How to lose weight on a meat-free diet
Almost 2.5 million Australians follow a vegetarian diet. The reasons are varied and often include concern for animal welfare and the environment. Some people don't like the taste or simply want to enjoy meat-free meals throughout the week. The good news is that following a well-balanced vegetarian diet that is rich in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vegetables, can provide all your essential nutrients.
If your motivation to go vegetarian is only to lose weight, you might not get the results you are after. In 2020, WW was ranked #1 Best Diet for Weight Loss for the tenth consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report*, while the vegetarian diet was ranked #10 in the same category, as cutting out whole food groups can be challenging to stick to and usually only leads to short-term results. Reaching and maintaining your weight goals is not just about changing what you eat, but about taking a holistic approach, learning techniques related to creating healthier patterns of eating, and activity and mindfulness behaviours.
If you are choosing to follow a vegetarian diet for other reasons, WW can be helpful with your weight loss goals. Our myWW program is our most customised weight-loss program ever and tailored to your food preferences. It’s based on WW’s proven SmartPoints® system, which guides you toward a healthier pattern of eating by assigning a value to foods and beverages based on kilojoules, saturated fat, sugar, and protein content, with a list of ZeroPoint™ foods that you don't have to track or measure. This system guides you toward lots of fruits and vegetables, plant-based proteins, and healthy fats in moderation in order to meet your nutritional needs, rather than defaulting to processed foods and snacks that happen to be made without animal products. We teach you healthy eating behaviours like recognising different types of hunger, meal planning, and getting sufficient portions, and we provide personalised support.
What are the different types of vegetarian diets?
The four main types of vegetarian diets include:
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian: This is the most common type of vegetarian, who eats dairy products and eggs, but not meat, poultry or seafood.
- Lacto vegetarian: Eats dairy but not eggs, meats, poultry or seafood.
- Ovo vegetarian: Eats eggs but not dairy, meat, poultry or seafood.
- Vegan: All animal products (meat, fish, dairy, and eggs) are off the menu.
What does a day on a plate for a vegetarian look like?
Dietitian Dr Kate Marsh’s suggested vegetarian menu plan.
- Breakfast: Oats with milk and banana, whole grain toast with almond spread and fruit.
- Morning tea: Fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.
- Lunch: Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup, a whole grain bread roll and some fresh fruit.
- Afternoon tea: Hummus with carrot and celery sticks.
- Dinner: Tofu vegetable stir-fry with brown rice and cashews.
- Dessert: Fresh berries, walnuts, and some yoghurt.
Are vegetarians healthier than non-vegetarians?
While many assume that vegetarians are healthier than non-vegetarians, the scientific evidence is not consistent. There are some studies that show vegetarians can have lower risks of hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes than the non-vegetarians. It is important to note, however, that lifestyle habits beyond eating may account, at least in part, for the findings. Other studies, however, have not found that vegetarians are better off than non-vegetarians.
Can I eat vegetarian with WW?
WW is fantastic for vegetarians because of the many non-meat vegetarian products on the ZeroPoint foods list. So whether you are vegetarian or just trying to eat meat free Monday (or any night of the week) we have over 1000 great tasting vegetarian, plant-based and vegan recipes for you
Try our breakfast slice filled with rice, veg, cottage cheese, and eggs, which can be made ahead of time and give you breakfast on the go for most of the week.
For a filling lunch, try our smashed bean, tomato and feta wrap. Beans are a great option for vegos as they are a source of protein, fibre, and carbohydrates.
After a hearty vegetarian dinner? Try our vegetarian cottage pie filled with lentils and veg. Even the meat lovers will be a fan of this cottage pie.