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“And what else can you eat?” – vegans have to ask themselves this question again and again. Today we would like to show you that the world of vegan nutrition can be varied and balanced and introduce the vegan mix plate concept from EDEKA. So if you want to do without meat or animal products completely, the vegan mix plate is a great guide for this alternative. We have summarized the most important building blocks for you here.

We also spoke to nutritionist Meike Parakenings from EDEKA Südwest. She recommends the nutrition concept around the “EDEKA Mix-Teller”, also in the vegan variant described here. The mix plate provides for three to five meals a day – morning, noon, evening, and of course there is also something for in between. This way you don’t need controlling plans or charts, nor do you have to give up certain foods.

You can find suitable groceries at EDEKA Südwest, for example – in addition to a large selection of fruit and vegetables, you will also find own brands such as Bio+ Vegan or vehappy, which let you immerse yourself in the world of vegan nutrition and are easy on your wallet

Veganes Dinner mit Pizza, Menschen sitzen am Tisch, essen vegan und lachen dabei

The vegan mix plate principle

The mix plate serves as your guide for every meal. With three to five meals a day in the mix-plate principle, the recommendations of the German Nutrition Society can be easily implemented. Simply divide your dinner plate mentally into four equal parts.

One quarter carbohydrates

A quarter of your plate should consist of carbohydrate-rich foods. Here, for example, include pasta and potatoes, rice, or bread. These provide the brain and muscles with the best fuel at full performance.

One quarter egg white

Another quarter is represented by protein-rich products. Protein provides the important building blocks for new construction and repair of our cells. Make sure you have plenty of variety so that all the protein building blocks you need are available for renewal. Vegan protein sources include beans, tofu, almonds, tempeh, lentils, seitan or chickpeas.

Two quarters fruit & vegetables

For the remaining two quarters, reach for foods from the fruit and vegetable section. Here, the selection may be varied and colorful. Because fruits and vegetables are known to be rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

Fats and oils must not be missed!

Fats are contained in many foods and therefore do not receive additional consideration in the mix-plate concept. Enhance your dishes with high-quality cooking oils that contain omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike monounsaturated and unsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be produced by our body itself and must be ingested with food. Omega-3 fatty acids often get a raw deal. In plant foods, omega-3 fatty acids are present as alpha-linolenic acid. It is contained, for example, in linseed oil, rapeseed oil or walnuts.

Drink enough!

Also, make sure to stay hydrated. Although some fluid is absorbed through food, the majority of fluid loss should be compensated for through drinking. Particularly tasty, for example, is “infused water”, water with a dash of lemon, lime or some ginger.

Goodbye cravings and sweets

If you follow the “mix-plate principle”, you will get plenty of fruits and vegetables on the table. This allows you to push sweets & co. off your plate. In addition, eating according to the “mix-plate principle” can help you feel pleasantly full for a long time and prevent cravings. The Mix Plate was developed as a practical tool for your daily food choices. Try it out and tell us about your experience!

Vegan diet: Interview with nutritionist Meike Parakenings

The Mix Plate was developed as a practical tool for your daily food choices. Try it out and tell us about your experience!

To find out why the vegan mix plate offers a varied alternative, we interviewed nutritionist Meike Parakenings. She also gives us her shopping tips and reveals what to look for when buying vegan spreads and meat substitutes.

How do I manage to eat a vegan and balanced diet?

Meike Parakenings: A vegan diet can have many positive effects on the body if done well. Most often, plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are added to the plate. And with it a lot of valuable fiber, vitamin C, folate and also phytochemicals, just to name a few. In contrast, vegans often consume less saturated fat, which can have a positive effect on blood lipid levels, for example. Of course, lifestyle also plays a role, especially sufficient exercise and relaxation.

It is important that we keep in mind all essential nutrients in a vegan diet and do not get into deficiency by omitting some food groups. A lot of variety on the plate can help – this also works very well purely vegetable.

"A vegan diet can have many positive health effects if done well."

What recommendations do you have for anyone who wants to eat vegan or just try vegan dishes?

Meike Parakenings: I can only advise to try the great variety of vegan foods. Meanwhile, there is also a vegan alternative for every animal food. Everyone will find something that tastes good. If you don’t want to use substitutes, you can also make great dishes with natural plant foods like chickpeas, lentils, beans, or edamame (young soybeans). I think it’s also worth experimenting with spices and herbs, so you can create completely new taste experiences.

Which building blocks must not be missing in a vegan diet and how do we best get them?

Meike Parakenings: In general, it is best to have your own vitamin levels checked regularly. This allows you to react to possible defects in a timely manner.
What is always mentioned first is vitamin B12, which is found in sufficient quantities only in animal foods.
You should also pay attention to your vitamin D balance. The vitamin can be produced by the body itself when sufficient sunlight falls on bare skin. But often this alone is not enough. For example, mushrooms are available to us as a vegan source of vitamin D.
Proteins are also not to be forgotten. Plant sources of protein include lentils, peas, beans, almonds, cashews, chickpeas or tofu.
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are another important building block. Canola oil or linseed oil can provide a balance. However, only the precursor ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is contained here, which must first be converted into EPA or DHA in the body. Even more effective are, for example, vegetable oils enriched with DHA or EPA. Furthermore, nutrients such as iodine, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B2 and selenium should also be kept in mind.

What is your recommendation for a daily balanced vegan diet?

Meike Parakenings: There are several ways to best visualize a balanced (vegan) diet. Very well known is the classic pyramid shape. It contains the building blocks that form the foundation and are thus to play the main role in terms of quantity. At the top are the foods that should only be eaten once in a while like sweets. Drinks are at the bottom of the food pyramid and thus form the basis. Then come fruits & vegetables, next are carbohydrate-rich foods, followed by protein sources, followed by fats & oils, and at the top are sweets and salty foods.

I also find the vegan mix plate particularly illustrative. It offers good guidance on how you can put together a balanced vegan meal. Half of the plate should be covered with fruits & vegetables. A quarter is allotted to carbohydrates and another quarter to protein-rich products. Oils are used to refine dishes and are not shown separately. To the mixed food mix plate, differences are found only on the protein quarter. Instead of meat, for example, a pea-based substitute product then comes into play. You can find delicious vegan mix plate recipes at
www.edeka.de/rezepte
or also here at
This Is Vegan
.

What should we look for when buying vegan products if we want to eat healthy?

Meike Parakenings: Here I would always recommend a look at the ingredients list. It contains the information how many additives are included. The fewer additives listed, the more natural the product. There are now many vegan convenience products that come with no or a minimum of additives. I’m always happy when I find a vegan vegetable spread that contains canola oil instead of sunflower oil and thus valuable omega-3 fatty acids. I also find it interesting to know how much protein a meat substitute, for example, provides me. It is recommended to consume 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight. I find this information in the nutritional table. As a basis for meat substitutes, for example, soy, pea and lupine are very popular because they provide high-quality protein.

You can find the right products for a balanced, vegan diet at EDEKA Südwest. With their wide range of own brands, such as EDEKA Bio+ and vehappy, you’ll see that vegan doesn’t mean abandonment at all.
Try it out!

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Sources:
[1] Weder, S. et Al. (2018): Die Gießener vegane Lebensmittelpyramide, in Ernährungs Umschau – Sonderheft 5: Vegan

[2] DGE Dec. 2018: Selected Questions and Answers on Vitamin B12, www.dge.de (accessed Oct. 06, 2021).

**For reasons of simplified readability, the masculine is used and the simultaneous use of the language forms male, female and diverse (m/f/d) is omitted. All personal designations apply equally to all genders.

This article has been produced in cooperation with EDEKA Südwest

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