The Vegetarian Diet
It's true that, depending on your weight-loss goals, some diets are better than others. While some people just want to lose weight quickly, eating a vegetarian diet supports heart health and helps prevent diabetes while it leads to weight loss. You can lose weight and remain healthy without eating meat.
How Does the Vegetarian Diet Work?
There are different types of vegetarians, so the first thing to do is decide which one you want to be. The most common type is lacto-ovo, which means avoiding eating meat and fish but continuing to eat eggs and dairy products. Lacto-vegetarians, on the other hand, do not eat meat or consume dairy products or eggs.
With a daily goal of 2,000 calories in mind, a vegetarian diet will include a few items, such as:
- 2 cups of fruit
- 6 ounces of grains
- 5 1/2 ounces of protein
- 2 1/2 cups of vegetables
Trying the Vegetarian Diet
If you're a beginner, take your time and go at your own pace. Remove meat from a few of your dishes each week instead of going cold turkey.
While meat and fish can be very expensive, you may be surprised at how much it costs to stay stocked in whole grains, produce, and plant-based proteins. Try to find generic (store-brand) products, such as canned beans or bulk nuts.
Will You Lose Weight?
If you maintain a diet of plant-based protein, limit sugar intake, and don't overdo it with the fats (cheese and nuts), you are likely to lose weight, especially if exercise is part of the mix.
How Easy Is the Vegetarian Diet to Follow?
A person who is dieting for the first time may struggle with the change in calorie consumption, but it's not impossible. Overall, this diet is easier to follow than a lot of other diets. Trying new recipes are easy. There are lots of recipes available in cookbooks, magazines, and on the Internet. If you're one for dining out, there are a lot of restaurants that offer savory meat-free dishes that are healthy and filling.
While alcohol is vegetarian, it contains sugar, can cause liver damage, and will not help much with weight loss, so keep alcohol to a minimum.
Preparing meals for this diet are often time-consuming, so set extra time aside to make something great. As far as satiety (the feeling of being full) is concerned, you have nothing to worry about. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are filling and leave you satisfied between meals.
Exercise at least twice per week. Proper exercise includes swimming, jogging, running, walking, and any other activities that gives your body a workout and get your blood circulating. You can exercise indoors and outdoors for a change of scenery and difference in terrain.
Simple Vegetarian Meal Plan
*Keep in mind these samples are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.*
- 3 pancakes (buckwheat) with 2 tsp. soft margarine, 3 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, and 3/4 cup ripe honeydew melon
- 1/2 cup milk (fat-free)
- Low-fat yogurt
- 8 ounces water
- 1 1/4 cup vegetable soup with 1/2 cup white beans (rinsed), 2 ounces breadsticks. and 8 fresh baby carrots
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- 1 banana
- 8 ounces water
- 4 ounces firm tofu with 1/4 cup fresh bell peppers (green and red), 1/2 cup fresh bok choy, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup iced tea with lemon
Vegetarian Dieting Tips
- Don't Fill Up on Junk Food Many people are surprised that being vegetarian does not necessarily mean eating healthy. It just means you do not eat meat. One of the last things you want to be is a junk food vegetarian. Stay away from boxed vegan or vegetarian treats, and remember, unhealthy food options, such as frozen pizza with soy pepperoni and non-dairy cheese, are not alternatives for foods that are unhealthy.
- It's Okay to Season Your Food You can easily get caught up in counting calories and forget about the importance of the taste of your food. Instead of saturating your food with unnecessary fats, use natural seasonings. Investing in an herb rack is well-worth the money. You can experiment with a variety of herbs to enhance the flavor of your meals.
- Eat Organic Foods Organic foods are more expensive than non-organic foods, but the benefits are rewarding. Foods that are organic are grown in dense soil, which creates healthy foods that are packed with nutrients. These are the foods that leave you fuller longer, so you are less likely to overeat.
- Choose Healthy Snacks It's easy to munch on what's in front of you and call it a day. Unfortunately, what's in front of you may not be healthy. It takes a lot of motivation and determination not to eat junk food. Healthy snacks include fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Plain yogurt is great to eat for a snack. Add fresh fruit to mix things up a bit.
- Bring on the Oatmeal Oatmeal is great because you can add so many different flavors to it, including cinnamon and fruit, to create the perfect breakfast. It's also filling and will satisfy your hunger for hours.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2017 Brittany N Rockette