5 Tips to Lose Weight on a Plant-Based Diet
So, you’ve ditched the meat and dairy in hopes to lose weight on a plant-based diet. First off, congrats! You’ve made a sound decision in switching to a plant-based diet, and science supports this move. In fact, one 2016 study cited veganism as the most effective weight loss diet . Meanwhile, another study conducted by Oxford University found that while meat-eaters had the highest BMIs, vegans had the lowest (with vegetarians falling in the middle) .
Still, I have news for you: adopting a plant-based diet doesn’t guarantee that you’ll lose weight. If that’s your goal, cutting out animal products isn’t always enough. You’ll need to adopt certain vegetarian weight loss strategies to reap all the rewards of going veg and ultimately see the number drop on the scale.
Don’t fret yet, beauties. In this guide, I’ve broken down some foolproof tips to help you successfully lose weight on a plant-based diet. It includes the best sources of plant-based protein, how to do batch cooking, the top spices for weight loss, and more.
How to Lose Weight on a Plant-Based Diet
Tip #1: Avoid Processed Foods
We all know it’s a good idea to stay away from processed meats and cheeses to lose weight on a plant-based diet. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is forgetting that this applies to plant-based snacks as well. Veggie chips and frozen veggie meals may sound like healthy choices. But actually, these foods are often chock full of preservatives, artificial ingredients, sodium, sugar, and “bad” fat.
Ever look at the nutrition facts on those products? The ingredients lists are mile-long. Your body doesn’t know what to do with most of that stuff. By the way — one 2010 study published in the journal Food & Nutrition Research found that consuming processed foods can decrease post-meal calorie burning by a whopping 50 percent compared to whole foods . So while it may be tempting to reach for vegetarian or vegan convenience foods, always opt for whole foods whenever you can.
Most all of us are too busy to slave in the kitchen every night. That’s where fast, easy meals can be life-savers. Check out my Healthy Glow Kale Salad and my Glowing Green Smoothie, to get started. If you want to get on track with a full program full of easy to make recipes, please check out my 30 Day Roadmap for Healthy Weight Loss.
Tip #2: Include Protein
You probably know that protein plays an important role in your feeling satiated after a meal. It’s also crucial for building and maintaining muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more revved up your metabolism is. It’s totally possible to meet your daily needs for protein on a plant-based diet. You just need to be aware of which foods to prioritize.
Legumes (beans and lentils) are hands down one of the best sources of plant protein. For example, lentils pack an impressive 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml). As an added bonus, they also contain roughly half of your recommended daily fiber intake. And the type of fiber they offer supports a healthy gut. Lentils are surprisingly versatile — try them in a soup, like my Spinach, Veggie & Red Lentil Stew or my ‘Cheesy’ Popped Lentil & Broccoli Salad.
Chickpeas and beans are also excellent sources of protein (with around 15 grams per cooked cup) as well as fiber, iron, folate, and potassium. Did I mention that research has shown a diet rich in “pulses” (beans and legumes) can actually reduce fat around your waistline ? Another study published in, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that eating one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils led to a weight loss of over half a pound over the course of six weeks .
If I can stress one thing it’s this: If you want to lose weight on a plant-based diet, you definitely want to embrace seeds. Chia, flax, hemp — all of these contain significant amounts of all nine essential amino acids. They are also one of the best vegan sources of omega-3s and other essential fatty acids. They’re also full of important minerals like selenium, iron, and magnesium, along with other beneficial plant-based compounds. And guess what? Hemp seeds feature a staggering 10 grams of protein in just 2 tablespoons! Pretty impressive for such a small serving. Sprinkle some in a smoothie, on raw rolled oat cereal, or in my Raw Tabouli Salad. I’m a big fan of Chia seeds as well because they’re super versatile. Since they turn into a gel-like substance when they absorb water, you can use them to make a tasty pudding when you’re craving something sweet.
Quinoa is another solid choice with 8 grams of protein in one cooked cup. Not only does it make a stellar substitution for rice in chili, but it also makes a stellar addition to baked goods. My Quinoa, Avocado & Corn Salad makes for a filling yet light lunch in the spring and summer.
(Embrace Yeast & Spirulina)
Nutritional yeast is ultra popular with vegetarians and vegans, and with good reason. Not only does it lend a cheese-like flavor to any dish, but also it’s a complete source of plant protein. In fact, it contains 14 grams of protein per ounce (along with 7 grams of fiber as well).
And while we’re on the subject of protein powerhouses, spirulina (blue-green algae) offers 8 grams of complete protein (plus a ton of minerals and essential fatty acids) in just two tablespoons.
While all vegetables contain protein, the reality is that it’s typically in somewhat small amounts. However, some provide more than others. For example, broccoli, brussels sprouts, artichokes, spinach, and sweet potatoes all have between 4-5 grams of protein per cooked cup.
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Tip #3: Always Start with a Salad (or Make it the Main!)
One of my top tips to lose weight on a plant-based diet is to always eat a salad before lunch and dinner. There are several reasons for this.
First of all, it ensures that you’re always getting at least one serving of vegetables at every meal. Meaning, you’re more likely to get your daily recommended value of vitamins, minerals, etc. And, it’s also a clever weight-loss tactic. By filling up on fiber-filled veggies before the main course, you’re less likely to overeat. On top of that, your body will have more time to recognize satiety signals. So you’ll know when you to stop because you feel full. Don’t you love how easy it can be to lose weight on a plant-based diet?
Remember: salads don’t have to be boring — switch up your greens and incorporate other seasonal ingredients to keep things interesting.
Tip #4: Spice Things Up
A flavorful meal is a satiating meal. Don’t settle for bland dishes, Beauties. You’re far more likely to feel satisfied (and therefore, stop when you’re full) if you incorporate herbs and spices into your cooking. Oh, and did I mention that many of these recipe additions can actually help you to burn fat? I’ll let the research speak for itself.
Chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. This has been shown to act as an appetite suppressant while also reducing belly fat. In fact, a 2012 study published in Chemical Senses showed that men who ate spicy appetizers ate 200 fewer calories at their next meals than those who didn’t 
Black pepper, meanwhile, contains a substance called piperine — and research has revealed that piperine can help the body burn more calories through the process of thermogenesis . To boot, it’s believed to block new fat cells from forming .
If you love a meal with a kick, I have good news for you: according to 2013 research, the active compound in cayenne pepper increases the rate at which you burn fat if you consume it three times a day .
Another excellent choice to lose weight on a plant-based diet is to use ginger. A 2008 study actually demonstrated that it can speed up the rate at which the stomach empties out food .
One of my favorites, though, is turmeric. Not only is this spice known for lowering inflammation (one of the core causes of weight gain) but it’s also been shown by Tufts University research to prevent fat tissue from growing . So add in some spices to lose weight on a plant-based diet!
Tip #5: Try Batch Cooking
It’s a lot easier to make healthy choices when it’s convenient. That’s why I highly recommend embracing batch cooking — in other words, cooking meals in larger quantities at a time so that you know you’ll have leftovers throughout the week. This method saves you time and money (and minimizes wasted food). And it’s a smart strategy to prevent you from giving in to the temptation of grabbing takeout or a frozen dinner when you’re tired and don’t feel like cooking. The key is to make batch cooking a ritual you’ll look forward to. So pick an afternoon or evening when you know you’ll have a couple hours to prep your meals, turn on some music, whip up a GGS and get ready to churn out some tasty meals, powering you through your journey to lose weight on a plant-based diet.
I know what you’re thinking: But how am I supposed to plan out my eating every week? That’s precisely why I created the 30-Day Roadmap. This comprehensive program includes weekly shopping lists and daily meal plans. So you can lose weight on a plant-based diet without any of the stress. Essentially, it’s the closest you can get to having me act as your personal nutritionist. If you want to see results but not feel overwhelmed plotting out every meal, let me do it for you!
That’s all I have for you today, Beauties! I hope you enjoyed my 5 tips to help you lose weight on a plant-based diet.
Sending you lots of love!