Vegan diets focus solely on plant foods, avoiding meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. You may opt for a vegan diet for environmental, ethical or health reasons. While a plant-based diet is a healthy choice, some vegan meals can be high in calories. Try these low-cal, vegan meals, whether you're vegan full-time, eating vegan to lose weight or just looking for more variety in your healthy diet.
Starting your day with a well-balanced breakfast can keep your energy up and reduce calorie expenditure throughout the day. Try a high-fiber cereal with unsweetened rice, soy or almond milk. Add fresh fruit or a healthy fruit smoothie with frozen fruit and soy milk to start your day. You can also opt for scrambled tofu or purchased soy- or wheat-protein sausage or bacon if you prefer a higher protein breakfast.
Unfortunately, many vegan lunch staples, including pasta salads, burritos and nut butter can be high in fat and calories. Get in the habit of going green with a large dark green salad, laden with your favorite veggies for lunch. Add a small serving of nuts or seeds, soy cheese, or beans for protein. As an alternative, try making batches of bean or vegetable based soups and packing those for a low-calorie lunch on the go. Most vegan soups are quite low in calories, high in fiber and make a delicious and healthy lunch.
If you're in a rush, salads, soups and simple stews work well for a low-calorie dinner, as do purchased veggie burgers. Choose a whole-grain, reduced-calorie bun, and top your burger with plenty of vegetables, rather than high-fat toppings. Roasted vegetables and vegetable stir fries also come in under 400 calories per serving, as long as you limit the amount of oil. Focus your meals around vegetables and legumes, keeping portions of grains in check to keep calories under control.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are practical and healthy low-calorie snacks. Add a small serving of hummus or a tablespoon of nut butter for a more filling between-meal treat with less than 150 calories. Air-popped popcorn tossed with nutritional yeast is both low in calories and fat and high in essential vitamin B-12. Salty and sweet snacks are often a source of empty calories and can bust your weight-loss attempts, whether you're vegan or not.
- Oprah; Vegan Recipes from The Kind Diet; Alicia Silverstone; January 2010
- MayoClinic.com: If I Switch to a Vegetarian Diet, Will I Lose Weight?
- Skinny Bitch: Recipes
- "Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes"; Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Matthew Ruscigno; 2010