Vegan-Friendly Grocery Store Tour
Focusing on Fiber: Aim for 40 Grams of Fiber Per Day
Produce: Choose whole fruits and vegetables. Wash well and eat the skin.
Vegetables. Many vegetables are a wonderful source of fiber with 1 serving of vegetables having approximately 4 grams of fiber. A serving is either 1 cup cooked and raw vegetables or 2 cups raw leafy greens. Have at least 3 servings a day.
- Artichokes, 1 medium, raw 7 grams
- Broccoli, 3 medium spears, raw 3 grams
- Carrots, 1 medium, raw 2 grams
- Corn, sweet, 1 large ear, raw 4 grams
- Cucumber, 1 medium, raw 3 grams
- Green beans, 1 cup, chopped 4 grams
- Pumpkin, 1 cup, mashed 3 grams
- Zucchini, 1 large, raw 4 grams
Fruit. Remember that you get less fiber from orange juice than from an orange. In general, less processing equals more fiber. One serving of fruit generally has 3-4 grams of fiber with 1 serving being 1 piece of medium-sized fruit, 1 cup, or 1/2 cup dried fruit. Have 2 or more servings a day.
- Apple, 1 medium 5 grams
- Banana, 1 medium 4 grams
- Blackberries, 1/2 cup, raw 4 grams
- Grapefruit, 1/2 medium 6 grams
- Orange, 1 medium 3 grams
- Pear, 1 medium 4 grams
- Raspberries, 1/2 cup fresh 4 grams
- Try dried fruits like apricots, dates, dried plums, raisins, and cranberries. They have just as much fiber as their fresh counterparts. Remember though that these often have a higher glycemic index.
Try some fruits and veggies you’ve never tried before:
- Roma tomatoes
- Baby carrots
- Portobello mushrooms
- Spring mix in a bag
- Fresh herbs like dill, watercress, cilantro
- Collard greens
Eating the Rainbow. The bright colors you see in the produce aisle represent the different phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that provide unique benefits to your health.
Cruciferous vegetables. These are cancer-fighting veggies:
- Brussels sprouts
- High in vitamin C
- Spicy ones are high in capsaicin, a phytochemical that gives peppers spice. It also may work as a painkiller and an immune booster.
- Red bell peppers are just ripe green peppers and contain 2 times the amount of vitamin C of a green pepper.
- To make delicious fajitas, stir-fry sliced green and red peppers with sliced onions in vegetable broth. Season with fajita seasoning, and wrap in a tortilla.
- Eat your greens! The darker the better.
- Most dark leafy greens contain close to 100 micrograms of folic acid in just one cup raw (the daily recommendation is 400 micrograms).
- Add fresh spinach to pastas and soups or as a lettuce replacement in salads and sandwiches.
1. What fresh herbs are available?
2. Identify 2 fruits and 2 vegetables that you have never tried.
3. Is there an acceptable nondairy cheese?
4. Does this store carry any meat analogues?
5. Which ones are best for a low-fat, vegan diet?
- Choose pumpernickel or rye bread.
- Try corn and flour tortillas. Bake these for homemade, fat-free tortilla chips. Use baked chips with dips or as a snack.
- Use whole-wheat pita bread.
- Use baked tortilla chips with dips or as a snack.
1. Are the rye and pumpernickel breads vegan and low-fat?
2. How about the tortillas (flour and corn)?
Good choices include:
- Canned black, red, or white kidney, garbanzo and navy beans and split peas.
- Soups containing legumes or a variety of vegetables—look for low-sodium versions.
- Canned vegetables—look for low-sodium versions.
- Read the ingredients carefully watching for animal additives like chicken broth or milk.
1. Find 2 salad dressings with less than 2 grams of fat per serving.
2. Find 2 jars of tomato sauce with the ideal ingredients.
3. Check the labels of the soups to see the variety available.
4. Check the labels of canned beans for salt.
5. Can you find vegan refried beans and vegan baked beans?
- Experiment with dried beans and peas, such as pinto beans and lentils.
- Try whole-wheat or brown rice mixes or dried soup mixes with vegetables, lentils, dried beans, or herbs.
- Quinoa, bulgur, cracked wheat, barley, oat, wheat berry, and other whole-grain mixes are also available in the bulk section.
- Brown or wild instant rice may also be available.
- Look for whole-wheat, spinach, red pepper, flax, and/or buckwheat-based pastas.
- Know which cold cereals have low-GI, e.g., All-Bran and low-fat muesli varieties. There aren’t many!
- Oatmeal is always a good bet. Use slow-cooking, Irish, or steel-cut oats.
- Hummus, tabbouleh, and other bean and lentil-based salads and dips are generally available in the refrigerated case. Watch for the fat content of these foods. Sometimes buying the ingredients and making your own with very little oil can be the safest (and cheapest) route.
- Tofu, tempeh, and meat alternatives are usually available in the dairy case—these items have more fiber than their nonvegetarian counterparts. Look for products with lower sodium and choose low-fat.
- Soymilk and rice milk have small amounts of fiber, but more than cow’s milk, and have none of the cholesterol found in all animal milks. Choose low fat and low added sugar.
1. What types of nondairy milks does this store have available?
2. Which aisles can you find these dairy alternatives?
- Look for frozen fruits and berries to add to cereals, desserts, and sauces. This can be a convenient and cheaper way to have access to bright, antioxidant-rich berries all year round.
- Vegetables and vegetables mixes are another easy way to add fiber to your day.
- This may be a good place to find whole-wheat pitas and tortilla breads.
- Frozen single or family-sized vegetarian meals are convenient and fiber-rich. Label reading comes in handy with these choices.
- A wide variety of veggie burgers are available and provide anywhere from 2-8 grams of fiber per patty. Again, check the label for hidden animal ingredients like egg whites and cheese (often used as binders).
1. Are there any frozen vegan meals?
2. Which brands look best?
1. What looks best at the salad bar?
2. What would you avoid?