The best vegan meal plan for weight loss will include foods like vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Many vegans enjoy the wholesome benefits of a plant-based diet and enthusiastically recommend it to friends and family. But is there a reason behind the enthusiasm? Here you will find the best meal plan for weight loss as well as other diet recipes to help you get lean and stay healthy.
Best vegan weight loss plans
Vegan diet for weight loss
A vegan diet excludes all animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs, and instead emphasizes meals and drinks made from plants. Vegans forgo all animal products and foods in favor of leafy greens, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, which are high in vitamins and protein, as opposed to vegetarians who may still eat dairy or eggs.
A plant-based diet is consumed by some vegans, however not all plant-based diets are vegan. You must keep in mind the distinction between a vegan diet and a plant-based diet. One might technically call themselves vegan even if they only consumed junk food. You must consume fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding refined sugars, salt, and animal products if you follow a plant-based diet.
Because most vegan diets are lower in calories and higher in fiber, many individuals will naturally lose weight when making the switch, but if you follow a vegan diet incorrectly, you could become unhealthy and even gain weight.
A vegan is someone who abstains from eating any meat or byproducts of animals, such as gelatin and honey. You might need to take extra care to ensure your health because historically, Americans have relied on meat and animal products like milk and eggs as a source of the many vital nutrients our systems require.
Great for customization
The independence the eating plan grants you is probably what vegans find most appealing about WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers. You can practically apply any dietary restriction or food preference to it because it is so adjustable. According to the SmartPoints system, which WW Freestyle uses, each food is given a certain number of “points” based on how many nutrients it contains. While healthier options have less points and many vegan items have none at all, foods with higher calorie, fat, and sugar content have more points, so you can eat as much as you like. Because WW alters your lifestyle rather than just a few meals, it is successful. Additionally, there is a sizable social network for dieters to celebrate their weight loss, exchange recipes, and offer support, both offline and online.
|HIGHLIGHTSZero Points foods include a variety of fruits, veggies and plant-based proteinsFind free vegan recipes, community support and other resources online|
Our favorite for athletes
Beachbody’s Vegan 21 Day Fix
The Vegan 21 Day Fix Eating Plans from Beachbody include a color-coded system of containers, a shopping list for a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, nut butters, plant-based protein, canned foods, vegan protein shakes, and other seasonings and sauces. Breakfast on this vegan diet consists of oats with a banana, cinnamon, and either chia seeds or coconut oil. You may prepare bean and avocado tacos for lunch or a lentil wrap with quinoa and a lemon tarragon vinaigrette for supper. Celery with peanut butter and Tropical Strawberry Shakeology are two possibilities for snacks. This vegan meal prep plan is available through the Beachbody On Demand app and is for people who need a calorie range of 1,200–1,499.
|HIGHLIGHTSEasy to practice portion control while still getting enough essential nutrition and proteinThe base kit includes 6 Simple Fitness DVDs, portion-control containers, a weight loss guide and a weight loss calendar|
Good for new vegans
Veganuary, which is advised for beginning vegans, offers inspiring ideas for wholesome, plant-based meals that will shake up your regular cooking habits. You can write your own remarks in the additional space provided when you download printed recipes. Additionally to the Quick and Convenient Meal Plan for busy lifestyles, Love to Cook offers meal plans that are nut-, gluten-, and soy-free. meal preparation for chefs, A family-friendly meal plan featuring kid-friendly meals and a sport nutrition meal plan for athletes are both available. A carefully compiled list of the Veganuary team’s preferred meals is the What Real Vegans Eat Meal Plan. Before signing up for Veganuary meal plans, the company provides some basic nutritional data for each recipe but advises you to conduct your own study.
|HIGHLIGHTSThe charity supports month-long vegan pledges for nutritional, environmental and animal rights causesFree access to meal plans, shopping guides, expert advice and nutritional facts|
Our pick for young adults
22 Days Nutrition
The 22 Days Nutrition vegan meal plan was developed on the premise that changing your eating habits takes 21 days, therefore by day 22, your life should have already improved. You receive a plan that is personalized to meet your lifestyle and ongoing help from nutrition consultants when you sign up for 22 Days’ Vegan Meal Planner. Every day, new dishes are published, and every meal has a nutritional breakdown. Grocery delivery is also an option in some areas. Without factoring in the cost of groceries, the cost of the plan is roughly $1.90 each week. The 22 Days offers culinary method tutorials for complete beginners and has meals to fit practically any ability level.
|HIGHLIGHTS100% plant-based, USDA organic, gluten-free and soy-free mealsEndorsed by Beyoncé|
Good for animal lovers
The free two-week vegan meal plan from PETA is ideal for both seasoned vegans and those who want to go vegan but are unsure of where to begin. You may simply prepare the following 14 days’ worth of original, wholesome, plant-based meals at home: Breakfast options include a coconut berry chai parfait or a bagel with tomato lox and cashew cream. Most soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch and dinner are high-fiber, low-sugar options; however, other dishes, such tempeh tequila taco sliders or gimbap, need more time in the kitchen. Similar to meals, dishes for snacks might be straightforward—like popcorn with nutritional yeast—or a little more challenging. An example of the latter are spicy buffalo cauliflower “wings.”
|HIGHLIGHTSProvides free articles, videos and other resources on animal cruelty and abuse in the food industry as well as in laboratories, clothing trade and the entertainment industrySign up for PETA’s free e-newsletter for more recipes, information on vegan trends and animal abuse investigations|
|AUTHORIZED PARTNERCall Now Toll Free(866) 398-1868Learn MoreGet a Quote|
How to eat vegan
Despite the fact that some people start a vegan diet in an effort to lose weight rapidly, it’s vital to remember that a bad vegan diet lacks the nutrients necessary for a healthy adult and is not always associated with weight loss. You must select a vegan diet that is most suitable for your body and way of life because many vegan-friendly foods (such as juices and refined grains) nevertheless include significant amounts of sugar and carbohydrates.
- Load up on fiber and whole grains
Upping your fiber intake can help you control your sugar levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and improve regular bowel movements. It also helps that the more fiber you eat, the fuller you feel, which leads to more weight loss.Because dietary fiber comes from plant-based food, vegans often easily add much more fiber to their diets naturally, but there is always room for improvement. The vegan food pyramid recommends that vegans choose higher fiber starchy foods, including sweet potatoes and whole-wheat pasta, rather than their less-healthy counterparts. High in fiber and low in calories, dark leafy greens are versatile and amazing for you. Some essential items for your vegan diet grocery list:
- Bok choy
- Flax seeds
- Find lean protein options
Proteins take longer to digest than carbohydrates, meaning you feel fuller for longer. Protein also helps cells repair themselves and builds lean, healthy muscles. But because a vegan diet restricts animal products, finding foods with lean protein can be difficult.Beware of “faux” meats and cheeses. They are often over-processed and full of sodium.One of the best sources for vegan protein includes foods in the legume family. For example, one cup of peas contains the same amount of protein as a cup of dairy milk. Another great option is quinoa, which is technically a seed that contains more than eight grams of protein per cup, plus all nine essential amino acids that the body needs.Foods like legumes and quinoa can easily be added into the diet in simple ways, like in soup and salads or as delicious and filling side dishes. Other simple protein-rich additions to a vegan diet include hemp and chia seeds, nuts. Here’s what to add to your shopping cart:
- Chia seeds
- Plant-based protein powder
- Partner with an established program
Starting a vegan diet can seem daunting, but vegan weight loss programs can ease you into the vegan lifestyle by giving you creative recipes that check all the nutrition and wellness boxes. This gives you the ability to learn how to eat vegan the right way. Just make sure to find a commercial vegan weight loss program that adheres to a full, well-rounded vegan diet.One great option is the Weight Watchers Freestyle program, designed specifically for vegans. This program includes recipes for foods such as veggie lettuce wraps, lemony beet hummus and vegan chocolate mousse. It’s great for those just beginning their vegan diet or looking to shake things up. Beachbody offers a variety of plant-based Shakeology vegan protein powder in flavors like Café Latte and Vanilla.
How to Lose Weight on a Vegetarian Diet
In recent years, vegetarianism has gained popularity.
This diet may help people lose weight and is linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases.
However, if you eat too many refined carbs or highly processed foods, you may find it challenging to lose weight on a vegetarian diet.
In this essay, we’ll go through vegetarian weight loss methods.
What is a vegetarian diet?
Vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, and poultry.
Some people may follow this diet for religious or ethical reasons, while others are drawn to its possible health benefits.
The main types of vegetarian diets are:
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: allows eggs and dairy but excludes meat, fish, and poultry
- Lacto-vegetarian: allows dairy but excludes eggs, meat, fish, and poultry
- Ovo-vegetarian: allows eggs but excludes dairy, meat, fish, and poultry
- Vegan: excludes all animal products, including honey, dairy, and eggs
The flexitarian (which eats some animal products but is primarily vegetarian) and pescatarian (which eats fish but no meat) diets are two more plant-based eating styles.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are often the main ingredients in vegetarian diets. These foods tend to have fewer calories, fat, and protein than animal meals and are higher in fiber, micronutrients, and healthy plant components.
This diet is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, several malignancies, diabetes, and high blood pressure because it places an emphasis on nutrient-rich foods.
Additionally, research demonstrate that adopting a vegetarian diet might be a successful strategy for weight loss.
The advantages of being a vegetarian, however, mostly rely on the foods you eat and your overall eating patterns.
In comparison to a diet based on unprocessed, whole plant foods, overeating or consuming too many highly processed meals may have various drawbacks.
A vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry and mostly focuses on plant foods. It has been linked to weight loss and a reduced risk of chronic diseases, but these benefits depend on which foods you eat.
Barriers to losing weight on a vegetarian diet
While vegetarianism may seem like an effective way to shed excess weight, several factors may prevent this from happening.
Eating large portions and not enough protein
Gaining weight might happen if you consume more calories than you require.
Even if you follow a vegetarian diet and eat plenty of healthy foods, you might be serving yourself more portions than you really need.
This is especially typical if you consume too little protein.
Ghrelin, a hormone that controls appetite, is decreased by protein, increasing fullness, which may lead to a reduction in overall calorie intake and an increase in weight loss.
Your attempts to lose weight may be hampered if you don’t consume enough protein since you might eat more to feel satisfied.
Even though a vegetarian diet makes it simple to receive all the protein you need, cutting off meat may be challenging at first.
Eating too many refined carbs
When eating a vegetarian diet, it might be simple to overindulge in foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as bread, pizza, and pasta.
They are frequently offered and occasionally the sole vegetarian options at establishments or gatherings.
Foods high in refined carbohydrates typically lack fiber and do not satisfy hunger as well as complex, whole-grain carbohydrates. They may therefore cause you to consume too many calories.
Furthermore, some research contend that refined carbohydrates increase the amount of insulin released, which is a hormone that controls blood sugar. Additionally, this could lead to weight gain.
In instance, one study involving almost 500,000 adults found a clear correlation between increased insulin levels following carb ingestion and a higher body mass index (BMI)
Overdoing calorie-rich foods
You may significantly raise your intake of high-fat plant foods while switching to a vegetarian diet.
Avocados, coconut, nuts, seeds, and nut butters are frequently used in vegetarian dishes. Despite the fact that these meals are highly healthy and nourishing, they also include 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories for proteins and carbohydrates.
For example, 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter contain a whopping 191 calories, 148 of which are from fat.
Furthermore, a lot of people consume more nut butters and other healthy fats than is advised.
Focusing on highly processed vegetarian foods
You can find it challenging to lose weight if your vegetarian diet contains an excessive amount of processed foods.
Although many items are vegetarian in theory, they nonetheless contain hazardous chemicals and other components. Examples include vegan cheese, vegetarian burgers, meat alternatives, frozen dinners, baked foods, and packaged desserts.
These foods are frequently loaded with calories and added sugars in addition to sodium, highly processed substances, chemical preservatives, and coloring additives.
As a result, if consumed in excess, they could cause weight gain.
In fact, a review connected the consumption of highly processed foods to a higher risk of obesity, as well as higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure.
Some barriers to losing weight on a vegetarian diet include not eating enough protein and relying too heavily on refined carbs, calorie-rich foods, and highly processed items.
Tips to lose weight on a vegetarian diet
Several strategies can help promote weight loss on a vegetarian diet, including:
- Filling half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Choosing high-fiber veggies, such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, leafy greens, and mushrooms, can help you stay full and decrease calorie intake.
- Incorporating protein at every meal and snack. High-protein vegetarian foods include beans, nuts, seeds, lentils, eggs, dairy products, and soy foods (such as tempeh, tofu, and edamame).
- Opting for complex carbs. These fullness-boosting foods include whole grains, starchy vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
- Watching your portions of high-calorie foods. Pair nuts, seeds, and healthy fats with lower-calorie foods so that you don’t overeat.
- Eating mostly whole foods. Unprocessed foods, such as whole fruits and vegetables, do not have any unnecessary ingredients.
- Limiting highly processed foods. Avoid meat alternatives, frozen meals, and other ultra-processed foods, as they likely host unhealthy additives, extra salt, and added sugar.
A balanced vegetarian diet that emphasizes whole plant foods and limits refined carbs and highly processed products may help you lose weight.
Still, don’t forget about other important contributors to weight loss, such as proper sleep, hydration, and exercise.
Including protein at all meals, eating plenty of whole foods, and eliminating highly processed items are just a few of the techniques you can use to lose weight on a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian foods that aid weight loss
To bolster weight loss, choose a vegetarian diet that’s rich in whole, minimally processed plant foods.
Depending on your specific regimen, you may also incorporate dairy or eggs.
Vegetarian foods that may aid weight loss include:
- Non-starchy vegetables: broccoli, bell pepper, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, celery, and cucumber
- Starchy vegetables: peas, potatoes, corn, and winter squash
- Fruits: berries, oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, citrus, kiwi, and mango
- Whole grains: quinoa, brown rice, farro, millet, barley, and bulgur wheat
- Beans and legumes: lentils, black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and nut butters
- Lean proteins: beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, nut butters, eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, and soy products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame
- Healthy fats: avocado, olive oil, coconut, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and cheese
- Water and other healthy beverages: naturally flavored seltzer, fruit-infused water, and plain coffee or tea
Eating a variety of non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds may help you lose weight on a vegetarian diet.
Foods to avoid on a vegetarian diet for weight loss
While most plant foods are naturally healthy, highly processed vegetarian foods tend to be less so.
You should limit or avoid the following foods if you’re following a vegetarian diet for weight loss:
- Highly processed vegetarian foods: veggie burgers, meat replacements, freezer meals, frozen desserts, and imitation dairy products
- Refined carbs: white bread, white pasta, bagels, and crackers
- Sugary foods and beverages: candy, cookies, pastries, table sugar, sodas, fruit juices, energy drinks, and sweet tea
In addition, try to avoid extra-large portions of any food — especially those high in sugar and calories.
If you’re looking to lose weight on a vegetarian diet, you should steer clear of highly processed products, refined carbs, and sugary beverages.
Sample vegetarian meal plan for weight loss
This 5-day meal plan provides a few ideas for a vegetarian diet for weight loss.
- Breakfast: steel-cut oats with apples, peanut butter, and cinnamon
- Lunch: a salad with greens, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette
- Dinner: black-bean soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt, whole-grain bread, and a side salad
- Snack: almonds and dark chocolate
- Breakfast: scrambled eggs with broccoli and cheddar, plus a side of berries
- Lunch: a burrito bowl with brown rice, pinto beans, tomato, onion, and avocado
- Dinner: zucchini noodles with marinara, sunflower seeds, and white beans
- Snack: string cheese or an orange
- Breakfast: plain Greek yogurt with pineapple, shredded coconut, and walnuts
- Lunch: lentil soup, chopped bell peppers, and guacamole
- Dinner: eggplant Parmesan served over whole-grain pasta and green beans
- Snack: a whole-grain granola bar or berries
- Breakfast: a smoothie bowl made from unsweetened almond milk, spinach, hemp seeds, frozen berries, and a banana
- Lunch: an egg salad on whole-grain bread with strawberries, carrots, and hummus
- Dinner: stir-fry with tofu, carrots, broccoli, brown rice, soy sauce, and honey
- Snack: dried mango and pistachios
- Breakfast: two eggs and one slice of whole-grain toast with avocado, plus a side of grapes
- Lunch: a salad with kale, pecans, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and edamame
- Dinner: homemade chickpea patties alongside sautéed mushrooms and a baked sweet potato
- Snack: plain Greek yogurt with cherries
These meal and snack ideas can help you get started with vegetarian eating for weight loss.
The bottom line
You may experience weight loss if you follow a vegetarian diet that emphasizes wholesome plant foods.
But it’s crucial to get enough protein while limiting your intake of calorie-dense foods, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed goods.
Be aware that not all vegetarian cuisine is nutritious.