7 Day Vegetarian Diet Plan – Overview
Over the years, vegetarian diet plans have become very popular.
Increasingly and surprisingly, more people have chosen to go vegetarian for ethical, environmental, or health-related reasons.
When performed rightly and well, such a diet has various health benefits, including a trimmer waistline and improved blood sugar level.
Nevertheless, a diet entirely based on plant foods is likely to increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies in some cases.
This article is a very detailed beginner’s guide to the vegetarian diet. It aims to cut across everything needed to grasp the concept of the vegetarian diet.
Types of Vegetarian Diet Meal Plans (Printable and PDF)
What is a Vegetarian Diet Plan?
Vegetarianism is defined as a way of life that strictly avoids using animal products and services based on the exploitation of animals and cruelty, whether for food, clothing, or any other purpose.
Therefore, the vegetarian diet excludes all animal products, including meat, eggs, and milk.
There is various rationale behind people’s choice of a vegetarian diet. These typically range from ethics to environmental concerns but can also come from a strong desire to improve health.
A vegetarian diet lacks all forms of animal exploitative services and products. Many people eat this way for ethical, environmental, or health reasons.
Different Types of Vegetarian Diets
The vegetarian diet is of different varieties. The commonest include:
- The whole-food vegetarian diet: this is a broad variety diet based on whole plant foods, the likes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- The raw-food vegetarian diet: This vegetarian diet is based on raw fruits, nuts, vegetables, plant foods, or seeds cooked at temperatures below 118°F (48°C)
- The 80/10/10: The 80/10/10 diet, otherwise known as the low-fat, raw-food vegetarian diet or fruitarian diet, is a raw-food vegetarian diet that limits plants like nuts and avocados, which are rich in fat and consume mainly raw fruits and soft greens instead.
- The starch solution: this is a low-fat, high-carb vegetarian diet similar to the 80/10/10 but emphasizes cooked starches like potatoes, rice, and corn in place of fruits.
- The raw till 4: It’s a low-in fat vegetarian diet inspired by the 80/10/10 and starch solution. In this diet, raw foods are consumed until 4 p.m., but with the option of a plant-based meal cooked for dinner.
- The Thrive diet: The Thrive vegetarian diet is a raw-food vegetarian diet. Here, you eat raw or minimally cooked plant-based, whole foods.
- Junk-food vegetarian diet: This vegetarian diet relies heavily on mock meats and cheeses, fries, vegetarian desserts, and other heavily processed vegetarian foods because it lacks whole plant foods.
Despite the numerous variations of the vegetarian diet, most scientific research rarely establishes the differences between different vegetarian diets. In short, this article is linked to vegetarian diets as a whole.
Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarian Diet Can Help in Losing Weight
A significant difference between Vegetarians and non-vegetarians is that the formers have a lower body mass index (BMI) and tend to be thinner than the latter.
This might illuminate why many people choose vegetarian diets to lose excess weight.
The beneficial weight-related part vegetarians experience may be explained by factors other than their diet.
These factors may include healthier lifestyle choices, such as physical activity, and additional benefit-filled health-related behaviors.
However, numerous randomized checked studies, which control for these external factors, that is, factors other than their diet, report that the diets of vegetarians are more effective for weight loss than the other diets they are compared to.
Interestingly, the weight-loss advantage persists even when diets based on whole foods are used as control diets.
These diets include those recommended by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).
Moreover, researchers generally indicated that participants on vegetarian diets lose more weight than those on diets that restrict calories, even when allowed to eat to their most whole.
Naturally, the tendency to consume fewer calories on a vegetarian diet may be caused by a higher intake of fiber diets, which can very much make you feel fuller.
Vegetarian Diets Improve Blood Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes.
The vegetarian diet is beneficial in lots of ways, some of which include helping to keep your body’s blood sugar down and type 2 diabetes at bay.
A Series of salient studies show that vegetarians undoubtedly benefit from lower blood sugar levels, higher sensitivity insulin, and up to a 78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-vegetarians.
Vegetarian Diets Improve Heart Health
A vegetarian diet may indeed help keep the heart healthy. Vegetarians have up to a lower risk of developing high blood pressure or dying from heart disease.
Numerous reports show that vegetarian diets are far more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL, and total cholesterol than any other diets they are compared to.
Other Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets
Vegetarian diets have an array of additional health benefits, including benefits like:
- Lowers cancer risk
- Prevents arthritis
- Reduce the risk of reduced kidney function and malfunction.
- Reduce the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease.
Food to Avoid while on a Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarians avoid animal food and foods containing ingredients derived from animals. These include meat and poultry, fish and seafood, dairy, eggs, bee products, and Animal-based ingredients.
Foods to Eat
Vegetarians who are health-conscious use plant-based replacements for substitute animal products. These include
Tempeh and Seitan,
Legumes, unblanched and unroasted varieties of nuts, and nut butter,
Seeds like hemp,
Chia and flaxseeds,
Calcium-fortified plant milk and yogurts,
Whole grains, cereals and pseudocereals,
Sprouted and fermented plant foods,
Fruits and vegetables
Risks and How to Minimize Them
They favor a well-planned diet with limited processed foods and, in their place, nutrient-rich ones, which are crucial for everyone, not only vegetarians.
Those following poorly and improperly planned vegetarian diets are particularly at risk of certain nutrient deficiencies.
Vegetarians have a higher risk of inadequate blood levels of vitamin B12, vitamin D, long-chain omega-3s, iodine, iron, calcium, and zinc.
Not getting enough or needing the amount of these nutrients is problematic for all. Still, it may be hazardous for people with increased requirements, such as children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Genetic makeup and the individual gut bacteria composition may also influence the body’s ability to derive nutrients from a vegetarian diet.
A way to minimize deficiency is to limit the amount of processed vegetarian foods you eat and opt for nutrient-filled plant foods instead.
Foods richly fortified, especially those enriched with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, should also regularly appear on an individual plate.
Furthermore, vegetarians who intend to enhance their absorption of iron and zinc should try fermenting, sprouting, and cooking foods.
More so, using iron cast pots and pans for cooking avoids tea or coffee with meals and can further boost iron absorption by combining iron-rich foods with a source of vitamin C.
Also, adding seaweed or iodized salt to the diet helps vegetarians reach their recommended daily intake of iodine.
One Week Vegetarian Sample Menu
To help get started, here’s a simple blueprint covering a week’s worth of vegetarian meals:
Breakfast: Vegetarian breakfast comprises a sandwich with tofu, lettuce, tomato, turmeric, and a plant-milk chai latte.
Lunch: Lunch is Spiralized zucchini, quinoa salad, and peanut dressing.
Dinner: Red lentil, wild rice, and spinach dal.
Breakfast: Overnight oats made with fruit, nuts, fortified plant milk, and chia seeds.
Lunch: a Seitan sauerkraut sandwich.
Dinner: Pasta, a side salad together with one lentil bolognese sauce.
Breakfast: Mango with spinach smoothie made with milk from fortified plants and flaxseed banana-walnuts normal muffin.
Lunch: Baked tofu sandwich and one side of tomato salad.
Dinner: Vegetarian chili together with amaranth plant
Breakfast: Banana, whole-grain toast, hazelnut butter, and a well-fortified plant yogurt.
Lunch: Tofu noodle stew together with green vegetables.
Dinner: Jacket, sweet potatoes, lettuce, corn, cashews, beans, and guacamole.
Breakfast: Vegetarian chickpea, onion omelet, and a fortified plant milk cappuccino.
Lunch: Vegetarian tacos and mango-pineapple salsa.
Dinner: Broccoli and tempeh stir-fry with bok choy.
Breakfast: scrambled tofu wrap, spinach, and a glass of fortified plant milk.
Lunch: Spiced red lentil, whole-grain toast, tomato, and kale soup and hummus.
Dinner: Veggie sushi rolls, edamame, miso soup, and wakame salad.
Breakfast: Chickpea pancakes, salsa, guacamole, and a glass of fortified orange juice.
Lunch: a side of sautéed mustard greens and vegetarian tofu quiche.
Dinner: Vegetarian spring rolls.
Also, try to vary your protein sources and vegetables throughout the day, as each provides varying vitamins and minerals paramount for your health.
Healthy Vegetarian Snacks
Snacks are a great way to remain energized and to keep hunger at bay at intervals between meals.
Some of the exciting and portable vegetarian options include:
A plant-milk latte or cappuccino
Cereal with plant milk
Dried seaweed snacks
Fresh fruit and a dollop of nut butter
Hummus and vegetables
Nut and fruit bars
Nutritional yeast sprinkled on popcorn
Whole-grain crackers and cashew nut spread
Whole-wheat pita with salsa and guacamole
When planning or preparing a vegetarian snack, choose fiber and protein-rich options to help keep hunger away.
Frequently Asked Questions about Vegetarian Diet (FAQ)
Here are some very salient frequently asked questions about vegetarianism.
1. Can I only consume raw food alone as a vegetarian?
Not. Raw vegetarianism isn’t for all, although some vegetarians choose to be raw. Many vegetarians prefer to consume cooked foods, and there are no scientific premises for consuming raw foods alone.
2. Will a vegetarian diet help me shed more weight?
A vegetarian diet emphasizing nutritious, whole plant foods and restricting refined ones may help lose weight.
As stated in the weight loss section above, vegetarian diets help people consume fewer calories without consciously restricting their food intake.
Compared to calories, vegetarians’ diets are no more effective than other diets for weight loss.
3. What is the best milk substitute for the vegetarian diet?
There are several milk plant substitutes for cow’s milk. Soybean and hemp varieties are filled with more protein, making them beneficial to those trying to maintain a high protein intake.
Whichever plant milk you opt for, ensure it is enriched with vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin B12 if possible.
4. Vegetarians usually eat a lot of soy. Is that bad for you?
Soybeans are excellent sources of protein based on the plant. They contain several vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and inherently beneficial plant compounds connected to various health benefits.
However, soy is likely to suppress thyroid function in predisposed individuals and result in gas and diarrhea in others.
It’s best to choose minimally processed soy food products, like tofu and edamame, and restrict the use of soy-based mock meats.
Fermented soy products like tempeh and natto are incredibly beneficial, as their fermentation helps improve nutrient absorption.
5. How can I replace eggs in recipes?
Chia and flax seeds are excellent substitutes for eggs in the baking process.
To replace one egg, mix three tablespoons of hot water with a tablespoon of chia or ground flaxseeds and rest until it gels.
Mashed bananas can also serve as an excellent replacement for eggs in some cases. The substitute for scrambled eggs in the vegetarian diet is scrambled tofu.
Tofu can also be used in several other egg-based recipes, from omelets to quiches and frittatas.
6. How can I get enough protein?
Vegetarians can ensure they meet their daily protein target requirements by adding protein-rich plant foods to their regular meals.
7. How can I get enough calcium?
Food plants rich in calcium include bok choy, kale, mustard, turnip greens, watercress, broccoli, chickpeas, and calcium-set tofu.
Plant milk and fortified beverages are also great ways for vegetarians to maximize their calcium intake. Calcium RDA is 1,000 mg daily for many adults and rises to 1,200 mg daily for adults above 50.
Vegetarians eating less than 525 mg of calcium daily have an increased risk of bone fractures. As a result, vegetarians should set a target to consume 525 mg of calcium each day at the very least.
8. Should I take a vitamin B12 supplement?
Vitamin B12 is generally located in animal foods. Plant foods may also contain a form of this vitamin, but there is still contention as to whether this form is active in human beings.
Despite circulating rumors, there is always an absence of scientific evidence to support unwashed produce as a reliable source of vitamin B12.
The recommended intake of Vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults, 2.6 mcg daily during pregnancy, and 2.8 mcg daily while breastfeeding.
The products, coupled with the supplement of vitamin B12, are the only two very reliable types of vitamin B12 for vegetarians.
Unfortunately, many vegetarians fail to eat sufficient and necessary vitamin B12 products to meet their daily requirements.
Peradventure, you cannot fulfill your daily requirements through vitamin B12-fortified products; you should try taking a vitamin B12 supplement.
People choose vegetarianism for reasons like ethical, environmental, or health.
When done rightly and adequately, the vegetarian diet can be easy to follow and may provide several benefits for individual health.
As with any other diet, these essential benefits only appear if you consistently establish your diet around nutrient-rich plant foods rather than heavily processed ones.
Vegetarians, most notably those unable to meet their daily nutrient requirements through diet alone, should consider taking supplements.
Printable Vegetarian Diet Plan (PDF)
|Days||Breakfast||Lunch||Snack||Dinner||Total Calories per day|
|Sunday||Protein smoothie plus protein pancakes Calories: 210||Green salad with spiced chick pea nuts Calories: 362||Black bean soup Calories: 130||Bean and veggie tacos Calories: 184||886|
|Monday||Protein smoothie with egg Calories: 247||Bean burritos Calories: 456||Apple with one table spoon peanut butter Calories: 300||Salad and pizza Calories: 230||1233|
|Tuesday||Protein smoothie with tofu scramble Calories: 177||Tomato cheddar cheese toast Calories: 386||Home made trail mix Calories: 160||Vegetarian chili Calories: 190||913|
|Wednesday||Protein smoothie with oat meal Calories: 293||Garden Omelet Calories: 352||Greek yogurt light Calories: 100||Pita pizzas with balsamic Calories: 140||885|
|Thursday||Protein smoothie with Greek yogurt parfait Calories: 334||Veggie burger and quinoa chick pea salad Calories: 190||Dark Chocolate trail mix Calories: 313||Baked Asian tofu Calories: 90||927|
|Friday||Protein smoothie with avocado toast Calories: 186||Baked potato topped with vegetarian chill Calories: 150||1 cheese stick with an orange Calories: 147||Veggie burger Calories: 320||803|
|Saturday||Protein smoothie with Craig Mc Muffin Calories: 190||Veggie Power salad Calories: 154||Greek yogurt with one sun flower seed Calories: 110||Portabella pizzas and soup Calories: 100||554|