Did you know that the Vegetarian diet started being observed in the 6th century BCE in Greece? Pythagoras, who is sometimes referred to as the father of vegetarianism, publicly recommended that his followers consume a meatless diet in order to spiritually uplift themselves.
Over the years scholars have researched on some of the benefits of observing a vegetarian diet, with weight loss being one of them. So, if you are looking for tips on how to lose weight when on a vegetarian diet, then ease your mind as I got you covered through this article with a comprehensive guide.
I will help you understand in depth what a vegetarian diet is and some of the different types of vegetarian diets. I will also walk you through listicles of foods to eat and foods to avoid eating when on a vegetarian diet for weight loss. And if you are looking for Free and easy to follow meal plans samples, then read to the end of the article.
What is a vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian diet is a type of meal plan that mainly focuses on eating plant-based foods. However, some vegetarian diets incorporate animal products and by products in them.
How many types of vegetarian diets are there?
There are around 6 main types of vegetarian diets. These diets include;
#1. Vegan diet
In this diet people eat plant-based foods and exclusively avoid eating any animal product or by products such as gelatin or honey. According to research people who chose to adopt this type of diet accrue a number of health benefits. Such benefits include;
·Prevention and reduced risk of getting cardiovascular diseases
·Prevention and reduced risk of getting prostate, breast and colon cancer
·Aids in management of blood sugar levels in diabetic patients
·Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
·Achieving and maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) through weight loss
#2. Raw vegan diet
This is the most restrictive vegetarian diet. People who chose to implement this diet are required to avoid consuming any animal product or byproduct and only eat vegan foods that haven’t been heated above 46C. At this temperature fruits and vegetables nutritional value are intact.
However, a majority of medical practitioners don’t recommend this type of vegetarian diet due to its potential of causing one to have multiple nutrient deficiencies and also get food-borne illness due to eating undercooked food.
#3. Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet
In this type of vegetarian diet, one consumes dairy products and eggs but avoids consuming fish, poultry and any other type of meat. People who choose to observe this type of vegetarian diet should consume foods rich in iron, proteins, Vitamin B12 and D to make up for the nutrients present in meat.
#4. Macrobiotic diet
This vegetarian diet puts more emphasis on consuming chemical free plant-based foods. However, in this diet animal products are not fully excluded from the diet rather sporadically incorporated.
#5. Flexitarian or Semi-vegetarian diet
This diet is made up of at least 70-80% of vegetarian foods and 20-30% of animal products and by products. Occasionally flexitarians will consume any type of meat.
#5. Pescatarian diet
In this type of diet one can eat fish, crustaceans, mollusks, dairy products, plant-based products but exclusively avoid consuming any other type of meat and poultry. People who observe pescatarian diet have zero to minute chances of developing any nutrient deficiencies. However, its possible for such people to overeat fish, which may cause them to have a high mercury buildup in their body.
Barriers that may prevent one to lose weight while on a vegetarian diet
Below are some of the factors that may cause one not to lose weight while on a vegetarian diet:
·Consuming foods containing refined and simple carbohydrates
·Consuming foods with high calories
·Eating foods that are low in proteins
Tips on how to lose weight when on a vegetarian diet
Below are some of the most effective tips on how to lose weight when on a vegetarian diet;
#1. Create a flexible vegetarian diet timetable and adhere to it strictly
Come up with a flexible vegetarian diet timetable and strictly adhere to it. Make sure that the foods you chose are easy to cook and contain all the necessary nutrients.
#2. Cut down on your caloric intake
Consider cutting about 500-1000 calories from your regular caloric intake. Do this gradually. This will give your body time to adjust to the reduced caloric intake rather than adjust its metabolic activity to help you conserve its energy stores.
A physiological move that will cause you not to lose weight despite following a strict vegetarian diet. Never eat less than 1200 calories in a day, unless a certified healthcare practitioner advises you to do so.
#3. Munch on 8 servings of wholesome grains and products daily
Eating at least 8 servings of wholesome grains and products daily will not only help you lose weight but will also ensure that your body gets enough nutrients for optimal functioning. Whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, oatmeal and barley are perfect examples of wholesome grains that aid in weight lose when observing a vegetarian diet. It’s best to avoid refined grain products such as white bread as consuming such may cause you to add and not lose weight.
#4. Ensure that you take in 3 servings of legumes each day
When observing a vegetarian diet to lose weight its essential that you incorporate legumes in your diet. Legumes are a good source of fiber and proteins. Fiber is a natural appetite suppressant whereas proteins keep you feeling full throughout the day; this helps reduce the number of times you eat throughout the day. Thus, aiding in weight loss.
#5. Make sure that you consume at least 12 ounces of vegetables daily
In order to lose weight when on a vegetarian diet consider consuming 8 ounces of raw vegetables and 4 ounces of cooked vegetables daily. Make vegetable salads with vegetables of different colors and types. Types of vegetables you can eat when on vegetarian diet for weight loss;
·Leafy vegetables-lettuce, kales
·Cruciferous vegetables -Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage
·Squash vegetables-cucumber, pumpkin
·Root vegetables- carrots, beetroots, onions
·Stem vegetables- Rhubarb, asparagus, celery
#6. 3 servings of fruits are a must-have in your vegetarian diet
Fruits contain low quantities of calories, loads of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and high fiber content. All this work to aid a person to lose weight when on a vegetarian diet. Nutritionists recommend that one consumes at least 3 servings of low-calorie fruits, when observing a vegetarian diet for weight loss. Such fruits include mangoes, raspberries, oranges, kiwis, peaches and blueberries s.
#7. Limit your sweet intake to 1 serving daily
You can still satisfy your sugar cravings and lose weight while on a vegetarian diet, provided that you limit your sugar intake to 1 serving in a day.
#8. Regularly consume at least 240mls of yoghurt
Studies conducted have shown that regularly consuming yoghurts with less than 100 calories, 3.5grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 20grams of sugar significantly helps in lowering body fat, lessens weight gain rate and gives the consumer a smaller waist circumference. So, consider taking in at least 240mls of yoghurt regularly when on a vegetarian diet to lose weight.
#9. If possible, consider eliminating processed foods in your diet
Processed foods contain refined carbohydrates, added sugars, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and fats, all of which causes one to gain weight. So, if you are to lose weight when on a vegetarian diet, please steer clear of all processed foods.
#10. Adopt healthy lifestyle changes
A vegetarian diet on its own can help you lose weight but combining it with adopting a healthy lifestyle will sure help prevent you from regaining weight. Below are some of the things you can do to lose weight and keep it off for good when on a vegetarian diet;
·Engaging in physical activities. Consider taking brisk walks, doing aerobics, running, swimming and cycling
·Get enough sleep at night. If you are a teenager then consider sleeping for 8-10 hour and if you are an adult 7-9 hours of sleep are enough to fully re-energize your body and help you stay healthy
·Drink at least 240ml of water in a day to stay hydrated
Which vegetarian foods help in weight loss?
Below are some of the scientifically proven vegetarian foods that aid in weight loss;
·Beans and legumes; chickpeas, lentils, soybeans and peas
·Wholesome grains; Brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta and bread
·Hearty oils and fats; Avocado oil, sesame oil, olive oil, cheese
·Lean proteins; Tofu; powdered peanut butter, plain Greek yoghurt and low-fat cottage cheese
·Healthy fluids and sugar free-drinks; Water, milk, fruit juice, protein shakes, green tea, kombucha, coconut water
Which foods and drinks should one avoid when on a vegetarian diet for weight loss?
Foods to avoid when on a vegetarian diet for weight loss
·Condiments and sauces
·Artificially sweated beverages
·Sugary foods and desserts
·Overly processed vegetarian foods
Balanced vegetarian 7-day meal plan sample for weight loss
Below is an effective, easy to follow and balanced sample vegetarian diet for 1 week.
Breakfast; Goat cheese, 1 ounce of freshly microwaved mushroom sandwiched in a waffle.
Lunch; Vegetarian Ramen noodle salad
Dinner; Roasted butternut with squash soup
Snack; Greek yoghurt mixed with fruits
Breakfast; 1 bowl of Cauliflower oatmeal and a glass of blueberry lemonade
Lunch; 1 Chickpea omelet with baked mushrooms and spinach
Dinner; Mashed potatoes with parmesan vegetable soup
Snack; 2 and ¼ large squares of dark chocolate
Breakfast; 3 medium sized baked potatoes, 1 hard boiled egg, raspberries and 200mls of blended apple juice
Lunch; Sandwich filled with ¼ medium sized sliced avocado, parmesan cheese, tomatoes and sauteed onions
Dinner; Roasted Brussel sprouts with pasta
Snack; Kale chips or Almond joy-flavored balls
Breakfast; 1 apple, 1 glass of juiced pineapple fruit and an avocado-egg toast
Lunch; Green bean curry with boiled rice
Dinner; Beetroot soup with baked sweet potatoes
Snack; Dates or peach and honey popsicles
Breakfast; medium sized avocado, 4 medium sized sliced lettuce sandwiched into 2 toasted brown bread and a glass of freshly made Tamarind juice.
Lunch; Pasta, green peas and Feta cheese
Dinner; Chipotle spicy Black bean soup
Snack; Popcorns or seasoned baby carrots and hummus
Breakfast; 2 ripe Bananas and 350ml of plain vanilla yoghurt
Lunch; Brown rice mixed with red bell pepper, carrots, and garlic
Dinner; Broccoli cheese soup
Snack; Crunchy chickpeas
Breakfast; 2 medium sized oatmeal banana pancakes and a glass of blended pineapple juice mixed with 2 kale leaves
Lunch; Broccoli and lentil soup
Dinner; Vegan Garam Masala carrot soup with bean sprouts
Snack; Seasoned sliced tomatoes sprinkled with Feta cheese
How to lose weight on a vegetarian diet
Whether you chose to observe a vegan, raw vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, flexitarian, pescatarian or macrobiotic vegetarian diet it would be best to observe the following tips if you are to lose weight. Create a flexible vegetarian food time table and adhere to it, avoid drinking and eating processed drinks and foods and adopt a healthy lifestyle.