Rachel is a lifestyle writer who specialized in women's health, fitness, and wellness.
Tired Of The Same Old, Same Old?
Let's face it—meal planning can feel like a tedious chore. Trying to eat healthy, feed a family, and maintain variety in your meals is not an easy task. The struggle becomes even more difficult when you're following a specialized diet, like vegetarianism.
However, all hope is not lost! Just because you're saying "no" to meat doesn't mean you have to "live on lettuce," as my father says. There are still numerous ways to get the protein and other nutrients you need to feel satisfied and healthy.
This guide should be used as a template for building your own creative and delicious vegetarian meals. Who knows, you might discover new foods and combinations you never thought you'd enjoy! (Trust me, I never thought I'd like eggplant, but it turns out I do!)
How To Build 3 Vegetarian Meals Per Day
● 1 serving from the protein category (see all categories below) + unlimited free veggies
● 1 serving of fat
● 1 serving of carbs
● 1-2 serving(s) of protein + unlimited free veggies
● 2 servings of fat
● 1 serving of carbs
● 2 servings of protein + unlimited free veggies
● 1 serving of fat
● 2 servings of carbs
PLUS Additional Snack
Select one of the following options at any time during the day OR add to a meal:
● Veggies + one serving of protein
● Fruit + nuts or seeds + one serving of protein
● Protein powder + nuts/seeds
Food Choices by Category
- Soy protein
- Egg whites
- Fish (not applicable to all types of vegetarianism)
- Whey or plant-based protein powder
- Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- Nonfat cottage cheese
- Sweet potato/Yams
- Brown rice
- Whole oats (not quick oats)
- Ezekiel sprouted grain bread
- Ancient grains (Barley, Farro, Freekah)
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Brazil nuts
- Nut butters
- Egg yolk
- Chia seed
- Flax seed (ground)
- Any green, leafy vegetable
- Romaine lettuce
- Brussel sprouts
- Green beans
1 cup of sliced or chopped fruit = 1 serving from the carbs category
- Bananas (in moderation, for pre- or post-workout)
Are You Eating Chia Seeds Yet?
Good Nutrition Habits
What we eat is just as important as how we eat. While using this meal plan template, try these simple tricks for developing good nutrition habits:
- Eat slow. Hunger is not merely a physical sensation. Our brains tell us when to eat, and when to stop eating. When we consume our food quickly, we often overeat. This is because the food is reaching our stomach faster than our brain can tell us we're full. Try eating very slowly (yes, it may feel awkward) to give your brain adequate time to register when you're full.
- Eliminate distractions. When we sit in front of the television, or browse the internet while eating, we don't pay attention to how much we're consuming. Have you ever been eating a bag of chips while watching a movie and suddenly realized you've eaten the entire bag? When it's time to eat, focus only on eating.
- Don't buy junk. When trying to eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet, it's important to keep them out of your home. It's quite simple—if you don't put the junk food in your house, you won't eat it! If you do keep sweet treats around (to consume in moderation!) put them in a hard to reach spot, like the top of the fridge, to reduce the number of times you reach for them.
What About Sweets and Spirits?
For your first week using this template, try to avoid desserts and alcohol completely. Later, you can have these treats in moderation—but for now, focus on kickstarting your weight loss!
How Much You Eat Matters, A Lot!
- Simple Secrets to Portion Control
Eating healthy foods but not seeing any weight loss? This could be due to issues with portion control. Even with healthy foods, it is crucial not to overeat. Learn more about portion control and discover which foods are hiding loads of sugar!
- 5 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight
Losing weight can be a long and arduous journey. Recognizing common roadblocks and understanding how your body works will help get you on track to achieving your goals!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Rachel Hezel
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 02, 2018:
Nice and useful tips and suggestions, in your article, for vegetarian people, trying to loose weight.
Yes, it does help, if we plan our food thoughtfully, in advance.
Thanks for sharing!