Low calorie vegetarian diet for weight loss: Benefits and Best Foods



    Low calorie vegetarian diet should be made keeping protein consumption as well as portion size in check. Here is everything else that one must remember.

    When it comes to losing weight, many people find it tough to achieve it even on a vegetarian diet. This happens if they find themselves eating too many carbohydrates or processed foods. However, with the rising interest in vegetarianism, settling for a low calorie vegetarian diet can lead you closer to your weight-loss dreams.

    Be it protein sources or healthy fat foods, a vegetarian diet can have it all! So if you are vegetarian, and are looking for a low calorie vegetarian diet to meet your weight goals, we got you! Health Shots got in touch with dietician Garima Goyal, who tells us what to keep in mind for an effective low calorie diet.

    What is a vegetarian diet?

    A vegetarian diet excludes meat and fish, focusing on plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes for nutritional needs. “A vegetarian diet emphasises plant-derived foods and excludes animal flesh. There are different types – lacto-vegetarian, includes dairy but excludes eggs, ovo-vegetarian, includes eggs but excludes dairy, lacto-ovo vegetarian, Includes both dairy and eggs; and Vegan, excludes all animal products, including dairy, eggs, and often honey, says Goyal.

    How many calories can one take on a low calorie vegetarian diet?

    A common guideline for a low-calorie diet is around 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day for women and 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day for men. “The appropriate calorie intake varies based on factors like age, gender, weight, activity level, and overall health. It is crucial to maintain a balance of nutrients even on a low-calorie diet to ensure you get essential vitamins and minerals,” says Goyal.

    Foods to include in a low calorie vegetarian diet

    1. Leafy greens

    Low in calories and high in nutrients, greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are excellent choices.

    2. Whole grains

    Choose whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats for sustained energy and fiber that keeps you feeling full.

    3. Legumes

    Beans, lentils and chickpeas provide plant-based protein and fiber, promoting satiety.

    4. Vegetables

    Include a variety of colourful vegetables for essential vitamins and minerals with minimal calories.

    5. Fruits

    Choose fresh and whole fruits as snacks. They offer natural sweetness and important nutrients.

    6. Nuts and seeds

    While calorie-dense, nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats and protein. Enjoy them in moderation for added satiety.

    7. Tofu and tempeh

    These plant-based protein sources can be versatile additions to meals, helping maintain muscle mass during weight loss.

    8. Greek yogurt

    Greek yogurt has a lot of protein and can be a satisfying and nutritious snack.

    Foods to avoid on a low calorie vegetarian diet

    1. Processed vegetarian foods

    Many vegetarian convenience foods can be high in calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats. Limit their intake.

    2. Sugary drinks

    Sweetened beverages contribute unnecessary calories. Instead of these you can have herbal tea, or infused water.

    3. Refined grains

    Choose whole grains over refined options like white bread or white rice, which lack fiber.

    4. Fried foods

    While plant-based, fried foods can be high in unhealthy fats and calories. Opt for baked or grilled alternatives.

    5. High-calorie condiments

    Watch for excessive use of high-calorie dressings, sauces, or toppings. Opt for lighter alternatives.

    6. Excessive dairy

    While dairy can be part of a healthy diet, consume it in moderation, choosing low-fat options.

    A woman measuring her waist.
    A low calorie vegetarian diet is sure to make you lose weight. Image courtesy: Freepik

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