If you’re hoping to go cruelty-free with your diet, you’re not alone. It’s possible that now more than 1 percent of the American population is vegan – that’s 2.5 million people. Or, you could look at it from the perspective of a restaurant owner: possibly 1 out of every 100 patrons you serve is going to be on a plant-based diet. So, why are so many people going vegan? Well, of course there’s the classic “save the animals” trope. But, a lot of people try cutting out meat and dairy to lose weight, too. So, what are some of the best vegan weight loss foods? We’re glad you asked.
Weight loss is not always a guarantee, no matter what your diet is. A lot of your lifestyle comes into play, too. But, the best vegan weight loss foods may also be your best bet at losing weight, no matter if you’re actually vegan or not. In reality, you can substitute just about any animal product with its nutritional equivalent of plants. But, putting the best vegan weight loss foods into your regular, omnivorous diet may also help you drop some pounds. So, what are these foods? Here’s a short list.
Best Vegan Weight Loss Foods: Proteins
Let’s start with the part of the food pyramid that everyone thinks vegans lack (they don’t!). In fact, a lot of vegan foods pack MORE protein per calorie than their meaty counterparts. For example, 100 calories of broccoli has more protein than 100 calories of steak. When you think about how much broccoli you get for 100 calories versus how much steak you get for the same, it does make sense. So, to get your best bang for your protein buck, you should definitely check out quinoa. This grain is actually an amazing substitute for ground beef in Mexican dishes, and goes well with a lot of different types of cuisine. It’s gluten free, a complete protein, and it has vitamin B, iron, and fiber. It doesn’t get much better than that! Other contenders on the best vegan weight loss foods list for protein would be black beans and almonds. If you eat the right amount of these foods, it can definitely help you keep your weight in check.
Best Vegan Weight Loss Foods: Fruits
So, obviously fruit is an important part of a vegan diet. Fruits contain essential complex sugars and carbohydrates – and yes, you do need carbohydrates in your diet. But, which fruits are the best if you’re really trying to lose weight? Well, bananas are an awesome source of potassium, but if you’re trying to drop pounds, you may not want to go overboard on high-sugar fruits. So, sticking to berries (seasonal options are great) and melons is a good choice. Plus, these foods have a high water content, so you can fill up on them without consuming a lot of calories. That’s why fresh fruit will always be superior to dried fruit when you want to lose weight.
Best Vegan Weight Loss Foods: Vegetables
Here’s where we need to be really honest – you absolutely need vegetables in your diet. The food pyramid used to tell us that 3-5 servings of vegetables were sufficient, but in reality you should try to eat as many veggies as possible. So, what should you eat to drop pounds? Go for the leafy greens first – spinach, arugula, kale, and even bitter greens (think dandelion leaves). A great vegan meal starts off with a big salad first. Then, you can add all the other colors of the rainbow. With vegetables, you can really pull out the stops. The only thing you should be careful about is the starchy vegetable. Too many potatoes can have the same effect as too much bread. Leave the glory to the green stuff.
If you’re wondering whether there’s more of an exact science to all of this, well, that really depends on you. Everyone finds a different optimal diet. However, if you’re truly interested in going vegan, be sure to read some books on the subject first to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need. Some vitamins and minerals can’t be obtained from plant sources (B12 for example). Otherwise, the diet itself is relatively safe and can help you lose weight if you do it right. Whether you do it for the animals or for yourself, veganism is a great way to go!