I want to follow a daily routine which will help me reduce weight. Currently, I am 129 lbs. I want to reduce it to 120 lbs; however, I am a vegetarian. I don’t eat eggs or meat. Please help. 

– Swapna A.


Vegetarian diet or not, the same rules apply for reducing body fat to lose weight: eat less than you burn. Where vegetarians may have trouble is with concentrated sugars (in foods like smoothies, cereals, fruit bars) and excess fats (hidden oils in boxed/frozen foods). Restricting intake of processed foods while focusing on whole plant foods will ensure you control the amount of sugar and fat consumed. Basically, choose foods you need to chew! 

Consider a healthy vegetarian dish of lentils, mushroom, onion, chopped spinach, olive oil and carrot over sweet potatoes. Despite the correct balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein you still need to deal with volume. Do you fill a 10-inch plate, 20 oz. bowl or only a cup? Portion control is important, no matter the diet you follow. Just cutting back 50 calories a day can promote a 5-pound weight loss over a year.  

I wouldn’t advise a daily menu repeated over and over because you need a variety of produce, legumes, nuts and seeds to meet micronutrient requirements and provide beneficial phytochemicals. But, you can start with a few days mapped out for you! EatingWell® has a decent vegan 7 day 1200 calorie plan. For a week’s worth of lacto-ovo Indian meal suggestions, check out this traditional plan from Healthline. Also read the Living Healthy blog’s Ask Our Dietitian post How to Lose Fat as a Vegan for more meal and snack options. 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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