What I Eat in a Day as a Vegan
When I first went vegan, I remember not knowing what to eat in general, let alone for specific meals.
You can read in this article that I definitely didn’t know what I was doing at first and it took some time to understand what I could or couldn’t eat as well as what I actually liked to make & eat, too.
Going from the meat-centered meals I used to eat to a whole new world of plant-based, vegan food meant that along with my shopping list, a mental evolution was required.
So, now that I’ve been vegan for a few years, I feel pretty comfortable with my regular meal choices. In fact, I don’t really remember how I used to shop at all.
Plain pasta, eggs, and bread were definitely regular things I’d buy, but it was most certainly baaaayyy-sickkk.
With some help from my kind boyfriend, Nick, my breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks are nearly restaurant worthy.
We eat really well and really colorfully. We’ve got variety, so it keeps things interesting. And we’ve gotten really creative, so it makes for new cooking challenges.
As much as I’d love to list out every single one of my favorite vegan breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, I’ll be reasonable and just share my favorites of each that frequent my plate and keep me going day in and day out.
WHAT DOES A VEGAN EAT FOR BREAKFAST?
On an average weekday, Nick will make us either a green smoothie or an orange smoothie first thing in the morning.
The green smoothie is usually packed with:
Vanilla, vegan protein powder
Spinach or kale
Ground seeds (chia and/or flax)
The orange smoothie typically includes:
Vanilla, vegan protein powder
We pair that with a cup of coffee + vanilla almond milk. I usually have two cups, to be honest — I love coffee now! I never used to drink it before I lived in New Zealand and now it’s such a tasty elixir that gets me right out of bed (most mornings).
When I get to work, I make a cup of herbal tea, then I’ll power through my to-do list for an hour or two.
Then I take a mid-morning break when I often toast two slices of gluten-free bread and spread any of the following things on it:
Vegan cream cheese
Sometimes I’ll use a vegan butter + spinach and tomato if I want something more filling.
Any of these options get a healthy douse of hot sauce on them (yes, I’m a hot sauce addict).
That all usually tides me over until lunch.
EATING VEGAN FOR LUNCH
If Nick and I are clever, we try to make enough servings with dinner the night before to have portions for lunch the next day.
Very often we’ll save a heap of chili, pasta, stir fry, or risotto for the next day and just heat it up in the lunchroom.
If we haven’t made enough dinner to roll over into the next day’s meal plan, we usually make a fresh wrap for lunch.
Very often my wraps will include:
Walnuts or sliced almonds
Raspberry vinaigrette dressing
I know, it’s kind of weird, but I love it. Plus, it’s easy to toss together in the morning when you’re short on time.
You can eat it cold or pop it onto a panini press to melt the cheese.
A cold wrap option that I love is a maple tahini dressing tossed with:
Shredded red cabbage
Green apple slices
A hot wrap option — that takes some time & prep, but is well worth it — is a Mexican wrap, which includes:
Spinach or lettuce
Sautéed peppers & onions
Lunch wraps are pretty easy to slap together as long as you have some greens and a decent salad dressing.
I know there are a million and one jokes about vegans eating grass like cows, but the truth is I definitely love to graze as much as cows do.
As tasty as the GIFs and MEMEs make grass look for vegans, I ain’t takin’ the bait.
I need decent snacks to get me through the day or else my productivity level plummets big time.
Here are a few of my favorite snacks:
A baked potato (slap some vegan sour cream on there and you’re winning)
Hummus + raw carrots, broccoli, and cucumber (here’s my favorite hummus of all time)
Apple + peanut butter
Trail-mix (nuts, vegan chocolate chips, cranberries)
A Nashi pear
If I could, I’d literally eat all the time. I usually snack on healthier options, so I don’t have to feel bad about gorging on two heads of raw broccoli and Frank’s Buffalo Hummus. It feels like I’m cheating the system without doing anything wrong. It’s great.
WHAT DO VEGANS EAT FOR DINNER?
Dinner is my FAVORITE meal of the day. I used to be a huuuge breakfast person, but dinner has moved to the top of the rankings since going vegan.
I’ve also lost a lot of my sweet tooth since adopting a vegan lifestyle, which is probably why savory meals are more my thing now.
Ready for my cheesy food critic line where I pretend I know what I’m talking about?
“The depth of our food is now so vast and my taste buds much prefer savory food and the flavors that come along with it.”
Bahahah! Pretending is fun.
Here’s the truth: I had no idea what spices or herbs existed outside of salt, pepper, basil, and chili flakes until Nick and I started learning how to cook anything other than pasta with red sauce, beans on toast, salads, and cereal.
Since making the change, we’ve experimented with a wide variety of flavors that has launched us into a whole new world of cooking.
We now casually mention things like garam masala, cloves, and bay leaves like we’re Gordon Ramsay on prime time TV.
Herbs and spices aren’t so elusive to me anymore and experimentation has been the best way for us to learn.
People see veganism as “giving up” main parts of meals — aka the meat option — but really, I feel like I’ve gained a whole new level of creativity in the kitchen that I likely wouldn’t have achieved if I didn’t go vegan.
Plus, you have to be a hell of a lot more creative so you’re not just eating steamed veggies every single night.
Here are some of our favorite meal choices most evenings:
Pumpkin or butternut risotto
Jackfruit & chickpea curry
Any random stir fry with rice or noodles
To be honest, we’re constantly making new versions of these meals, but those are the foundational choices for our work-week dinners.
Aside from the tortilla pizzas, the rest of the options listed above are really easy to make a lot of to save for lunch the next day. That’s become one of our best time hacks. Cook once, eat for days. Why didn’t we catch onto it sooner?
Food is one of my favorite things to exist and I’m so fortunate that I live somewhere with access to so many fresh ingredients and vegan options.
What Desserts ARE VEGAN?
P.S. I didn’t forget about dessert, I just don’t typically eat it. That sweet tooth is gone for me for the most part — I don’t know what’s wrong with me!
If I did, though, I’d probably have:
Salted caramel almond ice-cream
Vegan chocolate chip cookies
If you have any vegan breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or dessert options that YOU eat on a regular basis (or even on special occasions), I’d love to hear about them. Share in the comments below!