Vegetarian Diet Plan For Weight Loss 2023: Meal Tips, Check This Guideline Out!

Reviewed by Brittany Ferri, PhD

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Vegetarian Diet For Weight Loss
You can lose weight by following vegetarian weight-loss meal plans. Photo: Shutterstock

If you are vegetarian for health reasons or do not agree with eating meat due to ethics, you can still lose weight by creating and sticking to a vegetarian weight-loss meal plan. The principles are the same as any other diet and involve the general aim of expending more calories than you consume.                                      

Of course, you do not need a vegetarian meal plan to lose weight, but it does make it easier to prepare nutrient-rich foods and stick to a diet without constantly wondering what your next meal should consist of.

A plan can also help you balance your meals, allowing you to obtain the maximum nutrition on each day of your weight loss journey. So if you want to follow weight loss vegetarian diets, then read this guide to help get you started.

What Is A Vegetarian Diet?

A vegetarian diet is a diet that consists primarily of plant-based foods. These include nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Some vegetarians also consume eggs, cheese, and milk, but all other animal food sources, including seafood and poultry, are excluded from the diet.

Vegetarian Diet For Weight Loss

A vegetarian diet is a way of eating that is predominantly made up of consuming only plant-based foods. These include nuts such as walnuts and almonds, seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, legumes such as lentils and blacked-eyed peas, and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa. These mostly provide vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbs.

Another major part of a vegetarian diet is, of course, fruits and plenty of vegetables. These add further phytonutrients such as flavonoids and carotenoids to the diet. All these protein-rich foods help to create a balanced diet if they are included in a healthy vegetarian diet plan.

Some vegetarians also consume eggs, cheese, and milk, but all other animal food sources, including seafood and poultry, are excluded from the diet.

Types of Vegetarian Diets That Help You Lose Weight

Vegan Diet

vegan diet
Vegans do not consume any products that originate from animals. Photo: Shutterstock

Veganism is growing in popularity, especially among the younger generation. Influences include health, environmental issues, and the prevention of cruelty to animals. Vegans stick strictly to plant-based foods and even exclude milk, cheese, honey, and eggs from their diet. This means that vegans do not consume any products that originate from animals at all.

Ovo-vegetarian Diet

Ovo-vegetarians are similar in their eating habits to vegetarians. However, the major difference here is that the only animal-based foods an ovo-vegetarian consumes are eggs. This means that ovo-vegetarians can also consume egg-based products such as noodles.

The inclusion of eggs does bridge the gap when it comes to protein and B vitamin needs. Even though eggs and products that contain eggs are allowed, this form of vegetarianism still lags behind in popularity when compared to a traditional vegetarian diet.

Lacto-vegetarian Diet

This diet is still mainly plant-based, but the major difference is that eggs are not consumed. However, other dairy products such as yogurts, cheeses, butter, and milk can all be included in this particular diet. 

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian Diet 

A lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet is similar to a lacto-vegetarian diet because it mainly consists of vegetables, legumes, fruits, seeds, grains, and nuts. It does, however, allow the inclusion of dairy products, but eggs are included here as well. Meat, fish, and poultry are still excluded.

Pros Of A Balanced Vegetarian Diet For Weight Loss Benefits

Good for Cardiac Health

Vegetarian-based diets have been linked to lower incidences of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. It is thought that this is linked to the low saturated fat intake of such diets and also the protective effects of the phytonutrients provided in vegetarian foods.

However, it is still important for vegetarians to balance their fat intake to make sure they are getting enough healthy fats from olive oil and linseed oils and to limit the use of cheap processed oils that often are labeled as vegetable oils.

Olive oil provides the body with vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids. 

Linseed oil provides omega-3 fats,[1] and both can lower your risk of heart disease because they are healthy fats.

Reduced Risk of Obesity

Vegetarian diets that include very few ultra-processed foods tend to be low in calories as well. Natural vegetarian foods such as lentils, beans, seeds, and vegetables have few calories when compared to processed foods. They also have lower amounts of saturated fat content as well. 

Because a vegetarian diet mostly consists of the types of vegetarian food mentioned above, exceeding the daily calorie allowance is harder than eating both plant and animal-based nutritious foods, including processed meats and dairy products.

A study showed that omnivores[2] are more likely to be overweight or obese when compared to those who eat less meat or no meat at all. The high fiber content of plant-based foods also helps to boost weight loss, as fiber makes us feel fuller for longer, aids the digestive process, and improves the body’s response to insulin.

Lowers Cholesterol

Plant sterols in spreads, yogurts, and drinks have been used to lower cholesterol successfully. However, plant-based diets have also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels in omnivores who have raised cholesterol. Vegetarian foods high in soluble fiber, such as oats and walnuts, are particularly useful in lowering overall cholesterol levels in the blood. They do this by decreasing the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed by the body.

Reduced Cancer Risk

Because vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds are packed full of nutrients and powerful antioxidants, eating these foods daily results in high levels of antioxidants continuously being available in the blood to fight free radicals[3] and prevent oxidative stress. This can trigger a number of diseases in humans, including various cancers. Plant-based diets are thought to be particularly beneficial in preventing the development of colon and prostate cancers.

Reduced Risk of Stroke

Since the benefits of plant foods when compared to animal foods include the lowering of cholesterol levels and a boost to cardio health, the knock effect of these and obesity prevention means that the risk of suffering a stroke is reduced. This is because obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol are all stroke risk factors.

Cons Of A Weight Loss Vegetarian Diet

Consuming Too Many Carbs

Some vegetarians tend to eat too many carbs in the form of vegetables and fruits. This is especially the case for vegans. Those who include dairy, eggs, and fish can get their protein from these food groups. Vegans should consume more healthy nuts such as walnuts, seeds, and lentils to boost their protein and fat intake.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

One of the best sources of vitamin B12 is red meat. This vitamin helps create red blood cells and helps to prevent anemia. However, those who follow a vegan diet for the health benefits associated with plant-based eating can end up vitamin B12 deficient. Supplementation and consuming fortified vitamin B12 foods such as cereals can help maintain healthy levels.

Calcium Deficiency

Dairy products such as milk and yogurts contain high levels of calcium. Those who omit these from their diets could become deficient in this vital mineral. However, broccoli, kale, and other green leafy vegetables, if eaten regularly, along with tofu and calcium-fortified cereals, can redress the balance.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Along with calcium, vitamin D is vital for good bone health and is mostly found in dairy products. The best source of this vitamin is the sun, but in winter, vegans should take a supplement.

Fighting Hunger

Those who were once meat eaters but became vegetarians often suffer from feeling hungry continuously. This also affects those on any kind of food-related weight loss meal plan. Hunger can be combated when on a vegetarian meal plan by eating complex carbs such as oats and brown rice. These are digested slowly, and the fiber content makes you feel fuller for longer. Snacking on nuts, seeds, and dried fruit can also fill in the gaps between meal times. 

A Balanced Vegetarian Meal Plan For Healthy Weight Loss


A bowl of porridge oats is a good choice for breakfast. Photo: Shutterstock
  • Breakfast: A bowl of porridge oats made with or without milk. Add some honey for a taste and energy boost. 
  • Lunch: Greek salad consisting of tomatoes, lettuce, chopped cucumber, and kalamata olives, with feta cheese which is optional, served with olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Multi-seeded bread can accompany the salad, along with a glass of cold-pressed fruit juice.
  • Dinner: Lentils with roasted vegetables. This is only approximately 370 calories allowing for a fruit salad dessert made from fruits of your choice.
  • Snacks: Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and blueberries. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day every day.


  • Breakfast: Fruit smoothie consisting of strawberries, bananas, blueberries, skimmed milk, and low-fat Greek yogurt. 
  • Lunch: Wild rice with fried chestnut mushrooms and courgettes.
  • Dinner: Pasta with a rich tomato sauce.
  • Snacks: One plum, one apple, and some dates.


  • Breakfast: Low-fat Greek yogurt with blueberries
  • Lunch: Vegetable smoothie, kale, spinach, broccoli, and flaxseeds.
  • Dinner: Baked sweet potatoes with courgettes. 
  • Snacks: Brown bread, cherry tomato and cucumber sandwich, hazelnuts. 


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon and nuts. 
  • Lunch: Pitta bread with peanut butter and a banana.
  • Dinner: Boiled Black-eyed peas with spinach, olive oil, and lemon juice.
  • Snacks: Fruit salad, brown bread with hummus.


  • Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter.
  • Lunch: Vegetable soup
  • Dinner: Red lentil pasta with spinach, broccoli, and quinoa.
  • Snacks: Pears, cherries, almonds, and apricots.


Eating a mainly plant-based diet has its advantages and disadvantages, but the health benefits outweigh problems such as certain vitamin deficiencies. These can be rectified with supplements.

A plant-based diet can lead to healthy losing weight, and you can lose weight quicker if you avoid processed vegetarian meals. This is due to there being fewer calories in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other whole foods.

Vegetarian diets supply the body with antioxidants that can help prevent certain diseases, such as cancers, from developing. Furthermore, they lower the risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes and can even prevent strokes and obesity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to be vegetarian?

Vegetables and other foods allowed in a vegetarian diet cost a fraction of the price of many meat products.

Can you become overweight on a vegetarian diet? 

Yes, you can, but only if you consume too many calories.

Should I take supplements if I’m vegan?

Yes, it is recommended to supplement vitamins D and B12, as well as calcium.

Can children be vegan?

While they can, it is best to let children eat eggs, fish, and dairy products to aid normal development.

+ 3 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. (2015). Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids. [online] Available at:
  2. Turner-McGrievy, G., Mandes, T. and Crimarco, A. (2017). A plant-based diet for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment. PubMed, [online] 14(5), pp.369–374. doi:
  3. Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A. and Chandra, N. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy Reviews, [online] 4(8), pp.118–118. doi:


Christine VanDoren, Nutritionist
Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Health & Wellness Writer
Christine VanDoren created Edge of Longevity, an online personal training company, which helps people all over the world engage in a healthier lifestyle. After becoming an NSCA certified personal trainer and ACE nutritionist, she started spending her time training in the gym and online and creating content for Edge of Longevity, all of which is about how she has worked to better herself, and in turn, hopes to help others better themselves too. She believes the healthier one is, the happier one can be, and through Edge of Longevity, she hopes to spread that happiness to people in every country, every lifestyle, of every age and gender, and ethnicity. She warmly welcomes you to this community of people trying to make a change. In addition to sharing knowledge through her personal training and nutrition services, she enjoys writing articles and blog content over any health and wellness-related topic!


Brittany is the owner of a writing and consulting company called Simplicity of Health. She has written over 350 pieces of patient-facing content, published 4 books, created over 30 continuing education courses, and medically reviewed countless pieces of content for accuracy. Her media appearances include being quoted as a health expert in WebMD, Healthline, NBCNews, and Forbes.

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