How to Eat a No-Meat Diet Without Missing Meat's Benefits

Giving up meat does not relegate you to a diet of salads and celery sticks. You can still enjoy a varied diet with optimal nutrition on a no-meat diet plan. There are benefits of not eating meat — the reduction in calories and saturated fat, compared to a meat-based diet, can help you better manage your weight and health.

No-Meat Diet Plan Meal (Image: vaaseenaa/iStock/GettyImages)

Benefits of Not Eating Meat

A vegetarian diet can provide many benefits of not eating meat and be appropriate for any person at any stage of their life, as long as it is appropriately planned, according to the American Dietetic Association.

Eating too much red meat, over 18 ounces per week, notes the Harvard School of Public Health, may raise your risk of developing colon cancer. Meat also tends to be higher in saturated fat and calories than many other protein choices. Saturated fat and calories can cause weight gain if you eat too much of them. Vegetarians have a propensity to have a lower body mass index and reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Types of No-Meat Plans

You could choose to follow a number of paths when following a no-meat diet plan. You might choose to exclude just red meats, such as beef, bison, pork and lamb, or all animal flesh — including poultry and fish. If you choose to exclude fish and poultry along with meat, you may be an ovo-lacto vegetarian who still enjoys dairy and eggs, explains NIH News in Health.

A no-meat plan may also be vegan, meaning you consume no animal products whatsoever and plan your meals around fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and plant oils says The American Diabetes Association. All options offer benefits, which one you choose depends on your personal preferences.

No Meat Challenge

Red meat is a source of iron and vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is essential to energy and red blood cell functioning. Iron also assists in red blood cell function, particularly in helping these cells transport oxygen throughout the body. You can find these nutrients in supplements or naturally occurring in non-meat foods. Nutritional yeast, eggs, fortified cereal and salmon are sources of B-12, while oysters and lentils are alternative sources of iron, suggests National Institute of Health. You might find eating no meat a challenge when it comes to getting sufficient protein but many sources other than meat can provide all the protein you need. If you consume plenty of dried beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and, if you choose, fish, dairy, eggs and poultry, protein deficiency should not be a problem, says Harvard School of Public Health. If you are using a no-meat plan as a diet, make sure you still consume adequate calories for energy. A woman needs at least 1,200 calories per day and a man 1,500 calories.

Eat Healthy Vegetarian Meals

A 1,500-calorie, no-meat high protein vegetarian meal might begin with a breakfast of two slices of whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon of almond butter and 8 ounces of skim milk. At lunch, create a dish with 1/2 cup of whole-wheat pasta, 1 cup diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 ounces of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup steamed broccoli. For dinner, enjoy ½ cup of black beans stewed with garlic, onions and a pinch of cumin served over 1 cup cooked quinoa and a salad of baby spinach, 1 cup of orange segments, 1/2 ounce of toasted pecans and a low-fat balsamic dressing. At snack times, have a hard-boiled egg with five woven wheat crackers and, at another sitting, a cup of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt with 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries.

Load comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.