Every year, more and more people embrace the vegan lifestyle. However, there is a genuine concern of not getting sufficient nutrients from plant-based sources alone.
One of the most critical vitamins often discussed in the vegan diet is vitamin B12. This is an essential vitamin necessary for optimal health. It contributes to red blood cell formation, nervous system function, and DNA synthesis. Pretty important stuff, right?
Luckily, there are plenty of vegan sources for vitamin B12 that make it easy for vegans to get enough of this critical nutrient. These sources are all fortified with vitamin B12, so you can rest easy knowing you’re getting plenty in your diet.
1. Nutritional yeast
I love nutritional yeast and I use it in so many different dishes. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B12 and it’s easy to sprinkle onto foods or incorporate into recipes. It’s often used as a cheese substitute due to its savory and umami flavor. So, throw it in your mac and “cheese” or scrambled tofu for breakfast. It’s also really lightweight and perfect for the vegan-on-the-go.
I like Bragg’s nutritional yeast because it offers 40% of your daily value, and they come in different flavors which is great!
2. Tempeh and Tofu
Tempeh and tofu are both soybean products that make it easy for vegans to meet their daily vitamin B12 requirements. You can make a tasty tofu stir-fry, or use tempeh meat in your tacos. It’s also high in protein so it’s the perfect way to make a satisfying meal that will fill you up while also meeting your nutrient requirements!
3. Plant-based Milks
Just like dairy milks, plant-based milks are often fortified with vitamins. Many brands of soy milk (or other plant-based milks) are fortified with vitamin B12, making it easy to access this nutrient. It’s easy to use vegan milk in various recipes, including smoothies, lattes, or even baked goods.
4. Fortified Cereals
There are so many vegan cereals on the market today, and many of them pack a punch when it comes to fortified vitamins and minerals. It’s a quick and easy source for this essential nutrient. I even pack baggies of cereal for snacks on the go. Keep an eye out for cereal brand that have a large percentage of your daily vitamin B12 requirement per serving.
I really like Kashi brand, and they’re easy to find and go on sale frequently.
5. Vegan Cheese
Vegan cheese has come a long way over the years. I remember years ago when it was very bland, didn’t melt, and just tasted off. Well, those days are over. Vegan cheese tastes delicious now, and it’s a great source of vitamin B12.
6. Snack Bars
I love grabbing a quick snack or energy bar for the road. I don’t always have time to make my own. Luckily, there are so many options for snack and protein bars that are both vegan and fortified with vitamin B12. Next time you’re at the grocery store, stop into the protein bar aisle. It may take a little time to sift through all the options, but you may just find your new favorite flavor! Most of the options that are fortified with vitamin B12 will clearly state so on the front of the wrapper, but you may need to do some digging.
VK Energy bars and some Luna Bar varieties have a good amount of vitamin B12.
7. Energy Drinks
I’m not a huge fan of energy drinks myself, but sometimes, it’s just what you need. If I have a long day ahead of me (or I need to do a lot of driving), I’ve been known to indulge in an energy drink. It’s more of a treat for me as opposed to an everyday thing.
Most energy drinks on the market are fortified with vitamin B12. There are lots of new options available today as well! Move over, Red Bull.
8. Vitamins and Supplements
When it comes down to it, it’s really difficult to get vitamin B12 as a vegan. So, I take a vitamin supplement everyday to make sure I am getting what I need. There are so many vegan supplement brands on the market today, and you don’t need anything fancy or expensive. Choose one that is well-rounded and gives you what you may not be getting from your diet alone. You can also take a multi-vitamin that has B12 incorporated. There are also B12 vitamin sprays that are delicious!
As enjoyable and healthy it is to follow a vegan diet, there are a lot of challenges as well! Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that vegans can easily get by adding specific plant-based foods to their diet. Incorporating these eight vegan sources of vitamin B12 into your meals can make it easier for you to reach your daily recommended intake of this vital nutrient.