Many people seek healthy weight loss success and find that a Vegan Diet (also known as a Plant-Based Diet) works well for long-term results. This idea that “veganism = weight loss” is untrue. One can even gain weight on a vegan diet if you are not doing it healthily. There are plenty of processed foods available to vegans, such as chips, cookies, cakes, “cheese,” etc. There is a vegan version for everything!

Unlike trendy diets, which are both hard to sustain and typically not heart-healthy over an extended time frame, the Vegan Diet is plant-based eating that is healthy, sustainable, and provides immunity-boosting foods that keep your energy up and your defenses strong against getting sick, as you shed pounds. Get shredded by crunching those greens—not abs.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study examined the link between meat consumption and weight for U.S. adults. The results showed that those with the highest meat consumption were approximately 27 percent more likely to be obese. The basic idea (generalized) of the Plant Based Diet is to allow 55-60% of your calories from carbs, 20-25% from (plant-based) protein, and 15-25% from fat.

The following tips will help create a sustainable weight loss journey following a vegan diet:

  1. Limit processed foods, because remember ALL FOODS CAN FIT.
  2. Understand the concept of calorie density.
  3. Calculate your protein needs, will vary with each individual depending what the goals and where they are on their journey. Roughly 20 grams of protein at mealtimes. 
  4. Focus on fiber-rich foods. Think whole grains such as bulgur wheat, farro, millet, whole wheat orzo.
  5. Learn to love oats. Try this High Protein Vegan Cereal Bowl recipe!
  6. Add those vegetables.
  7. Eat your iron with a side of citrus (think tomatoes, lemon, oranges). 
  8. Retrain your tastebuds, give it time because they will adjust.
  9. Incorporate seaweed into your meals.
  10. Use tofu for its versatility. Check out these easy ways to add tofu to breakfast
  11. Snack on nuts and seeds for energy boosts.
  12. Enjoy fruit when you have a sweet craving and sometimes your favorite sweets. 
  13. Limit added oils.
  14. Limit caloric beverages.
  15. Watch out for vegan junk food. Here are 4 healthy vegan junk food swaps.
  16. Make vegetables the star of your meals.
  17. Eat more Fish-free Omega 3s, think flax seeds and walnuts!
  18. Don’t forget about Vitamin D.
  19. Limit refined sugar.
  20. Get familiar with reading labels. Read about the 5 most misleading food labels.
  21. Prep your meals for the week.
  22. Exercise: find movement you love that you can do regularly. 
  23. Make variety your best friend. Check out these 3 simple 3 ingredient meals
  24. Make sure you are staying hydrated. 
  25. Don’t be hard on yourself on your weight loss journey. Give yourself grace! Here are my top self-care tips!

While several studies have found plant-based diets to help with weight loss and can impact you positively in more ways than just losing pounds. You will see a difference in your energy levels, and your skin will clear up as you eat more vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which were missing before. 

I hope incorporating these tips into your daily life will help you throughout your healthy weight loss journey! For more specifics about foods “on the list” and how much is recommended for each, check out the Vegan Food Pyramid. For more on how to have successful weight loss on a nutrient-dense Vegan Diet, let’s connect!

Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN