Food Blog • Vegan Recipes • Animal Stories
Your first shopping list is going to be fun, but a bit overwhelming, just allow yourself some extra time and make a list. I don't think that it is necessary to trash everything in your kitchen and replace it all in one day, unless that is what you are inspired to do. For me, there are certain staples that you will need to find that will make your experience much easier, like the type of plant-based milk, butter, cheese you might like, and you might need to try a few. You might need to try a few different meat replacements to find the ones you like etc. What is important, is that you don't judge yourself and you don't go broke. Once you get into a rhythm it will balance out.
The first list will look different from your weekly list. The first thing to do is to consider the different categories of foods that your body needs. They should be:
Foods rich in nutrients, like dark leafy greens, fruits and vegetables
Foods high in fiber, like whole grains, fruits and vegetables
Foods with healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds
Unrefined carbohydrates/starches, like as potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, oats and quinoa
Foods low in sugar, sodium and oil
Foods rich in protein like seitan, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh and edamame
Many grocery stores offer their list of products they sell on their website and offer shopping services so you can pick up the food from the parking lot, or you can have it delivered. Here is a sample list from Whole Foods with links to their products:
Produce: Browse Produce
Plant Proteins: Browse Meat Alternatives
Plant Milks and Egg Alternatives: Browse Dairy Alternatives
Frozen Foods: Browse Frozen Foods
Breads, Rolls & Bakery: Browse Whole Foods Bakery
Pantry Essentials: Browse Pantry Essentials
Snacks, Chips, Salsas & Dips: Browse Snacks, Chips, Salsas & Dips
Bring Your Bags
Now that you have your list together there are some things to know before heading to the market. If you are able, one of the things that is most important is to bring your own reusable shopping bags. Hard to always do, but important nevertheless.
Take a Tour
Something that most people don't know about, is that (at Whole Foods) you can request a tour of the market with a focus on Vegan items in the store. Even if you don't intend to do all of your shopping there, it can give you an idea of the products that are available.
It is important to know your local store, so that when you want to find something, it's easy. People get frustrated when they don't know where things are and if you intend to be a regular shopper at that particular store, go there with some extra time and learn where things are located. Most markets like Whole Foods, Ralphs, Kroger, Vons, Pavilions, etc., all have a very similar layout. so if you know one, it is likely that the rest will be similar.
Start in Produce
On a plant-based diet, it is very important to eat the natural colors of the rainbow, in your diet. Starting in the produce department will fill your basket with all of the vibrant and wonderful colors that nature offers. Make sure that produce takes up a majority of your cart.
Don't Go Hungry to the Market
Ok, big rookie mistake to go to hungry to the market. It makes you want to buy everything you see and can also lead you astray. Please plan to go to the market after a meal and follow your planned list.
Communicate with Market Staff
Tell the market buyers what you want to see in the store. It is their job to have the products in the store that their customers want to buy. If they don't successfully create a product line that their customers want, they will not be a successful location. If they don't respond well, talk to a manager. Remember the question that gets asked almost every time you are at the register? "Did you find everything you were looking for today?" Make sure to tell them what was missing.
You can also special order things through the departments. If you keep going to the store and they are out of things you would like to have, preorder it and get a case of it. Spoiler alert, you can order a case and if you change your mind later about the quantity, just take what you want and they can put it on the shelf. Don't make that a habit though, because they wont like it and they might not want to order for you anymore. Also, workers in the market are people too and they like to be thanked. If you have the ability, bring them a little gift at the holidays, or a card with a gift card that you can afford. They will appreciate it and will thank you with continued good service. We all want to know that we are doing a good job!
Understanding product labels is the key to identifying Vegan products and can be quite challenging. This website can help you with understanding the labels...
Cows milk, whey, casein, butter, cream, cheese, animal meat, poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish, gelatin or honey.
The trick is to understand that there are many ways that manufacturers try to trick consumers, by changing the names or using the scientific names we don't know, they can get us to buy products we don't really want. So make sure to read up on what the meaning of the ingredients are. Of course a great way to avoid that is to try and buy products from Vegan companies and lots of raw produce etc.