A plant based diet is centered around eating food primarily from plants. It can be similar to a vegan diet, however being plant based doesn’t necessarily mean you’re avoiding all animal products in your life 100% of the time. Last year Craig and I decided to go to a vegan diet for a while, but we’ve since switched to plant based. It has worked best for us, especially with a toddler. Our main source of sustenance and nutrients come from fruits, vegetables, roots, grains, beans, legumes, herbs, & spices (the only animal product we consume are local eggs).
There can be a variety of benefits to eating a plant based diet. Some of these include improved digestion, reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, metabolic syndrome and depression, lower levels of cholesterol, reduced inflammation, and better blood pressure. This study conducted by John D. Grant details some of the main benefits of a plant based diet. I can personally attest to the fact that Craig and I have seen overall improvements in our health since going plant based. However, I also want to note diet alone is not a cure nor the sole factor in an individual’s health.
The main goal with a plant based diet is to focus on whole foods vs highly processed foods. Not all processed foods are bad (plenty offer nutritional value and convenience), but we try to avoid or limit things with lots of added sugar, sodium, and refined grains. With a toddler in the house now, I’ve found that it’s really helpful to plan our weekly meals in advance (or at least have a general idea). And that starts with a plant based grocery list.
I’m sharing my typical grocery list for a plant based diet. It’s a long list, and I don’t buy all of these items every single week. But my goal in sharing this list is that you have an idea of all of your options when it comes to plant based grocery shopping. Feel free to copy and paste and customize it in any way to your liking. If you are interested in what a weekly meal plan looks like, let me know in the comments. For added info, I linked to certain items so you can see the brands I typically buy.
My Plant Based Grocery List
I divided this list into food groups for better organization. You can easily go through and see if there are any you might be missing in your shopping list. The key is to enjoy a variety.
Vegetables are an important source of many nutrients, such as potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C. I try to keep a good variety on hand at all times so we don’t get bored and to make it easy to throw them into whatever dish we’re making. Vegetables make up the bulk of our meals for lunch and dinner (with protein sources like tofu, tempeh, and beans). A few plant based recipes I’ve shared in the past grilled corn and tomato salad (a summer fave), vegan lettuce wraps with tempeh & this vegan artichoke dip is always a hit.
Here is my veggie shopping list:
- Leafy greens: Kale, Lettuce (I love butter lettuce), Arugula
- Brussel sprouts
- Shishito Peppers
- Potato (usually baby potatoes or something smaller for roasting)
- Sweet potato
- Yellow Onions
- Red Onions
I am and always have been, a fruit girl (and Marin is too). I stock up every week. Fruit is rich in potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid). Fruit makes a delicious snack and because it’s so easy to prep, I end up incorporating it into a lot of meals especially for Marin. This is my favorite fresh juice recipe to make. I try to focus on getting whatever is in season. To clean my fruits and veggies I use Biokleen produce wash (I’m always shocked when I see how dirty the water is). To save time I try to wash most things right when I bring the groceries home and put them in glass storage which means things get eaten and don’t go bad.
Here’s my ideal fruit shopping list:
- Red, Yellow, Orange Peppers
Grains are packed full of protein and fiber. They help you feel full and can sustain your energy levels throughout the day. Some of their main nutrients include protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). Some of my favorite recipes made with whole grains are this Vegan Ramen with Brown Rice Noodles and Crispy Tofu, these Quinoa Bites, Homemade Granola and Vegan Oatmeal. Grains are super versatile and a big part of our diet.
Here are my whole grain grocery items:
- Brown rice
- Brown rice noodles
- Whole wheat pasta (we love all of their pasta varieties)
- Whole grain bread
Beans & Legumes:
Beans and legumes are rich in plant protein, fiber, B-vitamins, iron, folate, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. They’re also one of the most popular plant based protein options. They’re healthy, they’re tasty, and they’re minimally processed. You can buy them raw or canned, depending on your preferences and the amount of time available when cooking.
Below is my go-to bean & legumes list:
- Green Beans
- Black Beans
- Pinto Beans
This list has a bit of everything I like to get that comes in handy for baking. You don’t need to buy these items every time you go to the grocery store, but I like to keep my pantry stocked with these.
My plant based shopping list for baking:
- Whole wheat flour (this is a great gluten-free flour, we love everything King Arthur)
- Oat flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Vegan chocolate chips
- Nut butter (I love the coconut Maranatha)
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Plant based milk (we like oat the best, Marin drinks soy milk)
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
- Himalayan sea salt
- Vanilla extract
Seeds & Nuts:
Seeds and nuts are rich sources of protein, healthy fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. They make for a great on-the-go snack and can be incorporated into many recipes, both sweet and savory. You can make your own milks, for example this homemade almond milk, or use seeds in your smoothies, salads, homemade baked goods, etc. Nuts are great additions to salads too. The possibilities are endless.
Stock up on these seeds and nuts:
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pine nuts
Herbs & Spices:
Last, but certainly not least, we have plant based herbs and spices. We keep lots of fresh and dried herbs and spices on hand for adding and enhancing flavor to meals. For dried herbs and spices I really like Morton & Bassett and Frontier. A little tip that has helped with fresh herbs, for cilantro and dill, put them stems down in a glass of water in the fridge, they will last so much longer. For basil and mint, I do the same but keep it on the counter (it smells amazing too). Check out Craig’s dairy free pesto recipe, it’s so good!
I keep these HerBs & Spices in my pantry/fridge:
- Bay leaf
- Chili powder
- Sea salt
- Garam masala
- Cayenne pepper
- Mustard seed
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Herbs De Provence
What would you add to your grocery list for a plant based diet?
Did I miss anything (lol it’s a lot I know)? There are definitely things you can add to this list but it feels like a good start. If you have any other recommendations for plant based shopping, please share in the comments below. I signed up for a CSA near us in Rhode Island for the summer which is a great way to get locally grown fruits and veggies and support local farming. If you’re looking for plant based recipes, I have some here on the blog & on Pinterest. For anyone out there eating plant based or thinking about starting a plant based diet, I would love to hear your story and more about your journey. It’s always inspiring to hear how and why others started eating plant based.
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