Vegetarian Diet Plan For Weight Loss – Foods List, Health Benefits, Precautions

Reviewed By Dr. Geeta Dharmatti, M.Sc,Ph.D, Clinical Nutritionist and Registered Dietician
Written by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition confirms that a vegetarian diet is best for weight loss (1). It is low in calories, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and increases longevity (2), (3). However, poorly planned and restrictive vegetarian diets may cause nutrition deficiency (4), (5). That’s why you must choose a balanced vegetarian diet for weight loss.

In this post, we will tell you what to eat in a vegetarian diet, why it is beneficial, and precautions to take. Keep reading.

7-Day Vegetarian Meal Plan For Weight Loss

Day 1 (1800 Calories)

  • Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in a glass of water, soaked overnight
  • Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 1 cup of oatmeal with ground flaxseeds and a banana
  • Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of watermelon + 4 almonds
  • Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of brown rice with grilled tofu, tomatoes, onions, and spinach + 1 cup of buttermilk
  • Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of green tea + 1 multigrain biscuit
  • Dinner (6:30 p.m.) – 2 small whole-wheat flatbreads + 1 cup of chickpea curry + slices of cucumber, carrot, and beetroot + 1 cup of full-fat warm milk before bed

Day 2 (1500 Calories)

  • Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of water with 1 lime and 2 teaspoons organic honey
  • Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 1 cup of multigrain flakes with strawberries, almonds, dates, and apple
  • Mid Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of pineapple with a dash of lime juice and pink Himalayan salt
  • Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – Boiled black beans + baby spinach + cucumber with light dressing + 1 cup of yogurt
  • Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of green tea + 1 multigrain biscuit
  • Dinner (6:30 p.m.) – Boiled lentils with chili-garlic flavored stir-fried veggies + 1 cup of warm full-fat milk before bed

Day 3 (1200 Calories)

  • Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 10 ml wheatgrass juice
  • Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 1 cup of muesli + full-fat milk + blueberries + chia seeds + 1 teaspoon of organic honey
  • Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of green tea or a fruit of your choice
  • Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – Broccoli + sweet corn + cucumber + mushroom salad with olive oil dressing
  • Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 10 in-shell pistachios (unsalted) + 1 cup of green tea
  • Dinner (6:30 p.m. ) – Butternut squash soup + 1 garlic multigrain bread + 1 cup of warm full-fat milk before bed

Day 4 (1200 Calories)

  • Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water
  • Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 8 fluid ounces of strawberry, banana, milk, and chia seeds smoothie
  • Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of green tea + 1 apple
  • Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – Vegetable quinoa salad + 1 cup of full-fat yogurt
  • Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of green tea + ½ cup of popcorn (no butter, very less salt)
  • Dinner (6:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of kidney bean chili + cucumber and beetroot + 1 cup of warm milk before bed

Day 5 (1500 Calories)

  • Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of water with 1 lime and 2 teaspoons of organic honey
  • Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 2 avocado pesto toast + 1 cup of green tea/black coffee
  • Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of watermelon
  • Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – ½ cup of spinach brown rice + pumpkin and Bengal gram curry + 1 cup of buttermilk
  • Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of freshly pressed fruit juice
  • Dinner (6:30 p.m.) – Smoked tofu and kale salad + 1 cup of warm milk before bed

Day 6 (2000 Calories – Cheat Meal Day)

  • Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 10 ml wheatgrass juice
  • Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 1 cup of oatmeal + 1 cup of green tea
  • Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of muskmelon
  • Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of sautéed veggies + 1 cup of boiled lentils
  • Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 2-3 baked potato/potato jackets and spinach cakes with yogurt dip
  • Dinner (6:30 p.m.) – ½ cup of mushroom risotto + chocolate mousse

Day 7 (1500 Calories)

  • Early Morning (7:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of water with 1 lime and 2 teaspoons of organic honey
  • Breakfast (7:45 a.m.) – 1 cup of oatmeal with banana and 4 almonds
  • Mid-Morning (10:00 a.m.) – 1 cup of green tea/black coffee
  • Lunch (12:30 p.m.) – 2 cottage cheese lettuce wraps + 1 cup of buttermilk
  • Snack (3:30 p.m.) – 1 cup of green tea + 15 in-shell pistachios
  • Dinner (6:30 p.m.) –1 cup of boiled black beans, spinach, and corn salad + 1 cup of warm milk before bed

Adhere to this 7-day vegetarian diet plan to lose weight significantly in 3 weeks. But why is a vegetarian diet good for weight loss?

How A Vegetarian Diet Helps In Weight Loss

1. A Vegetarian Diet Is Low In Calories

Consuming fewer calories is the first strategic step toward weight loss. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are naturally low in calories.

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that people who were on a vegetarian diet consumed fewer calories than those on diets with high-protein meat (6).

However, merely reducing caloric intake is not sufficient for long-term weight loss (7). In fact, consuming a high amount of veggies and fruits without restriction may even hamper weight loss (8).

2. Vegetarian Diet Is Low In Saturated Fat And Cholesterol

A vegetarian diet helps lower bad cholesterol and saturated fat intake, which ultimately leads to quicker weight loss (9).

A vegetarian diet is loaded with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plant-based proteins, and healthy fats. Since a major part of the energy comes from these sources, a vegetarian diet is low in unhealthy fats like saturated fats and cholesterol (9). As a result, people on a vegetarian diet have a lower BMI (10).

3.  Vegetarian Diet Keeps You, Full

A vegetarian diet is rich in dietary fiber, which helps keep hunger pangs away. Dietary fiber forms a gel-like layer in the stomach and slows down digestion and absorption of the food. This, in turn, keeps you full for a long duration (11).

Dietary fiber also draws water from the body to the intestine, which helps soften and add bulk to the stool. The result of this action improves bowel movement and prevents constipation (12).

Plant-based proteins like lentils, pulses, beans, legumes, and soy products in a vegetarian diet also help in controlling appetite. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people on a soy protein diet can have the same control over appetite as people on a meat diet (13).

4. A Vegetarian Diet Improves  Digestion

Good digestion is key to weight loss. Digestion is supported by the good gut bacteria in the stomach that help break down dietary fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids (14). The short-chain fatty acids, in turn, help in regulating appetite and glucose levels (15).

Consuming vegetables, fruits, and whole grains improves beneficial bacteria like Ruminococcus, E. rectale, and Roseburia, and reduces pathogens like Clostridium and Enterococcus species (16).

5. A Vegetarian Diet Helps Regulate Blood Glucose

A vegetarian diet helps control blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity, and aids weight loss. As a result, going vegetarian may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (17), (18).

The high dietary fiber, vitamin, and mineral content, and low saturated fat content of vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fruits help in better regulation of blood glucose levels (19).

Does A Vegetarian Diet Reduce Belly Fat?

2016 study concluded that a vegetarian diet is better for weight loss compared to non-vegetarian diets (20). If you adhere to the 7-day vegetarian diet chart for at least three months, you will see a significant reduction in body weight and BMI.

There are no studies that prove that a vegetarian diet helps reduce belly fat specifically (21). Along with diet, you must do belly fat exercises or pilates to get rid of belly fat or reduce tummy fat.

The next question is, which vegetarian foods are best for weight loss? Here’s a list – take a screenshot and use it when you go grocery shopping!

Foods Vegetarians Can Eat To Lose Weight

  • Vegetarian Protein-Rich Foods: Kidney beans, black beans, lentils and pulses, chickpea, cowpea, black-eyed peas, peas, soybean, edamame, tofu, mushrooms, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, homemade curd, whole milk, and soy milk.
  • Vegetarian Low-Cal Snacks: Kale chips, beetroot, chips, sesame seed fat bombs,homemade granola bar, homemade spinach/onion fritters, air fried snack, a handful of almonds, 10-15 in-shell pistachios, green tea, multigrain biscuit, freshly pressed fruit/vegetable juice, 1 or 2 saltine crackers, and black coffee.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrot, beetroot, kale, cabbage, bok choy, scallions, tomato, cucumber, okra, eggplant, radish, turnip, Chinese cabbage, purple cabbage, onion, celery, fennel, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, yam, arugula, and Swiss chard.
  • Fruits: Apple, orange, tangerine, grapes, pineapple, pear, peach, guava, pluot, prune, apricot, passionfruit, litchi, avocado, papaya, grapefruit, banana, watermelon, and muskmelon.
  • Healthy Fats: Almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, avocado, avocado oil, rice bran oil, peanut butter, and sunflower butter.
  • Whole Grains: Red rice, black rice, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, wheat, buckwheat, sorghum, barley, and oats.
  • Beverages: Water, green tea, oolong tea, matcha tea, coconut water, freshly pressed fruit juice and vegetable juice, black coffee, fenugreek seed soaked water, lime water, and detox water.
  • Herbs And Spices: Garlic, ginger, fenugreek, chili, cumin, coriander powder, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, thyme, dill, fennel, basil, turmeric, pepper, chili flakes, ginger powder, garlic powder, onion powder, allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, and nigella seeds.

Now, let’s take a quick look at the foods you must avoid.

Which Foods To Avoid

  • Fried foods
  • Frozen foods like potato wedges, cheese balls, frozen soy meat, peas, etc.
  • Packaged foods like ready-to-eat noodles, curries, chapati, paranthas, fruit juice, vegetable juice, health drinks, packaged buttermilk, almond milk, peanut milk, etc.
  • Fast foods like burgers and pizza.
  • Sugary foods like candies, cakes, pastries, cookies, etc.
  • Foods rich in refined flour and trans fats like croissants, puff pastry, biscuits, etc.
  • Foods rich in sodium.

Apart from weight loss, following a vegetarian diet has many other health benefits.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Vegetarian Diet?

  • Research shows that a vegetarian diet helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (22).
  • Studies have found that a vegetarian diet helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (17), (23).
  • Vegetarians live longer (24).
  • The long-term health of vegetarians and vegans seems to be good, which includes reduced risk of eye cataract, improved brain and neuronal function, and lower risk of obesity (25).
  • A vegetarian diet reduces the risk of gout and kidney stones (26), (27).
  • A vegetarian diet also helps reduce the overall consumption of hormone-treated animal meat (28).
  • A vegetarian diet reduces your carbon print (29).

However, there are a few disadvantages of a vegetarian diet.

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Vegetarian Diet?

  • Vegetarian sources of protein may not contain all the essential amino acids and may lack vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids (30), (31).
  • Plant protein is not enough for building lean muscle (32).
  • This diet might not be ideal for bodybuilders (33).
  • It may cause hair fall in people as it is associated with iron and zinc deficiencies (34).
  • It may cause muscle and bone weakness (35).

To counteract a few of the disadvantages, do the following.

Precautions To Take

  • Consume vegetarian protein powders.
  • Talk to a registered dietitian and take vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium supplements.
  • Get regular check-ups done.


A vegetarian diet is good for your health and weight loss. Be patient, adhere to the diet plan, work out at least 4-5 hours a week, sleep well, and stay stress-free. It will help you tone up and feel better than before.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get skinny overnight with a vegetarian diet?

No, you cannot become skinny overnight by being on a vegetarian diet. It will require a minimum of 3-4 weeks to show results, depending on your adherence to the diet, workout plan, BMI, current weight, and medical history.

Is the vegetarian diet the healthiest way to eat?

There is no doubt that a well-balanced vegetarian diet is the healthiest way to eat. A vegetarian diet has all the necessary components like calcium, minerals, protein, and vitamins required for the healthy functioning of your body.

Do vegetarians get enough protein?

Meat and eggs are rich sources of protein. But vegetarians can cover their daily requirements of protein with different grains and legumes. Research says that an entire daily meal need not be protein-based. As long as your body gets its quota of 55 g of protein every day, you are good.

Are vegetarians skinnier?

No, not always. Vegetarians and vegans also have a lot of junk food options, which can also lead to weight gain. Eating healthy vegetarian food, working out, practicing portion control, and getting proper rest is key to losing weight and staying fit.

Are vegetarians really healthier in the long run?

Vegetarians are healthier than non-vegetarians in the long run. A wholesome vegetarian meal includes all the necessary components required for a healthy body and mind. When the calorie consumption is less, obesity and other chronic disorders are kept at bay. Vegetarians are high on energy and less prone to common ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure. They are usually fit, disease-free, and energetic.

What’s so good about a vegetarian diet?

Everything! A vegetarian diet includes wholesome and balanced foods that get digested easily and boost metabolism. It is often the best solution to combat chronic disorders, obesity, allergies, blood pressure, and skin diseases. It lowers the risk of cancer and helps women with hormonal imbalances. Vegetarians are also calmer and live a longer, healthier life when compared to non-vegetarians.

What is the beginner vegetarian shopping list?

You can buy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and oils, dairy, herbs, and spices. Avoid red meat, white meat, and eggs.

Can vegetarian diets lead to nutritional deficiencies?

If a vegetarian diet is not balanced and fails to fulfill the necessary nutritional requirements, it could lead to various deficiencies. Studies have shown that many vegetarians end up with protein deficiencies and lack long-chain fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and B12 in their diet. Lack of nutrition can also lead to calcium, iron, and zinc deficiencies.
But that does not make the vegetarian diet the culprit. It’s the wrong food choices. A wholesome vegetarian meal can never go wrong. Including fiber-rich and antioxidant-rich foods in your meal, getting your complete dose of nutrition, and thinking before eating will keep deficiencies at bay.

What is the difference between vegetarian and vegan diets?

There are a lot of differences between vegans and vegetarians. Vegans do not consume all animal products such as meat, poultry, honey, dairy, etc., while vegetarians consume honey and dairy products.


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Dr. Geeta Dharmatti, M.Sc,Ph.D

(Clinical Nutritionist and Registered Dietician)
Dr. Geeta Dharmatti is the Director and Founder of Geeta Nutriheal Consultancy (Nutrition Services Consultancy) and an Executive Member of the Indian Dietetic Association. She has done her Masters in Nutrition and PhD in Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Geeta has 20+ years of experience in clinical nutrition and specializes in enteral, parenteral, obesity, diabetes, pediatric, and therapeutic nutrition. She is a... more