1 week, Plant Based Diet Meal Plan for Beginners (Low Budget)

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Are you thinking of turning to a plant based lifestyle and wondering where to start?

Eating this way can indeed be overwhelming when it hits you just how much you may need to change. We’re not just talking about your lifestyle, but your whole conditioning around food in general. We’re hoping that this easy guide will help you with your process.

This 1 week, plant based diet meal plan for beginners is a budget friendly guide that will give you tips on combining plant foods together. This will help you to be sure you are getting ALL the nutrients and amino acids you need to keep you fit, healthy and thriving like never before.

You will also find examples of properly put together meals that you can mix and match to your taste.

Why Eat A Plant Based Diet?

eating healthily

The plant based diet, when done correctly, really can be the healthiest diet on the planet. In fact, the science is stacking up more and more as to how healthy plant foods can be.

We are now in the middle of a plant based explosion and all the major supermarkets and most restaurants are getting on board like never before. You will find them offering plant versions of EVERYTHING from milks, cheeses, yogurts, meat substitutes and everything in between.

There’s never been an easier time to adopt this lifestyle. It’s exciting, fresh and most importantly, planet friendly!

You shouldn’t believe that changing to this new way of eating will break the bank as there are are also many inexpensive plant based foods to choose that also happen to be superfoods too. Now, you really don’t have any reason to not just go for it and reap all of the below amazing benefits.

Some of the possible health benefits of a plant based diet include:-

  • BEAUTIFUL GLOWING SKIN – Taking in all those plant phytonutrients and antioxidants will give you the most amazing skin and put a sparkle in your eyes that no amount of cream, lotions or Botox could ever do.
  • ENERGY AND ZEST FOR LIFE – Eating lots of nutrient dense plants will not only make you feel lighter, but also give you an energy and confidence boost too. This will therefore put you in a much better place to achieve all your dreams and desires. (Yes, food really can be this powerful)
  • LESS INFLAMMATION –  Find out here why a healthy plant based diet helps reduce the chronic inflammation triggered by more acidic foods. These include, junk foods, trans fats, sugar and most animal products (especially when they are turned into junk foods). Anti inflammatory plant foods also help recovery time after exercise and is one of the reasons why there are no so many plant based athletes.
  • WEIGHT LOSS – You will also naturally come to your ideal weight over time because you just won’t have as many sugar or junk food cravings. This is all down to your body being fed properly with highly nutritious foods that in turn help to control cravings.
  • HORMONAL BALANCE – It stands to reason that animal hormones may affect us negatively. You may feel that your hormones are more evened out on the whole plant food diet, therefore you are naturally less likely to suffer PMS and other hormonal problems when you adopt this lifestyle.
  • LESS STRESS – Due partly to hormonal balance and partly to eating lots of low GI healthy foods. Both help keep your blood sugar stable, thus leaving you much more equipped to deal with stressful situations should they arise. You simply won’t feel as affected by life’s ups and downs as you were before. You may also feel generally calmer and more in control.
  • LESS BRAIN FOG AND BETTER MEMORY – You may not even realise how fogged up your head is until suddenly it isn’t. Less inflammation and more antioxidants can clear your mind, give you clarity and boost your memory power.

Please check out more plant based studies and see for yourself how all of these benefits are possible when you eat plant based the healthy way.

Your Plant Based Grocery List

plant based groceries

  • NUTS (walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews)
  • SEEDS (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, chia, hemp)
  • PULSES OF ALL KINDS (kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas for meal plan)
  • FRUITS (berries, apples, mango, bananas, oranges, peaches, lemons, limes)
  • VEGETABLES (broad beans, broccoli, butternut squash, frozen garden peas, onions – red and white, spinach, carrots,bell peppers)
  • TEMPEH, TOFU, AND SEITAN (tofu only for meal plan)
  • GREEN SUPERFOOD SHOTS * (optional, but such make a big difference to every aspect of health and vitality)
  • NATURAL SWEETENERS IN MODERATION (agave nectar, maple syrup, xylitol, stevia, date paste)
  • HOMEMADE GRANOLA’S (see my high protein recipe)
  • SUGAR FREE NUT BUTTERS (almond and peanut)
  • NUT MILKS OF ALL KINDS (Mix them up!)
  • OATS
  • NO ADDED SUGAR DRIED FRUITS (Dates, apricots, gogi berries, sultanas, raisins)
  • DARK CHOCOLATE (At least 70% cacao content)
  • SPICES (ginger, chili, cumin, paprika, cinnamon)

Foods to take out of the diet:-


The importance of protein

It is very important to ensure an adequate supply of plant based proteins. This is the reason why the simple, plant based menu below has lots of quinoa dishes (quinoa is the most nutritionally ‘complete’ plant based protein of all), along with plenty of nuts, seeds and pulses.

Protein And Weight Loss

We are placing emphasis on building our meals are protein and complex carbs to help keep weight stable. A supply of high protein foods is a definite must if you are doing a lot of exercise, are trying to lose weight or want to shed fat and build muscle.

You can also be sure of an adequate protein intake by using a good quality, plant based protein powder and making sure you have an understanding of the amino acids in plant foods.

The below meal plan will set you on the right path, and also help you to understand protein values more easily.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

How much protein you need depends on how much you weigh, your lifestyle and your exercise regime. As a general rule, you will need between 0.8 – 2.0 grams a day per kilo of body weight. You may need the higher end of this scale if you are either weight training, doing intense exercise or for weight loss purposes.

You will see from the meal plans that you may want to add some quality protein supplements to your diet. But, this is definitely not essential and you can get all you need form your diet if you pay attention to eating whole foods.

Your 1 Week Diet Plan

I have roughly estimated protein and calorie amounts for the dishes in this plan, but this may vary according to cooking methods and brands etc. You can easily work out how much protein you are eating by looking at labels and knowing your targets.


peanut butter on toast


1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 slice of wholegrain toast/sourdough. 1 banana. CALORIES 300/ PROTEIN 10g


Homemade or shop bought bowl of lentil soup, 2 x oatcakes with 2tsps almond butter.

Small tub plain soy or coconut yogurt. CALORIES 550/ PROTEIN 30g


Vegetable fried rice: Stir fry in soy sauce, coconut oil, chilli, ginger, garlic, onion, broccoli florets, bell pepper, sweetcorn, green peas, or broad beans, and diced courgette, with a potion of brown rice. Top with sliced spring onions.


Couple of squares of dark chocolate. CALORIES 600/ PROTEIN 15-20g (with dinner)


Green smoothie:- 1x Banana, handful spinach, nut milk, tbsp ground flax, 2x Medjool dates. CALORIES 300 / PROTEIN 7g

Protein Shake (make up mix so you have 30g protein). CALORIES 200/PROTEIN 30g


baked potato and beans


40g jumbo oats, berries, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, nut milk. CALORIES 300/ PROTEIN 15g


1 medium baked sweet potato with half a can of sugar free baked beans. CALORIES 350/ PROTEIN 17g


Mixed bean chili, serve with 100g cooked quinoa, topped with half a chopped avocado and a squeeze of lime. Serve with LOTS of steamed broccoli. MAKE ENOUGH FOR LUNCH TOMORROW!


Handful of goji berries. CALORIES 700/ PROTEIN 35g  (with dinner)


Green smoothie:- 1x Banana, handful spinach, nut milk, tbsp ground flax, 2x Medjool dates. CALORIES 300 / PROTEIN 7g

Protein Shake (make up mix so you have 30g protein). CALORIES 200/PROTEIN 30g


bean chili


White quinoa cooked in nut milk with toppings of fresh fruit, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds OR  topped with sultanas/raisins, 6 walnut halves, and cinnamon. CALORIES 300/PROTEIN 18g


Oven baked, spicy potato wedges with portion of bean chili from yesterday. Guacamole (optional). CALORIES 450 – 600/ PROTEIN 15g


Tofu & chickpea curry, 110g brown Pilau rice and sautéed spinach (or add spinach to curry).


2 squares dark chocolate CALORIES 500/PROTEIN 25g (with dinner)


Small pot soy yogurt, sprinkle of cinnamon, handful of goji berries, and a shot of green superfood powder. CALORIES 200/PROTEIN 22g

Green smoothie:- 1x Banana, handful spinach, nut milk, tbsp ground flax, 2x Medjool dates. CALORIES 300/PROTEIN 7g


avocado on sourdough


Large slice of granary/sourdough toast topped with 2 teaspoons of tahini, half a smashed avocado, topped with grated carrot and a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, pepper.

Piece of fruit. CALORIE 400/PROTEIN 15g


Big bag mixed salad, small tin of sweetcorn, half a can of chickpeas (you can roast these with spices first if you wish), apple cider vinegar, drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, handful of pine nuts, OR walnuts, a few raisins or sultanas.

Piece of fruit. CALORIES 500/ PROTEIN 30g


Tofu OR cashew nut stir-fry:  200g tofu/handful of cashews (you can buy either in a block or already marinated pieces). Stir-fried in coconut oil with ginger, garlic and chili, mixed veggies, soy sauce and 110g of cooked brown rice (or half a packet of pre cooked rice), OR portion of tri coloured quinoa.


2 squares dark chocolate. CALORIES 650/ PROTEIN 30g (with dinner)


Green smoothie:- 1x Banana, handful spinach, nut milk, tbsp ground flax, 2x Medjool dates.


Protein Shake (make up mix so you have 30g protein). CALORIES 100/PROTEIN 30g


porridge and walnuts


40g jumbo oats porridge with nut milk, tablespoon of chopped walnuts, cinnamon, sweetener (optional) and half a pink grapefruit. CALORIES 400/ PROTEIN 15g


1 large slice sourdough, half a can, sugar free baked beans or chili beans.

Piece of fruit. CALORIES 450/PROTEIN 15g


Cook 60g (dried weight) brown pasta or buckwheat/spelt pasta, ¼ butternut squash roasted in coconut oil and herbs/spices, steamed green peas and broccoli. Mix with 1 x tablespoon pesto OR virgin olive oil. Serve.


Mango slices with coconut yogurt CALORIES 750/PROTEIN 25g (with dinner)


Protein Shake (make up mix so you have 30g protein). CALORIES 200/PROTEIN 30g

Small bowl of Homemade popcorn (3 cups per serving, popped in coconut oil). CALORIES 120, PROTEIN 5g


lentil dal


1 slice Granary/sourdough toast, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, sliced banana, pinch of cinnamon. CALORIES 320/PROTEIN 10g


Bean chili, medium baked sweet potato, piece of fruit. CALORIES 500/ PROTEIN 15g


Plant based lentil Dal and 110g cooked, brown basmati rice OR quinoa, side of broccoli.


2 squares dark chocolate (make enough dal for another portion at weekend). CALORIES 550/ PROTEIN 20g (with dinner)


Green smoothie:- 1x Banana, handful spinach, nut milk, tbsp ground flax, 2x Medjool dates. CALORIES 300/PROTEIN 7g

Protein Shake (make up mix so you have 30g protein). CALORIES 200/PROTEIN 30g


roasted vegetables


40g Homemade, fat burning granola of oats, buckwheat grouts, dried fruits, nuts, and coconut oil, nut milk. (lightly toasted together in oven) Make a big batch as it lasts a while. CALORIES 350/PROTEIN 15g


Homemade, yellow split pea or shop bought bowl of lentil soup, 1 x pot soy yogurt, swirl of agave nectar or maple syrup. CALORIES 370/PROTEIN 30g


Roasted vegetable medley eg. parsnips, carrot, leeks, beetroot, peppers, onions, chickpeas, butternut squash, roasted with herbs and spices, little coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, veg stock. Served with a portion of quinoa.


Pineapple chunks (you can dry fry these for extra tastiness) CALORIES 700/PROTEIN 20g (with dinner)


3 x oatcakes with humus and carrot sticks. CALORIES 200/PROTEIN 6g

Green smoothie:- 1x Banana, handful spinach, nut milk, tbsp ground flax, 2x Medjool dates. CALORIES 300/PROTEIN 7g

I hope this week’s worth of food plans gives you a taster of how delicious and simple a plant based diet can be. You may also wish to check out our protein rich, lower carb snacks for more variation, and these amazing one pot plant based recipes.

You will also want to check out how to do a healthy, budget shop with our Ultimate Shopping Guide to Aldi.

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20 thoughts on “1 week, Plant Based Diet Meal Plan for Beginners (Low Budget)”

  1. Stefanie as always you out do yourself on these great posts. I want to cut the junky stuff out of my diet and I’m going to follow your weekly menu here. Can’t wait for your next amazing post. David

    1. What a great and heart touching comment David, thanks. I really do love it when I inspire people to a more healthy lifestyle. It makes it all worth it. That’s great you are going to try the diet plan. It’s just really designed to give you some ideas about how to put plant based meals together so you can get used to food combining.

      Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help. Thanks

  2. Hi. I’ve always believed in a plant-based diet. I followed it years ago, and lowered my cholesterol significantly. In addition to eating vegetables and fruit, I substituted meat with soy. I love tempeh, as it takes on the taste of whatever seasonings you use. I still eat sugar-free soynut butter. OMG. I eat it with an apple. I also eat TVP (texture vegetable protein) which has a couscous quality and takes on the flavor of whatever you put in it. It’s truly versatile. Thanks for a great post.

    1. Mmm I love the sound of those yummy things, and you know what, I’ve yet to actually try tempeh. I find it hard to get hold of where I live so I tend to eat soy instead if anything. I love the fact that it’s so high in protein, and it’s actually a protein that we absorb really well. Unfortunately, I only can have it once or twice a week or it messes with my hormones. Sometimes this can happen I’m told, but it’s not an issue for me in moderation.

      The fact that the plant based diet lowered your high cholesterol is just another testament to how healthy it is. So much can be treated through diet, and most are only just making the correlation. Fortunately, this lifestyle is getting very popular now so more and more people are reaping the benefits.

  3. Stefanie, I found your article very helpful both on giving me more information but also in terms of a practical guide to just getting started! I have a low carb diet and am working towards more and more plant-based meals or days. The main reason for my hesitation is lack of information so I will be using your suggested menu to get me started. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Fleur, im really glad you found this post helpful for getting you started. I try to eat a low carb, high protein diet too, which I found more challenging when I first went plant based. However, it’s totally doable with the right know how and all the brilliant plant based protein powders out there on the market. It really is exiting times for this type of lifestyle.

      Would love to know how you get on if you do decide to do the meal plan. It’s just designed to I’ve people a taster of how to put healthy meals together with proteins, fats, and a little carbs. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Donna, yes lots of people need the structure of a proper plan, especially if it is a completely new type of diet and they aren’t sure of nutrients etc. It’s vital to get everything you need on the plant based diet as its easy to eat too many far by foods and not enough protein.

      If you do give the food plan a go I would love to hear how you get on. Thanks

  4. I know I’ve noticed the benefits of eating more vegetables over the years, many of which you mentioned. I sometimes get called a rabbit at work when I pull out my bag of carrots and bag of spinach leaves (yes, I eat spinach leaves plain and out of a bag, lol). It’s not easy to get into the habit, but like exercise or any goal someone wants to achieve, easing into it is best (little by little!). I also think it’s great that we are seeing protein powder that’s plant-based. I remember even just a handful of years ago that this wasn’t really a thing, but the importance of making our diets more natural has risen quite a bit! Thanks for sharing the importance of plant-based diets and the suggestions on how to do it!

    1. Hi Jeremy, that comment really made me laugh, especially the part about the carrots and spinach because I do the exact same thing myself! One if my jobs I used to have my fruit and veg snacks all lined up on the counter and all my workmates took the Mick, however after some time they actually started to follow suit so I can only pressume that the healthy lifestyle does rub off on people. It really made me feel good, and kind of got me into studying nutrition properly.

      You are right, it wasn’t long ago that nobody had even heard of plant based protein lol. Not even me, I used to train at the gym and use whey protein powders (never did agree with me though, so I’m glad those days are long gone).

      It’s great to see things are changing now and we all have access to information on nutrition so we can help ourselves and our families lead healthier lives.

  5. I think a lot of people are looking for a plant-based diet because of the red meat drawbacks. I am going to be doing a plant-based diet in the upcoming months. Slowly, but surely I will transition into it.

    What about depression and the plant-based diet. I mean I know meats could have hormones in them. But all those hormones can’t be good for your mind either. Do you think plant-based diets help with anxiety, too?

    Personally, I hate soy-based protein powders though. It tastes horrible and I bought 5 lbs of it. It was the unflavored kind.

    1. Hi Garen, yes plant based is huge now which I’m hoping will mean exiting times for me and my website. It’s great you are going to be starting a plant based diet in the coming months. I promise you you really won’t regret it as you will feel great – if you do it properly. If you need any advice I have loads on my website so you may want to start by checking out

      As for your question about anxiety and depression, well I used to suffer both really badly when I was younger and it was good nutrition that cured me (and I really thought there would be no cure back then). Yes animal hormones definitely made a difference to me, being a woman especially, but unless you buy grass-fed organic produce then you will be taking in antibiotics and cheap animal feed. Basically you are eating anything that they eat!

      But the main things you need to do to beat depression is to eat a low GI diet which means lots of wholegrains like brown rice, pasta, buckwheat, spelt (all the brown things basically, though you may prefer to steer clear of wheat if you have problems with it), eat LOTS of fruit and veggies, steer clear of refined sugars, cut down caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and take 3000mg fish oils a day. The fish oils are so important and I have to take them every day otherwise it can start creeping back again.

      Also, weight bearing exercise is another thing that triggers a cascade of good feeling hormones and really blasts out depression. Plus it makes you look good. All of these things combined will beat depression I can assure you.

      And yes, soy is not the best as it’s estrogenic, so definitely not good for guys in large doses. Especially don’t take soy isolates as in the powders as they are even more concentrated. There are so many other plant based protein powders out there that you need never take soy again.

      1. Hey Stefanie,

        Sorry to hear that you have struggled with both depression and anxiety. I have heard that depression is hereditary though? Do you believe that is true?

        I’ve eaten grass fed steak and lamb before. It makes sense that it wouldn’t contain anything that they might be feeding the animals. Just wondering what do they fed most cows?

        I do tend to stay away from sugar too. It’s really bad for you and it’s really hard on your body as well. I too take fish oil and it does seem to help with depression. I will actually notice a huge difference if I have to go a couple days without it.

        Do you have any good recommendations for plant based protein?

        1. Hi Garen, yes I do think depression can be hereditary, but as far as I know nobody else in my family has suffered from it (not to the extent I did anyhow). I think mine was triggered by a mix of things that just built up at the time and it just hit me out of nowhere. I was only 17 so had no idea what was happening to me. Still, those events changed my life forever and I wouldn’t change any of it now as it’s made me who I am today – and able to help others.

          Yes, grass fed meat is much better by far, though more expensive. I think they feed cows some kind of grains but I’ve heard those grains can contain awful things, probably pesticides and chemicals, maybe medications to keep the animals well. I’m not actually vegan so I’m not up on all the animal welfare side of things. At least with grass fed you know that it has been allowed to naturally eat from the meadows like it should be, and it has been shown to be MUCH more nutritious.

          Yes, the fish oils are so great for depression and I recommend them to anybody suffering from it. I couldn’t live without mine; though I do find that I need a high dose of 3000mg a day for it to be effective – others may be different. And a low GI (low sugar) diet, along with weight bearing exercise, are the other two main things you need to do to fight depression and anxiety.

          Good plant based proteins are in legumes, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and quinoa. Quinoa is actually the best plant protein there is as it contains so much nutrition and a full amino acid profile. If you are vegan you should definitely be having it at least 3-4 times per week – more if possible. It’s so good I did a whole post about it!

          Don’t forget you can always add in some good plant based protein powders, there are so many to choose from these days

  6. I think you have outlined the benefits of a plant based diet wonderfully and given a great plan to start the transition. However, I wonder if a person could follow your plan with a small amount of lean meat added in. I just think making changes in your lifestyle should be done gradually. I can certainly get behind letting go of sugar, junk food and soda. While I know I won’t see as dramatic of results would this be a functional way to step up to plant based gradually?

    1. Hi Maryann, yes of course, you should do what feels comfortable to you. Too many big changes will only lead to failure if you aren’t ready for them. I think if you cut out the main nasty (which is sugar), and also trans fats, which are in most junk foods then you will be well on your way to feeling more energetic and healthy.

      For me, I started out cutting out all the junk but was still a meat eater for years. In fact, I only became properly plant based 18 months ago and found that I felt so great that I just had to share it with others. I did have problems at first though, as in not getting enough protein and a few other hiccup’s (I am however, a big exerciser so it really was extra important to get what I need), and this is why I have build this website, to help others get it right.

      It took me a long time to come round fully to a plant based diet; it’s a journey. Some people can just jump straight in and never look back which is awesome too. I think if you need some more help you could read this

  7. Hi Stefanie, love your site. I have been a veggo for 15 years, red meat gave me joint pain. Love the meal suggestions. Keep up the ‘Good’ work. A plant based diet isn’t just better for us, it’s essential for the survival of the planet.

    1. Wow, that’s great. 15 years is a long time so you must be very healthy! I can see from your website that you’re into fruit picking which makes absolute sense now ha ha.

      You are so right about the plant based diet being essential to the survival of the planet, and this is the exact reason why I do what I am doing – to be a part of this change and to help as much as I can in turning people around as effortlessly as possible. I don’t think people like too many big changes in one go so I try to go for the gentler approach, as it is hard to just go head first straight into it. That’s how I did it myself, one step at a time. Now I would never go back!

  8. Stephanie, thanks for the daily eating plan. That’s what I need. I’ve started to significantly increase my plant-based eating. I’m interested in how it’s going to help my memory and focus. I’m always amazed how much protein is in plant-based food. I’m glad you listed it out in your eating plan. Keep the great articles coming!

    1. Hi Brian, yes you will notice so many benefits when you start eating more plant based diet, it really can turn your health around. And if you do it properly you will be sure to meet your protein needs. In fact, if you follow my diet plan then you will be covering all bases and getting used to the amounts of macro nutrients you need. Good luck!

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