With over 4.3 million vegetarians living in the United States, you’d think there would be a ton of quick weight loss tips out there. But surprisingly, there isn’t. Much people assume following a vegetarian lifestyle will lead you to weight loss. But just like with other diets, there needs to be a healthy combination of foods and nutrients in order for you to drop the weight. Question is, what are the best quick weight loss tips for vegetarians to follow? We’re going to find out.
First and foremost, you need a plan.
“Appropriately planned means that you still need to consider the foods that will make up a balanced diet – including protein, carbs, healthy fats and the daily value of vitamins and minerals,” Krista Haynes, R.D., C.S.S.D says. “It means that you need to be mindful of the nutrients that are often lacking in vegan/vegetarian diet and ensure you get plenty of those veg-friendly whole foods or supplements.”
What does that mean? Making sure you’re getting plenty of vitamins B12 and D, omega-3s, iron, and zinc.
Check out the carbs
Think about it this way – a cheesy, delicious pizza is considered vegetarian. But just because it’s vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s going to help you lose weight, or that you should eat it often.
So make smart decisions about your carbs. Much like you would do with any other diet, you want to spend your efforts looking for the right thing. That means complex carbs from whole-food sources, such as whole grains (instead of flour) and starchy vegetables.
And of course, the best diet plan is one with lots of protein. It’s no secret that a higher protein and lower carb diet is the most successful at managing weight. Don’t forget to add some Greek yogurt and eggs into your mix for healthy protein. Mix that in with your legumes, vegetables, and whole grains, with some dairy from time to time, and you’ll be on your way to a new waist line in no time.
Portion sizes matter
A lot of vegetarians make the mistake of thinking because they’re eating healthy, portion size doesn’t matter. But the truth is, it does matter. Even though the foods in the vegetarian world aren’t as packed full of calories as animal-based foods, those calories still count.
In other words, it’s important to remember that not all vegetarian (and vegan!) foods are healthy. So don’t let yourself overeat. Check out the serving size and measure your portions to get an exact idea of how much you’re eating. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much weight you can drop simply by keeping your portion size in check.
Stop the meat-free version
Take a look at your local supermarket and you’ll see there a vegetarian option for just about everything nowadays – ground “beef,” “chicken” nuggets, hot “dogs,” that pizza that we mentioned earlier. But all of this still comes down to one simple fact – none of it has healthy ingredients.
Sure, you might be sparing an animal’s life and taking a healthier alternative to life, but that doesn’t make it better for you, calorie-wise. All of these items are still processed and still packed to the brim full of sugars, salts and lots and lots of fat.
You don’t want to rely on getting a lot of prepackaged food, as this will only harm your efforts more. Check out the ingredient label on your favorite faux hot dogs and you might not be able to pronounce anything on that list. Stick with whole-food ingredients. Skip the fake meat and processed foods.
If you really enjoy your processed foods, see them as a treat. They shouldn’t be more than 15% of your diet. Just always reminds yourself that just because a product isn’t a meat-based product doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be good for you.
Protein at every meal
One quick way to lose weight on a vegetarian diet – make sure there’s a protein at every single meal. There should always be a balance of fats and proteins with minimal carbs at every meal. This way, you’ll stay nice and full, and not have to worry about snacking an hour after you’re done eating.
For breakfast, start with either a piece of whole grain toast or cereal, with some kind of protein, such as eggs or tofu. And if you’re going to snack, make sure it’s smart sacking – a carb with a protein, such as an egg and a piece of fruit, or almond butter on an apple. Lunch and dinner should be a majority of vegetarians, with a piece of protein and ½ cup of a carb, like brown rice or potatoes.
If you’ve been a vegetarian for a while, or have eaten healthy before, you’ve likely noticed it can do a number on your stomach. One way to combat that is with diet pills. Not only does this do wonders for your intestinal system, but it can even give you an added boost of energy. You won’t feel bloated or uncomfortable from all the fiber in your system, and you can count on having normal, regular bowel movements.
So regardless of whether you’re counting on vegetarianism to lose weight or, as a vegetarian, you’re looking for the ideal weight loss program, taking these simple steps will help you reach your weight loss goals. As with all diets, it’s critical to keep an eye on the balance between carbs, proteins and fats. And remember – just because something is vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Calories, grams of sugar, salt, whether it’s been processed or not – all of these elements factor in to what makes a food good for your waistline and what doesn’t. Keep up with colorful fruits and vegetables and you’ll be on your way to the body you’ve always dreamed of.