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Vegan diets can help you meet your weight-management goals.
Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States struggle with their weight. While vegans - people who don't eat any animal products at all, not even eggs and dairy - tend to be leaner than vegetarians and meat eaters, you may still experience the common struggles related to weight and food. A 1,200-calorie vegan diet is a very low-calorie diet that may be a little too restrictive to follow long term, and you should keep in mind that you may be able to lose weight eating a little more. Before starting any new diet plan, talk to your doctor first to discuss your health and goals.
The Vegan Diet and Weight Loss
One of the biggest obstacles you might face when attempting a 1,200-calorie diet is hunger. A healthy vegan diet is filled with fruits, veggies, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. All of these foods offer you a major advantage to help keep the hunger pangs away by way of their fiber. Foods high in fiber take longer to digest, helping you feel full longer. In addition to taming your appetite and helping you lose weight, these high-fiber foods may also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
1,200-Calorie Vegan Diet
To maximize nutrient intake it's important to include a variety of foods from all the food groups when restricting your intake to so few calories. A balanced 1,200-calorie vegan meal plan includes five servings of protein, where one serving equals 1/2 cup of beans or tofu, 1 cup of soy milk or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter; 2 cups cooked or 4 cups raw veggies; 2 medium-sized fruits or 1 cup of fruit; four servings of grains where one serving equals one slice of bread or a tortilla, 1/3 cup of cooked grain or 3/4 cup cold cereal; and three servings of fat where one serving equals 1 teaspoon of oil, 2 tablespoons of avocado or 2 teaspoons of salad dressing.
To keep a lid on your hunger, plan to eat three meals and one snack a day.
For breakfast on your 1,200-calorie vegan diet you might have a slice of toast with 1 slice of vegan cheese and a medium banana.
At lunch, toss together 4 cups of mixed greens with 1/2 cup of chickpeas, 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa and 1/2 tablespoon of your favorite salad dressing. Use herbs and lemon juice to add more flavor to your salad without adding calories.
Make a stir fry for dinner with 2 cups of veggies and 1 cup of cubed tofu sauteed in 1 teaspoons of oil and seasoned with low-sodium soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Serve with 1/3 cup of brown rice.
For snack, have a bowl of cereal with 3/4 cup of unsweetened ready-to-eat cereal topped with 1 cup of soy milk and 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries.
Keep in Mind
If you're hungry or losing weight too quickly - more than 2 pounds a week - you might want to bump up your calories by 100 to 200 calories a day. While you might be anxious to lose the weight, being hungry may cause you to overeat, and losing weight too quickly may lead to muscle loss.