A VEGAN diet is one that excludes animal products (meat, dairy, fish, eggs and honey) so all foods come from plant products.  Good education requires knowledge beyond the basic principles of the Eatwell guide where we live.  

This has led to the creation of the Vegan Eatwell guide which was published a couple of years ago.  So, what does this look like in a practical context? The majority of your plate should be starch with added fruit and vegetables.  Say this was wholewheat spaghetti with added tomatoes and onions: the fruit and veg could be sauteed in some olive oil to enhance richness of flavour.  Then you could add a meat alternative like soya mince or some pulses like beans and/or peas.

A glass of plant-based milk (almond, cashew, hazelnut, soya, oat, rice etc) could be taken alongside your main meal too so the full plate and/or 360 degrees is covered.  Note that the starch, fruit and veg, meat/pulse alternative, cooking oil and plant-based milk can be changed to suit needs as this is only one example.  

Additional information is for a vegan to include a lichen supplement for vitamin D3 (between September-April on the island of Ireland), a natural algae supplement for Omega 3 and enriched plant-based milks like soya that have added vitamin B2, B12, calcium and iodine.  All the rest of the nutrients can be achieved from a well-balanced plant-based diet and can support people of all ages.

Creating a vegan Eatwell guide has given nutritionists the opportunity to draw attention to some of the extra considerations above and beyond the omnivore Eatwell guide and provides practical guidance in how to achieve maximum input from your dietary intakes.  

Lee McCusker (BA; MSc; MSc; MSc; ANutr; SENr) is a registered nutritionist from Belfast and can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Email: attentivenutrition@