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What Should I Eat? - A Basic Blueprint for a Vegan Meal Plan
By Marcella Torres

If I had a nickel for every e-mail message that hits the Vegan Muscle and Fitness inbox beginning with "How do I get a body that looks like yours?" (usually from young men who want to look like my husband, Derek), we could retire from the personal training business! Unfortunately, because we are in the personal training business and it pays the bills, it's just not possible to respond to every request with a custom meal and training plan. We try to share as much as we can of our workout routines and recipes on our blog, Vegan Muscle & Fitness, but I understand the need for a straightforward blueprint that allows one to plunge right in. Here it is: an example of what competitive vegan bodybuilders eat every day, complete with a grocery list!


  • Oatmeal, cooked (about 1 cup for me, 2 cups for Derek)
  • Apples, raisins, or other additions (optional)

Morning Snack:

  • Derek's bean shake (1/2 serving for me, full serving for Derek)
  • Additional fruit (optional)


  • Green salad with balsamic vinegar
  • Lentil and vegetable soup
  • Sweet potato


  • Vegan protein shake, such as PlantFusion, Vega, or SunWarrior

Afternoon Snack:

  • Derek's bean shake (1/2 serving for me, full serving for Derek)
  • Additional fruit (optional)


  • Green salad with balsamic vinegar
  • Beans (about 1 cup)
  • Tofu or tempeh, about 1/4 block (optional)
  • Vegetables (unlimited)
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa (about 1/4 cup dry)

It really is that simple. Unless we’re in the final stages of preparing for a competition, I feel free to deviate a little from our meal plan if I have the creative energy and ingredients to do so. As fall weather comes in, I’ve been indulging the comfort food urge occasionally with some Lentil Shepherd’s Pie and Butternut Alfredo Brown Rice Penne, too – always keeping it whole foods! Our meal plan is a wonderful safety net, however, and I’m more than willing to sacrifice a little variety to spare myself agony over the question of what to make for dinner and the uncertainty of how what I just ate is going to affect my physique or performance in the gym. For more on why we advocate a simple whole foods plant-based diet, as well as suggestions for keeping the above meal plan interesting, see my articleHow to Eat the Same Thing Every Day and Never Get Bored!

Our Weekly Grocery List:

  • salad greens
  • salad vegetables, such as cucumbers and red onion
  • salad toppings, such as olives
  • garlic
  • avocados
  • additional vegetables that catch my eye, such as kale, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, etc.
  • LOTS of bananas
  • additional fruits, such as pears, apples, grapes, etc.
  • sweet potatoes
  • LOTS of cannellini beans
  • LOTS of rolled oats
  • LOTS of lentils
  • other beans, such as black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, etc.
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • raisins
  • soy and almond milk
  • tofu
  • canned tomatoes, crushed or diced
  • salsa
  • frozen fruit
  • frozen vegetables
  • edamame

Some staple items that we keep on hand:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Nutritional yeast
  • A wide variety of spices, such as curry powder, creole seasoning, jerk seasoning, chili powder, etc.
  • Stevia
  • Hot sauce
  • Maple syrup
  • Vegan vegetable bouillon