A perk of vegetarianism is that vegetarians tend to have lower body mass indexes than non-vegetarians, according to a study published in a 2011 edition of the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association.” If you’re overweight or obese, cutting calories will help you shed pounds. Regardless of the type of weight loss diet you choose, limiting your calories to 1,000 a day means you’ll lose weight, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Diets containing 1,000 calories a day help inactive women weighing less than 165 pounds shed pounds safely, notes the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. If you weigh more than this or you work out regularly, shoot for 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day. Aim to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although vegetarian diets are more restrictive than non-vegetarian diets, it is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that you can still get all the nutrients you need with well-planned, vegetarian menus. The Academy notes key nutrients for vegetarians include omega-3 fatty acids, protein, iron, zinc, calcium, iodine and vitamins B-12 and D. If you have concerns you’re not meeting these nutrient needs following a vegetarian diet, ask your doctor if a multivitamin or vegan omega-3 supplement is right for you.
Sample Meal Plan
Using a vegetarian meal plan can help you stay on track during your weight loss venture. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 provide a sample 1,000-calorie, lacto-ovo vegetarian meal plan for vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy products in addition to plant-based foods. This meal plan contains daily portions of 1 cup of fruits, 1 cup of vegetables, 3 ounces of grains, 2 ounces of protein foods – such as eggs, soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds – 2 cups of dairy foods and 3 teaspoons of oils. One ounce from the grains group is equivalent to one slice of whole-grain bread, 1 cup of cold cereal or one-half cup of rice or pasta.
Vegan Meal Plan
Women following 1,000-calorie vegan diets avoid all animal food products, including fish, eggs and dairy products. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 provide a sample 1,000-calorie vegan meal plan, which is useful for women planning vegan weight loss menus. This plan is similar to the lacto-ovo vegetarian plan, and includes 1 cup of fruits, 1 cup of vegetables, 3 ounces of grains, 2 ounces of protein foods – such as legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds – 2 cups of vegan dairy equivalents, such as calcium-fortified soy milk or soy yogurt, and 3 teaspoons of oils daily.
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: A Vegetarian Dietary Pattern as a Nutrient-Dense Approach to Weight Management: An Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: How are Overweight and Obesity Treated?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets
- U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.