Kickstart your week with this healthy vegan meal plan recommended by a registered dietician

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According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, well-planned vegan diets are healthy for people at all stages of life, including children and pregnant women.
Dougal Waters/ Getty Images Vegan meals should be protein rich and full of protein.

A healthy vegan diet should consist of nutrient-dense whole foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as plant-based proteins from foods like beans, nuts, and legumes.

B12 and vitamin D are the most common nutritional deficiencies on a vegan diet, so it's important to make sure you're getting enough of these vitamins through fortified foods or supplements.

Many studies show that vegan and plant-based eating can promote weight control, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and help you live a longer, healthier life.

Visit Insider's Health Reference library for more advice.



"I recommend vegan or plant-based diets for anyone who wants to prevent or manage lifestyle, diseases or who wants to optimise health," says Sujatha Rajaram, PhD, a professor with the Centre for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle and Disease Prevention at Loma Linda University.

So if you're curious about going vegan, here's a 7-day meal plan as well as more information on what to know about the vegan diet — both its benefits and downsides.

What to eat and drink on the vegan diet

"B12 and vitamin D," are the most common nutritional deficiencies on a vegan diet, says Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, who is a dietitian in private practice, author of "The Plant Powered Diet" and a vegan herself.

"The key to a healthy vegan diet is variety and balance," says Palmer. As a general rule, Palmer suggests the following foods to eat and drink on a vegan diet:

Eat often:

Plant proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (in a variety of colours) at every meal

Beans and legumes, at every meal

Nuts and seeds daily

Fortified plant-based milk daily

Plant-based oils, like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil

Water often throughout the day

Eat in moderation:

Plant-based oils

Alcohol (beer, wine, spirits)

Coffee and tea

Vegan chocolate

Eat less often:

Highly processed foods such as potato chips and…
Margie Zable Fisher, Samantha Cassetty
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