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The complete guide to plant-based grocery shopping for beginners

New to eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies? Need some guidance at the grocery store? We've got you covered with this handy plant-based diet grocery list that streamlines everything you need to get started. 

When those automatic doors open at the grocery store, take a deep breath and reference your list. Remember: You've got this. 

We recommend dividing your plant-based grocery list into 6 categories: 

Swich Tip: Use the "shopping list" feature at the bottom right-hand corner of every one of our recipes as it divides everything into the predetermined shopping list categories outlined below.

1. Bakery

This is where you will put items like baking powder, flour, baking soda etc. 

2. Baking and Cooking

Herbs and spices for plant-based cooking

List herbs, spices, and oils here. To get started with cooking more plant-based meals, we suggest stocking up on: white pepper, bay leaves, non-dairy butter, cooking oils, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and smoked paprika, peppercorn mélange, turmeric, tarragon, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, bay leaf, parsley, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.

3. Canned Goods

This is where you would slot items like non-dairy milk, tofu, tempeh, and miso paste. This is also where you include cans of kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo, white beans (navy, cannellini, great northern, etc.), black beans, black-eyed peas, green peas, split peas, edamame, and lentils (red, green, brown, etc.).

Plant-based proteins like nuts, seeds, lentils, tofu, beans

4. Dry Goods

When we talk about dry goods, we mean pasta, flour, whole grains, and nuts. Whole grains include: bulgur, millet, oats, quinoa, rice (black, brown, red, and wild), spelt, and sprouted-grain products.

5. Other 

Swich vegan Faux Chick Bouillon Powder

Not-so-common items like vegetable stock, cocoa nibs, or nutritional yeast (which will quickly become one of your faves) would go here. 

Swich Tip: Skip the store-bought vegetable stock and make our Faux Chicken Bouillon Powder (we’re obsessed with this one, but don’t take our word for it—peep the reviews first!) or Simple Mushroom Stock, instead! 

6. Produce 

Produce section in the grocery store

This is where you will be spending most of your time when following a plant-based diet. The possibilities are endless but to get you started (try to find what is in season): apples, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, bananas, beets, bell pepper, blackberries, blueberries, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine, etc.), mushrooms, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, and zucchini.

A note on embracing unfamiliar plant-based foods:

You're going to see a few potentially not-so-recognizable items in a plant-based diet, but we highly encourage you to lean into it as best as you can. You might not be familiar with nutritional yeast or tempeh, or bulgar—all of which bring their own unique much-needed flare to a dish. Don't let the unfamiliar sway you from something that could truly be a tasty surprise. If in doubt, do a quick Google search to help familiarize yourself. 

Swich Tip: Every grocery store or market is unique and locating these ingredients might take you into the organic section, or the baking aisle, or maybe neither! Don't be afraid to ask a staff member so that you can acquaint yourself with these items. It will help to keep you on track and build further confidence in the kitchen.  

"Good food and good eating are about risk." —Anthony Bourdain


To maximize your shopping, and help you to stick with your plant-based diet grocery list, we highly recommend checking out the following:

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Tags: Beyond The Kitchen
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