Atkin Diet Plan For Vegetarians


Atkin diet plan for vegetarians is not just a diet but a way of life. It takes a lot of discipline, but it is worth it when you see the amazing results. The positive effects are truly amazing. With proper Atkin vegetarian diet and exercise, you will lose weight and keep it off. I hope you don’t mind eating more vegetables! In this article, I will explain how vegans can follow the Atkins diet.

Is There a Vegetarian Atkins Diet?

My friend Susan asked me recently, “Is there a vegetarian Atkins Diet?” She’d seen that I had been successful on Atkins, but she doesn’t eat meat. I was stumped – I didn’t know the answer, so I decided to do some research to see if Susan could be an Atkins dieter and still avoid meat.

You’re probably pretty skeptical right now about a vegetarian Atkins Diet. A lot of people like you think that the Atkins diet is all about eating a lot of meat.

The truth is Atkins diet foods include a lot of meat, especially in the Induction Phase, but this is in order to get the protein needed to help you burn off calories and fat effectively. If you are creative and willing to educate yourself, you can find alternatives to meat that will work when implementing a vegetarian Atkins Diet.

Modifying the Atkins Diet Plan

If you are a complete Vegan (eating only fruits, vegetables and grains and nothing else) you probably won’t be successful on the Atkins diet. It’s simply too difficult to find low carb fruits, vegetables and grains that can provide enough protein without too many carbohydrates.

Vegetarians, however, can find ways to modify the Atkins Diet to suit their own diet restrictions.

Finding Substitutes for Meat

The most important thing to do is find suitable substitutes for meat that will provide plenty of protein for a vegetarian Atkins dieter. My friend Susan and I started looking into options that would be both tasty and nutritious.

We discovered that there are plenty of foods that fit the bill that also happen to be high in minerals, Omega-3 and antioxidants. Some of the substitutions for meat that she really enjoyed were:

  • Tofu – You can cook this in lots of ways, including as a substitute for meat in casseroles and stir-fry dishes.
  • Beans – There are so many of these that are high protein and low carb, including Great Northern, Lima, Favas and Mung Beans. Fajitas, salads, soups and loads of other tasty dishes can be made from these.
  • Eggs – If you aren’t opposed to them, are one of the most perfect sources of protein there is.
  • Nuts and Seeds – Try pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  • Brown Rice – After the Atkins Diet Induction phase, try adding long-grain brown rice, which is low carb and packs a great nutritional punch.
  • Gluten Meat Substitutes – Gluten comes from grains such as wheat and rye, but has been processed so that the starches are washed away. Cooked properly (try seasoning with broths and vegetable stocks), it can be delicious. Seitan is one name for this, and you can use it in sandwiches or cook it any lots of ways. Look for an Asian or vegetarian cookbook for ideas.
  • Cottage Cheese – If you are a vegetarian who will eat dairy products, low fat cottage cheese has lots of protein and very little fat.
  • Fish – Susan, like some vegetarians, will eat fish but not meat. If you can do this, fish is an excellent source of protein and will really add flavor and variety to the Atkins diet for you.
  • Meat Substitutes Made from Vegetables – Look for brands like Boca, which makes vegetarian burgers and other dishes. Check the carb count and make sure it’s within the range for the phase you are at in the Atkins Diet.

There are plenty of vegetables on the Atkins diet that will suit all vegetarians, but do try to stick to the ones that are lower in carbohydrates since you’ll be eating more of these than the typical Atkins dieter.

Fruits will need to be watched, too. Susan learned that berries are a great choice instead of apples, pears or other starchy fruits.

Atkins Diet Plan For Vegetarians

I started my Atkins Diet (read Low Carb diet) as a non-vegetarian but the moment I shifted from Bhubaneswar to Noida it became difficult for me to continue with that as I didn’t want to eat costly fish brought from the notoriously polluted Yamuna. Read my non-vegetarian diet plan.

I like chicken but can’t eat it on a daily basis while eating pork and beef are out of the question. So I was left with hardly any option but to shift to my ‘generally vegetarian’ lifestyle. A look at the weekly Tuesday vegetable shopping spree made me too happy as it was full of low-carb vegetables. This is the list of veggies I buy every week mainly for their low-carb content. So here is the list with the carb content of each veggie.

VegetableCarbs gm / 100gm
1Broccoli boiled1.3
2Cabbage boiled0.6
3Spinach raw1.6
4lettuce1.4 to 1.9
5Sarson raw4.7
6Mushrooms raw3.4
7Capsicum raw2.6
8Eggplant raw2.2
10Tomatoes raw3
11Cucumber raw1.5
12Red cabbage raw3.7
13Radish raw2
14Pumpkin raw2.2
15Cauliflower boiled2.3
16Baby corn boiled2.7
17Okra  raw3
18Mung sprouts raw4
19Carrots raw6
20Red pepper raw6.4
21Onions raw8

After going through this list you can surely have a general idea about how you can create a healthy and tasty low carb meal. Make salads, soups or sauté them.

If you eat eggs then add a handful of cabbage, chopped spinach, a tsp of chopped onions, a garlic clove chopped to 2 beaten eggs and sauté in a tbsp butter. Sprinkle salt, pepper and there you have a full meal ready.

Here is an easy recipe for low-carb vegetarian which is my favorite.

IMPORTANT – If you are vegan or intolerant to eggs you can make the same recipe without eggs and with an increase in Tofu/Paneer. It will be better to blend tofu/paneer into cream form for better baking.

atkins vegetarian diet weight loss


Number of servings – 4 (can make 2 too) 😛


Eggs – 4

Tofu – 50 g / Paneer – 30g

Capsicum – 50 g

Spinach – 100g

Onions – 2 tbsp chopped

Butter – 2 tbsp

Milk – 0.5 cup

Per Serving:

calories – 169

carbs – 3

fat- 13

protein – 9

cholesterol -18

fiber -1

net carb – 2 (per serve)

Atkins Diet Plan For Vegetarians

Mix everything together and either micro high for 4-5 minutes or make into a thick omelet. Believe me, it’s yummy and healthy 🙂

Atkins Diet Plan For Vegetarians

My vegetarian low-carb meal plan generally goes like this.

Early morning

A tsp of roasted methi powder with 2 glasses of water. After this a big mugful of black tea without sugar with a tbsp milk cream (malai) and four almonds.


After my Walk at Home program. Two eggs cooked with veggies and lots of butter. (Above mentioned recipe) and a big mug of black coffee with 1 tablet stevias.


Big plate of salad (blanched cabbage, capsicum, spinach) with 40g paneer crumbled in it.

Evening tea

Black tea with cream and 20 gms peanuts/ walnuts.


Cabbage, capsicum, ginger, spinach, green chilies and coriander sautéed/ baked/ soup. A few almonds for that sweet tooth satiety. 😉

You can always keep changing the vegetable combinations. Like at times I just love to have a bowl of ‘Sarson Palak’s Saag’ with a big spoon full of desi ghee. It is great in winter for dinner.

TIP OF THE DAY – To keep portions under control chop and weigh veggies in the morning only and keep them aside so that you are clear about your daily allowances.

Atkins for Vegetarians


It’s perfectly possible to be a vegetarian—or simply minimize intake of animal protein, add variety to meals and trim the food budget—and still do Atkins. The typical American vegetarian often consumes far too many carbohydrates in the form of pasta and other refined grains. As long as at least two varieties of plant protein are consumed each day, a vegetarian can achieve a balance of essential amino acids. Because plant proteins are “packaged” with carbohydrate, the trick is to consume enough protein without simultaneously getting so much carbohydrate that it interferes with weight management. Assuming egg and dairy intake, it is relatively easy to do Atkins as a vegetarian, starting in Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL). 

To adapt Atkins to the needs of an ovo-lacto vegetarian:

  • Start in Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), at 30 grams of Net Carbs. Advance by 5 grams of Net Carbs each week or every few weeks, as long as weight loss continues, until 10 pounds from weight goal.
  • Eat Induction-acceptable vegetables, known as foundation vegetables —which will constitute the majority of carbohydrates, and gradually add acceptable Phase 2 foods. These include most nuts and seeds and their butters, berries and a few other fruits, plus legumes. Add back nuts and seeds before berries as the former contain fat and protein, which will make Atkins easier to do and more effective.
  • Add Phase 2 foods in the order listed on the Carb Ladder, with the exception of all unsweetened dairy products (but not milk, whether whole, skim, low fat, or no fat and buttermilk), which should come before berries.
  • Or, if the patient needs to lose no more than 20 pounds and is willing to swap slower weight loss for more food variety, he or she may start in Phase 3, Pre-Maintenance, at 50 grams of Net Carbs.
  • Make sure to get sufficient protein in eggs, cheese and soy products. Aim for no more than 6 grams of Net Carbs per serving of protein foods in OWL.
  • Meat substitutes may be made from textured vegetable protein (TVP), soy protein (tofu and tempeh), wheat gluten (seitan) and even fungi (Quorn), among other ingredients. There are numerous soy and rice cheeses, soy burgers and other analogues. A more comprehensive list of these foods appears in Acceptable Induction Foods: Soy and Vegetarian Products. Some of these products contain added sugars and starches and some are breaded, so it is necessary to read the list of ingredients carefully.
  • Most non-animal protein sources (except for tofu and nut butters) are low in fat. Be sure to get enough healthy oils in other dishes by dressing vegetables and salads with olive oil, canola oil, high-oleic safflower, walnut, flaxseed and other oils so as not to interfere with fat metabolism. Also enjoy high-fat snacks such as half a Haas avocado or some olives. 
  • If desired, legumes can be reintroduced before other OWL-acceptable foods. But do so in extreme moderation (2-tablespoon servings), using them to garnish soups or salads.
  • Tempeh, made with fermented soybeans, is higher in protein than tofu and more flavorful. Avoid tempeh products that include rice or another grain until Pre-Maintenance.
  • Shakes made with plain unsweetened soymilk or, almond milk, soy or hemp protein powder, berries and a little sweetener can make a tasty breakfast.
  • Pure silken tofu with berries and other fruit in shakes, adding peanut or almond butter for added protein; or saut? firm tofu with vegetables for lunch or dinner.

What to Expect

After a week at 30 grams of Net Carbs, assuming weight loss of two or more pounds and the absence of cravings, it’s time to move up to 35 grams. As long as weight loss continues, add another 5 grams of carbs every week or several weeks until 10 pounds from goal weight. At this point, it’s time to transition to Phase 3, Pre-Maintenance.

For vegetarians who eat no eggs and dairy: 

  • Dairy substitutes tend to be lower in carbs than their counterparts, although some cheeses are actually higher. Read the labels, as always. As long as these products don’t contain added sugar or fillers, they’re acceptable on Atkins. 
  • Products such as vegetarian “bacon,” “sausage,” “burgers,” and “meatballs” usually contain just a few carbs per serving. Seitan is made with wheat gluten (the protein component of wheat) and is used for many meat analogs. It can be stir-fried, but its texture improves when it is simmered, braised or oven-baked. ​
  • Substitute crumbled silken tofu for scrambled eggs—a pinch of turmeric provides an appealing yellow hue. For baking, use an egg substitute product.
  • Even some vegetarian products, such as Quorn, as well as shakes, may contain eggs or whey. Read labels carefully.
  • Mayonnaise made with soy instead of eggs, mixed with crumbled tofu, chopped celery and onions, and a little curry powder makes a tasty eggless salad.
  • Silken tofu and soy creamer can be used in desserts; use agar-agar in jellied desserts.
  • Non-dairy “sour cream” and “yogurt” go nicely with berries.

Pre-Maintenance and Beyond

Whole grains usually loom large for vegetarians, and starchy vegetables are often important components of meals. However, they’re among the very foods that may have played a role in weight gain. These foods (and legumes) need to be reintroduced carefully and regarded as side dishes, rather than the mainstays of a meal. Over time, individuals may find that they can tolerate larger portions as long as they steer clear of refined grains and most processed foods. Vegetarians should diverge from the Carbohydrate Ladder by adding back starchy vegetables, followed by whole grains, before higher-carb fruits (other than the berries and melon acceptable in OWL).
Phase 2, 3 and 4 meal plans for vegetarians can be found in The New

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