Choose low-fat dairy foods and egg whites.
Switching from a nonvegetarian to a vegetarian meal plan means you're more likely to have a lower body mass index, lower blood cholesterol and lower blood pressure levels and less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers, according to a 2010 review published in вЂњNutrition in Clinical Practice.вЂќ If eating 2,000 calories is appropriate for you and you want to include eggs and dairy products in your vegetarian diet, create a meal plan that fits those parameters.
The Magic Number
For some, 2,000 calories a day will be too much; for others, it could be too little. Diets containing 2,000 calories per day are often appropriate for sedentary men over age 50, inactive women ages 19 to 30, moderately active women ages 19 to 50 and active women over age 50, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Active women ages 19 to 50, moderately active and active men of all ages and sedentary men ages 19 to 50 will likely lose weight eating 2,000 calories per day.
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diets
Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude all meat, poultry and seafood -- but include eggs and dairy products. As with other vegetarian meal plans, lacto-ovo diets include all plant-based foods, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, soy-based foods, seitan and legumes -- such as lentils, black and pinto beans, chick peas and soybeans. Because egg yolks are high in dietary cholesterol, MedlinePlus suggests limiting egg yolk consumption to four per week, but egg whites are cholesterol-free.
Sample Meal Plan
Using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 sample 2,000-calorie lacto-ovo vegetarian meal plan will help ensure you meet your daily nutrient needs. This plan includes 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruits, 6 ounces of grains, 5.5 ounces of protein-rich foods -- such as eggs, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds -- 3 cups of dairy products, 4 teaspoons from the oils group and 258 extra calories from foods of your choice daily.
A sample menu, using the Dietary Guidelines meal plan, includes two slices of whole-grain toast, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 cup of blueberries and three egg whites. For a morning snack, try 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese with 1 cup of honeydew melon. A healthy lunch might include a black-bean veggie burger topped with one slice of reduced-fat cheese, one whole-wheat hamburger bun, 2 cups of mixed greens, 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of Italian salad dressing. For an afternoon snack, try 1 cup of fruit-flavored Greek yogurt. A healthy dinner might include 2/3 cup of seitan, 1 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 cup of asparagus, 1 cup of low-fat milk and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. For an evening snack, try 2 cups of popcorn with 1 ounce of almonds.