Get your 7-Day Vegetarian Weight Loss Meal Plan – Free to Download!
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So you want to know whether it’s possible to lose weight on a vegetarian diet? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Vegetarian weight loss is kind of our thing. We run a weight loss course, put out a weekly weight loss meal plan, including, as you are about to discover, a FREE 7-Day Weight Loss Meal plan that you can download here.
It’s the perfect starter pack for anyone looking to balance their weight loss goals with a vegetarian diet. Whether you’re a seasoned veggie or not, you’ll find plenty of inspo here!
Read on for more tips on weight loss, vegetarianism and the two combined!
How to download and use the weight loss meal plan
To get going right away you can get the free 7-Day Vegetarian Weight Loss Meal Plan PDF here or use the form below.
But we’d advise you to read on we’re going to explain some key information about vegetarianism and weight loss, which is worth checking out so you can go in prepared!
Subscribe to get our FREE 7-Day Vegetarian High Protein Meal Plan for Weight Loss
Here at Hurry The Food Up, we want to make weight loss as a vegetarian easy for you. We don’t want you to plateau with weight loss or not have a clue about what to eat to lose weight.
We’re going to skip a lot of the science today and instead focus on practical tips for you to use to lose weight NOW.
But don’t worry, we haven’t just thrown science to one side. In fact, it’s what we base our meal plans on.
If you’re interested in the nitty gritty of vegetarian nutrition (like Vitamin B12, omega 3, iron and folate) then we’ve already written an in-depth guide to the vegetarian diet for you. Check it out!
What does our vegetarian meal plan for weight loss look like? Take a sneak peak!
Our diet for weight loss gives you a filling breakfast followed by an easily packable lunch and a comforting dinner.
We make sure to provide generous portion sizes and a variety of types of food that will satisfy you, meet your nutritional requirements and allow you to lose weight at a steady, sustainable pace!
The recipes were developed by us specifically to be suitable for weight loss, and each recipe is a tried and tested favorite, guaranteed to work every time.
The only time I failed with weight loss was when my meals weren’t filling enough and I was overcome by hunger pangs. I decided that was no way to lose consistently, and so these meal plans were born.
We’ve created this vegetarian weight loss meal plan to work for the general population. But of course, you should take your personal needs into account and adapt accordingly!.
Sample day of our vegetarian weight loss meal plan
Here’s the first day of the vegetarian weight loss meal plan. We kick things off with:
Breakfast: Veggie Baked Beans (355 kcal, 20g protein)
Lunch: Cottage Cheese Pancakes (419 kcal, 29g protein)
Dinner: Coconut Stew with Mushrooms (464 kcal, 20g protein)
Protein Shake (120kcal, 23g protein)
Fruit of Choice (100kcal, 1g protein)
Main Meals: 1238 kcal, 69g protein
Snacks: 220 kcal, 24g protein
= 1458 kcal, 93g protein
A few notes on how we’ve structured the meal plan:
We’ve used easy recipes only to keep kitchen time as short as possible.
You’ll find the more perishable ingredients earlier in the week (eg. leafy greens) and the sturdier veggies later in the week (eg. zucchini, carrots).
That allows you to make one single grocery haul for the entire week.
We focus on a balanced diet. This means we keep an eye on how much bread, legumes, eggs, dairy and starchy vegetables you’ll get per day.
Vegetarianism and weight loss
It is worth talking about why our vegetarian plan for weight loss looks the way it does. What are the key principles behind it? What’s the science of weight loss? And how does that look when you are veggie?
First, I’ll explain the different types of vegetarian diets that exist and the health benefits of being veggie.
Then, I’ll get into weight loss, how you can achieve it and specifically how you can achieve it as a vegetarian.
What does it mean to be vegetarian?
What is a vegetarian diet?
The uniting factor in all vegetarian and vegan diets is not eating meat or fish. This is often for ethical reasons such as animal cruelty or the environmental impact of the meat industry. It can also be for religious reasons.
There are a few different versions of a vegetarian diet.
Lacto-vegetarians exclude meat, fish and eggs, but will eat milk, cheese and other dairy products.
The ovo vegetarian diet excludes all animal products except for eggs. So milk and cheese is a no-go along with meat and fish.
The lacto-ovo vegetarian diet just excludes meat and fish. All dairy products and eggs are allowed.
The vegan diet excludes all animal products including all dairy. We have a separate vegan meal plan here!
Even more intense is the plant-based diet, a branch of veganism that also excludes all processed foods and only allows plant-based foods like legumes, vegetables and grains.
What are the health benefits of a vegetarian diet?
There are many health benefits to a vegetarian diet, though, as with any diet, it needs to contain the proper balance of nutrients in order to be healthy.
Being vegetarian cuts out a lot of unhealthy foods, like red meat which can be extremely fatty. On average, vegetarians tend to have a lower fat diet because they are more likely to eat healthy low fat foods like legumes.
This means that vegetarians are generally at lower risk of heart disease.
A vegetarian diet can also help regulate your blood sugar and prevent diabetes, thanks to the focus on fibrous veggies and pulses.
There is also evidence that being vegetarian can help with skin health, again because you are more likely to be eating vitamin and mineral rich plant foods.
Obviously, all of this depends on you making healthy choices as a vegetarian – if you live on bread and cheese, you are unlikely to get the health benefits vegetarianism could offer!
Read about all this in more detail in this article on the benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Weight loss: a breakdown!
Causes of weight gain
There is a simple reason why you gain belly fat; if you are eating more calories than you are burning you will put on weight!
Of course, the reasons why you might not be burning enough calories can be more complex.
Perhaps you aren’t doing enough physical activity, or you are eating more because of stress. Maybe you are getting older and your metabolism is naturally slowing down, or maybe you are consuming a lot of empty calories, like alcohol.
Only you can identify why you are gaining weight and whether or not it is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Not all weight gain is bad; there’s a broad healthy range of weight our bodies function in and it’s natural to fluctuate throughout our lives.
For most people, you only need to watch it if you are creeping towards the overweight category, because that’s when health problems can come into play.
This is where I can help, with a weight loss meal plan designed for healthy and sustainable weight loss.
Understanding the science behind weight loss
In order to lose weight you have to be in a calorie deficit. Put simply, you have to consume less calories than you burn.
For an active female you need to eat about 1,500 calories a day to lose weight, although this number might be less or occasionally more depending on your activity levels and age and starting weight.
As an active man you need about 1,800 calories a day to lose weight. Same goes with activity levels and age.
Here is our rough guide as to how much of each macro men and women need per day for weight loss:
So that part is simple. The difficult part is actually doing it. Staying full, staying satisfied, staying energized without feeling cranky can seem almost impossible to achieve.
The most important thing when it comes to achieving your weight loss goals is long term consistency. And the best way to achieve that is to have a healthy diet which you can enjoy and stick to.
Tips to lose weight on a vegetarian diet
The first and most important piece of advice I can give you is to eat enough protein! Protein can be hard to get enough of as a veggie, but it is crucial for general health and specifically for weight loss.
The minimum amount of protein is around 45g per day for a woman and 55g per day for a man. 60-100g protein per day is a great amount for weight loss.
This is because protein is the most filling macro with proven weight loss benefits; it literally suppresses production of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
If you are lacking protein, you are going to feel a lot hungrier throughout the day and be more likely to snack between meals.
Not only that but protein contributes to muscle mass and maintenance and while we won’t go into that too much today, this can help with weight loss because it means our body is more metabolically active.
The more muscle we have, the more calories our body needs a day. So in terms of weight loss? It makes weight loss ‘easier’ if you have more muscle!
My next piece of advice would be to eat plenty of fiber. Fiber is also extremely filling and most high fiber foods (such as vegetables) have low calorie density.
I would recommend aiming for 10 grams of fiber per meal and 30-40 grams of fiber per day.
By switching to some whole grain products and including legumes to your diet you should get there effortlessly (think brown rice, black beans, avocado).
And of course, I would also advise incorporating some form of exercise into your routine, if you don’t already. This will help burn more calories and support weight loss as well as general health.
Our top tips regarding protein intake:
- Space your protein intake out evenly over the day! Don’t just have a protein heavy lunch or dinner!
- Try to eat different sources of protein in each meal (eg. breakfast: Greek yogurt, lunch: scrambled eggs, dinner: black bean soup)
- Aim for between 60-100 grams of protein per day*
* Vegetarian Protein: An Honest Note
It’s not always easy to get lots of protein as a vegetarian. 60-100g of protein per day is more difficult without the use of protein shakes or repetitively eating the same food. This is especially true while trying to lose weight.
Vegetarians have to try a bit harder than omnivores to find a balance between optimum protein amounts and interesting, diverse meals.
You definitely still CAN lose weight with less than 60g protein per day, it’s just not 100% ideal.
So, if you want to get beyond 60g of protein on a low calorie plan (eg. 1500kcal/day), what are your choices?
- Use protein shakes or other low calorie high protein snacks. That allows you to still get to eat varied meals.
- You double down on vegetarian low calorie high protein sources. Think soy products, low fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and eggs. That way you could avoid protein shakes, but have much less varied meals.
Or you could stick to a varied diet and skip the protein shake. You’d accept that it just might not be ‘gold standard’ regarding protein intake, but you can still lose weight healthily.
Have a look at the picture below to help guide you with some vegetarian sources of protein!
Full fat vs low fat dairy
An ever-popular question… Should you eat high or low fat dairy foods for weight loss?
Our opinion here is that eating low fat milk products the majority of the time is helpful for vegetarian weight loss.
The reason here is quite simple and straightforward: it’s all about the numbers.
1 gram of fat contains 9 calories. 1 gram of carbohydrates or protein contains 4 calories. Fat doesn’t help with feeling full, but protein and carbohydrates (which usually contain fibre) do help.
So by eating lower fat products you can either eat more total food for the same amount of calories, or eat the same total volume of food for less calories. And you eat more of the satisfying foods.
Seems like a no brainer really, doesn’t it?
This is even more important for vegetarians, because this is essentially the vegetarian version of ‘lean meats’.
Meat eaters do have it a little bit easier when it comes to protein intake because they could eat a low fat piece of meat and get a lot of protein and no added calories as fat or carbohydrates.
The concept here is similar – eat lower fat dairy products and get more protein… Who needs lean meat when you’ve got low fat dairy at your side!
I personally used to really dislike low-fat dairy and found it very bland. However, when cooked correctly and used in the right flavour combinations it can be just as tasty as the regular stuff! You just have to know how to use it properly.
Our low fat dairy tips:
- Try some of the swaps out from above. Our favorite, and arguably the most useful, is using low fat greek yogurt and combining it with something like blueberries or strawberries.
- Don’t worry about ‘losing flavour’! With the right recipe or pairings this shouldn’t be the case. For example, why don’t you try low fat coconut milk in our chickpea curry or low fat mozzarella in these skillet pizza pancakes?
Healthy, delicious carbs
Carbs get a bit of a bad reputation sometimes. But, carbohydrates for weight loss are actually brilliant – you’ve just got to pick the right ones!
Wholegrain carbohydrates contain healthy nutrients like iron and calcium, and contain lots of fiber and protein so actually help us to feel full.
Fruits and vegetables also come under the ‘carbohydrate’ bracket, and we definitely don’t want to remove them!
Starchy vegetables like potatoes contain more calories than non starchy vegetables like carrots or peppers.
These non starchy vegetables are brilliant pairings to main dishes or as a snack with hummus because they help to make the dish feel more complete and filling but don’t add in lots of calories.
We’ve also compiled a list of the best fruits for weight loss too, and you can give that a read for some more motivation!
Top tips for carbohydrates:
- If you haven’t really eaten whole grain carbohydrates before then you can start by using 50% whole grains, 50% white. This works great for partners or families too!
- Don’t ditch the starchy carbs, they’re great for us!
- Non starchy carbs are great additions to any meal or snack for helping to feel full.
- Fresh fruits are better than dried fruits: much more “volume” for the same amount of calories
Fiber is another fantastic tool when it comes to losing weight (and for our health!). Technically fiber is a type of carbohydrate. What differentiates fiber to other carbs is that the body can’t digest it.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. While we don’t need to go into that too much, what you need to know is that fiber is good for us and the average diet doesn’t contain anywhere near enough of it!
Fiber helps with weight loss because it also contributes to feeling full – by taking up a lot of space in our tummy.
But while high fiber foods take up a lot of space they don’t contain many calories – meaning you can feel full for less calories.
Our top tips for fiber:
- 10 grams of fiber per meal.
- 30-40 grams of fiber per day. By switching to some whole grain products and including legumes to your diet you should get there effortlessly (think brown rice, black beans, avocado).
- If you find you produce a lot of gas when you increase your fiber intake then don’t worry! This is normal. Reduce the amount of fiber and then build up again and you should find this settles.
Vegetarian foods that are good for weight loss
So what foods are good to include in your vegetarian weight loss diet? It is best to focus on foods that are high protein, high fiber and low fat.
Let me talk you through some of the options available to you that meet those requirements.
As mentioned above – Low-fat dairy
Dairy products are a good source of protein for vegetarians, however they can contain quite a lot of saturated fat.
I would recommend going for the low-fat option whenever possible, so you can get all the protein with less of the calorie dense fat.
Beans, chickpeas, lentils: all these are great sources of both lean protein and fiber, appropriate for low-fat diets (well, low-ish, as some amont of fat is very important!) and generally nutritious all rounders.
The only thing you might find is that all that fiber can cause some, ahem, flatulence, that is somewhat embarrassing/uncomfortable. Stick to one cup or so a day and you should be fine!
Leafy greens and veggies
Important for any diet, leafy greens and veggies are of course indispensable in a weight loss diet. You should be having a handful of greens at least twice a day.
They contain so many vitamins and minerals for general wellbeing and are super fibrous and low calorie, which helps with weight loss. Some veggies, like broccoli, even contain a decent amount of protein.
Frozen fruit and veg is a great way to make sure you always have some to hand. Freezing them helps retain lots of nutrients, so it’s actually just as healthy as fresh veg. Why not keep a couple of packets of frozen berries and mixed vegetables in the freezer?
Whole grain carbs and grains
You will need some carbs to balance your meals and bulk them out. I recommend sticking to whole grain carbs and grains, as opposed to ‘white’ refined grains, as they have more nutritious value and are more filling thanks to their high fiber content.
I don’t recommend eating loads of bread/pasta/rice while trying to lose weight, as they aren’t super filling and are quite calorific, even in the whole grain form.
That being said, I’ve found strictly limiting certain foods is not always good for mental health and weight loss (although there are a few exceptions as listed further down).
Instead I ask myself what I could add to my diet in place of these, and this has provided me with much better weight loss results.
Oats, brown rice and grains like buckwheat and amaranth, as well as starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, are some of the best weight loss friendly carbs.
If you’re following a vegetarian diet that allows eggs, then definitely incorporate these into your weight loss diet.
Eggs are a great source of protein and super versatile; hard-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs..all delicious!
They are also fairly low calorie, at around 70 kcal per egg.
Vegetarian foods to avoid when losing weight
You’ve got an idea of what foods/macros will help you to lose weight, now let’s look at what you should be avoiding. The thing that unites these foods is that they are very calorific with little nutritional value.
Avoid highly processed fats like margarine and cheap oils like canola or sunflower oils. Fats themselves aren’t bad, but you need to stick to unprocessed, unsaturated fats like olive oil and avocado.
Stop purchasing meats of all kind, especially the highly processed ones like sausages and sandwich slices. Otherwise this won’t be a vegetarian diet!
Avoid stocking up on sugary snacks like donuts, milk chocolate, cookies and sweets. Also skip the potato chips and salted nuts. Try unsalted nuts and unsweetend dried fruit for a filling snack that are far less ‘moreish’.
Dressings and sauces
Walk past heavy caloric products like mayonnaise, ketchup, french dressings and alike.
Store bought sodas and iced teas usually are high in calories. Fruit juices are naturally high in calories too. Cut down on these products.
Also important: read nutrition labels!
You’d be surprised how many calories you find in a single bottle of soda or in a cup of seemingly healthy fruit yogurts. Make sure to always check the serving sizes as well.
Many companies are sneaky and recommend super small serving sizes in order to bring the calorie count down.
Life after the meal plan!
Your weight loss journey probably won’t end after 7 days of healthy vegetarian recipes. We’re confident many of the recipes can become staples in your household. Then it’s about sticking to them and adding more to the mix!
We’ve got hundreds of recipes online already. Just use the search on our main hurrythefoodup page. It should be easy to find your next favourite!
We also run a dedicated membership programme called The Vegetarian Protein Fix.
We create a new meal plan EVERY WEEK which is designed with weight loss in mind. We do the hard work so you don’t have to.
You just have to cook it and eat it!
Subscribe to get our FREE 7-Day Vegetarian High Protein Meal Plan for Weight Loss
Frequently asked questions
The meal plan is laid out just for one single person. Also the recipes only call for ingredients to make only one or two servings.
If you want to use the recipes of this meal plan for your partner or whole family you’ll have to multiply the ingredients. Each recipe card can be scaled up at the click of a button.
By following a healthy, sustainable meal plan that keeps you in a slim calorie deficit, you can lose weight fast as a vegetarian.
However, you can only lose weight so fast before it becomes unhealthy and a vegetarian diet will not speed up the healthy weight loss process. There is no hack to the system! You just need to eat well and burn slightly more than you eat!
Yep, there are two meal plans. One 1500 kcal/day (women) and one 1800 kcal/day (men). If you want to calculate your individual calorie intake we recommend modifying the snacks to reach your daily calorie limit.
Alternatively you can always vary the calories of a meal by adding or removing certain ingredients (bread, avocado, etc.) to adjust to your individual level.
High protein, high fiber, low fat meals are the best things to eat for a vegetarian to lose belly fat. This is because meals with this balance of macros will keep you fullest for longest, making you more likely to maintain a calorie deficit.
Yes, a vegetarian diet can be good for weight loss. There are plenty of healthy, filling vegetarian foods with a relatively low calorie count that make great additions to a weight loss diet.
However, the key to weight loss is simply burning more calories than you consume. Any healthy diet will do the trick for this, meat or no meat. The more compelling reasons to turn vegetarian are ethical or health-related.
The bottom line on vegetarian weight loss
So, what have we learnt from this dive into weight loss as a vegetarian?
We know that a vegetarian diet is generally healthy. There is evidence it helps maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure and heart health (such as preventing cardiovascular disease).
We also know that a vegetarian diet can be very effective for weight loss. You eat high fiber, high protein, low fat meals using delicious ingredients like legumes, eggs, low-fat dairy, complex carbohydrates and veggies and maintain a slim calorie deficit for sustainable weight loss!
No need for any fad diets or hyper clean-eating! Just wholesome veggie meals in balanced quantities.
Our vegetarian weight loss meal plan sets it all out for you, with 3 meals and snacks per day, using tried and tested recipes.
The plan is calculated to keep you in a calorie deficit so you can shed those pounds and reach your goals, without going hungry or sacrificing tasty meals.
Before you go, give this meal plan recipe a test!
If you’d like to try out a recipe from the meal plan right away, how about this delicious Arugula Lentil Salad from Heaven?
- 3 tbsp cashews
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 chili / jalapeño
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 3 slice wholegrain bread
- 1 cup brown lentils, cooked (1 cup = 1/ 15oz / 235g lentils or a 400g can)
- 1 handful arugula/rocket (1 handful = 100 g)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small handful raisins
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Roast the cashews on a low heat for about three minutes in a pan to maximize aroma. Then throw them into the salad bowl.3 tbsp cashews
- Dice up and fry the onion in olive oil for about 3 minutes on a low heat.1 onion, 1 tsp olive oil
- Move the onion mix into a big bowl.
- Meanwhile chop the chilli/jalapeño and dried tomatoes. Cut the bread into big croutons. Add them to the pan and fry for another 2 minutes until the bread is crunchy. The oil from the sun-dried tomatoes should do.1 chili / jalapeño, 4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, 3 slice wholegrain bread
- Season with salt and pepper.Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the arugula and add it to the bowl. Add the raisins.1 handful arugula/rocket, 1 small handful raisins
- Put the lentils in too. Season with salt, pepper, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Finally, serve with the croutons mix.1 cup brown lentils, cooked, 1 tsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Super tasty!
We would like to take a moment to note that this post is for information purposes only. It does not claim to provide medical advice or to be able to treat any medical condition.
It makes no claims in respect to weight loss, either in terms of the amount or rate at which weight loss could be achieved. If you have any concerns regarding your health please contact your medical practitioner before making changes.