All you need for the vegan summer 2021 Healthy Diet Plan
Everything you need to follow the vegan summer 2021 Healthy Diet Plan. Find the menu chart, all the recipes for the week, handy shopping lists and more.
Welcome to BBC Good Food’s Healthy Diet Plan for summer 2021! This page contains everything you need for the whole week. Scroll down or click the links below to get started. Looking for a different plan? Discover our meat eater’s menu or try our vegetarian plan.
With colourful fruit and vegetables, minimally processed foods and recipes loaded with healthy fats, plant-based proteins and slow-release carbs, our vegan diet plan is all about enjoying good-for-you food.
The food we eat not only affects our physical health and how we look, it also impacts how we feel as well as our mood and outlook. Providing your body with the right nourishment through a healthy, balanced diet can improve mood, support energy levels and help you think more clearly.
Cutting meat and dairy from your diet, however, can mean you miss out on some essential vitamins and minerals. Our vegan diet plan helps you optimise your intake of these nutrients. We’ve done this by including some handy kitchen hacks, like finishing a lentil dish with a dash of lime juice to boost iron absorption, using rapeseed oil to support omega-3 fatty acid levels, and stir-frying carrots to make beta-carotene easier to absorb.
If eating like this is new to you, add a couple of the recipes to your diet the week before you start the plan to help your system adjust to the new foods and the additional fibre. Click here for more information on following a healthy, balanced vegan diet.
We’ve focused our vegan diet plan on wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds, and with good reason. These foods have been associated with a number of positive health benefits, including better digestive health, stronger immunity and improved mood. As a result, by following our plan, you can expect to feel more energised, improve your digestion and feel brighter and sharper.
The secret to success is preparation and planning, which is why we suggest using the Saturday before you start the plan to shop for ingredients and do a little food prep. What’s more, to help free you up during a busy week, we’ve cut down on time spent in the kitchen by ensuring leftovers for some meals.
For this plan, we’ve highlighted recipes that are especially good to enjoy post-exercise. For resistance training, protein is key for muscle repair, and for cardio and endurance training, you’ll need some energising carbs to replenish glycogen stores, as well as protein. Muscles are most receptive in the 30-minute window following exercise, so eat in this timeframe if you can. Remember to drink plenty of hydrating fluids and, if necessary, include a small amount of sodium to replace any lost through perspiration.
How to use the plan
Use the chart below to see your weekly menu at a glance. Eaten in this order, each day will deliver a balance of protein, fat and carbs, helping you manage hormonal and blood sugar levels, as well as optimal nutrient levels each day. You’ll also achieve all five of your five-a-day (or more) and keep within the recommended Reference Intakes (RI) for fats, protein, sugar, salt and calories while following the latest guidance on your intake of ‘free’ sugars. As with any lifestyle or diet change, if you have any concerns or health issues, we would encourage you to check with your GP before embarking on our plans.
If this is a new way of eating for you, we suggest that you begin by introducing some of the recipes a day or two before starting the full seven days. This will allow your digestive system time to adapt to the more fibre-rich foods we’ve included. To help you supercharge your results, read our six tips to make the most of the plan.
Your shopping list for the week
To help you get organised, we’ve designed a handy shopping list so you can buy everything you need in one shop – just remember to check the packets for sell-by dates to make sure they’ll last until the end of the week.
This recipe makes enough for three mornings and takes minutes to prepare. Zinc-rich pumpkin seeds help support your immune function, while the nuts and seeds add protein and essential fatty acids. We used hazelnut milk fortified with calcium, vitamins D and B12. This meal offers a good source of carbs, which is great after exercise.
We’ve used grated apple to top this, but pears or chopped oranges would also work well with the cinnamon flavour. This makes enough for two mornings, but the apple is best grated as you serve it to prevent it going brown.
1 of 5-a-day, healthy, calcium, vit C, gluten-free, fibre
We’ve included flaxseeds and chia in this super-quick breakfast as these boost levels of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. This breakfast also contributes calcium, vitamin C and, of course, all-important fibre.
2 of 5-a-day, vegan, healthy, iron, folate, vit C, fibre
Whether you’re working at your desk or planning a picnic lunch, the colour and vibrancy of this salad makes it a satisfying choice. With iron, folate and vitamin C, it makes a hefty nutritional contribution too.
4 of 5-a-day, low cal, low fat, healthy, gluten-free, vit C, fibre
This delicious chowder makes enough for two lunches. Traditionally, it’s made with coconut milk, but we’ve swapped it for coconut yogurt so we can control the saturated fat (the rest of the tub has been used for breakfasts or to mash into potatoes instead of butter). Offers a good source of carbs, which is great after exercise.
Shop-bought vegan cheese is highly processed and offers little in the way of nutritional value. Our version is made from cashews and nutritional yeast and contributes some protein as well as vitamins and minerals. Offers a good source of protein and carbs to support exercise.
4 of 5-a-day, healthy, calcium, iron, folate, vit C, fibre
Served layered with avocado and a crunchy fennel and celery salad on the side, these healthy vegan burgers make a substantial supper with leftovers for lunch later in the week. We suggest using high-quality wholemeal or sourdough rolls for the burgers. Traditional sourdough is made using a fermentation process that makes the finished bread easier to digest and nutrients more absorbable, while wholemeal bread offers added fibre.
5 of 5-a-day, healthy, calcium, iron, folate, vit C, fibre
By roasting the squash, we’ve increased levels of beta-carotene, the plant pre-cursor to vitamin A. We’ve also included kale, which is loaded with micronutrients, including readily absorbable calcium, copper and vitamin C. Offers a good source of carbs, which is great after exercise.
healthy, low cal, gluten-free, iron, fibre, 1 of 5-a-day
This lightly spiced vegan dhal is cooked long and slow for a naturally rich, creamy consistency. It freezes well, so make a double batch for on-hand comfort. We’ve served it with lime wedges, because adding citrus juice helps optimise your iron uptake. Offers a good source of protein and carbs to support exercise.
How to customise the plan
Everyone has different needs and lifestyle requirements, which is why our plans are easy to adapt. If you find you’re hungry or would like to increase the daily calories, try adding our healthier snacks and sweet treat suggestions. These recipes are all based around whole foods and keep the processed ingredients to a minimum.
If you want to mix up the menu so you can follow the plan in the longer term or you don’t like a particular dish on the menu, you can swap it for one of our extra Healthy Diet Plan dishes that all follow the same nutritional guidelines as the recipes in this plan. Please bear in mind that adding snacks or swapping recipes will alter the overall calories and recommended daily intakes for the day.
About the Healthy Diet Plan
The calories you need on a daily basis vary depending on your age, height, weight, sex and activity levels. There are numerous calculators you can use online to determine your optimum calorie intake. Our plan aims to provide between 1200 and 1500 kcals per day. For the average female who is moderately active, this should generate a shortfall, allowing for steady and controlled weight loss. For those who are hungry on the plan, require a higher calorie intake or are happy with their weight, take a look at our healthier snacks and sweet treat ideas. As with any lifestyle or diet change, if you have any concerns or health issues we would encourage you to check with your GP before embarking on our plans.
A note on fat
Fat is in a variety of the foods we eat, including nuts, seeds and grains as well as dairy alternatives. Obtaining fat from whole foods is a healthier way of getting this essential macronutrient. We need fat for healthy skin, to boost our mood and improve concentration and to support a well-functioning immune system. Our recipes include healthy fats – nuts, seeds, olive and rapeseed oils – rather than refined ones. That’s because all fats are not equal – we should avoid processed, refined fats and oils and limit (but not exclude) our intake of the saturated variety. We’ve also included sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, such as flax and chia seeds.
A note on dairy alternatives
We recommend choosing fortified versions of your favourite dairy-free milk and yogurts. This is a good way to include nutrients such as calcium, B12, iodine and vitamin D, which can often be challenging to achieve on a vegan diet.
A note on sugar
We’ve used naturally sweet ingredients where possible, like fruit, dried fruit and certain vegetables to slash the amount of added ‘free’ sugars in our recipes.
A note on vegan diets
Following a vegan diet can make it harder to obtain some essential nutrients; these include vitamins B12 and D, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids as well as calcium, iron and selenium. Fortified foods, such as fortified plant milks, help contribute some hard-to-get nutrients, but, depending on your circumstances, you may wish to complement a varied, balanced vegan diet with a suitable supplement. Click here for more information.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. Any healthy diet plan featured by BBC Good Food is provided as a suggestion of a general balanced diet and should not be relied upon to meet specific dietary requirements. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.