But irrespective of what one believes or not, adhering to a vegetarian diet can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to shed some kilos. As healthy as it may be, you may find it difficult to lose weight on a vegetarian diet, especially, when you have no source of protein and are consuming too many refined carbs.
What is a vegetarian diet?
Resorting to a vegetarian diet means abstaining from the consumption of meat, fish and poultry. While some people follow it due to ethical reasons, in some cultures, this may have a religious association.
That said, a vegetarian diet can be of different types. Some of them are as follows.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian excludes meat and fish but allows poultry products.
– Lacto-vegetarian includes only dairy products but disallows the consumption of eggs, meat and fish.
– Ovo-vegetarian accepts eating of eggs but excludes dairy, meat, fish, and poultry
– Veganism demands abstinence from all animal products including honey, dairy, egg, meat or wearing fur.
Advantages of going vegetarian
While a vegetarian diet is rich in nutrients and has some of the most healthy foods, it is associated with a reduced risk of chronic illnesses like heart diseases, cancer, diabetes and hypertension.
Additionally, vegetarian diets consist mainly of green vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, etc., it is highly rich in fibre and therefore works wonders for people looking to lose weight. It also has a positive impact on your digestive health.
How can vegetarian diet limit your weight loss goals?
Vegetarian diet can surely aid your weight loss goals. However, many factors can lead to a downslide and instead of helping you lose weight, you might end up gaining more.
As vegetarian diet excludes meat, egg, and fish, you may lack the necessary proteins needed for the body to burn energy.
Proteins help us stay full for a longer period of time. It is what helps us keep off of high-calorie foods and boosts weight loss. But with a vegetarian diet, we may lack protein and instead indulge in overeating.
Also, when you are on a vegetarian diet, there is a possibility that you consume too many refined carbs such as bread, pizza, and pasta. These foods lack fibre which again promotes overeating and hinders your weight loss efforts.
Apart from that, a vegetarian diet may lead you to overeat of calorie-rich foods. Avocados, nuts, coconut and other foods which are a major part of the vegetarian diet and are highly nutritious, can add to the fats in your body.
That said, while sticking to a vegetarian diet may be healthy and nutritious, it has its own set of cons.
How to lose weight on a vegetarian diet?
If you’re looking to shed some kilos and also want to accomplish it with your vegetarian diet, here’s how you can do it effectively.
Choose high fibre foods like broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, leafy greens, and mushrooms.
– Add vegetarian-friendly proteins to your diet such as nuts, seeds, lentils, etc.
– Switch to complex carbs like whole grain, fruits and legumes
– Limit high processed foods.
Besides that, remember to practice mindfulness even when you’re on a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian foods to eat and avoid
If you’re on a vegetarian diet, there are a certain you should incorporate in your meals and some that you must avoid, especially when you’re looking to lose weight.
Foods to eat
High-fibre vegetables – Cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, arrots, celery, and cucumber
Fruits – Apples, bananas, grapes, citrus, kiwi and berries
Wholegrain foods – Brown rice, farro, millet, quinoa and barley
Legumes – Lentils, pinto beans, black beans and kidney beans
Healthy fats – Avocado, olive oil, coconut, nuts, seeds
Protein – Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, nut butters, milk and Greek yogurt
Foods to avoid
High-processed foods like burgers, fries, frozen desserts much be avoided.
Stay away from refined carbs such as pasta, bread, bagel, etc.
Besides that, soda, sugary drinks and shakes must be avoided at all times.
Vegetarian meal plans for weight loss
If you’re a vegetarian and are looking to lose some weight, then having a meal plan is of utmost importance. That said, here’s a look at vegetarian meal plans for day.
Breakfast: You breakfast must be the biggest meal of the day. While meat and fish is off the charts, you can treat yourself to some delicious wholegrain oats with some high-fibre fruits. Or else you can incorporate different fruits and vegetables along with some seeds and nuts that will provide you with all the important nutrients to start the day.
Lunch: Your lunch can consist of brown rice with any kind of legumes. Apart from that you can munch on some freshly cut fruits like apples, berries or avocado.
Dinner: Keep you dinner lighter than both the previous meals of the day. You can either indulge yourself in some soup of zucchini noodles along with some side salad. A Greek yogurt can also be eaten as an alternative.
In case you start craving food again, keep aside some dark chocolates or string cheese or almonds to munch on.