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How to Lose Weight with a Vegan Lifestyle

By Diane Lynn

A vegan diet is one which excludes any animal and meat products, according to the National Institutes of Health. Unlike other types of vegetarians, who may eat dairy and eggs, a vegan eats neither. Plant diets are naturally low in saturated fats, which can help you lose weight as you transition to a vegan lifestyle. Although becoming a vegan does not guarantee weight loss, cutting out meats high in saturated fats, full-fat dairy products and many processed foods can help you lose weight.

  1. Educate yourself on the vegan lifestyle. Eliminate eggs, milk-based yogurts, cheeses, sour cream and honey and any meats. Read the food labels of food in your pantry and donate any canned or boxed foods that contain meat. Bouillon cubes, soups, seasoned vegetables and some canned beans contain meat flavorings.

  2. Write down your breakfast menus for the week. Choose low calorie vegan options to eat fewer calories. Include steel-cut oats and shredded or whole-grain cereals with soy milk. A breakfast of oatmeal or cereal and fruit contains under 200 calories, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Eat protein on occasion for breakfast by scrambling tofu and combining with fresh vegetables. Save vegan muffins or waffles for an occasional treat to save calories.

  3. Try new vegan recipes for lunch. In spite of lack of fat and cholesterol in a vegan diet, it is easy to eat too many healthy calories and not lose weight. Replace fast food lunches with a low-calorie salad topped with 1/2 oz. of almonds, which contain about 82 calories. Top with a calorie-free flavored vinegar instead of an oil-based dressing. Make your own fat-free hummus to save calories. Spread the hummus in a pita and stuff with avocado slices and tomato wedges. Make a bean soup using 1 cup of 227-calorie black beans. Eat the soup for lunch on two different days. Be sparing with high-calorie nut butters.

  4. Keep your dinner meals low in calorie and high in nutritional content to lose weight. Eat a dinner based on whole grains, which are nutritious, fiber-rich and filling. Use a vegan cookbook to make meals under 500 calories. Make a tofu-vegan lasagna using 2 percent soy cheese, whole-wheat pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce. Serve with a side salad. Enjoy a filling Mexican meal of enchiladas made with texturized vegetable protein, TVP, in place of beef. Season with onions, garlic, two black olives and oregano. Saute 1 cup of vegetables and serve over 1 cup of brown rice for a main course under 300 calories. Add a piece of whole-grain bread and a fruit to your meals.

  5. Eat snacks high in nutrition and low in calories while losing weight. Spread reduced-fat soy cheese on five rye crackers and serve with cut-up vegetables. Use's fruit salsa recipe and combine strawberries, oranges, kiwi and pineapple with chopped green onions, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and lime juice. Eat the fruit salsa with baked flour tortillas. The salsa serves four and contains about 100 calories a serving, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database.

  6. Tip

    Look for B-12-fortified soy products and juices or take a multivitamin.

    Look for a safe, healthy weight loss of 1 to 2 lb. per week.

    Avoid fried vegetables.

    Choose lower fat dairy alternatives.


    Ask your doctor about the need for supplements.

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