You may be a vegan or thinking about following a Vegan Diet. Perhaps you’ve hesitated because you are unsure if you can lose weight following a vegan, plant based diet. Can a vegan diet can be used to lose weight? In short, YES!
Vegan diets are plant- based one void of all animal products and byproducts. Like all diets, a vegan one includes all the macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein) but tends to be higher in carbs than fat and protein. I know what you are thinking… how can you lose weight with a diet which is high in carbs and low in protein? Is it even possible? It sure is! You may be surprised to learn with a few minor tweaks (like the ones suggested in this meal plan) , a vegan diet is very suitable for those looking to lose weight…. And highly nutritious and tasty!
The thing to remember is that vegan diets, just like animal based diets can be manipulated to include a higher ratio of protein and good fats. The trick to losing weight on any diet (plant based, vegetarian or animal based) is is to plan out your meals ahead of time by figuring out portion sizes and what macronutrient ratios work best with your body. Generally speaking, most people do well with shifting calories away from starchy carbs towards healthy fats and protein or with just reducing their intake of starchy carbs.
Some practical applications on how to successfully shift your macronutrients to one that promotes weight loss include:
- Reducing starchy carb intake (for example if having ½ cup of starches right now, reduce to ⅓ of a cup)
- Replace refined carbs like pasta with healthier alternatives that provide more protein per gram like black bean pasta or zucchini noodles
- Adding lots of leafy greens and collards (think kale and spinach) which are full of vitamins AND protein
- Adding more plant based proteins like tempeh or black bean burgers
- Supplement with vegan/ plant based protein to help keep you satiated
- Adding more superfoods like chia and hemp seeds to your diet
Vegan diets can be a little more challenging to plan out but know that there are plenty of healthy, nutritious plant based foods that can be substituted into your diet. Vegas often feel like their options are limited to refined starches like pasta, pizza, breads or bars. All it takes is to rethink those refined foods and add in lots of whole foods like green vegetables. If you are searching for a detailed plan, I would recommend looking at this vegan meal plan which breaks down exactly what you should be eating at breakfast, lunch and dinner to lose weight.