Well-planned vegetarian menus can meet your daily nutrition needs.
A vegetarian diet has several health benefits, including a decreased risk of becoming obese and developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in 2009 in вЂњDiabetes Care.вЂќ Following eating plans containing 1,500 calories a day leads to weight loss in many overweight and obese individuals, which further reduces chronic disease risks. Using vegetarian meal plans can help you stick with your daily 1,500-calorie allotment.
Unless you're a semi-vegetarian or pesco-vegetarian, following a vegetarian diet means you avoid meat, fish and poultry. Pesco-vegetarians do eat fish. Lacto-ovo vegetarians consume eggs and dairy foods in addition to plant-based foods. Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy foods but avoid eggs, and vegans consume only plant-based foods. The 2009 study in вЂњDiabetes CareвЂќ reports that vegan dieters typically have the lowest body mass indexes, or BMI, and lowest risk for developing Type 2 diabetes - compared with other types of vegetarian dieters.
With the exception of women who avoid exercise and weigh less than 165 pounds, most active women, men and women weighing 165 pounds or more will effectively lose weight eating 1,500 calories a day, reports the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This is good news for overweight and obese people. However, the NHLBI also notes that 1,000- to 1,200-calorie weight-loss diets may be more appropriate for overweight, inactive women weighing in at 165 pounds or less.
1,500-Calorie Vegetarian Meal Plan
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 provide sample, lacto-ovo vegetarian meal plans at various calorie allotments, including 1,400 and 1,600 calories a day. Using these eating plans as guides, a 1,500-calorie vegetarian meal plan may consist of 1.5 cups of fruits, 1.75 cups of vegetables, 5 ounces of grains, 4.5 ounces of protein foods, 2.75 cups of dairy foods, about 3 teaspoons of oils and 121 calories from foods of your choice. Lacto-ovo choices in the protein foods group include eggs, soy products, legumes, seeds and nuts.
A sample breakfast may include two scrambled egg whites, two slices of whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, three-fourths cup of strawberries and 1 cup of skim milk or soymilk. A mid-morning snack might consist of 1 cup of low-fat yogurt or soy yogurt. For lunch, try 4 ounces of cooked tofu, one-half cup of brown rice and three-fourths cup of steamed broccoli. A healthy afternoon snack might include one reduced-fat cheese stick and three-fourths cup of blueberries. For dinner, try a bean-burger patty on a whole-grain hamburger bun, and 1 cup of tomatoes mixed with cucumbers topped with 2 teaspoons of Italian salad dressing.