I know when you’re just starting out on a plant-based diet it can feel overwhelming. Where do you even begin? Sometimes even I feel like I don’t know what to eat and I’ve been doing this for a long time. Today I’m sharing a 3 Day Whole Food Plant-Based Meal Plan created from 3 days of what I ate in everyday life. I hope this points you in the right direction and inspires you to give plant-based eating a try. Rest assured that a whole food plant-based diet is sustainable, delicious, healthy and much easier than you think.
Before We Begin: Resources and Tips
Before we get into the meal plan I wanted to stare a few resources you might find helpful. I would highly recommend browsing through these posts so you feel more confident getting into the meal plan below. In particular, read my vegan nutrition guide, resources for plant-based nutrition, tips for plant-based beginners and how to transition to a plant-based diet.
Plant-Based Eating Articles
- Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Beginner Tips for Eating a Plant-Based Diet
- All Weekly Meal Prep Posts
- Meal Planning Tips for a Healthy Vegan Diet
- Vegan Food Prep Tips for Healthy Meals All Week
- No Recipe Required: Easy Vegan Meal Ideas
- How to Transition to a Plant-Based Diet
- Vegan Nutrition Guide
- Best Vegan Protein Sources
- Vegan Options to Replace Dairy in Your Diet
Plant-Based Nutrition Books
Educating yourself on plant-based nutrition makes it that much easier to stick to it. In addition to the books below, I would recommend checking out my favourite podcasts and this list of plant-based resources.
- Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
- The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted
- How Not to Die
- Becoming Vegan: The Everyday Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss
- Plant Strong: Discover the World’s Healthiest Diet
- Program for Reversing Diabetes
Why Are you Doing This?
What’s your reason for wanting to eat a plant-based diet? It it for your health? For animal welfare? To lose weight? It can help to nail down your why then keep that reason front and centre in your mind.
Start Slow and Keep Going
If you want to reduce the amount of meat you eat, eating plant-based a couple times a week is a great place to start. This 3 day meal plan could be broken up and used Monday, Wednesday, Friday or 3 days in a row, or mixed and matched in any way that works for you.
As much as I’d love people to embrace a plant-based diet I know that may not be realistic for beginners or those coming from a diet heavily based around animal products, however something is always better than nothing and I’d love to show you just how easy, fun and delicious it can be, even if it’s just a couple times a week with the goal of moving towards a completely plant-based diet.
What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?
As we go through this meal plan, keep in mind that the focus here is a whole food plant-based diet. That means we’re not eating processed foods or refined grains and sugars and instead focusing on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains. That’s just what a whole food plant-based diet is all about, eating whole, real foods and avoiding highly refined processed foods.
Here are the food groups that make up this meal plan:
- whole grains
- legumes (including soy)
- fermented foods
There is no dairy, no eggs and no meat and this particular meal plan is based on all whole foods. Processed meat and dairy alternatives have a time and a place and can certainly be helpful when you’re transitioning but just like all processed foods they should be eaten in moderation, if at all.
That being said, there are some amazing dairy-alternatives available today such as coconut yogurt and cashew cheese that can certainly be included in a whole food diet. Reading ingredient lists can help you determine if a packaged food is or isn’t a good choice.
Ingredients to Avoid in Processed Foods
- hydrogenated oils
- high-fructose corn syrup
- MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- sucralose and aspartame
- artificial flavours
- artificial colours (may just be listed as “blue”, for example)
- preservatives such as BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydrozyttoluen), TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone)
The easiest way to avoid these ingredients is to breeze past the processed food aisle and straight to the whole foods. There are also many ways to make healthy alternatives to your favourite processed foods, so if you feel like you’re not ready to give certain things up, try investigating a homemade healthier version and giving that a try instead.
Whole Food Plant-Based Meal Plan
A note about this meal plan: I’m including everything I ate and drank, including supplements, tea, coffee and snacks during 3 days of real life. The only thing I didn’t include is water, of which I drink around 3 or 4 litres a day. Rather than an exact plan this is more of a guideline to act as inspiration to create your own plant-based meals. I hope you find this helpful!
Calories: The meal plan below consists of approximately 2300 calories per day with a ratio of 50% carbs, 20% protein and 30% fat. If you need more food than this, increase the serving sizes or add an additional snack, if you need less food, reduce the serving sizes and/or omit the snacks. This might be on the higher side for most people however I’m highly active and training in the gym 6 days a week so this works for me. If you’re interested in vegan flexible dieting you can find all my posts on the topic here.
Mix and Match: You can mix and match the snacks listed below with other ideas from my list of Easy Vegan Snack Ideas. For more breakfast ideas, check out my list of Healthy Vegan Breakfast Recipes. For lunch inspiration, check out No Recipe Required: Easy Vegan Meal Ideas. At the end of the meal plan I’ve included more ideas for plant-based meals and snacks.
Plant-Based Meal Plan Day 1
Upon Rising (Pre-Workout)
- 1 L of warm water with lemon
- Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee
- Omega-3 with EPA and DHA (I use NutraVeg)
- Vitamin B12
- Vegan Vitamin D3
Veggie Hash: 100 grams each of cooked sweet potato, kale, cooked lentils, mushrooms and bell peppers. Cooked over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Topped with Chipotle Sauce and kelp granules.
Blueberry and Mango Smoothie: 140 grams of frozen blueberries, 70 grams of frozen mango, handful of spinach, 4-5 slices of cucumber, 1 serving Vega protein powder, 1 tbsp ground flax and 1 cup of almond milk, or more if needed to get it to blend.
You can substitute any frozen fruit, any plant-based milk or water and any plant-based protein you like. I like my adaptogens and superfoods, so I also added spriulina, ashwaganda and holy basil. Read more about that here.
1 Apple and Mixed Raw Nuts
Vegetable Chickpea Chowder: I’d made this for dinner the night before so I had the leftovers for lunch today. This is an awesome recipe that’s very flavourful and easy to make. I also had a small salad with greens, grated carrot, a few black beans, a few pumpkin seeds, sliced cucumber and a drizzle of tahini and lemon. Get the recipe here.
Whole Wheat English Muffin: I had half with smashed avocado, sea salt and broccoli sprouts and half with almond butter. You could do the same on toast or crackers.
Drinks Throughout the Day
- Licorice Root Tea
- Homemade matcha latte with almond milk
- Nighty Night Tea
Plant-Based Meal Plan Day 2
Upon Rising (Pre-Workout)
- 1 L of warm water with apple cider vinegar
- Four Sigmatic Coffee with 1 tbsp of MCT oil blended in
- Vitamin B12
- Vegan Vitamin D3
Stovetop Oatmeal: I cooked 1/2 cup of rolled oats in water with 1 tbsp of chia seeds, 1 tbsp ground flax, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup grated zucchini and half a scoop of plant-based vanilla protein powder. Cook it over the stovetop until the oats are soft and it has thickened, then add your toppings. I topped it with peanut butter.
Strawberry Smoothie: Blend 1 cup of frozen strawberries with a handful of spinach, a few pieces of steamed then frozen cauliflower, a chunk of fresh ginger, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder and almond milk or water. I also added maca and chlorella. You can read more about these in my post on the best superfoods to add to smoothies.
Leftover Farro Salad: The beauty of making healthy dinners at home is you always have lunch ready for the next day.
Nutty “Cereal”: To make this, add up to 1/2 a cup of various nuts, seeds, coconut and dried fruit to small dish and top with splash of almond milk. You can add a bit of fresh fruit to if you like. If you don’t want to add the milk, just enjoy it as trail mix.
Quick and Easy Zoodles: Spiralize zucchini then add it to a pan and saute it for a few minutes in some water or stock. Pour your choice of pasta sauce over it, heat it through then add it to a bowl and top with vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast.
- Eater’s Digest Tea
- Green Tea
Plant-Based Meal Plan Day 3
Upon Rising (Pre-Workout)
- 1 L warm water with apple cider vinegar
- Yerba Mate tea
- Vitamin B12
- Vegan Vitamin B12
- Spelt toast with 1/2 banana and almond butter
Chickpea Flour Pancakes: I followed my recipe for chickpea flour pancakes and topped them with thawed frozen raspberries, peanut butter, date caramel sauce and sprinkling of hemp seeds.
Easy Macro Bowl: Because I did food prep ahead of time, it was easy to make a quick macro bowl for lunch. I used a base of quinoa and topped it with massaged kale, roasted sweet potato, roasted brussel sprouts, sauerkraut, baked tofu, kidney beans, tahini, hot sauce, salt, pepper, lemon. Mix and match your choice of grain, legume and veggies to create your own macro bowl.
Blueberry Pineapple Smoothie Bowl: I blended 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks, 1/2 a steamed and frozen sliced zucchini, 1/2 a frozen banana and 1 rib of celery with 1 scoop of plant-based protein powder and then topped it with almond butter, walnuts and hemp seeds.
Coconut Red Lentil Dahl: I make this dish often and it’s one of the most popular recipes on the blog. I added some kale, diced carrots and diced zucchini and served it with a scoop of brown rice and lots of cilantro. Get the recipe here.
- Liquorice Spice Tea
- Green Tea
- Americano misto with almond milk
Plant-Based Can Be Simple
I hope that meal plan points you in the right direction when it comes to creating a full day of plant-based meals. To be honest, it doesn’t even have to be that complicated. A plant-based diet can be as simple or as elaborate as you decide to make it. Here are some more ideas to get you thinking.
More Plant-Based Breakfast Ideas
For breakfast, think oats, smoothies, granola, tofu scrambles and toast.
Dairy-Free Yogurt Parfaits. Layer non-dairy yogurt such as Silk, So Delicious or Yoso in a bowl with berries, banana, nuts and seeds.
Sweet potato or squash breakfast bowls. Add some mashed sweet potato or squash to a bowl and top with things like nuts, seeds, coconut, yogurt, peanut butter and granola. Get the recipe here.
Toast, Bagels and English Muffins. Top you choice of bread with nut butter or tahini and layer with things like sliced apple or banana, seeds. If you’re not doing nut butter, go for avocado. You can keep it simple with plain avocado or combine it with hummus and something like broccoli sprouts. Chickpea scrambles are great on toast too.
Easy Breakfast Wraps. Roll a tortilla up with a quick chickpea or tofu scramble, roasted sweet potato, spinach and avocado. To make it more substantial, add a Field Roast sausage. Get the recipe here.
Chia Pudding & Overnight Oats. Chia pudding and overnight oats, or a combo of the two are great for food prep. They take just minute to make the night before and then they’re ready to go in the morning. Try one of these chia seed pudding recipes or my brownie batter, zucchini chocolate chip or carrot cake overnight oats.
Granola and Fruit. Store-bought granola makes an easy option but granola is also a breeze ot make at home. Try my peanut butter granola with almond milk and banana.
Oatmeal. You can’t go wrong with oatmeal or porridge of any kind. I love using quinoa for porridge and brown rice is really good too. I usually combine my oats with chia seed or flax and some protein to create a more balanced meal. For toppings, use nuts, seeds, fruit, nut butters, coconut, dried fruit and cacao.
More Plant-Based Lunch Ideas
For lunch, think leftovers, sandwiches and wraps, soups and salad bowls.
Sandwiches and Wraps. Who doesn’t love a good sandwich? Try vegan cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato and cucumber or vegan “tuna” salad. Slabs of marinated baked tofu or crispy tempeh slices work well in sandwiches too, try them with lettuce, tomato and coconut bacon. If you don’t want to do a bread, you can use romaine lettuce or collard greens to make veggie wraps. Vegan maya, avocado and hummus work great as spreads in sandwiches.
Quick Salads. You can buy packaged salad greens if that makes things easier. Add a few big handfuls to a bowl and top with a scoop of quinoa, chickpeas, grated carrot, sunflower seeds and tahini.
Soups. spicy vegan black bean soupSoups are perfect for easy lunches if you make them ahead of time. I have so many good ones on the blog. Try my chickpea chowder, wild rice cauliflwoer soup or tortilla soup.
More Plant-Based Dinner Ideas
Dinners are where things get really yummy! Curries, pasta, pizza, burgers, tacos, noodles, rice…there are so many options.
Tacos. Try easy tacos with lentil meat, lettuce, avocado and carrot.
Pizza. Grab a store-bought pizza crust and layer it up with tomato sauce, veggies and grated vegan cheese.
Burgers. Try my much-loved chickpea veggie burger.
Stir-Fry. You can’t go wrong with a big veggie stir-fry! I like to add tofu and serve them over rice or quinoa. Good veggies for stir-fries include bok choy, celery, broccoli, carrot and snap peas.
Pasta. Pasta is the easiest dinner, all you need is pasta and sauce. In fact one of my fave quick dinners is just pasta, store-bought sauce, red pepper flakes and nutritional yeast. For something a little different, try this pumpkin penne.
Salads. If you’ve been by the blog before, you’ve probably noticed I love interesting and delicious salads. There’s no need for salads to be boring! Try my Brown Rice Salad with Kale and Peanut Sauce, Vegan Roasted Beet Salad with Marinated Chickpeas, Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing, Roasted Squash Salad with Marinated Chickpeas or Roasted Potato Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Creating Plant-Based Meals
When you’re creating plant-based meals, think about combining the three macronutrients, fat, carbs and protein. This helps create more balanced meals that will prevent a spike in blood sugar and help keep you fuller for longer. Fat comes from nuts, seeds, soy, coconut and cacao, carbs come from beans, starchy vegetables (sweet potato, potato etc.), whole grains such as rice, quinoa and whole grain products like pasta and breads, protein comes from hemp, beans and lentils, soy, whole grains and if needed, plant-based protein powder.
Also consider fibre. Fibre is very important for digestion and gut health, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and more. A good place to start is 25 grams a day but that’s the minimum so try to work your way up from there. High-fibre foods include fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains and whole grain products.
Easy Plant-Based Desserts
Chocolate Avocado Pudding. Blend together avocado, maple syrup or dates and cocoa powder.
Quick Baked Apple and Cinnamon. Chop up an apple and place in an oven safe dish and bake with cinnamon until soft. You can enjoy as is or top it with things like coconut butter, cacao nibs or almond butter.
Raw Vegan Chocolates. Use the recipe for the chocolate portion of my vegan peanut butter cups and freeze in silicone muffin cups or just spread on parchment paper to make a quick chocolate bar.
Protein Cookie Dough. Blend chickpeas with vanilla protein powder, a little maple syrup, peanut butter and pinch of sea salt. You can use powdered peanut butter to and add a bit of water to thin it out.
2-Minute Cookie Dough. Use the recipe for the cookie dough topping portion of my tiramisu smoothie and just eat it as is or crumble it over some blended frozen banana or non-dairy yogurt.
Stuffed Dates. My all-time favourite. Take a big, soft date, stuff it with peanut butter, almond butter, tahini or coconut butter and enjoy. You can also sneak a nut in there or better yet, coat them in vegan chocolate.
Those are just a few ideas. I could go on forever so I’m going to leave it at that today.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what a day of plant-based eating looks like, come on over and join my FREE closed Facebook group for more inspiration. Click here to join.