Skip to content
What do vegans eat and what not?

What do vegans eat and what not? An overview for newcomers

You want to know what vegans are basically allowed to eat and which classic foods they substitute in which way? Whether you want to start eating vegan yourself right away or you're looking for cooking ideas for a vegan family member or vegan friends, you've definitely come to the right place!

Because this article is to be basically a small assistance for those, which argue straight (inevitably, because now for example the own partner/the own partner vegan lives,) for the first time with vegetable nutrition.

Now you can find out what vegans generally prefer to eat - for breakfast, for a snack, for a barbecue, in a restaurant or at Christmas. You'll also find out which foods they avoid and what alternatives are generally available. Let's go!

Here you can find a short overview in advance:

  1. General
  2. Foods
  3. To classic daily meals
  4. In the restaurant
  5. At the barbecue
  6. On holidays
  7. After sport
  8. Closing words

What are veganism and vegan diet anyway?

Motifs: Why do people live vegan?

Before we get into the practice, here are a few facts in advance that everyone should know. Founded in Birmingham back in 1944, the Vegan Society defines veganism as "Way of life that seeks to avoid, as far as practical, all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals capable of suffering for food, clothing, and other purposes". So, as you can see, it's about more than your diet. Veganism is a fundamental way of life for the protection of animals. Who eats a plant-based diet, but contributes significantly to the fact that the exploitation and Cruelty to animals by humans.

About the diet: The American Dietetic Association has confirmed that a balanced planned, vegan diet is healthy and nutritionally appropriate, health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain, nutritional diseases offers and is suitable for people in all phases of the life cycle.₁ However, it is important (especially during the transition) to regularly check that your own body is coping with all essential nutrients is supplied.

The Motivation for a plant-based diet lies above all ethics (e.g., protect animals, Fighting world hunger), ecological (e.g. Stop rainforest deforestation, Halting species extinction) as well as health motives (e.g., prevent antibiotic resistance, lower blood pressure, Prevent heart disease) is the basis.

Tip: About the essential Difference between veganism and the vegan diet I have written a separate, detailed article for you.

What foods do vegans eat and what foods do they not eat?

What do vegans eat and what not?

"Help, I'm having a visitor and he/she is vegan!" - relax! Vegans, just like meat eaters and vegetarians, can look forward to a huge range of Variety of beverages, fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils, as well as countless purely plant-based luxury foods fall back on. A few minutes of research, as you are doing right now, and the world looks rosy again!

Good to know: Personally, I also live vegan and continue to eat burgers, pasta, pizza, hot dogs, nuggets, cakes and all the other goodies, just without animal ingredients. Whether vegan cheese, vegetable butter, oat or almond milk instead of cow's milk, soy yogurt, Vegan egg substitute or dandelion "honey". There really is a vegetable substitute for everything!

The only thing that is dispensed with, but consistently, is food of animal origin. Neither body parts nor secretions of animals are consumed - neither in whole, nor as a hidden additive. The list of things that vegans are not allowed to eat is, however, comparatively extremely short. Therefore, I will give you a clear list in the following, instead of going into the endless list of things that vegans are allowed to eat.

Non-vegan food

  • Meat (also from fish and other marine animals)
  • Eggs (also caviar)
  • Milk and dairy products (e.g. yogurt and butter based on cow's milk).
  • Honey
  • All food and consumer products with animal ingredients and additives (e.g. gelatine or shellac)

Tip: The Change from (decades of) meat eater to vegan can certainly be a challenge. But the growing variety of comparable substitute products for meat, milk & Co makes this personal change much easier nowadays, even if basically a vegan diet without substitute products is possible.

What do vegans eat at traditional mealtimes?

What do vegans eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

You now know what vegans basically eat - but let's delve a little deeper into the practical implementation get on board. With the following lists, I'd like to give you some inspiration for vegan meals for breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake, and dinner. Believe me, within no time you'll find choosing your meals much easier - whether you're cooking for yourself or for your family and friends. Not least because the Internet is not stingy with wonderful recipes.


  • Muesli from oat flakes, soy yogurt, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds
  • Hearty Gugelhupf with baby spinach and vegan sprinkle cheese
  • Filled pancakes with chocolate cream, fresh berries and jam
  • Buns and toast with vegetable spread (e.g. eggplant, avocado) or vegan cold cuts with liver sausage (e.g. based on kidney beans or lentils)
  • Croissant casserole with plums and almonds
  • English breakfast with roasties, vegan sausages, mushrooms and beans


  • Vegan Schupfnudeln with spinach, tomatoes and pine nuts
  • Chickpea meatballs with mashed potatoes
  • Cream of pumpkin soup with baked pumpkin seeds
  • Thai red curry with rice, bell bell pepper, broccoli and carrots
  • Pasta salad with tomatoes and arugula
  • Sweet Potato Kumpir with chickpeas taboulé
  • Chili Sin Carne with hulled hemp seeds
  • Tomato soup with lentil balls
  • Millet salad with chickpeas, spring onions and pumpkin seeds


  • Apple marzipan cake
  • Nut cookies
  • Cereal cookies
  • Peach cake
  • Waffles
  • Walnut cake
  • Soy cappuccino


  • Burger with patty made of sunflower mince and beans, and sweet potato fries
  • Vegan lasagna with vegan minced meat
  • Wholemeal bread with vegetable spread or bologna based on sunflower seeds
  • Stuffed eggplants with chickpeas and bulgur
  • Baguette with hummus, cucumber, tomatoes and vegan slice cheese
  • Vegan cannelloni with spinach ricotta filling
  • Mac and Cheese with short noodles and cashew nut based cheese
  • Sweet potato chickpea oven tray

Tip: If you could use even more tips and inspiration for vegan and eco-friendly dishes, be sure to read through our Book "Cooking for the climate in. There you'll get that extra shot of motivating theory paired with delicious recipes to follow. You can get the book directly from the publisher here.*

What do vegans eat in the restaurant?

Enjoy vegan in restaurant

This will hardly surprise you: even in restaurants, vegans still don't eat meals "with animal involvement". And from my own experience I can tell you that basically you always get a satisfactory dish, even if that was not in the form on the menu card.

However, in some national cuisines it is a little easier, in others a little more difficultto find out what these dishes are. For example, Asian, Israeli or Italian cuisine is inherently more plant-based, while Greek or German cuisine prefers animal foods.

Here is also a small and hopefully inspiring overview of the alternatives for you:

  • Greek: e.g. grilled vegetables, dolmades, pita bread and tomato rice.
  • Mexican: e.g. tacos, guacamole, tortilla chips and enchiladas filled with vegetables.
  • Spanish: For example, potatoes coated in salt (papas), green beans with onions (judias verde) and fried green peppers (pimientos).
  • Bourgeois: e.g. potato salad, fries, roasted vegetables, baked potato and salad.
  • Snack: e.g. falafel kebabs, plant-based burgers, fries and grilled vegetables.

For a more detailed list and helpful tips, check out the separate post called Vegan in restaurant.

Additional Tip: The Search for vegan restaurants is not so easy everywhere, like for example in Berlin. However, behind the link hides a great tool to find vegan eateries everywhere.

What goes on the grill for vegans?

What goes on the grill for vegans?

How to already grill without meat? What should be sizzling on the grill? Don't worry: vegans don't just eat the salad at barbecues! Sausages, steaks, vegetables, ketchup and mayonnaise - in the meantime, the filled plates of meat fans, vegetarians and vegans hardly differ visually from each other in my experience. Not least because of the variety of plant-based substitute products that you can buy in supermarkets or organic markets (recognizable, for example, by the distinctive vegan label) and just as easily make yourself.

Here is a corresponding list for you, what you can throw as a vegan*in everything so fine on the grill:

  • Vegetable skewers with mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes
  • Burger patties from pea protein and beans
  • Stuffed mushrooms with almond based vegetable cheese
  • Tofu strips with tasty barbecue spices
  • Marinated eggplant slices
  • Vegetable cutlet
  • Grilled potato slices
  • Various grilled vegetables your choice (in a grill form)
  • Vegan meat skewers, sausages and steaks (e.g. soy- and wheat-based)

What can you offer vegans at Christmas, Easter or holidays in general?

Vegan duck with potatoes for Christmas

And what do vegans like to eat on holidays like Christmas, Easter or New Year? On such days you eat yes traditionally rather the meals that take a little longer cooking time and especially therefore can not necessarily be conjured up in the kitchen every day.

As promised, you'll also get a little inspiration to go along with it:

  • Chestnut nut roast with porcini mushroom sauce
  • Dresden hand bread filled with spinach and smoked tofu, served with vegan sour cream
  • Mushroom polenta in savoy coat with cranberry sauce
  • Apple Forest Berry Crumble With cinnamon
  • Oven galette with green asparagus
  • Colorful carrot quiche with peas, tofu and carrot greens
  • Brussels sprouts pasta with mushrooms and thyme
  • Rhubarb crumble cake
  • Wild garlic mushroom tartelettes With garlic
  • Bread dumplings with vegan milk cream and chanterelles
  • Speculoos cake with cooked cinnamon pears

What do vegans eat for strength after exercise?

A dish of kircher peas and rice

Plant-based sports nutrition is a science in itself - countless, vegan athletes however, are living proof that athletic success also possible without meat, eggs and dairy products is. For muscle building is especially the intake of sufficient amounts of Protein and amino acids essential. Fortunately, vegans also have access to an incredible variety of protein-rich foods.

Again, I've put together some examples and inspiring ideas for you to try:

  • High Protein Pasta with soy cutlets and kidney beans
  • Protein shake with oat milk and vegetable protein powder
  • High Protein Burrito with chickpeas, dried tomatoes and beans
  • Green smoothie with banana, baby leaf spinach and juice oranges
  • Couscous salad with cherry tomatoes, arugula and walnuts
  • Red curry with rice, vegan "chicken", coconut milk and chopped tomatoes
  • Natural rice with marinated tofu and broccoli

Tip: At vegan fitness I have compiled everything you need to know about plant-based sports nutrition, as well as vegan sports and sportswear.

What vegans eat? Actually, everything except animals and their secretions!

Vegans eat more than salad

Changes in life are often difficult for most people - but the change of the own nourishing way can go with something motivation and the appropriate, inspiring Tipps relatively simply over the stage. With meat, dairy products, eggs, honey and some additives, the list of "non-permitted" foods for vegans is quite sparse and clear. What do vegan*innen eat however? Actually everything except animals and their secretions!

I really hope that I could help you with this article about the foods and meals in vegan diet and provide the necessary inspiration. Use the suggestions and ideas to surprise friends and family with your adaptability, or simply to give yourself the Start in the vegan lifestyle much easier to make.

You now know what vegans basically eat. Do you have any questions, comments or further tips and ideas? Then I look forward to your comment!

Keep an open mind,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: You want to use your Inspiring parents to live more sustainably? That, too, can be a real challenge. In the linked article, you can learn how to bring together the habits and interests of different generations in the most effective way.

₁ American Dietetic Association; W. J. Craig; A. R. Mangels: Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets (as of July 2009), [July 24, 2020].

Coffee box Suggestions for improvement Newsletter

* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!


Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *