Dark chocolate
  • Olives
  • Hummus
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond/Nut butters
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tahini (sesame butter)
  • Coconut oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Earth Balance butter

NON-DAIRY MILK PRODUCTS

Choose whichever plant-based milk you enjoy the flavour of most. Soy milk is great because it’s high in protein, look for one that’s labeled non-GMO, if possible. Consider choosing an unsweetened variety, they offer the most flexibility because they can be sweetened or used in savory dishes. Vanilla, chocolate or other flavours are great for sweetening and flavouring coffee.

MILK

  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk
  • Oat milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Flax milk

YOGURT

  • Soy yogurt
  • Almond yogurt
  • Coconut yogurt

VEGAN PANTRY ITEMS

Keep a good selection of condiments, herbs, and spices on hand, they make it easy to diversify your meals. These items tend to last a long time, so wastage isn’t much of an issue. Buy dried herbs or spices you don’t use very often from the bulk section in smaller amounts. For fresh herbs, wash and freeze any leftovers that you won’t use right away.

Keep at least 2-3 various sweeteners in your kitchen intended for specific uses, choose 1 for sweetening hot beverages like coffee and tea, 1 for sweetening oatmeal, topping pancakes and toast, and 1 for baking and general use.

SWEETENERS

  • Organic cane sugar
  • Agave syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Coconut sugar
  • Fruit preserves
  • Dates
  • Dried fruits
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Stevia

FLAVOURS, HERBS, & SPICES

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

CONDIMENTS

  • Salsa
  • Hummus
  • Soy sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Mustard
  • Vegan mayo
  • Vegetable bouillon
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Lemon/lime juice
  • Vinegar (white, balsamic)

COOKING & BAKING

  • Whole grain flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Corn starch
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Coconut oil
  • Earth Balance Butter
  • Ground flax seed
  • Yeast
  • Cocoa

VEGAN ALTERNATIVES & CONVENIENCE FOODS

Vegan alternatives and convenience foods have lots of great uses. They’re often loaded with protein, fortified with important nutrients like iron and vitamin B12, and are usually quick and easy to prepare. Many varieties are very tasty and sometimes shockingly similar to the real thing in flavour. They’re useful for transitioning vegans as they become accustomed to a new diet, and are great for making delicious vegan versions of foods like burgers, hotdogs, pizza, mac n’ cheese, nachos, and much more.

Most vegan substitutes are highly processed, so they’re best enjoyed in moderation and shouldn’t be relied on consistently for protein or vitamins.

There are some great minimally processed options out there too, look for veggie burgers made with a base of lentils or beans, marinated tempeh or tofu, seitan, nutritional yeast, unsweetened plant-based milks and plain yogurts.

HEALTHY CHOICES

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Bean or lentil burgers
  • Marinated tempeh bacon
  • Marinated tofu
  • Seitan
  • Unsweetened plant milk
  • Plain non-dairy yogurts

DAIRY ALTERNATIVES

  • Plant-based milks
  • Plant-based yogurts
  • Soy cheese
  • Daiya cream cheese
  • Daiya cheese
  • Soy coffee creamers
  • Earth Balance butter

MEAT SUBSTITUTES

  • Veggie or soy burgers
  • Veggie or soy hotdogs
  • Veggie sausages
  • Tofurky deli slices
  • Tofurky holiday roast
  • Tempeh bacon
  • Textured vegetable protein