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A Nutritionist’s Guide to Going Vegan Once a Week

A Nutritionist’s Guide to Going Vegan Once a Week

The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.

When it comes to admitting my failures, I’m not shy about it. Of course, it doesn’t feel great when I’m going through it, but when I take a step back and see it as a learning opportunity, I’m always changed for the better.

One of my most memorable failures was an attempt at a vegan diet when I was in my early twenties. I did everything wrong and as a result had zero energy and felt hungry 24/7! No wonder it only lasted a few weeks.

As it turns out, adopting a vegan lifestyle requires more than just cutting out meat. One must plan for how they will account for the nutrients once obtained from animal products. I know it sounds complicated, but once you understand some of the basics it becomes quite simple.

My goal is to take the confusion out of what it means to follow a vegan diet, so here’s what I’ll cover in this post:

  • Definitions of common eating styles
  • The benefits of a vegan diet
  • Nutrient concerns for vegans
  • Vegan-friendly foods at Heinen’s
  • A simple one-day sample vegan meal plan to show you how easy this lifestyle can be.

Don’t want to say goodbye to animal products forever? The good news is you don’t have to! You can enjoy some of the benefits of a vegan diet by following it just one day a week.

Common Eating Patterns Defined

Before diving into the details, let’s start with some basic definitions. It’s important to understand there can be incredible variations within each eating style, pointing to the fact that there’s no right or wrong approach. In the eyes of Club Fx, if you are eating more plants, you’re doing it right, but it’s also important to listen to your body.

  • Plant-Based: Emphasizes whole plant foods while reducing animal foods like dairy, eggs, meat, and foods containing animal products.
  • Vegetarian: A diet consisting wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products.
  • Vegan: Restricts all animal products, including meat, fish, dairy, honey and eggs.
  • Pescatarian: A plant-based diet that includes fish.
  • Omnivore: A person who eats food of both plant and animal origin.

The Benefits of a Vegan Diet

This section could be a three-part series in itself! A well-planned vegan diet offers loads of potential benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Supports a healthy response to inflammation due to the presence of beneficial antioxidants in whole plant-based foods (i.e. fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, beans, nuts and seeds)
  • May reduce the risk of certain cancers (breast, stomach, colorectal, lung, prostate and pancreas)
  • Balances blood sugar
  • Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Improves kidney function
  • Helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Supplies more of the key nutrients you need for good health, including vitamins A, C and E, folate, magnesium and potassium
  • Regulates digestion and improves overall gut health thanks to the abundance of dietary fiber in fruits, vegetables and legumes
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • Supports healthy blood pressure levels
  • Reduces joint pain, swelling and stiffness

Nutrient Concerns for a Vegan Diet

One of the most common misconceptions about vegan diets is that it’s difficult to get enough protein from non-animal sources. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Look at how much protein these plant-based foods provide per serving:

  • Explore Cuisine edamame and mung bean pasta: 24 grams
  • 1 scoop Garden of Life Raw protein powder: 22 grams
  • 3 oz. Lightlife tempeh (fermented soy): 18 grams
  • Siggi’s plant-based coconut yogurt: 10 grams
  • 1/4 cup Go Raw sprouted pumpkin seeds: 9 grams
  • 3 Tbsp. Navitas hemp seeds: 8 grams
  • 1/2 cup Hummus Goodness hummus: 8 grams
  • Heinen’s beans and lentils: 7-10 grams per half cup cooked

Click here for other vegan friendly nutrient sources like calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc and omega-3 fats, as well as vegan-friendly brands at Heinen’s.

One Day Sample Vegan Meal Plan

Now it’s time to put it all together! Here is a one-day sample meal plan that’s simple, nutritious, delicious and satisfying…minus the meat and dairy! Choose one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner and one or two snacks for a given day and you’ll be well on your way!





  • Raw veggies + Hummus Goodness hummus
  • Apple + Heinen’s fresh ground almond butter
  • Fuel for Fire berry acai protein smoothie
  • Berries + Go Raw pumpkin seeds

Key Takeaway

I hope this post inspired you to explore the wonderful world of plant-based eating. I have a feeling you’ll really like how your body feels when it’s running on the foods Mother Nature designed for it. The improved digestion, elevated energy levels, and clear mind will be their own reward. I wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to “go vegan” for two days! But for now, let’s just start with one.

Melanie Jatsek RD, LD

By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD

Heinen's Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek, RD, LD believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. As a published author with over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking, Melanie offers expert guidance through Heinen's Club Fx program to help customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in without giving up their favorite foods.

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