Top 10 Plant-Based Picks for Newbie Vegans (or People Who Just Want to Eat Healthier)

Blanche Baxter |

by | Read time: 5 minutes

Have you made the switch to a plant-based diet yet? If so, you’ve likely started to experience the many benefits from eating more veggies, fruits, grains, seeds and legumes, including improved health and vitality, protecting the environment and saving non-human animal lives.

An Assortment of Plant-Based Staples on a Kitchen Shelf | to the innovative developments over the past decade or so in plant-based food manufacturing, it’s now easier than ever to find vegan-friendly foods, including condiments, that excite the taste buds. This is important because being able to truly enjoy what you’re consuming makes a difference when it comes to sustaining this change.

Here are our top 10 whole-food, plant-based picks of the moment for vegan newbies and seasoned veg-heads alike:

Navitas Organics Chia Seeds |

1. Navitas Organics Chia Seeds

These small-but-mighty chia seeds are a great addition to a plant-based diet. They swell to absorb liquid, which comes in handy for thickening sauces, replacing eggs in baked goods and making overnight chia pudding – a rich, delicious breakfast option. We also love ‘em in smoothies, oatmeal, granola and even soups to add a blast of nutrition. Chia seeds are loaded with calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, protein and omega-3s.

Califia Farms Oat Barista Blend |

2. Califia Farms Oat Barista Blend

Calling all coffee and cream lovers! Califia’s shelf-stable Oat Barista Blend is smooth and creamy with a taste that melds perfectly with your morning beverage without overwhelming.

Unlike many other creamers (especially dairy!) this one is free of added sugars, gums, carrageenan and GMOs. It’s super creamy, steams well and is made from whole rolled oats.

We love it in our Iced Butterfly Pea Oat Milk Latte.

Sunwarrior Warrior Plant-Based Organic Protein |

3. Sunwarrior Protein Warrior Blend

This convenient, clean protein powder combines a proprietary blend of organic plant-sourced proteins (fermented pea protein, goji berry and hemp protein) with BCAAs to enhance athletic performance, plus MCTs to provide the body with healthy fats. This blend is also kosher and doesn’t contain gluten, soy, dairy or GMOs.

When you don’t have time to prepare a meal, this nourishing blend truly comes in handy. It’s smooth in both texture and mouthfeel, which makes it a great addition to a smoothie, cup of grab-and-go oats or chia pudding – you can even blend it with water in a shaker cup. Try it in vanilla, chocolate, berry, mocha or natural.

Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Butternut Squash Soup |

4. Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Oh-so smooth in texture, this soup is a cure-all for the soul whether you’re under the weather or simply looking for a cozy meal. In addition to sun-shiny butternut squash, this creamy soup is infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, onion and garlic. Heat it up over the stove and enjoy it straight up, or use it as a base to create our 15-Minute Butternut Squash Soup with Chickpea Fusilli.

Simple Mills Organic Everything Seed Flour Crackers |

5. Simple Mills Organic Everything Seed Flour Crackers

It’s like a everything bagel, in chip form! These savory crackers are perfect for pairing with the aforementioned butternut squash soup. We also like dipping them in hummus and homemade creamy vegan spinach dip.

They’re organic, gluten-free, grain-free and paleo-friendly as well. You’ll also notice that there’s a short list of recognizable, nutrient-dense ingredients on the box – a huge relief when shopping for packaged snack items.

Bragg Liquid Aminos |

6. Bragg Liquid Aminos

Bragg Liquid Aminos add a zing of flavor to any dish. It’s unfermented and gluten-free with a savory umami flavor palate similar to soy sauce. Free from chemicals, preservatives and artificial coloring, it’s made from amino acids – the building blocks of protein.

Note that a little goes a long way. Use it to make marinades, sauces, dressings, tofu dishes, stir-fries, grain bowls and more.

Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti |

7. Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

These nutritious, organic and non-GMO noodles are made with beans instead of flour, which ups the fiber content and delivers a filling protein-packed addition to savory noodle-based meals.

This pasta holds together well, yields a nice chew and will make you want to experiment with recipes, sauces and veggies of all kinds. Try this recipe: Southwestern Black Bean Noodle Bowl (replace Greek yogurt “sour cream” with plain coconut yogurt or dairy-free sour cream).

Hippeas Organic Vegan White Cheddar Chickpea Puffs |

8. Hippeas Organic White Cheddar Chickpea Puffs

If you love a good cheese puff, you’ll adore Hippeas. Super crunchy and extra “cheesy,” this convenient snack is reminiscent of Cheetos, but comes without the chemicals and dairy. This brand is organic, certified gluten-free, kosher and non-GMO. It’s soy- and nut-free as well.

These crave-worthy pouches of goodness travel well and make excellent on-the-go snacks.

Enjoy Life Real Chocolate Morsels Dark Chocolate |

9. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels

If you think eating plant-based means you must give up the good chocolatey things in life – think again. These dark chocolate morsels from Enjoy Life are the perfect baking (and snacking) goody to add to your cupboard. This treat is gluten-free and free from 14 other major allergens, making it ideal for everyone to enjoy!

With only five grams of sugar per serving, these highly snackable chocolates are less sugar-laden than many competitors. Versatility and taste are on point, plus they’re a reasonable price.

Garden of Life mykind Organics B-12 Spray |

10. Garden of Life Mykind Organics B-12 Spray

B12 is essential, especially for those new to a plant-based lifestyle. B12 comes from bacteria found in the soil and is washed off of the plant food we eat. Meat eaters get more of it because animals eat the bacteria and then have it in their systems, giving it to meat-eaters second hand. Since B12 is needed for many things, including energy, memory, concentration and metabolism, supplementing with B12 and consuming B12-fortified food matters.

Not all B12 vitamins are the same. Some forms aren’t as digestible, and others are made with animal-derived ingredients. Garden of Life’s whole-food formulation, Mykind Organics B12 spray, is vegan and easily absorbable in the form of methylcobalamin. Plus, the natural raspberry spray tastes great!

As you can see, a plant-based diet is anything but boring. Explore these, then get inspired to try some more. Plan your meals around breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack foods, and before you know it, you’ll have tons of new go-to’s that will leave you feeling the joy of plant-based living!

Click here to conveniently add these 10 products to your cart:

Ready to dive in? Try our 3-Day Nutritionally Balanced Plant-Based Meal Plan. Then, stock up on the essentials at our Vitacost Vegan Shop.