One-Week Sample Vegan Meal Plan

Healthy Vegan Foods for Weight Loss or Better Health

Grain Bowl with Peanut Sauce
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A plant-based diet can help you lose weight and improve your health. Especially if you are new to this style of eating, a vegan weight loss plan or a vegan meal plan is very helpful. There are countless recipes and diet systems available, but not all of them are designed by a credentialed nutritionist. This sample vegan eating plan includes six full days of delicious vegan food, each designed by a nutrition expert or registered dietitian. Use it to build a meal plan that fits your schedule, lifestyle, and health goals. 

What to Expect When You Begin a Vegan Meal Plan

Research published in the journal Nutrition found that compared to other eating patterns, vegan diets can be very effective for weight loss and also for improving other aspects of your health. Before you decide to go vegan, however, think about how your diet will change. Avoiding dairy, eggs, and animal-based products is difficult—especially when those ingredients can be found hiding in your favorite bread and pasta. If you're a carnivore, giving up meat can present a unique challenge.

"Meat is rich in every way. It can be deeply satisfying and sating," says Annie B. Kay, a licensed integrative registered dietitian. Kay promotes an individualized version of a plant-based diet at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, where she is the lead nutritionist. She says that meat helps prevent hunger and also contains fat, which offers flavor and provides satisfaction.

"When people go cold-turkey, they miss meat and even feel withdrawal from the flavor, mouthfeel, and extended satiety. They can get hungry in a deeper way initially, and it can take a bit before the wonder of fiber and plant protein kicks in, and people find the right balance of fats, fibers, proteins, and nutrients." 

While the idea of adopting a vegan meal plan is often appealing, the reality of maintaining the lifestyle may be more challenging than you expect. You don't have to go all-in right away. Small steps towards adopting a plant-based diet may work better.

Evaluate these sample vegan meals created by credentialed nutritionists. Think about whether the program would be sustainable for you. If you don't think eating vegan every day is realistic, then choose one or two days a week to skip meat and dairy. "Remember that even if you eat less meat and ramp up the veggies, you'll still gain the benefit of a plant-based diet," says Kay.

Example Vegan Meal Plan

Each day of this sample week-long meal plan is designed by a different nutrition expert, and each day's plan satisfies a different type of eater. While the individual days weren't necessarily designed to work together, there's no reason you can't use the daily meal plans consecutively for a full week.

You will probably find that you cook more often on a plant-based diet. Many of these meals can be prepared in advance so you have two to three days' worth of healthy food. Use the seventh day of the week to enjoy leftovers. 

Calorie counts are estimated using this recipe nutrition calculator. You may also want to use a daily calorie goal calculator to help you set your weight loss goals.

Day 1: Vegan Meals for a Meat Lover

Do you currently eat meat at every meal? If so, then check out this sample menu by Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN. She provides plenty of hearty meat alternatives so that you don't feel like you are missing out.

  • Breakfast: Make a Mexican tofu skillet by scrambling 4 ounces of crumbed firm Nasoya Sprouted TofuPlus in 2 teaspoons avocado oil with 10 grape tomatoes, 2 chopped scallions, a pinch sea salt, and turmeric powder. Stir in 1/2 cup black beans, 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, 8 organic blue corn tortilla chips, and serve with 3 tablespoons salsa verde. Instead of coffee, try black tea with a lime wedge. Calories: 825.
  • Lunch: Enjoy a stuffed hummus pita sandwich. Use 1 large whole-grain pita and stuff with 1/2 cup hummus and a mixture of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and baby spinach. On the side, have 1 cup berries or mango pieces along with green tea garnished with fresh mint. Calories: 515.
  • Dinner: Build an open-face California vegan burger using one Organic Shiitake Mushroom Sunshine Burger patty on a half of a sprouted whole grain bun with 1 red onion slice (or caramelized onions), 3 avocado slices, and a half cup microgreens. On the side, have a thick-sliced olive oil-roasted cauliflower “steak” with rosemary and sea salt and 1 cup of steamed spinach with a lemon wedge. Calories: 494.

If you get hungry between meals, Newgent suggests a snack-in-a-glass: Combine 1/3 cup KIND Healthy Grains Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters with 1/3 cup plain plant-based yogurt or mashed banana to make a smoothie (150 calories).

Day 2: Vegan Meal Plan for a Dairy Lover

If you currently eat a lot of dairy foods (like milk, cheese, and yogurt), then this day's vegan eating plan might appeal to you. The meal plan by certified nutritional chef Melissa Eboli provides complimentary plant-based foods like coconut milk.

  • Breakfast: Make 1/4 cup rolled oats with 1 teaspoon flax and chia seeds, 1/2 cup mixed berries, 1 ounce of walnuts, and 1 cup of vanilla coconut milk. Calories: 412.
  • Lunch: Curried tofu salad with Veganaise, black beans, celery, and red onion on a coconut paleo wrap. Calories: 554.
  • Dinner: 4 ounces of grilled tempeh topped with vegan barbecue sauce, with 1 cup of quinoa mixed with 1 cup of raw red peppers and steamed broccoli. Calories: 486.
  • Dessert: 1 container of unsweetened vanilla coconut yogurt topped with 1 tablespoon vegan chocolate chips, about 10 pecans, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Calories: 258.

Day 3: Vegan Meal Plan for a Bread Lover

If you enjoy bread, pasta, and other starchy foods, you'll have to be careful about your choices when you go vegan. Many of those products include dairy and eggs. Andrea Johnson, RD, CSP, LDN put together this plant-based diet plan to helps you make smart, vegan-friendly choices. She replaces typical bread-y foods like croissants, pizza, cookies, and breaded chicken nuggets with foods that fit into a vegan eating plan.

  • Breakfast: Vegan English muffin with avocado slices and salt and pepper; coffee with 1 tablespoon coconut milk creamer. Calories: 307.
  • Lunch: 1 cup cooked quinoa with dairy-free spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning, and 1/2 cup black beans with a half portion of dairy-free breadsticks and a green leafy vegetable to help provide iron. Calories: 516.
  • Dinner: Open-faced veggie or soy burger on half of a dairy-free bun with carrots or a salad with dairy-free croutons and a balsamic vinaigrette. Calories: 340 (varies depending on the veggie or soy patty you choose).
  • Dessert: Gluten-free, vegan store-bought cookies (about 150 calories each) or coconut or nut-based ice cream (250 to 300 calories per cup).  

Johnson says that to be nutritionally adequate, this menu should probably be supplemented with a snack of nuts to provide more iron and protein. It should also include more calcium and vitamin D in the form of a dairy alternative beverage, such as fortified coconut milk, cashew milk, or almond milk, which are all relatively low in calories. Liberal snacks and sides of fruits and vegetables help keep you satisfied. 

Day 4: Vegan Meal Plan to Satisfy Snackers

This sample vegan diet plan by Sarah Heckler, MS, RD, LDN, CISSN, will keep you satisfied if you typically snack on foods that are crunchy, savory, salty, and full of flavor. The wide variety of whole, fiber-rich foods will also fill you up and help curb cravings.

  • Breakfast: 1 or 2 slices of sweet potato "toast" topped with 3 to 4 tablespoons of mashed avocado sprinkled with chia seeds and paprika. Calories: 216.
  • Snack: Two tablespoons of hummus with celery sticks. Calories: 52.
  • Lunch: Salad with 2 cups spinach, 1/4 cup chopped bell peppers, 1/4 cup dry roasted chickpeas, sliced cherry tomatoes, and 1 cup butternut squash noodles dressed with oil and vinegar. Calories: 274.
  • Snack: 1 ounce of cashews and 1 cup of berries. Calories: 243.
  • Dinner: 1 cup Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Chili topped with 2 to 3 tablespoons sliced avocado. Calories: 331.

Day 5: Vegan Meal Plan for a Sweet Tooth

Do you like sweet foods like caramel and chocolate? This vegan diet plan by Molly Cleary MS, RD, CDN, CNSC, provides foods that are likely to satisfy. Nut butter, tahini, popcorn, and trail mix pair a crunchy and creamy consistency with a hint of both sweetness and salt to keep you happy.

  • Breakfast: Coffee with soy milk, 2 slices of Ezekiel toast with almond butter, and 1 sliced apple. Calories: 453.
  • Lunch: A leafy green salad with mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, carrots, 1/2 cup cooked lentils, 1/4 cup crispy chickpeas, half an avocado, with oil and vinegar dressing. Calories: 614.
  • Snack: Popcorn (popped in oil; 64 calories per cup) or trail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit; calorie counts vary)
  • Dinner: Grain bowl made with farro, sweet potato, wilted leafy greens, sunflower seeds, and a lemon tahini dressing (582 calories) or a grain bowl made with brown rice, carrots, bean sprouts, red cabbage, edamame, scallions, and peanut in a peanut butter soy vinaigrette (479 calories).
  • Snack or dessert: Coconut, almond, or soy non-dairy yogurt alternative (like SoDelicious or Kite Hill; approximately 150 calories per container) with fresh fruit

When looking for vegan bread, be sure to check the ingredients before making your selection. Cleary suggests trying Ezekiel whole grain bread or a vegan-friendly multigrain bread from Trader Joe's.

Day 6: Vegan Meal Plan for a Typical Eater

This vegan diet plan by Maegan White, MA, RDN provides many foods that may look familiar to you if you eat a standard American diet. Foods like cereal and toast can be included in a vegan eating plan, as long as you shop carefully and check ingredient lists.

  • Breakfast: 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 1/2 tablespoon almond butter; 1 cup whole-grain ready-to-eat cereal with 1 cup sliced strawberries (or favorite fruit) and 1 cup soy milk, calcium-fortified. Calories: 412.
  • Lunch: Whole-wheat tortilla filled with 1/2 cup vegetarian refried beans, 1/4 cup salsa, 1/4 cup lettuce, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes. Enjoy with 1/2 cup baby carrots (or your favorite vegetable) with 1 teaspoon olive or flaxseed oil and lemon juice drizzled on top. Pair with 1 cup orange juice, fortified with calcium. Calories: 316.
  • Afternoon snack: 1/2 ounce unsalted cashews (or favorite unsalted nut), 1 cup dried apricots (or favorite dried fruit), and 1 cup soy milk, calcium-fortified. Calories: 288.
  • Dinner: Combine 1 cup tofu (calcium-set), 1 cup kale or spinach, 1/2 cup red pepper strips (or favorite raw vegetable), with 1 cup brown rice and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Enjoy 1 cup cubed cantaloupe (or favorite fruit). Calories: 511.
  • Dessert: Sherbet (about 130 calories per 1/2 cup).

A Word From Verywell

Remember that when you start a plant-based diet, food quality matters. If you're starting a vegan meal plan to lose weight or simply to feel better about your body, research studies have shown that you're more likely to achieve your goal if you choose whole foods that are less processed.

Enlist the help of a registered dietitian, take a cooking class, browse around vegan cooking blogs, or invest in a vegan cookbook to learn how to prepare and eat nutritious, plant-based foods. This knowledge will help you stick to your program and turn it into a healthy, satisfying, lifelong way of eating. 

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