A Beginner’s Guide to Vegan Nutrition

A balanced vegan meal
A well-balanced vegan meal

Are you new to veganism? This Beginner’s Guide to Vegan Nutrition will set you on the right path to making sure your diet is well-balanced and healthy.

Any seasoned vegan knows that there is nothing more frustrating than having your beliefs and lifestyle questioned by family and friends. One major point of discussion is vegan nutrition: how healthy is your plant-based diet, really? Are you actually getting all the vitamins and minerals you need? What about protein? You don’t want to be caught unprepared when these questions come.

As you start transitioning to a plant-based diet, this brief guide will help you understand the principles of vegan nutrition, so you can make sure your transition is as smooth and health-promoting as can be!

If you are new to veganism, you might like: How to Become Vegan and What Does a Vegan Diet Look Like?

Plan your vegan nutrition - diary and fruit
Create a plan to make sure you include all essential nutrients

How to plan your vegan nutrition to avoid vitamin deficiencies

It might sound boring, but vegetables should be the stars of your meal for optimal vegan nutrition. Veg, nuts, and seeds will, in fact, be your main source of micronutrients, covering most of your nutritional needs when consumed daily.

Vegan diets are naturally high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K, among others. But what about the micros vegans risk lacking?

Let’s focus on vitamin D, Iodine, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and B12.

Vitamin C is found in many vegan foods
The vegan diet is rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is actually the only vitamin that vegans can’t get from vegan food alone, so it has to be consumed via fortified foods, such as nut milk and nutritional yeast, or via convenient B12 supplements.

Iron, calcium, and zinc

These three minerals are found in most green leafy vegetables, but they need to be consumed in high quantities, daily, along with dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and pulses (especially lentils).

Vitamin D

This vitamin is also mostly found in fortified vegan foods and some types of mushrooms, but its source is the same for vegans and meat-eaters alike: sunshine. So if you don’t get enough sun throughout the year, you should make sure to supplement daily!

Sunshine and fall leaves
Sunshine is a great source of vitamin D


Iodine is another essential nutrient that is often neglected. While most people get it from eating fish, vegans can get it from seaweed, or even more conveniently, through using iodized salt when cooking.

Mastering vegan nutrition

Keeping all these nutritional facts in mind can seem like a daunting task at first, but practice truly does make perfect. If you find yourself struggling to get enough of a certain nutrient, there is nothing wrong with supplementation – a vegan multivitamin is hardly ever a bad idea. Just be sure to check that it is in fact vegan.

Vegan multivitamins
It’s always good to supplement with a vegan multivitamin

If you are just starting out on your vegan journey and finding it hard to keep track of your nutritional requirements and daily intake, you can log your meals into Cronometer for an easy breakdown, so you’ll be able to master the principles of vegan nutrition in a matter of days!

Here are a few beginner vegan recipes that you might enjoy

Breakfast: Our Favorite Vegan Breakfast Burritos

Lunch: The Ultimate Recipe for Vegan Tacos

Treats: Simply Delicious Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dinner: Quick and Easy Vegan Burgers